Friday, 27 July 2018

Ten Day in the Locarno/Ascona area

Switzerland has a lot of beautiful places, one of those special places is the Ticino, the Italian speaking part of our country.
Every summer they have the Moon and Stars festival in Locarno, with lots of fabulous concert in the Piazza Grande. We don't go every summer, but this year's line up is fantastic, so we got tickets to see Sunrise Avenue and James Blunt. 

The drive down there is always a bit risky in summer, because there is lots of traffic. We left very early in the morning on Friday July 13. We practically had no traffic and reached our first goal at around 10am. We stopped at "Möbel Pfister" a furniture store. We have the same in central Switzerland, but they tend to have different things, so we stopped and looked at everything. I bought some pillows and a fluffy blanket for my new apartment (yes I'm moving, more info in a blog post soon). Our drive continued and we stopped in Ascona for lunch, we were starving at 11am already. Our favorite restaurant in Ascona is the Osteria Nostrana, right by the lake with a fab view. Then we went food shopping, before driving to our apartment. Taking everything out of the car took quite a while. A refreshing shower and new clothes later we found ourselves in Ascona again. This time we strolled trough the lovely little down, looked at the shops and my fave: "un aperitivo" at the Seven lounge, such a fab place. Now it's getting a bit boring, because we had dinner at the same restaurant again. We then wanted to leave and ran into some friends from the choir and had another drink with them, such a lovely evening. 

On Saturday we slept in, had breakfast and headed to the "badi", basically the beach right by the lake, with facilities to eat, drink, with a playground etc. It's a great place to just relax, chill and read in the sun. Listen to music and of course go for a swim. We also had a late lunch there, watched some tennis and football later. Towards the evening there were lots of clouds and we left just before it started raining. For dinner we drove to Locarno and ate at the "Sensi", it's the brother restaurant of the one in Ascona, the food is delicious. Afterwards we walked through the city, into the little alleys, to listen to the concert a little bit. 

Sunday, meant an early start for us. From Ascona we took the boat to Canobbio, passing the beautiful Brissago islands. In Canobbio they have a big market every Sunday, where they sell clothes, shoes, bags, food and lots more. We had to buy shirts for the theatre and of course I also bought some little things for myself, like a bag, slippers and a belt. We stopped for a coffee once, but time passed so quickly. We headed into the town for some lunch and at 3pm it was tome to take the fast boat back to Ascona. In the evening it was time for our first concert. The Piazza Grande in Locarno is huge, but not very comfortable to stand on. So what we always do now, is reserve in a restaurant, go there before the gates close and then you can enjoy the whole concert from there. At 8pm The Script started the concert and since I know most of there songs, I really enjoyed it and sang along. Then there was a bit of a break, before James Blunt got on stage and he really rocked that concert. His voice is fantastic and he reall knows, hoe to get the audience, it was absolutely fabulous! The concert ended with the song Bonfire Heart and a firework and of course he sang my song 1973. 

Monday meant sleeping in again and we really took it slowly, had breakfast after a while, went food shopping and enjoyed the afternoon by the pool, I was basically just lying on an airbed and enjoyed the sun, it wasn't as warm outside though. In the evening we went for dinner with some friends by the port in Ascona. In a restaurant called Vela Bianca. I had some lovely tuna, but the restaurant was way overpriced. The rest of the evening we spent in Locarno, in the food street of the festival, where they have all types of differnt foods, a little stage as well and a ferris wheel. We then also went into the alleys to listen to the concert a little bit, before going home. 

Tuesday was a shopping day in Locarno. Lots of great shopping, lunch at the Sensi, more shopping and by the time we wanted to go it was already 5pm. So instead of going up and down again, we stayed and had a Mojito at the lake lounge and then some crepes in the food street. We listened to Rita Ora and Emeli Sandé from the apartment balcony. The perfect way to end the night, with a good beer, a book and the music in the background.

By Wednesday morning I had 11 mosquito bites already, so annoying. We spent the morning by the pool and then made some lunch. I spent the afternoon in the badi with reading, blog post writing, swiming, listening to music and relaxing. Everyone else met for golfing and since I don't play, I had another program. We all had dinner at the golf restaurant though, to celebrate my dad's birthday. Afterwards we went to our friend's apartment to have a last drink and enjoy their view and lounge. 

On Thursday we got up early and drove to Como. We got there by 10.30 am, because there was traffic at the boarder. At the Piazza we enjoyed a cappucciono, before hitting the shops. Como is fabulous for shopping, I found some coulottes, shirts and a pair of sandals. It was very hot that day, so getting into aircoinditioned stores is perfect. Como also has some very cute alleys and a wonderful Duomo. We had lunch at another little Piazza and continued the shopping afterwards. Before going back to Switzerland we went food shopping, because they have great fresh vegetables and meat. There are always certain things we buy in Italy, because you can only get them there and it's much cheaper. By 8pm we were back in Locarno and orepared dinner with the food we got, delicious of course. 

On Friday we went down to the Maggia river to collect some stones and put our feet into the refreshing water. Unfortunately, we forgot our swimming costumes, but it was still very nice. After that we drove around a little bit and explored the area. Intragna is a very cute villiage in the middle of the mountains. We had lunch back at the apartment and then I enjoyed floating on the pool again, it's so relaxing. In the evening it was time for our second Moon & Stars concert. We reserved at the restaurant again. It's really the perfect place. Up first was Adel Tawil, a German singer with a beautiful voice. He was very cute, smiled all the time and really talked to the audience. Then it was time for Sunrise Avenue, finally! I have been listing to their music for years and now it was time to see them live! They played all their famous songs, but in different versions though, sometimes a bit too much rock music, the originals are much nicer. I still really enjoyed it though, Samu Haber has such a unique voice. He had difficulties engaging the audience though. During their concert it started raining like crazy, so we were happy to be under the little roof in the restaurant. 

The weather wasn't so nice on Saturday, so we slept un and slowly got ready. We spent the afternoon in Ascona with friends, very relaxing. In the evening we went for dinner in the Grotto Valmaggese, omg the food was absolutely delicious, yummy!!!

Sunday morning meant packing and cleaning the apartment for us. These ten days passed so quickly. We enjoyed the rest of the day at the Badi, before driving back home.

The Ticino has so many beautiful places and treasures, it's always nice to go back there, especially in summer. 

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