We checked out from Ambassador Hotel at 08:30 and got on Zermatt local taxis that brought us to where 2 coasters were waiting to take us to our Insight Travel Luxury Gold Coach. We continued along our Insight Vacations Glorious Switzerland Tour descending to Tasch and driving past Visperterminen where vineyards grow on the hillside and are known for producing ice wine. From Switzerland, we were going to cross over to Baveno, Italy for a night.
Book your next Insight Vacation to Glorious Switzerland 2020 Summer Tour! Here’s an overview of the itinerary:
Day 1 – Geneva (Switzerland)
Day 2 – Geneva, Montreux, Chillon and Zermatt (Switzerland)
Day 3 – Zermatt (Switzerland)
Day 4 – Stresa and Baveno (Italy)
Day 5 – Grison Alps and St. Moritz (Switzerland)
Day 6 – Vaduz (Liechtenstein) and Lucerne (Switzerland)
Day 7 – Lucerne and Stanserhorn (Switzerland)
Following Napoleon’s footsteps, we ascended 2,000 meters to Simplon Pass with the magnificent view of the Swiss Alps from the summit. The movie “Murder on the Orient Express” was shot somewhere here. We stopped at Simplon-Blick Hotel for a cup of Hot Cocoa, which is usually served with a sachet of additional cocoa powder on the side.
The temperature grew warm as we entered the Italian border. We continued along the gentle shores of Lake Maggiore and stopped by the lakeside town of Stesa to have lunch on our own. Four of us grabbed authentic pizza, pasta and calamari at Taverna del Pappagallo all for EUR 47. They only accept Euros in Italy so thankfully Dad had some on him.
After a hearty Italian meal, we walked around town and did a bit of shopping. Dad bought a belt made with genuine Italian leather for EUR 15 to replace the one he lost at the airport. While he was purchasing it, I discovered a purple wallet made with cowhide leather and instantly fell in love with it! It was marked down from EUR 50 to EUR 20! Pretty good deal! I bought an Italian leather wallet over 15 years ago and it has stood the test of time.
We all met back at the parking lot at 14:00 after which the coach took us to Grand Hotel Dino for check-in. We met up again at 15:15 and walked towards the dock where a private motor waited to take us across the lake to the hanging gardens of Isola Bella in Baveno Italy. The Isola Bella was an island bought for Princess Isabella Borromeo as a gift from her husband.
The architecture and interior design range from Baroque to Classical. The Borromean Palace housed a lot of amazing art that flourished during the Italian Dynasty: paintings, furniture, sculptures, mosaic and murals. Today, the island is still owned by the Borromeo family who visit the palace during summer.
We descended to a hidden grotto beneath the palace where the family would wait out hot summer afternoons. We came back up to complete the tour at the gardens where albino peacocks preen!
At 17:30, we all piled into the boat and jettied on over to Isola Pescatori or Fisherman’s Island, and had an Italian seafood dinner at the Ristorante La Pescheria. We each had a chute of Prosecco as an appertif to our 3-course meal. I had the Risotto with Spinach Quiche, Fresh Fish and Lemon Tart for dessert. What I like about this tour so far is that every meal comes with red and white wine!
After dinner, we took the boat back to Grand Hotel Dino and bid Baveno Italy goodnight.