27th August 2013
With wedding 57 and (hangover 157) under our belts we never wanted to leave the Swiss Diamond Hotel, the pool and steam room downstairs called us but we had to man up and pull ourselves together for a busy day being tourists!
The Ticino Tourism had kindly offered to send us on a fun packed day with a great photographer in tow to test drive all of the best local attractions. We had tickets for the Monte Bré Funicular to the top of Lugano’s mountain and also to the brand spanking new water world, Splash and Spa.
Marian, who we had met the night before at the wedding, came to collect us that morning and we donned our sunglasses and our pale faces through our alcohol induced illness and took a drive into Morcote (where we fell over drunk just nights ago) to take a few warm up snaps.
The back streets of the tiny colourful village are absolutely beautiful. Shaded narrow cobbled lanes wrap their way around steep houses lined with wysteria and scented jasmine, the odd spatter of sunlight finding its way through to lay on the ground in front of us. We happily got lost in the maze of streets and got to know a little more about Marian and shook off our hangovers a little!
Next stop was through Lugano and into the cool mountains to take the Funicular 933 meters upto the view point at the top. The rickety old train staggered lurching up the steep tracks nearer and nearer to the fluffy white clouds in the otherwise perfectly blue sky.
I was happy to have two feet back on solid ground when we finally arrived and we took a stroll to the view point which was as spectacular as you would imagine it is! Strutting mountains rose from the sides of the sparkling lake and a ring of colourful houses lined the waters edge looking like a neverending snake of multi-coloured dominoes!
Marian had a bright idea and suggested that we walk to the next village, she insisted on its beauty, all made of stone and nestled in the bottom of a valley. We set off with a spring in our step and then we saw the 1 thousand stairs down to the village…down of course is NEVER a problem so we skipped down them two by two and on finally meeting the village wound our way around its crooked streets, stared in awe at the beautiful houses and took a good few pictures. We were waxing and waning in our hangovers and reached a peak of wanting to die around about the time we had to make our way back up the one thousand stairs!
We huffed and puffed and huffed and puffed and eventually made it back and when we got back to the funicular (with a medicinal ice-cream) the driver kindly offered us seats in the front carriage so we could see ourselves seemingly falling slowly through the sky back down to the ground that was so far below us I couldn’t see it until we physically stopped!
Again, thrilled to be back in the car we set off on our next adventure to the pools!
The uber modern (newest water-park in Europe) Splash and Spa housed in a kind of huge domed building offers death defying slides with names like ‘the washing machine’ and ‘The tunnel of horror’ and several pools of varying shapes, sizes and temperatures. A pool on the roof has a wave machine, a pool on the ground is filled with water laced with an orangey coloured mineral reportedly incredible for the skin. One can sip cocktails around the pool inside or ride the wave machine just feet away OR, like we did, you can just hit the water spa and relax.
We did the rounds and took in the vastness of the place. We had to bite the bullet and get wet so did so on the roof with the cold air all around our heads and the warm water bubbling all around our bodies, next up was to check out the slides, I sat and watched as Alex and Marian donned a rubber tube each and shot through pitch black tunnels with warnings stating that you will never know which was is up and others stating to keep all arms and legs on a flimsy rubber mat which MAY save your life. Can you tell I am not a water slide fan? Alex and Marian had a great time and so did I watching people emerge from tubes completely upside down and inside out and wearing their swim-wear completely differently than when they had set off! It was hilarious!
Once the ‘kids’ had worn themselves out we entered the area of tranquility. Steam rooms of varying temperatures lined one hall, and saunas the other, water treatments hid around every corner and the lights were all dimmed to almost dark to create a totally relaxed atmosphere, I loved it! I floated in a pool as warm as a bath, waded through lots of mini pools of different temperatures to stimulate my blood flow and sat and had my feet bubbled almost off in a glorious foot spa. I ran through different scented showers, mint to cleanse my sinuses, lavender to relax me, cinnamon to wake me up and something green which smelled perfectly of enchanted forest!
Alex and Marian braved the 120 degree sauna with orange scented ice to keep them alive and then cooled down in the mineral pool.
We wound down further with a cocktail at the bar in the pool and having exhausted ourselves and our wrinkly skin completely after several hours of being wet, we called it a day and set off to Veasna’s for dinner.
Veasna is a chef who teaches other people to cook and who also caters private parties and she is amazing, this is before we even mention how much of a character she is! We had a great night with her and her husband Gionata and Marian and her husband Ado which involved eating pigs feet, a lot of wine, a lot of food, a LOT of laughs and a fashion show!
Its a whole different story and one we will cherish for all of time. Such an incredible day with incredibly passionate and genuinely friendly people! We hope we get to spend time with all of them in the future!
If you are visiting Lugano at all, do check out Ticino Tourism‘s site, there is so much to do and in such a stunning part of the world, you will NOT be disappointed!
Thanks Ticino Tourism for such an incredible day and Marian for capturing it!