It still tickles me that when I wake up and ask Jen, “what do you want to do today” – the answer might be something like, “let’s go to Switzerland”. What a great idea!
Our home in Lake Como, Italy is very near the Swiss-Italian border. We have always been fond of a neighboring lake town, Lugano, Switzerland. Since the trip is only about 30 minutes, the idea to hop over the border for lunch appealed to us quite a bit.
Switzerland is a beautiful country with some of the most breathtaking landscapes you’ll see. The most interesting thing [to us] about Switzerland is that it’s a country that in many respects, assumes the identity of its neighboring countries. It is a landlocked country bordered by Germany, France, Italy and Austria. The Swiss do not have their own language; each Swiss “region” instead adopts the tongue of the closest neighboring country (either German, French or Italian). Additionally, the food served in each region follows the same trend of marrying the food of it’s neighbor-country. However, we have found that the architecture seems to be uniquely Swiss throughout most of the country. Despite not having a shared language or cuisine, the Swiss have found a strong sense of pride in their country and it’s ideals.
Border crossing from Italy into Switzerland
The two economic epicenters of the country are Zurich and Geneva. If you’ve ever see a gangster or action movie – you’ll know that banking is a large industry, originally praised for it’s client privacy, security and discretion. If you’re a legitimate business magnate or Vito Corleone, you most likely have a Swiss bank account. Banking is just one of many reasons that Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world.
Homes atop a perfume shop
Switzerland also produces some of the worlds finest timepieces. Some of the more infamous Swiss made timepieces include Audemars Piguet, Breitling, Cartier, Chopard, IWC, Patek Phillipe and of course, Rolex – to name a few. Much to my disappointment – they are no cheaper if you buy them in Switzerland (in fact, quite a bit more thanks to a weak dollar). An interest tidbit that I just learned… over half of the world’s watches sold are made in Switzerland (in terms of value).
A shop that sells wonderful panini, meats and cheeses
As we departed to cross the border, we researched a good place to eat and found, Grotto Mulino Pregassona. It was a bit of a trek because the restaurant was a ways away from the center of the town. We put our faith in the reviews of others and were pleased with the results when we saw the charming restaurant as we pulled up.
Grotto Mulino Pregassona
We eagerly exited the vehicle and sauntered up to the restaurant, expectations high. Odd, the windows looked dark. And door seemed to be tightly pulled shut. Because it was closed – oh, that explains things. Upon further inspection we discovered (thanks to a rough job translating) the restaurant was closed for the season and would re-open in April. APRIL! Oh yeah, I forgot – we’re on the Italian side. Should have read those reviews a bit closer.
We drove back into the main part of town, the Centro (Center) of town. We walked around a bit and settled on a place to eat (it was OK, but not blog-worthy… sorry, no photos). As we walked around we enjoyed the sites and sounds of the people, and loved taking in the beautiful shop displays. There are custom pasticcerie (pastry shops) sandwiched between Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Armani and the countless Swiss watch shops (hence, our nickname of the Rodeo Drive of Switzerland).
Jen and Julia window shopping
Time for a giggle
Looking at the ducks on the lake
Sometimes sightseeing is better to do alone
Jen and Julia on a pier
Time to stop for a drink
It was a short trip around the bend, but well worth it. We can’t wait to visit Switzerland again soon!