Welcome to Arona –
This past weekend we took a quick 45 minute train ride from Milan to Arona (a town close to Sesto Calande where Pauly works) and stayed at the Hotel Atlantic. The hotel is nothing fancy but they serve breakfast and its super close to the train station, and have great food from room service. Arona, a quiet small town located on Lago Maggiore has tons of little shops and coffee houses. On the Tuesdays, when the weather permits, there is a large market right in front of the hotel where you can buy pretty much anything from clothing to food products. Here is the view from our hotel balcony looking at the lake. It is much prettier when the tree and flowers are in bloom.
One thing that I think i failed to mention is how banks work around these parts. I took a few pictures (as you are not allowed) to show the process to enter where the tellers are. First, you must have a bank card of some form to enter the building. Once inside you must put all your belongings into a locker and then pass through a metal detector to get into the banking area. The US should take a note of these procedures because although cumbersome, there are zero bank robberies in Italy.
A few places that are “musts” while in Arona – L’Essatoria – a small little bar that serves a nice apertivo and some local wines at reasonable prices.
Also, for late night snacks you should hit Jungle Food, a quick take out place that has calzones and other various good treats once you are heading home from a night out. They even have a mascot car!
Another fun place is The Black Sheep. Its a high energy bar with a younger staff and current music. Here they have a large outdoor area which has heaters and the decor is pretty fun as well.
Welcome to Stresa –
The next morning we took a short train ride North to Stresa. It rained all day but that didn’t stop us from walking around the town and seeing all the sites. The main thing to do here is take a boat to the various islands to walk around and shop. Most of the islands open up in late March so place your trip accordingly. Since the weather was crappy we had the entire boat to ourselves:
This time around we went back to Isola Bella and toured Borromeo. This is where Napoleon stayed from time to time and for around 15 euros per person you can tour the home and the gardens that surround it. The outside of the house is amazing with hand placed stones and little winding streets that have restaurants and speciality shops selling hand made little trinkets and clothing.
Here are some pictures from inside (shhh no photos here either but i was able to take just a couple)
After touring the inside you can walk through the gardens which as beautiful and have lots of flowers and statutes. There are also many white peacocks that just hang out on property. If you look closely you can see the dry circles around them as they try to stay out of the rain! We tried to get them to open their tails for us, but they weren’t having it.