Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A weekend with friends in Stresa!

Enjoying our dinner after making a run for it through the rain and hail!

In mid-May, Mark and I joined a group of friends in the lake-side town of Stresa, Italy. Thanks to our friends, Kate and Kyle for the invitation to join them there, we had a great group of 9 hanging out together in Italy!

We arrived around 9:30 in the evening on Friday night, taking the train from Lausanne to Stresa after work. On the direct train, it is only a 2 hour 2o minute ride. Most of us were on the night train, but Kate, Maud and Kyle's sister Erin (who was visiting from the States), drove out early on Friday and made us a reservation for dinner Ristorante Il Vicoletto at 10:00 pm. We lucked out that the restaurant agreed to stay open for us, as they usually close at 10! Having the whole restaurant to ourselves was fantastic and our table of 9 felt VIP as we took over the place! It was a fantastic dinner and the whole group was very sweet to sing me a belated "Happy Birthday" as I had just celebrated my birthday the day before our arrival. After a fantastic meal and some good wine, Mark and I headed back to the hotel, looking forward to some sight-seeing the next day.

On the ferry to Isola Bella

View of the island from the ferry

A very Kodak moment!

The Borromeo Palace Gardens

Gorgeous flowers

White Chinese peacock

Check out those feathers!

On Saturday, we woke up and ate breakfast at the hotel before heading over to the ferry-landing to purchase tickets for the ferry. Stresa has three islands located out on the lake close to the town and ferries run between all of them. Mark and I headed over to Isola Bella, the closest one to town, to check out the palace and gardens of the Borromeo family. After a first walk around to check out the small island, our friends met up with us and we all sat down for lunch together. After our meal, they headed on to Isola Madre and Mark and I started our walk through the palace. The gardens were absolutely gorgeous, accented with White Chinese peacocks strutting around with their feathers open for us to know we were on their turf!

Streets in Stresa

Pre-dinner drinks!

The gang! (from left to right): V, Maud, KiYonna, Kate, Kyle, Erin, Jenn, John, Mark

After our island tour was finished, we headed back to Stresa on the ferry just in time to avoid the down-pour that came that afternoon! Mark and I enjoyed a quick dip in the hotel jacuzzi and a nap before dinner time. We got ready and then headed out for a walk around Stresa before settling at a wine bar for a drink before dinner. We had another fun group dinner in Stresa and then headed back to the apartment where half of our group was staying to play some poker!

The view from our hotel room

Our Stresa hotel right on the lake-front

Sunday we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel one more time and a short lake-side walk before our train-ride back to Lausanne. We had a great time hanging out with our friends in Stresa!

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