Exploring the northwestern region of Italy and calling Grand Hotel Billia home for the past six days has been an incredible opportunity. There is so much to see and do, and even more to eat! So, it was with a heavy heart (and belly) that we had to say goodbye. The next leg of our journey: Switzerland.
To get here, we took a chartered bus to the Italian/Switzerland border where we hopped on a train for a quick ride over the border to Mendrisio. Last night we checked into a small hotel across the street from the train station. We will remain here until we are able to find a nicer location in the area that can accommodate our group – 18 of us. Our room is very spacious, but run down and reminiscent of something from another decade; there is a small box tv in the corner and a mix of blue and avocado green decor. Certainly a long stretch from the Grand Hotel Billia, which was luxurious and modern.
Although I’m not a fan of the decor, or dated rooms, it’s kind of cool to be right across the street from the train station. Not only does it make getting around easy, but as I write this the windows are open and I can people watch as the trains go by. We are also within walking distance of a large, shopping mall, which we plan to visit while we are in town. It supposedly has some of the best shopping in the region and tourists come in by masses on the bus to shop there. A bonus to being close by is that we can get there early, before the crowds and long lines. At some point, we will also be taking the train to Lugano, a city known as the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland”. I can’t wait – I hear it is beautiful!