120514 Stresa 14 May Monday

It is a later start for most today, but Lyn and I get up at 5:15 to take photos around Lake Maggiore.  This is a beautiful lake that brings celebrities from around the world for their holidays.  It zigzags for 63 km into the mountains, its northern end jutting well into Switzerland.  The lake is dotted with charming villages and resorts; terraced gardens blooming with azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons drop down to the blue waters.  Stresa is set amid luxuriant vegetation, with a fine lakeside promenade overlooking the Borromean Islands.

After breakfast and hearing complaints about the powdered scrambled egg that was dished up for breakfast, we catch a boat from outside of our hotel to transfer to the island of Isola Bella.  We tour through the castle that has so many interesting paintings and tapestries.  There are about 5 ‘grotto’ rooms that are lined with both white and black coral.  There is a room of marionettes that would have been used to entertain children BTV (Before TV).  We are not allowed to take photographs in this building.

After the tour, we are free to roam the island where there is a botanical garden with fine displays of camellias and azaleas, and is patrolled by white peacocks.  Some manage to see a peacock display their tail feathers.  There are a few magnificent blooms to photograph.  Of course, there are traders to sell you souvenirs.

At 12:00pm, we transfer to the island of Isola Pescatori to lunch at a great little waterside café.  The vegetarian dish we had was delicious.  Lyn enjoyed her favorite, lemon cake, for dessert.  We have been very good until today, we haven’t purchased any souvenirs, but we relent and purchase two little magnets and a cap today.

After our transfer back to the mainland, we are free to wander through the many shops in Stresa.  I get a few games of Sudoku completed while Lyn tries on clothes and shoes – yes she ended up making a purchase.  Many of the larger group we are travelling with are doing the same as us, looking around and ending up with cones of sumptuous Italian ice cream.

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