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The little adventures of Jo! Travel with me on my overdue gap year around the world :)

Luscious Lugano

SWITZERLAND | Wednesday, 10 July 2013 | Views [481]

I have just travelled from one insanely gorgeous place to another. 

I'm currently in Lugano, a picturesque city in the Italian region of Ticino in Switzerland. While Lugano is completely different to Santorini, it is also a different definition of lush. Surrounded by mountains of green forests, the city borders the shore of the great and beautiful lake it's named after.
 
Elisa, a girl I met on my Lake Titicaca tour months ago in Peru, invited me to visit her lovely Swiss-Italian hometown when she heard about my European adventure. Though we only spent a day together in Peru, seeing her again is like meeting an old friend.
 
Though Lugano is known to attract tourists for its warmer and sunnier weather, it took me by surprise. Luckily, there is a lake to cool down with! Within hours of arriving in Lugano, I quickly discovered my favourite part of the town, Parco Cianti. A well-landscaped park decorated with shady trees and gorgeous blooms, it is also the spot to jump into the lake for a swim and the venue of the town's month long Longlake festival. So that's how we spent my first day. We chilled out with a swim and a short nap at the banks of the lake during the day, then returned later for a free night of awesome reggae with Tarrus Riley and Black Soil.
 
Today we ventured 20 minutes out of Lugano for a bit of a hike around an area called Rivera. Walking along the forest trails up the hills reminded me of Heidi, a children's book, especially when we came across friendly billy goats and sheep with bells around their neck. Being slightly cloudy and not too high up, it was difficult to get a glimpse of the Alps, but I got a tiny peek nonetheless.
 
Leaving Santorini was hard work. As Yorgos drove me to the airport, I realised that I was leaving the island loving it for different reasons to most of its visitors. Sure, I was in awe of the amazing caldera views thousands flock to see each year, but it was the simple life of its true locals that I loved the most. Growing cherry tomatoes and wine grapes in the back garden. Going to the beach that's literally a stone's throw away. Honking at every friend you see on the road so you could give them a smile. Making casual conversation with strangers without a sense of paranoia. It's a life we don't often get to experience anymore and I do miss it. Yorgos could sense my apprehension in leaving and comforted me with such a simple phrase that perfectly depicts Santorinian optimism - "Life is always nice wherever you are, although sometimes it just gets better."

Tags: beaches, european adventure, friends, music, nature, trekking

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