Me & Stresa

, a small town of about 5,000 inhabitants ( 200 m above sea level) located about 90 km north-west of Milan. Stresa sets perfectly at the enchanting location in Lake Maggiore overlooking the beautiful Borromean islands.

To me, Stresa is like an unexpected dream comes true. My affinity of Stresa has began since 5 years ago. This post is perhaps a reminiscence of my 3-day at Stresa since April 2008 and once again only as an onlooker sitting in Cisalpino EC 52, a tilting train which ran between Milan Centrale to Basel SBB in 2009. ( Currently, there is no Cisalpino as its operation was ceased since December 2009). Apart from going to the local shops in the city centre of Stresa, meeting and staying at the grand Hotel des Iles Borromées in April 2008, I did not have enough time to explore to the classic Borromean islands (BellaPescatoriMadre). This post is a reminder to re-visit Stresa again when time and budgets permitted.

Have you planned a trip to Stresa? It is a must stop if you love a magnificent lake views, beautiful villas, botanical gardens, exotic plants as well as outdoor activities. My dream is to take 3-day option to explore the Borromean Islands, Lake Maggiore by ferries, the surrounding countryside, the Swiss part of the lake as well as the Stresa-Mottarone Cable car and walking route around Mottarone. You could also enjoy the panoramic view of the lakes or at the summits of the Alps and visit the Botanical Garden Alpinia. A big fan of hiking should be all happy to be up there!

At Stresa, my angel mode began when I had a chance to stay at the grand Hotel des Iles Borromées. I feel thankful for those who gave me a chance to enjoy this angel mode. I would have no chance to indulge here on my own budget, especially at a spacious room at the corner. I had a sheer pleasure and an absolute privilege of having an expansive view of lake Maggiore. The unforgettable activity I had was to make a lake-made lemoncello, a classic Italian liqueur right in front of the magnificent lake together with all other participants. We were transferred to that pristine location by a big coach going uphill and downhill to wherever I didn’t even know. Unknown pleasure is always somewhere out there! I felt connected with the breathtaking views and so cool breeze in April. It was a fun activity in Stresa!
Lake Maggiore is a second largest lake in Italy after Lake Garda. Stresa, once a tiny fish village has become a retreat destination for Europe’s aristocrats and artists. After the Simplon pass was built in 1906 allowing train services from north of the Alps to pass through Stresa, Stresa has turned into a new favorite tourist destination.The famous American author and journalist, Ernest Hemingway visited Stresa since 1918. He kept coming back to Stresa and always stayed at the room no. 106 at the grand Hotel des Iles Borromees which is officially called as The Hemingway Suite. the grand Hotel des Iles Borromées was also in a set of Hemingway’s 1929 novel : A Farewell to Arms. This classic hotel really has a prime location offering hotel guests a magnificent views and easy access to the long lake front promenade. In the evening I strolled around the hotel, villas around the hotels and the elegant lake fronts. I also took a taxi to have a brief look at city centre of Stresa, to buy some local produces and to have a cup of coffee.

You can reach Stresa by a train easily from Milano, Centrale ( duration : 1 hr or more depending on a type of a train you are hopping in ). If you are at Malpensa International airport of Milan (MPX), you can hop on a coach (ALIBUS COACH) to reach Stresa with ease, but online reservation required. You can choose what you like according to your budget and preference.

I spent one night in Bologna prior to visiting Stresa. From Stresa, I decided to go back to Malpensa International airport by taking a train and then connecting with a normal bus which was pretty cheap to balance with all too much luxurious dose in Art Nouveau style I had earlier in Stresa. An angel mode finally had to come back to the ground somehow.

See you again, Stresa – my ferry boat riding and my hiking dream trip ! I will go there only when I have my new zoom lens, I promise!!!

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