It is Saturday, which means that there are no universities to visit. It also presents us with the opportunity to see the area and immerse ourselves in the culture. We took the train to Bellinzona, a bit north of Lugano. They had an amazing market in the streets that we walked through and a couple people bought scarves and souvenirs. After perusing the market, several of us hiked to a nearby castle for some amazing views. It was wonderful to sit in the grass and take in the scenery, especially with the pace that we have been keeping. David was the only one that ventured on to another castle and had to make it a very quick trip. We then walked back down into the city center of Bellinzona and back up the other side to the third castle, Castelgrande. There we had lunch at Grotto Castelgrande with the view of the other two castles as well as the entire valley and the Alps. It was amazing. We had a 4 course lunch that lasted 3 hours. As Kelsey said, “this was a Top 10.”
We then took the train to Lugano and had some free time to shop and walk around. A group of 5 rented a speedboat on the lake, and Cat and Kenneth rented paddle boats. After a couple of hours we headed back to Riva for dinner at the Villa. After dinner we had a wine tasting held by Daniela. As I have mentioned earlier, Daniela has her own vineyard and is extremely knowledgeable. The wines were all from this area including a white merlot. We tasted 6 wines over two hours, which should indicate the care and knowledge that Daniela shared with us about each wine. She even washed our glasses specially to remove any resin. I learned more about wine that night than any other wine tasting I have ever been on. It was quite an experience.