Wednesday, July 15th:
The skies were gray Wednesday morning. Not long after I woke up, it began to rain. I had two full days left in Stresa and both Santa Caterina del Sasso & Orta were on my list as places I definitely wanted to visit. Santa Caterina del Sasso, a monastery that was built in the 12th century on a rocky hillside, looked like the better choice for a cloudy/rainy day. After breakfast, the rain stopped for a bit. I took the 9:55 am boat (5.80 euros roundtrip) to Santa Caterina. For the history of this amazing monastery, check out Dana's blog post.
Stairway up to the monastery:
Inside the "Chapter Room" (also known as the old reflectory of the monastery):
View heading to the church:
Old olive oil press before heading to the church:
Because I took so many photos that I want to share, I am going to save the rest of Santa Caterina by doing two more blog posts later this week.
When the 10:50 boat arrived, I was not ready to leave. It was nice to be alone for a few minutes before the new boatload of people arrived. Even with other people there, this place was so peaceful.
The next boat (11:30) was the last to leave before the 2 hour lunch break. I could have stayed for hours but did not think to pack a lunch. As you can see, the weather was still pretty dreary on the return trip back.
I met two very nice people from England on the boat on the way back. When we returned to Stresa, I joined them for coffee and an enjoyable chat in the main piazza. Then, I went back to my hotel room, had some yogurt and fruit, and then slept while it rained during the afternoon.
When I woke up, the skies were sunny. I watched some of the Tour de France in Italian and then went down to the courtyard area of my hotel to use the free wifi. A little while later, a woman sat down right next to me and lit up a cigarette. I could not believe it! There must be 25-30 chairs outside the hotel and I was the only other person sitting outside. I glared at her as I got up and moved. I really don't think she got it.
Before dinner, I walked to the train station to buy my ticket for Friday. Instead of walking back to my hotel, I decided try a different way into town. This is when I came upon the ti amo words written in chalk. I also discovered a tiny church and ended up in back of the famous Hotel Iles Borromees. I hung out down by the waterfront, taking photos until dinner.
I returned to Ristorante il Vicoletto for another delicious dinner, ordering the bufala mozzarella, tomatoes & sardines and the ravioli with fish and fresh tomatoes. Yum! The waiter from il Pappagallo (the one who waited on me, not the one who called me Catarina) was also eating there Wednesday evening. That is a sure sign of a good restaurant.