This morning we started out on a fast train, which entered right after Brig the Simplon Tunnel. This was the longest tunnel in the world for a long time (ca. 20 km – ca. 12 miles). Most of the tunnel is in Italy so once we got out we reached Domodossola in Italy. We changed to a panoramic train which took us first up to about 800 m (ca. 2600 ft) along sweet Chestnut trees – which grow everywhere here. This used to be poor men food.
You can see one of the Italian train stations.
Once we reached the highest point we started our descent back to Switzerland so here is a Swiss train station with the typical railway clock (note the large red second hand on the clock – here the seconds do count as well!)
Once we arrived to Locarno, we checked in to Hotel Camelia, where we had a great lunch (actually the restaurant of the hotel is really excellent and the staff is really friendly and helpful).
Our hotel has great views on Lago Maggiore.
We had a lecture on Ticino Canton by Julie Guidotti, who was born in the USA but lives in Ticino for 20 years. We learned that here in Ticino people speak a local dialect, but they do not write it down just like with Swiss German. They use Italian for the education and media. When the train lines were built which connected the villages a so-called train dialect was developed - what everybody could understand. This slowly replaces the village dialects.
We also learned that some Italian companies actually move in to Ticino, since the taxes are lower here, then in Italy. VAT is 7,6 % and for hotel services it is only: 3,6%. (In Hungary it is 25 %, and 18 % respectively.)
After the lecture we enjoyed a great dinner and a nice evening in the Mediterranean garden of the hotel among camellias, roses, palm trees and rosemary bushes.