DSC03027.jpg I expected Switzerland to be an industrial country with a climate and population colder than Spain. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

DSC02943.jpg Lugano is a charming city with a beautiful lake surrounded by lush mountains. We visited at the perfect time of year because the flowers were in full bloom. Lugano is very close to the Italian border, and thus has the gastronomy of Italy and cleanliness and organization of Switzerland.

We stayed with Hannah’s friend from high school, who is a senior at Franklin College. Because of Frankin, there are actually a lot of American students in Lugano. SMU even has a study abroad program there! A semester abroad in Lugano would be no less than enchanting, but very expensive. It is a really nice city and thus everything, even McDonald’s, is extremely pricey.

On our first day in Lugano, we toured the Alprose Chocolate Factory and sampled some of the best chocolate in the world! I learned that 90 percent of the world’s cocoa beans are owned by one family in Africa!?

Lugano%20restaurant.jpg After the factory, we walked to the water and had a delicious Italian lunch on a terraza by the lake. One of my favorite foods, risotto, is a local specialty.

Emily1.1.jpg Because the weather was so nice, we decided to walk to Gandria, a small village east of Lugano. The walk was long but worth it; Gandria was quiet and picturesque, with only private homes and a few bed and breakfasts along the water. We stopped for a drink at a small family-owned restaurant, where the Italian owners were having “first meal.” The walk had taken about three hours, so we decided to ride the ferry home.

On our final day in Lugano we also ventured out on the water, this time renting a speedboat! I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend, my only disappointment was that we didn’t run into George Clooney.