Riva San Vitale

Day 8 (Thursday)

One of the other castles we could see (sorry about the uneven stitching... I should have stuck with one orientation or the other)
Thursday morning we all went to visit a castle in Bellinzona, a nearby town. The castle there was much wider and longer than the one in Heidelberg, and was more open-aired. It overlooked much of the city, and from it we could see two other castles not too far away.

Naturally, when we came across a long, narrow hill, Kevin decided he had no choice but to roll down it.  I followed him down, and, as you will see in the video I bobbled my phone after slipping, but luckily (/skillfully) caught it.

Kevin rolling down the castle hill

After we got back from Bellinzona, we took a train to the top of a mountain on the Swiss-Italian border. The train took a good forty-five minutes to reach the top, but there was an incredible view out the window the entire time, as we grew farther and farther above all the picturesque clusters of houses in a valley of the Alps. Once we finally reached the top, we still had a little bit of a hike to the peak, but after the few minute climb we had a panoramic view of mountains, valleys, villages, lakes, and even some cows.

After taking in the view for ten or fifteen minutes and enjoying our packed lunches (compliments of Luigi and his kitchen staff), we broke into groups and explored the mountain tops. There was an “extremely dangerous” path around one side of a mountain that I felt compelled to take, and when I went as far out as I could I found myself at the top of the largest cliff I have ever stood. I am not afraid of heights, and although it was slightly unsettling to look over the edge, I would have loved to continue hiking and rock climbing for the rest of the day. It is hard to express in words (or even pictures!) quite was it is like to be on top of those mountains.

This is where the "extremely dangerous" path led
We had an incredible time walking from peak to peak, and it was a couple hours before we decided we should head back down the mountain. When the train was leaving, we saw two men parasailing off the top of the mountain, gliding back and forth above our train as we descended. I have always had an incredible desire to go skydiving, so this was probably the only possible scene that could have made me love Switzerland any more than I already did. Switzerland was absolutely amazing (and was my favorite country), so if you haven't viewed the country slide show I highly recommend it.

That evening a few people went and explored Lugano, but I just wanted to relax so I stayed in Riva San Vitale and hung out in the villa and explored the town.