Subject: Italian Lake District
Hi all,

This fall, after two years of false starts, we're finally going to take our trip to the Italian Lake District. I've been reading through the archives (I thank all of you that have posted, some to my earlier questions) and I've just about fully come to the conclusion that we should not rent a car # instead relying on trains, buses and boats. Not having a car will be a first for us, not the least reason for which is that we tend to travel "heavy" and we will have to downsize for this trip.

I've got a number of random questions that I'm hoping I could get some help on.

First the itinerary, which, except for the flights, is not cast in stone: Fly into Zurich - Train to Lugano (2 nights) - Train/bus(?) to Locarno (3-5 nights) # Boat(?) to Baveno (3-5 nights) # Train/bus/boat(?) to Bellagio (3-5 nights) - Train/bus/boat(?) to Zurich (2 nights)

Now my questions (somewhat random): - For the Zurich-Lugano train trip (seat res. required?), how long after the flight's scheduled early-morning arrival time should I make the reservation for? Is there luggage storage at the Zurich train station in case the reservation time leaves some extra time to wander? Where is the Zurich train station and how long does it take to get there? What are the penalties/costs if my flight arrives late? [All this angst is based on a nightmare a few years ago when we missed a train connection to Marseille at Charles de Gaulle airport, and had to make our way into one of the Paris stations during rush hour for a long wait for an awful overnight train trip.] - What's the best way to get from Lugano to Locarno? How long does it take? - Should I plan on taking the boat from Locarno to Baveno? [The reason I chose Baveno is it's proximity to the Borromeo Islands and day trips to Lake Orta.] Would Stresa be a better choice? [I've read a couple of negative comments about Stresa.] - Could anyone offer suggestions for Lake Orta day trips? [No hikes please # somewhat like the army, I travel on my stomach.] - Should I plan on a night or two on the southern end of Lake Como (Cernobbio?) before going to Bellagio? - Is Bellagio a good base for exploring all of Lake Como or would it be better/more convenient/less expensive to stay in two or three places around the lake. [Same question for lake Maggiore # are Locarno and Baveno good choices?] - What's the best way back to Zurich from Bellagio? Should I plan on an intermediate night somewhere at the northern end of the lake? [We're going to spend a couple of days in Zurich so there's no airline connection timing issues.] - For a trip of this kind, would it be worth buying any kind of rail, bus or boat multi-day pass? Are there any that would apply? - Has anyone had increased problems transporting luggage on trains since the attacks in Spain? [I think somesone reported that the luggage compartments at the ends of train cars have been closed in some areas.]

I'm really trying to not turn this trip into something really hectic. One of the reasons not having a car has grown in appeal is that I'm hoping for time to take leisurely walks by the lakes and spend time just enjoying the views over (probably many) bottles of wine. This is the reason I'd like to stay in as few places as possible.

I'd appreciate any and all help that the group could supply. Since joining TheTravelzine my wanderlust has increased tenfold (along with my frustration about not being able to travel more.)

Thanks in advance, Al Sonoma, CA, USA