Our one night in Switzerland preceded a travel day through, and over the Alps. Blue skies afforded great views though our planned route was closed due to snow. Instead we had to drive the car onto a train (which looked more like a cattle truck) at Kandersteg for a 12 minute trip practically in darkness under the Berne Alps - it was a bit like riding a ghost train.
We managed to traverse the second alpine range as the Simplon Pass was open despite the snow at over 2,000 metres. The initial views of Lake Orta didn't disappoint; nor did the little campsite we found just above it. We walked around the narrow lanes of Orta St Giulio and its Sacre Monte astride Lake Orta (with 20 side chapels filled with sculptures and paintings depicting St Anthony's life) and azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias everywhere. Then we visited the beautiful Isola Bella, a 17th century palace and gardens on a small island in Lake Maggiore.
We moved camp after a few days and headed to Cannobio at the north end of the Lake near the Swiss border. Here it was us and the Germans - although everyone just assumed we were also German. We broke out the hiking gear and did a 7 hour walk (with a 900 metre ascent) to give great, though hazy, views over the Lake and the Alps. This was the first time we saw clouds for a week and this preceded a thunderstorm and 12 hours of heavy rain and snow 200 metres above the campsite. Consequently we had to dig out the gloves and now know where we need to use the seam sealant once the tent dries out!