I’m totally belated on this post. But meetup season at Automattic is nigh, so I figured I’d better catch up before my next couple of work trips this fall (spoiler: I will get to spend the euros I had leftover from my last trip!).
Last summer I traveled to Stresa, Italy to meet with other Automattic Talent team members from around the world. It was an incredible opportunity to team-build and learn from one another, and I couldn’t have been more excited about it.
It was also my first trip abroad and it went swimmingly.
We stayed at Hotel Milan Speranza au Lac, a historical hotel in the heart of Stresa. It was a new experience for me to stay at a hotel like this.
They had actual room keys that you handed off to the concierge before leaving the hotel for the day.
Stresa is a charming little town located in northern Italy, on the western shore of Lake Maggiore. It’s about an hour’s train ride from the airport in Milan.
Outside of all the fantastic team stuff we did, the highlight of my trip was taking a boat to the nearby island and touring the castle and gardens.
The castle, known as Isola Bella, was originally built in the 17th century and is known for its baroque-style architecture and stunning gardens. As I walked around, I was in awe of the intricate designs and lavish decorations throughout the castle.
Napoleon slept here. 😱
But the heat was definitely no joke! All of Europe was experiencing an extreme heat wave at the time. However, our location on the beautiful Lake Maggiore provided a breeze and plenty of sunshine, making it more bearable to enjoy the stunning views.
Another thing that surprised me was the food. Everything was fantastic, but what really stood out to me was the pizza. It often had greens on it, like arugula, which added an incredible fresh flavor that I never would have thought of before.
While the locals were clearly used to tourists, I found that they were the most pleased and helpful when I attempted to communicate with them in Italian. They were patient and friendly, and I felt like I got a true taste of Italian culture while I was there.
Overall, my trip to Stresa, Italy was an unforgettable experience. From the castle and gardens to the delicious food and friendly locals, I’m already looking forward to the next time I get to visit this incredible country. Michael and I hope to hit Lake Como next time! You know, because Star Wars.