Saturday, January 13, 2018

Expat with Kids' word cloud

With a little time on my hands this morning I decided to dig up an app I hadn't used in years. Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. Well, I am happy to see Expat with Kids, Lugano, Ticino and Switzerland came out on top.

Happy weekend to all!

Friday, January 12, 2018

When the Swiss get creative...

It all started in 1993 with a cow step dancing. Some people smiled others didn't but SwissMilk has continued down this advertising campaign theme over the decades having a cow named Lovely dancing samba, skeleton riding, playing football, mountaineering and signing capella.

Wishing you a lovely weekend with lots of snow and hopefully some sunshine, I am hoping you'll enjoy SwissMilk's latest ad as much as I did.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Lugano's Olive path

How could we resist the beautiful sunshine? Spending a few days in Lugano over the holidays we were very lucky with the weather. When in Switzerland do as the Swiss, so, we stepped into nature for an invigorating breath of fresh air!

We opted for a hike along the "Olive Path" - a route through lush country with impressive panoramas - enjoying a landscape reminiscent of the Mediterranean. The trail wound along the lake and passed across the remains of old olive groves and areas on which this prized tree is being planted anew. The path thread its way through several little plantations of young olive trees as well as several examples of very old trees.

At the end of the trail lies one of Ticino's most charming village called Gandria. Between its alleys and stairways we discovered charming little corners, miniscule terraced gardens, old staircases and walls decorated with frescos. It was a perfect place to play hide and seek...

The view down the valley towards Gandria.

The view towards Lugano.

A glorious day in the Ticino, Switzerland's sunniest canton called "Sonnenstube".

Feeling like I'm in Ibiza.

After a swift 3km hike we arrived in Gandria.

Church of Gandria.

The village is so small only about 250 people live there.
Gandria can only be reached by foot, bike or boat.

Luckily no one steals their neighbours' firewood in this village.

Off-season stillness and peace.

A romantic entrance.

Imagine arriving to your doorstep via boat?

Olive trees wherever you look...

... or palm trees!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Sun-kissed Ticino

While the rest of Europe is being battered by winds up to 140km, ski resorts are closed due to excessive snowfalls and rain is forecast across the Northern Continent, the Ticino is enjoying some lovely days of sunshine and spectacular moonlit nights.

Admittedly, I would have loved to go skiing these holidays after having watched all the snow falling across the Alps over Christmas on TV, however, I am now not so sure.

Villages are snowed in, valleys cut off, routes blocked due landslides, chalets evacuated and entire ski areas closed due to danger of avalanches. Even the Gotthard tunnel - which runs 57km through the Alps - was closed this afternoon due to an accident, while I am strolling along the lake side of Lugano enjoying the beautiful blue skies.

Swiss Meteo forecasting rain at least for another two days across the country except...

... in sunny Ticino.

Blue skies wherever you turn.

Feel like a dip in the lake?!?

Lugano's 15m high Christmas tree in Piazza Rifoma.

A spectacular full moon on January 1st, 2018 over Monté Bre.
Although the "biggest full moon of 2018" doesn't look that different from a typical full moon, it is at the moon's closest point in orbit, called perigee, but it appears a bit bigger and brighter than other full moons.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Best of Expat with Kids 2017

You may or may not have seen the "Best 9 of 2017" grids popping up on your Instagram feed these past days? Well, I could not resist the trend and composed my own collage with the nine most-liked Ticino photos from Expat with Kids in 2017. This is what my #2017bestnine looks like... my heart is clearly still in Lugano...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year 2018

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Panettone with an American twist recipe

Panettone is THE typical Italian sweet bread served over the holiday period. If you don't buy it yourself, you'll be sure to receive one as a gift around Christmas time. Following is a scrumptious American adaptation of how to serve Panettone in an unconventional way. Not sure my mother-in-law would approve but it is a delicious way to "revive" stale panettone.

Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
125 full fat milk
300 grams panettone (or pandoro), slightly staled, cut into 8 equal pieces
50 grams unsalted butter
1 teaspoon flavourless vegetable oil

Decorate with:
3 tablespoons icing sugar
Pomegranate seeds or raspberries and whipped cream (optional)

1.) In a dish big enough to place half the panettone pieces whisk the eggs together with the mascarpone and milk until mascarpone is smooth.
2.) Dunk four of the panettone slices in the egg mixture and leave to soak for 1 minute.
3.) Put 25gr of butter and ½ teaspoon oil in a large frying pan, and set over a low heat to melt.
4.) Turn the panettone slices in the egg mixture, and soak the other side for another minute, by which time the bread should have soaked up enough to soften it and the butter should have melted in the pan.
5.) Turn up the heat, then add the soaked slices to the frying pan and cook for 1 minute each side, so that their egg-soaked surfaces are golden, and browned in part. Meanwhile, soak the remaining four slices in the egg mixture for their 1 minute a side.
6.) Remove the first batch of Panettone French Toast from the pan to a large plate, add the remaining butter and oil to the pan, and cook the second batch as you did the first.
7.) When all the pieces are cooked and on the platter dust thickly with the icing sugar pressed through a tea strainer, letting the “snow” fall on the golden sweet-bread slices.
8.) Optional, scatter with fruit and add a dollop of whipped cream.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Zürich at Christmas

They say homesickness prompts the development of coping skills and motivates healthy attachment behaviors, such as renewing contact with loved ones. In other words, there is no better way to cure a bit of homesickness than to travel back home.

I would debate home is where my family is. I could also say home is where my heart lies. However, home is also where I have left people behind whom will always have a special place in my heart. Lucky for me, two very dear friends of mine happen to live in Zurich where we grew up together. Need I add more? I booked myself onto a Swiss Airways flight back to my home town for some homesickness indulgence.

These were my moments...

Leaving a grey and rainy Paris behind...

... to arrive at the spick and span Zürich airport!

Culinary homesickness cure: Cervelat mit Büürli

Zürcher Tirggel zum dessert!
Traditional Christmas honey biscuits from Zürich.

Reach for the stars! The 157-foot-high tower belonging to the Urania observatory makes it possible. The main telescope allows magnifications of up to 600 times.

I had never noticed this gift from Paris on the Bahnhofstrasse: water fountain dd 1870.

We all know who he is!

Eile mit Weile: a very traditional Swiss board game

Handmade Samichlaus figurines from the Schweizer Heimatwerk, a modern retail shop founded in 1930 offering the finest «made in Switzerland» handicrafts.

Tiger Finkli (tiger slippers) are a Swiss cult object worn by kids since 1938.

When I can see the snowy mountains from the city center I know I'm home.

Zürich looking quaint

S'Määrlitram is yet another Christmas institution. Zürich would not be the same without Samichlaus und Christchind taking you for a round trip through the city telling you stories and feeding you Z'vieri.

The Sächsilüüte Platz has changed since I was little.
It now hosts an enormous Christmas market including an ice rink and a carousel.

Cookie cutters are still the same.
Swiss Christmas biscuits are the best.

Jelmoli department store was selling personalised wrapping paper. How cool is that?!? 

 Some traditions never change: de Päcklitisch!
Free gift wrapping for Christmas and not a piece of waste in sight.

Another longstanding tradition is making your own candles at the Bürkliplatz.
It still smells the same when you walk into the tent.

Could not resist this shot.
Contrast from up close reality to far away alps in the background. 

Bis zum nächste Mal: Ciao Züri!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Dreaming of a Swiss Christmas tree

Attempting to render my tree completely unique with a selection of beautiful Swiss Christmas tree decorations, I was in search of baubles in bright colours, unique novelty ornaments and the ultimate tree toppers during my recent visit to Zürich.

I was lucky and stumbled across all kinds of exquisitely Swiss Christmas tree decorations... unfortunately the baubles were over 25.- Euros a piece.

Therefore, my traditional tree decor from the past years has made its reappearance but I have added a stunning centrepiece this festive season: an Eiffel Tower tree topper acquired from a street vendor at Trocadero for 3 Euros!

Starting out my quest for Swiss Christmas tree ornaments in Zürich's trendy department store
... the colour is right but the price is not!

Swiss Edelweiss hearts

Swiss Alpine motives

Swiss "Decoupage" baubles

Would I really want a cow hanging from my tree?

Edelweiss, Seilbähnli and and hiking shoe make me feel homesick!

Rhätische Bahn miniature and an Alphorn bring back childhood memories.

These chocolate bars are not to eat and much too expensive for my taste!

A little piece of Swiss real estate hanging from the tree.

I could just use cookie cutters as tree decoration?!? 

My grand acquisition for this year!
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