Friday, August 18, 2017

Stunning Costa Smeralda

Sardegna is our summer destination this year, an Italian holiday mecca Expat boy has wanted to visit for a long time. A paradise for beach lovers and sun goddesses like myself. I did spend many a summer holiday in the southern part of this island when I was a little girl. When you could still pick starfish from the sea by just reaching down to your feet and Decathlon had not yet invented the pop-up tent that seems to be spreading like colourful mushrooms along the beaches fighting the winds.

Following the advice of my wonderful Italian girlfriend we rented a car and much to my teenage kids' delight took off for a tour around the island. A promise was made we would not visit museums nor churches in return they would not complain!

We started off with the charming artisans' market in San Pantaleo an enchanting village in the heart of the Costa Smeralda where the town square turns into a local treasure chest of craftsmanship and becomes a true mecca for tourists searching for products crafted by local ceramists, wrought iron craftsmen and skilled inlayers.

We carried on towards swanky Porto Cervo, known as the jewel of Costa Smeralda often referred to as a favourite playground for the rich and famous who flock to this yacht dotted marina for some fun in the sunshine. So, we pretended to mingle while enjoying a true Italian ice cream before moving on swiftly...

A stop at the infamous Cala Di Volpe, overlooking one of the most beautiful turquoise coves of Costa Smeralda, Hotel Cala di Volpe was built to resemble an ancient fishing village, with porches, arches and stained glass but it just oozes discreet luxury and elegance.
Pretending to be clients we confidently strode into the lobby and straight across to the terrasse to take in the magnificent view onto their private little harbour and the stunning pool area.

Not being able to resist we ventured further into the hotel and encountered the most magnificent exposition of Dolce & Gabbana's Haute Joaillerie. Who knew D&G made exquisite and unique pieces of precious stones? The curator was friendly, patient and very happy to go into detail of each piece exposed until my two rather edgy teenagers decided it was time to move on!

We made a pit stop at a lovely little hotel named after the flowers Le Ginestre for old memories sake. We had stayed here twice when we were still living in Milano. Eighteen years later and it hadn't changed a bit... which made my hubby and I feel like it had been yesterday since Expat boy was paddling in the hotel baby pool.

Porto Rotondo - named after the circular nature of the bay on which is was built - was next on our route and we were not dissapointed. More chic shops lining an exclusive yet enchanting little harbour. Having found a strategic table "al bar" of Piazzetta San Marco a cocktail sounded tempting but we settled for a delicious "espresso" to keep our energy up and running.

On our way back to the hotel the kids fell asleep in the car which goes to prove that Mummy definitely has more stamina when it comes to sightseeing or is it just all linked to ones level of motivation?!?

Monday, August 14, 2017

On holiday

Guess where we're on holidays?
More to follow soon...

Saturday, August 5, 2017

From Paris with love

Some of my readers might have visited my Paris blog where I share my adventures in the city of love which I have called home for the past six years!

Last year, Expats with Kids in Paris was awarded with the top 20 Best of Paris blog recognition. Once again my blog has been nominated for Best Expat blog in Paris 2017 by Expatriates Magazine.

BEST OF PARIS is their annual campaign to find the companies, services and achievements expatriates in Paris feel deserve recognition.

If you have enjoyed my Paris stories and photography and believe that Expat with Kids in Paris has earned a little recognition in the Parisian blogosphere please cast a vote by simply selecting the category Best Expat blog in Paris 2017 from the dropdown menu and choose who you vote for.

Make my weekend and click here:
Mille mercis mes amis!

Thursday, August 3, 2017


I can't help but to feel extremely chuffed with myself today. Enjoying my morning online news fix while still lingering in bed, imagine my surprise when all of a sudden I spot my Instagram picture from the day before featured in a Swissinfo article! is the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation distributing information about Switzerland, directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad. Yep, that target would be me and my blogs Expat with Kids and Expat with Kids in Paris.

Feeling inspired on August 1st, the Swiss National Day and - I admit - rather homesick I decided to post a typically Swiss picture on my Instagram account with the hashtag #1augustabroad. Tired of posting the same old red and white Swiss flag I came up with a different sort of cross.

Well, my stylised version of a Swiss flag capturing the emotions of Swiss-ness, home-cooking and home-sickness all in one sure didn't go unnoticed. Swiss in their article about How Swiss National Day was celebrated around the world put my photo right up top.

Ahh, what a little hashtag can do for you?
And, what a great feeling when you wake up and read the news to discover you're in it!
But now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get to work and make some Rösti...

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Happy 1. August

Monday, July 31, 2017

Wake up to Lugano's drum parade on August 1st

Lugano begins festivities on 1. August with a drum procession at 6am and continues celebrations with speeches and concerts around the city. At the end of the day crowds gather to watch the fireworks display at 10.30pm over the lake. To commemorate the birth of the Confederation the lake becomes the stage of the brightest show of the year.

Following is a detailed programme of all Lugano's activities for tomorrow's Swiss National Day:


06:00 - Drum procession with Tamburini di Lugano

10:15 | Piazza della Riforma - Ritrovo delle Autorità nel Patio di Palazzo Civico e corteo

10:30 | Piazza Indipendenza - Posa della corona al Monumento dell’Indipendenza

20:30 | Via Nassa - Ritrovo delle Autorità e delle Associazioni cittadine

20:45 | Via Nassa - Corteo delle Autorità e delle Associazioni cittadine

21:15 | Piazza della Riforma - 1. August speech by the President of the Confederation, Doris Leuthard

22:30 | Golfo di Lugano - Firework show: “La danza dei fuochi d’artificio”.


12:00 – 01:00 | Piazza Manzoni - Grottino dell’Associazione Carnevale Lugano

11:00 – 01:00 | Rivetta Tell - Grottino Amici del Grott Mobil Lugano

17:00 – 00:00 | Piazza Rezzonico - Grottino della Società Federale Ginnastica Lugano

17:00 – 01:00 | Piazza Battaglini - Grottino DNA Bianconero & Events HCL

16:00 – 00:00 | Piazza Manzoni - Mescita dell’Associazione Nümm da Lügan

18:00 – 00:00 | Piazza Luini - Grottino del Gruppo Feste San Pietro Pambio


11:00 | Patio Palazzo Civico - Concert by the Filarmonica di Castagnola

21:45 | Piazza della Riforma - Concert by the Civica Filarmonica di Lugano

18:00 and 23:15 | Piazza Manzoni - Entertainment with Luganiga Band

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Swiss president's National Day address

Did you know that the President of the Confederation holds a speech specifically for the Swiss abroad that is broadcasted throughout all Swiss Clubs across the globe? How many of you know who the Swiss President is this year?

Listen to Doris Leuthard (elected as President of the Swiss Confederation for 2010 and 2017) speak to Swiss citizens living abroad in the annual August 1 address from the government.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

True facts about Switzerland

The Swiss National Day is only just over a century old, and it was not until 1993 that the hardworking Swiss agreed that they could all take the day off, but the event it commemorates took place 700 years ago, and at the heart of the celebrations is a custom which doubtless goes back into the mists of time.

The day was chosen because August 1st, 1291 was the date on which three Alpine cantons swore the oath of confederation, an act which later came to be regarded as the foundation of Switzerland. The representatives of Schwyz, Unterwalden and Uri met on the Rütli field, high above Lake Lucerne, to swear a bond of brotherhood, and agree to act jointly if their freedoms were threatened by outside aggressors.

Switzerland's National Day is right around the corner, so here are some true facts about this little country famous for its stability, safety and high quality standards:

- The very first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Jean Henri Dunant, a Swiss, in 1901. He is the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Sixteen people from Switzerland have won the Nobel Prize in various fields.
- Since 1815, Switzerland has not been involved in any military conflict. It has strong relations with its neighbouring countries and is also a part of some international and UN organizations.
- Geneva is home to the second-largest of the four major office sites of the United Nations.
- The famous equation E=MC2 was devised by Albert Einstein in 1905, while he was in Switzerland.
- The large Hadron Collider in the world’s largest particle physics laboratory – CERN – is in Switzerland. It has been established under the ground.
- The world’s largest nuclear shelter, the Sonnenberg Tunnel, is in Switzerland. It can house up to 20,000 individuals for an extended period of time during a nuclear emergency.
- Switzerland has enough underground bunker capacity that it can hide its entire population in case of a nuclear war.
- Switzerland’s defence is well prepared for the event of an attack. It has already deployed technology to block access via roads, bridges, and railways across 3000 locations.
- Men in Switzerland are required to keep the firearms they are issued during their military service at home even after they leave the military to have the countries men ready to mobilise in the event of a threat.
- Assisted suicide in Switzerland is legal. It is also legal in China, Belgium, Canada and other few countries. There is, however, different legislation regarding the circumstances under which this is legal.
- Switzerland provides nearly all CO2-friendly electricity to its citizens. 39% of electricity comes from nuclear power plants, while 56% is generated by hydroelectric power plants.
- A giant three-legged chair in Geneva, Switzerland is dedicated to the opposition of using land mines. It is known as “The Broken Chair.”
- 23% of Switzerland’s total population of almost 8 million consists of foreigners.
- The divorce rate in Switzerland is about 43%, and people marry late: men at the age of 31.8 years and women at 29.5 years.
- The average age for Swiss women to have their first child is 30.4 years, which makes them the oldest women in Europe to do so.
- Switzerland: the best place in the world to be born, according to a recent quality-of-life index.
- Highly skilled people form the basis for Switzerland’s economy. Sectors such as banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, microtechnology, etc. employ these skilled people.
- It is funny to note that there are more banks in the Switzerland than dentists.
- Half of the luxury watches produced in the world come from Switzerland. Brands like Tissot, TAG Heuer, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Longines are all Swiss.
- The first waterproof watch was invented by Rolex in 1927 in Switzerland.

You can find more fun facts on my previous posts:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A miniature Swiss National Day Orchestra

If there is any area in the world of stability, it is Switzerland - a symbol of prestige, prosperity, the country with the reliable banks, spectacular ski resorts, delicious food and the best watches in the world!

Back in 2013, after months of crafting miniature instruments and training by using watchmaking tools to play them, a luxury Swiss watch manufacturer presented its very own Swiss National Day orchestra.

IWC is located in Schaffhausen and founded by American engineer and watchmaker Florentine Ariosto Jones in 1868.

Discover the secret skills of IWC's watchmakers, conducted by none other than IWC Ambassador and Master Watchmaker, Kurt Klaus.
Happy National Swiss Day!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The history of Swiss National Day

August 1st is considered the date of the Swiss National Day. On this day, all cities will be decorated with flags, celebrations will be held in the evening through the streets with traditional coloured lanterns. Colourful fireworks and bonfires will light up the sky over the country. All of Switzerland will hold performances with dances, music, and songs, complemented by a solemn performance of the National anthem.

Switzerland celebrates its holiday in the country's four National languages: Bundesfeiertag (German),  Jour de la Fête National (French), Giorno Della Festa Nazionale (Italian) and Di da la Fiesta National (Romansch).

The tradition to celebrate it on the first day of August goes into the distant 1291, when, as legend has it, the Alpine republic was founded.

The name is received from Schwyz, one of the three cantons which together formed a confederacy. The base of the Swiss government refers to 1291 when representatives from the cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden met on the shores of Lake Lucerne to conclude a protective union against to the powerful House of Habsburg.

According to legend, on the first day of August, a sacred oath (Rütlischwur) of three was given in which each of the three cantons promised each other to come to the aid in the fight against external enemies.

Soon other cities and regions joined in order to maintain their independence. Since 1891, August 1st is celebrated throughout the country as the anniversary of the Nation's creation.

By the way, the word «oath» in German is Eid, and the full name of the Alpine republic in German is the Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft. However, not all historians share this interpretation.
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