Thursday, March 31, 2011

You could have had ME fooled! - Recipe

“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever”
Chinese proverb

This is a recipe I came across at my favourite online cusine webpage. I loved the idea and decided to share it with you. My daughter is going to have such fun bringing these to school tomorrow.

Directions for Sushi look-a-like:
1.) Make a batch of Rice Krispies Treats
2.) Shape into small oval mounds while still warm.
3.) Top with a dab of pistachio paste
4.) Cover with whole or minced red and orange gummy candy (such as Chuckles or Sunkist Fruit Slices).
5.) Wrap with a strip of green fruit leather, if desired.

Directions for Sushi roll look-a-like:
Flatten a warm Rice Krispies Treat mound into a thin rectangle on a piece of fruit leather and arrange gumdrops down the center. Roll into a cylinder and slice into pieces. Serve the sushi with wasabi, ginger, and chocolate syrup as soy sauce. Cut a sour-candy belt to look like a grass garnish.

Directions: Pickled Ginger look-a-like
Soak 2 tablespoons shredded coconut in 1/2 cup water with 1 drop each of yellow and red food coloring.

Directions: Wasabi look-a-like
Pulse 2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios, 1/4 cup cream cheese and 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar in a food processor.

Happy April Fool's Day!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mini Rugby for kids in Lugano

"The whole point of rugby is that it is, first and foremost, a state of mind, a spirit."
Jean-Pierre Rives, French rugby union player.

May I introduce you to Valerio Marani. Apart from being a father of 3 kids, he is also the President of RUGBY CLUB CASTORI LUGANO where kids aged from 5 to 12 play minirugby twice a week in Cureglia. The club will be hosting their "Porte aperte al minirugby" (open days) that will be held in Lugano-Cornaredo on the 3rd April, 22nd May and 5th June.

Did you know that the most common reasons why Kids play sport are
1.Its fun
2.Its with friends
3.It makes them feel good
4.It allows them to learn new skills

Rugby training is an opportunity to pass on key concepts of the game to kids and to increase their understanding of particular aspects of the game. However, it is important to recognize that kids play rugby as a means of having fun as much as for the technical benefits, and introducing the game through enjoyable activities is important for any coach of junior teams.

For more information check out their lovely site at:

Where: Campo F, Stadio di Cornaredo, Lugano
When: Sunday, April 3rd, 2011
Time: from 10:00 to 12:00

Cost of living in Switzerland

“If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss bank.”
Woody Allen

It's no use trying to hide the fact: Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world. According to an AC Nielsen Euro-Barometer study conducted in 2005, a Swiss household pays, for example, 26% more than a French household and 63% more than a Spanish household, to fill the same shopping basket.

The Swiss are a race of tenants and at present there is a shortage of apartments on the market, above all in the towns, especially in the Geneva and Zurich area. Housing costs are therefore comparatively high. In addition, you will find that the compulsory health insurance premiums can be very high.

These high prices for consumer goods, housing and health insurance are partly due to the relatively high level of salaries in Switzerland. According to a comparative study conducted by UBS on an international level, the Swiss hubs of economic development, namely Zurich, Basle and Geneva, are among the front runners of cities with the highest gross pay, for all types of professions.

According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, the main items of expenditure in a typical Swiss household budget are social security contributions and taxes (29.0%), accommodation and energy (12-33%), transport (8.2%) and food (7.2%). In 2008, the average monthly household income amounted to CHF 9,103 or about USD 10'000.- (for 2.2 persons).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Top ten most misspelled words in blogs!

Here’s a list of the top ten most often misspelled words. Pay attention though, because these are words that spellcheck can miss based on the context in which we use the word, or because a few of the words are homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings) and we use them incorrectly in the sentence. Make sure that you’ve got foolproof control over them, especially if you tend to write around 3am in the morning!

1.) Your - You're
2.) Then - Than
3.) Its - It's
4.) To - Too - Two
5.) Were - Where - We're
6.) There - Their - They're
7.) A - An - And
8.) Off - Of
9.) Here - Hear
10.) Lose - Loose

One last word my father hammered into my brain many year ago: "alot" is not a word, it's "a lot".

Lugano's Alliance Française invites you to watch the movie "Babies"

"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body."
Elizabeth Stone

Here is an invitation to watch the movie "BABIES" in the presence of its director, Thomas Balmès.
This event is is organized by the Alliance Française de Lugano but you don't need to be a member to be part of it. Friends and children are welcome. You don't need to understand French either because this beautiful documentary movie doesn't have words.

"Everybody loves... BABIES. This visually stunning new movie simultaneously follows four babies around the world - from first breath to first steps. From Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo, BABIES joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all. "

For this exclusive event, Mr. Marco Solari, President of the organization Ticino Tourism and Chairman of the Locarno Film Festival will be welcomed as guest of honor.

So if you and your kids love babies, please join the Alliance Française for some fun at

Where: Cinema Lux, via Giuseppe Motta 61, 6900 Massagno
When: Thursday, March 31
When: 18.30
 Price: CHF 15.- for adult non-AF, CHF 10.- for members of AF, CHF 10.- for teens, children under 10 years enter free

There will be an aperitif offered by the French Alliance of Lugano after the film.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Int'l. Women's Club of Lugano is hosting a Spring Party!

This year the International Women's Club of Lugano have picked the magnificent location of Al Lido ( close to the Lake to celebrate the awakening of Mother Nature. Please join them for an exciting evening; good food, enjoyable music and some special surprises as well as the chance to see friends and make new ones. To facilitate this, there will be no fixed seating at tables but a relaxed “standing meal” allowing everyone to freely circulate and enjoy each other’s company. Limited seating will, however, be available.

Sample Menu

Choice of Cold Finger Foods:
Rolls of beef carpaccio with ruccola and parmesan
Tomatoes, mozzarella and basil bites
Zucchini rolls with ruccola and parmesan
Sautéed prunes with pancetta (bacon)
Chef’s octopus salad
Sea bass roll marinated with citrus stuffed with scampi
Ricotta cheese and coppa
Shrimps with broad beans and mint

Choice of Warm Finger Foods:
Meat and vegetable skewers
Pan seared tuna with lemon-grass
Spicy meatballs
Sausage skewers with sautéed potatoes
White fish fillet with thyme and pancetta
Prawn on chickpea mousse

Main dishes:
Rosemary and Merlot Risotto
Pasta sautéed with vodka and shrimps

Hazelnut and chocolate brownies
Pannacotta with exotic fruits
Pineapple fruit salad

Please contact Ute Bailey on either 091 649 40 87 or as soon as possible to reserve your place or to request additional information.

If you have any dietary restrictions please contact Sabrina Nicod at:

Where: Al Lido, Viale Castagnola 6, 6900 Lugano.
When Saturday, April 2nd, 2011
Time: 19:30
Prices are the following (note this price includes food and beverages):
IWCL Member  CHF   50.-
IWCL Husband/partner  CHF  100.-
Friends  CHF  125.-

Looking forward to seeing you there! 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Woody Allen is coming to town

"In my house I'm the boss, my wife is just the decision maker."
Woody Allen

Woody Allen (born Allen Stewart Konigsberg; December 1, 1935) is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright.

Allen developed a passion for music early on and is a celebrated jazz clarinetist. What began as a teenage avocation has led to regular public performances at various small venues in his hometown of Manhattan, with occasional appearances at various jazz festivals. Allen joined the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the New Orleans Funeral Ragtime Orchestra in performances that provided the film score for his 1973 comedy Sleeper, and performed in a rare European tour in 1996, which became the subject of the documentary Wild Man Blues.

For over 35 years Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band have been entertaining the public with an exciting mix of music inspired by New Orleans. The band's sound is strongly linked to musicians that Woody Allen has loved and from whom he drew inspiration since his childhood, like the legendary Sidney Bechet, George Lewis, Johnny Dodds, Jimmie Noone and of course Louis Armstrong. Over the last 10 years the band has been playing every Monday at Manhattan's hotel: the Carlyle. An appointment Woody Allen has missed only once, when he won an Oscar.

Don't miss an exceptional evening with one of the great actors of the international showbuisness:
Woody Allen in Lugano!

Where: Palazzo dei Congressi, Piazza Indipendenza 4, 6900 Lugano
Tel: 091/ 923 31 20 from 19:30 directly at the venue
When: 20:30

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Top 10 Most Irritating Expressions in the English

"With all due respect, I personally think that at this moment in time, shouldn't I have discovered myself that it's not rocket science but fairly unique that at the end of the day I use at least 5 out of 10 most annoying phrases that can be uttered 24/7. It's a nightmare!"

I thought I'd put a smile on your face this weekend and list the top ten most annoying expressions in English. A bunch of Oxford University researchers came up with this list.  The scholars in question keep track of linguistic mangling and overused buzzwords in a database called the Oxford University Corpus. The voluminous record keeps track of books, magazines, broadcast, online media and other sources, watching for new overused, tiresome phrases and retiring those that fade from use (or misuse).

The great hierarchy of verbal fatigue includes:

1 – At the end of the day
2 – Fairly unique
3 – I personally
4 – At this moment in time
5 – With all due respect
6 – Absolutely
7 – It’s a nightmare
8 – Shouldn’t of
9 – 24/7
10 – It’s not rocket science

You’re kindly invited to offer your favorite overused or abused phrases in the comments section below.

The Beauty and the Beast in Lugano

"Master, correct me if I'm wrong, but that might not be the best way to win the girl's affections"

A merchant and father of three daughters, is lost in the woods and finds refuge in the palace of the Beast, a horrible being, half man and half beast. The merchant tries to steal a rose and the Beast threatens to kill him. His only chance of salvation is if one of his daughters dies in his place. The most beautiful of three daughters accepts the sacrifice and heads towards the palace, but she will face another fate .
Through the gripping plot of this classic tale the show talks about diversity and in particular the "difference" that is within us. During the storytelling in this award-winning "Beauty and the Beast" the word often gives way to expressive movement or sequence of gestures that come to grasp the deeper essence of the story.
A story full of charm and emotion in a narrative that allows the body and the voice all their evocative power.
Special Mention Prize Award 2006 Eolo
Child Festival Critics' Award in July 2006 Campi Bisenzio

"La Bella e la Bestia" by Il baule volante, Ferrara
Date: Sunday, March 27, 2011
Time: 16.00
Venue: Teatro Nuovostudiofoce, Lugano
Age: from 6 years

Friday, March 25, 2011

A sunny afternoon in Lugano

Anybody want a ride?

Old fashioned pedalos

View on to Castagnola and Italy

Imagine that....

Along the riviera

Welcome Spring!

International football match at Lugano's Cornaredo

"Italians can't win the game against you, but you can lose the game against the Italians."
Johan Cryuff, Dutch soccer player.

Support the Swiss National Under-20 football team against Italy in the penultimate round of the "Four Nations" Tournament which also involves Germany and Poland. Martin Tümpler, the technical coach, has lined up two Ticiniese players: the attacker Dragan Mihajlovic (Bellinzona) and goalkeeper Miodrag Mitrovic (Locarno).

The Italian National team coached by Francesco Rocca, does not include prominent names, but there are many interesting elements of different Italian teams in Serie A, such as Chievo Sampdoria Juventus, Fiorentina, Napoli and Cagliari. The match will be refereed be Mr. Arnink Arne (Germany).

So, off you go and root for the Swiss boys this afternoon. My son might actually cheer on the Italians but it should be fun either way.

Where: Stadio di Cornaredo, Via Trevano 100, 6904 Lugano
When:  Friday, March 25th, 2011
Time: 18.00
Price: CHF. 10 .- for adults . Free admission for children under 16 years.

Should you want to know more about European football (soccer) have peak at Expat boy's blog:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Roasted Asparagus recipe

"Asparagus inspires gentle thoughts."
Charles Lamb

Asparagus is a powerful aphrodisiac. Legend has it that asparagus "stirs up lust in man and woman," as one long-ago herbal medicine proponent put it. One reason may be its shape. Another may be its nutrient profile, which includes ample doses of Vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and potassium. In any case, 19th century French bridegrooms were required to eat several helpings of asparagus because of its reputed love powers. Dress it up with some Parmigiano Reggiano for a healthy, romantic dish.

2 bunches medium asparagus
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated or shaved Parmesan, optional

1.) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2.) Trim the woody ends from the asparagus, usually about 1 1/2 inches. Lightly peel the remaining stalks (not always necessary).
3.) Spread the spears in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and roll to coat thoroughly.
4.) Roast the asparagus until lightly browned and tender, about 8 to 10 minutes, giving the pan a good shake about halfway through to turn the asparagus.
5.) Arrange the roasted asparagus on a serving platter and top with some Parmesan.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nanomania's last chance!

Don't miss your very last chance to complete your child's Nano Collection. Migros have published an address where you can exchange up to 10 Nanos. Beware the magic ends on March 29th, 2011 or so they say?!?

In this week's Migros magazine they published a page explaining how to obtain the missing Nanos from your collection - including the jokers. You send in your doubles to exchange them for the missing ones. Joker Nanos (Luxibus, DJ, Gold one) will "cost" you 3 of your doubles. Regular Nanos are a straight exchange. Unfortunately the first Wedenesday joker, the rocket, is only available at the roadshows.

So, get your duplicates together, put them in an envelope and add a list of your missing Nanos. Make sure you include a stamped and addressed return envelope for Migros to send back to you.

The magic address is:
Tit pit GmbH
Allmendsstrasse 8
8320 Fehraltorf

(I'm sure happy I don't work at Tit pit for the coming week.)

You also might want to stop online at where many people are selling them. Good luck!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The last true Hollywood diva

"I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I'm not afraid to look behind them."
Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor, the legendary actress famed for her beauty, her jet-set lifestyle, her charitable endeavors and her many marriages, has died. She was 79.

Elizabeth Taylor was a "diva" when that word still had meaning, before it was applied to every female celebrity with slightest bit of attitude and style. She was also one of the first actors to be raised to celebrity status by the media for the dramatic conflicts of her personal life as much as for any thespian achievements on the screen. In a time when studios controlled the news that was fed to the media about their valuable "properties," Taylor's expansive personality and roller coaster personal life was way too extravagant and exciting to be contained by the spin doctors of Hollywood. Elizabeth Tayor was the incarnation of Hollywood glamour, at a time when studios that had more stars than there are in heaven, when actors weren't actors but were icons.

May her legacy live on!

Supermarket chains in and around Lugano

The Swiss food retail market, worth CHF45bn, has long been dominated by Swiss supermarket multiples Migros and Coop. However, Switzerland’s supermarket landscape is shifting, with Coop nudging ahead of its only rival Migros for the first time. Coop together with Migros account for about 70 per cent of the market share for food and drinks in Switzerland.

The arrival of the German budget retailers Aldi and Lidl – in 2005 and 2009 respectively – “shook up” the Swiss food business. Coop and Migros reacted by introducing cheap and premium lines.

At Coop you'll spot products with the logos "Coop Qualité et Prix" and pink label "Prix Garantie".  Migros has its "M-Budget" brand, which can be recognized by the green-white packaging and the orange Migros logo.

"Coop-at-home" and "Migros Le Shop" also offer an online service, although I have not tested it myself and therefore cannot guarantee for its effectiveness.

Hereafter you'll find a list of the five biggest supermarket chains in Ticino.

The Italian supermarket Bennet just across the border in Italy (Via Asiago 40, 22100 Como) is worth shopping for typical Italian products like Parmeggiano cheese, Mozzarella, Focaccia, Barilla pasta, Kinder brioche. Don't forget to take a break and enjoy a real cup of Cappuccino. I don't know how the Italians do it but their coffee just tastes so much better even if it is only 15 minutes down the road from Lugano.

Happy Shopping!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Teach your kids about World Water Day

Today is World Water Day and this year's theme is ‘Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge’.

I decided to take a short "time-out" with my kids today in order to reflect on what this day means. Their thoughts prove that children nowadays are much more aware about their environment than my generation ever could have been. Little steps can go a long way.

Remember: water is a basic requirement for all life, yet water resources are facing increasing demands from, and competition among, users. Unfortunately, water is often taken for granted.

About 70% of the earth's surface is covered in water, but 97% of it is saltwater, which is unfit for human use. Saltwater cannot be used for drinking, crop irrigation or most industrial uses. Of the remaining 3% of the world's water resources, only about 1% is readily available for human consumption.

Since 1992, the UN General Assembly designated 22 March of each year as the World Day for Water as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The World Water day in 2011 is intended to focus international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and climate change on water resources and environmental protection capabilities of cities and small towns.

So what will you do today to mark World Water Day?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Switzerland's answer to Susan Boyle

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”
Maya Angelou

Next stop: Show business

This 49-year old Swiss housewife and pulic busdriver was inspired by Susan Boyle's performance and told herself she can do it, so can I. Maya Wirz has made it all the way to "Switzerland's got Talent" final which she won last night. Congratulations! Considering this little country only has 7 million inhabitants, I hope her voice will represent a new and unexpected side of Switzerland.

You might recognize two of the judges: DJ Bobo, is a successful Swiss singer, songwriter, dancer and music producer and Christa Rigozzi was crowned Miss Switzerland in 2006. She was born in Monte Carasso, Ticino and has become Ticino's claim of fame.

If you have time, click on the video below and watch Maya Wirz's path to fame.

The video is in Swiss German - which I have deliberately chosen - some of you might start feeling homesick (like myself), others can improve their rusty Swiss German or just have a little giggle while listening to this Swiss dialect,  in any case enjoy the show!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A romantic weekend in Paris

“In Paris, everybody wants to be an actor;
nobody is content to be a spectator.”
Jean Cocoteau

"The French are exceptional lovers."
(according to 95% of the French says a RTL radio station ad)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nanomania continues online

We have finally come to an end of the Naomania follie at Migros and my daughter has not even bothered to take them to school anymore stating that no one else is bringing them either, therefore she cannot swap hers. Is it really all over with one single woshhhhhhhhh?!?

Migros hit the last straw when the largest store in Lugano completely run out of Nanos a week before the promotion ended. Back from our skiing vacation my daughter dragged me straight to Migros to stock up our fridge and receive some last Nanos missing from her collection. Arrived at the cash register the lady very kindly told us to get lost (more or less) when we asked for our 10 well-deserved Nanos!!!!! She seemed happier about the end of the Nanomania promotion than alot of the mummies I have seen.

BUT is not all over yet.

Having logged on to, Switzerland's local version of e-bay, there are 6244 Nano offers while I am writing this post!!!! The special edition "Luxibus" is going for CHF 32.- with 84 bids, please someone pinch me fast!

If Coop had its act together this would be the PERFECT moment to launch a counter attack........

Swiss Miniature's Season opening today!

Swissminiatur was opened in the town of Melide in 1959. The area for the realization of the project was chosen in first instance for the beauty of its landscape choreography and for its climate.

Since the beginning, their aim was to synthesize, symbolize and summarize Switzerland.

Inside you will find more than 120 models representing the patrician houses, the castles, the cathedrals and other buildings of Switzerland. The fans of the railways-models will discover more than 3500 m of rails with no less than 18 trains, funiculars, rack-railways, cable-cars and boats in motion. All the models of the exhibition are built on the scale of 1:25.

Swiss Miniature is in the vicinity of Lugano and set alongside the shore of the lake Ceresio, surrounded by mountains such as Monte Generoso and Monte San Salvatore and most definately worth a visit. Not only the kids will enjoy this excursion, I can assure you there is a whole load of facts to discover for the adults as well.

For more details visit their site:

On your way out stop for lunch or a snack at "Tapas and Canas" in Via Maroggia 5, 6816 Bissone, Tel. 091/ 649 73 74 (across the bridge). This restaurant serves Spanish tapas and Italian pizza in a lovely garden terrasse where you can relax and enjoy the rest of your day.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Visit Lugano Nautica this weekend

“As we sail thru life, don't avoid rough waters, sail on because calm waters won't make a skillful sailor”

Lugano Nautica is back: the Lugano Boat Show opened its doors yesterday and will be on until Sunday the 20th of March.

Thanks to the 12,000 square meters of the Exhibition Center and the adjacent Port, now on its 4th edition, Lugano Nautica allows boatyards and retailers and all businesses related to the nautical world, specially the lake-nautical sector, to present their boats, accessories and services to the Italian Region of Switzerland. The Show, followed by an audience of more than 35,000 visitors, hosts visitors from all over Switzerland and the neighboring provinces of North part of Italy.

Sounds like a great afternoon outing with the kids, so go check it out for yourself and dream of which boat you would buy and where you would sail to!?!

Where: Centro Esposizioni Lugano, Via Campo Marzio, 6900 Lugano
When: Friday, March 18 from 10.30 to 22.00
Saturday, March 19 from 10.30 to 22.00
Sunday, March 20 from 10.30 to 20.00
Entrance fee: CHF 10.- per adult, children up to 18 years free

To see the daily programme please click here.

Follow along Friday from Lugano around the world!

It's Friday therefore kick back and pop by some funny, quirky, inspirational, exceptional blogs and leave a comment. Then add yourself to the list and see how many visitors have a peep at your blog.

Feel free to grab my button which you'll find half-way down the side bar.

Have a lovely Friday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St.Patrick's Day

"May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you."
Irish Blessing

This day is not only about leprechauns, shamrocks and green beer. This is a day also to honor St. Patrick. He was an influential saint who, 1,500 years ago, brought Christianity to the little country of Ireland. He was born about 385 in the British Isles, was carried off while still very young during a raid on Roman Britain by the Irish and sold as a slave. At the end of six years he contrived to escape to Europe, became a monk and was ordained; he then returned to Ireland to preach the Gospel. During the thirty years that his missionary labors continued he covered the Island with churches and monasteries; in 444 he founded the metropolitan see of Armagh. St. Patrick died in 461. After fifteen centuries he remains for all Irishmen the great bishop whom they venerate as their father in the Faith.

Originally, the colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick's day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century. He is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day. In the 1798 rebellion, in hopes of making a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention. The phrase "the wearing of the green", meaning to wear a shamrock on one's clothing, derives from a song of the same name. I have posted a video of the song on the sidebar or click here to see it.

Happy 150th Birthday Italy

This post I dedicate to my lovely Neapolitan husband
with whom I share my adventures and my dreams.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Test your Swiss civic knowledge

Go online and click here to test your Civic knowledge of the Swiss Confederation.

10 random questions need to be answered and they are not easy. Answers are given immediately with cheat sheets for further in-depth infromation.

Would you know the answer to the following question:
«A general strike occurred in Switzerland following WW I (1914-1918). The strikers demands for old-age pensions or a 48-hour work week were rejected. When was the state pension introduced in Switzerland (following approval by 80% of the popular vote)?»

The answer is 1947 and can be looked up in the Federal Consitution which is the supreme legislative act of the Confederation and forms the legal foundation for all other legislation and for the federal structure of the state. It regulates the fundamental rights and duties of citizens and of the entire population as well as the structure and powers of the federal authorities. Any total revision or amendment (partial revision) of the Federal Constitution must be submitted to the People and the cantons for approval (mandatory referendum).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Which countries match the GDP and population of America's states?

"Change your thoughts, and you change your world."
Norman Vincent Peale

Following is a fascinating chart I came across earlier this year which I decided to share with my readers.

See how American states compare with other countries. Taking the nearest equivalent country from 2009 data reveals some surprises. Who would have thought that, despite years of auto-industry hardship, the economy of Michigan is still the same size as Taiwan's?

Monday, March 14, 2011

National launch of "TurboSiesta" campaign in Switzerland today

"No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap."
Carrie Snow

Swiss Council for Accident Prevention has teamed up with motoring and road safety organisations for a three-year campaign to make people think twice about driving when tired. To launch the campaign a national day of turbo siestas has been declared today, with drivers urged to powernap for 15 minutes.

Driving while tired is as dangerous as drink-driving, campaign organisers said on Thursday, ahead of the first “turbo siesta” day in Switzerland on March 14. Up to 20 per cent of accidents are believed to be caused by drivers drifting off while at the wheel, according to the Council.

Comical television advertisements are being rolled out showing a driver napping in unusual places – in the middle of a football pitch or a skate park. Later on, businesses with staff working irregular hours will be targeted, as well as young people and the elderly.

Tiredness is dangerous at different times of day, depending on people’s ages. Most accidents during the weekend or at night involve drivers under the age of 40, whereas for people aged over 40 the afternoons are more problematic.

But the warning signs are the same for all: sore eyes, heavy eyelids, constant yawning, blurred vision, shaking, body jolts.

So next itme you try staying awake by driving with the windows wide open, listening to loud music, singing or drinking two cups of coffee - STOP - listen to your body and TURBONAP!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Impressive Live image ticker of today's 43rd Engadiner Skimarathon

The Engadin cross-country ski marathon was the first marathon of this kind. It was organized in 1969 with an amazing 945 of skiers who lined up at the start line. Since then its success has grown to attracting participants from more than 35 nations every year.

It’s a 42km long marathon which leads beside a medieval castle, over ice-bound lakes, and through an entire forest. The whole landscape is absolutely astonishing. 12,000 competitors gather at the start, get whipped into a frenzy by music from Chariots of Fire, and take off Le-Mans-style across a couple of snow-covered lakes through the upper Engadine valley. It is incredibly well organized evidenced by the fact that competitors’ warm clothes get transported to the finish line. Also check out the photos of the beginning of the race: how to get 12'000 skiers in line?!?

The Engadin Ski Marathon is a real challenge, but also a chance to admire the wonders of nature in the Swiss mountains. See for yourself by clicking here to enter the Ski Marathons 2011 live image ticker.

Rainy day activity for your kids

Tuesday, March 15th is the deadline of Coop's drawing contest "My Switzerland - as seen through the eyes of children". Download the booklet here and have your kids participate. Given the weather today, this seems like a good idea to me.

Ever wondered how the "little ones" perceive Swiss traditions? Do stereotypes such as chocolate and watches still persist? It is for children to say! Coop is searching for answers. All children - ages 5 to 11 - living in Switzerland are invited to create a design for the next Coop milk carton and to participate in the second major design competition organized by Coop.

Of all the works received,  a panel of experts will select 20 designs that will be published in Coop's weekly newspaper. An online vote at will designate the six most beautiful designs on the theme "This is typically Swiss", which will be printed on the packaging of 1 million UHT milk & Coop Qualité Prix for sale in the summer of 2011 throughout Switzerland.

Not only glory await the six lucky winners, but also a nice prize: a vacation for everyone at a family farm. The 14 second-placed children win an adventurous night in the hay with their family, including breakfast, on a farm of their choice.

Here's how it works: 
Just arm yourself with brush, crayons or markers, and unleash creativity by drawing a "oeuvre d'art" with the "Switzerland and its traditions" theme. 

Important: The drawing should not to be larger than 14 x 14 centimeters!
You will find a booklet in all Coop stores with a sample square of the right size and all information related to the competition or else download here

The masterpieces are to be sent in a stamped envelope with the form completely filled out and signed by the parents no later than March 15, 2011 to: 

COOP - Redazione Cooperazione
Concorso Latte
PO Box 2550
Basel 4002

Aretha Franklin at Bellinzona's Rabadan Carnival

When the Swiss let lose they really let lose!

Give the Swiss half a chance to step out of their ruled and highly organized routine and they really know how to have fun. Now, I know that might be hard to believe but have you ever met a Swiss abroad? Have you noticed how relaxed and humourous they can be? I am a firm believer that Swiss are a great deal of fun you just need to get to it!!!!

This year's carnival in Bellinzona featured a pink "Guggenband" grooving to the rythm of Aretha Franklin. Just my kind of style. Check it out on: Ticinonews - Aretha Franklin at Rabadan.

Ticino's Carnival ends today...therefore the king and queen of the various cities in this canton will be returning "the keys" to their respective mayors in order to reinstall Swiss law and order until next year!!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Evening Group of the International Women's Club of Lugano are jazzing it up!

The evening group of the International Women’s Club of Lugano ( has been set up for International people living in Ticino willing to get together in a friendly and casual atmosphere. 

After the success of the last International evening group, IWCL have the pleasure to inform you about the next International event. So come and join them for the next get-together.

We will first enjoy the "Trio Padre Padrone" on stage (check out their music here -unfortunately the link comes just in German -, followed by drinks and/or dinner. Partners and friends are welcome.

Where: Canvetto Luganese, Via Simen 14b, 6900 Lugano – Tel. 091 910 18 90
Date: Wednesday, 16th of March 
Time: 19:30 
The concert starts at 20:30 and entrance is: CHF 15.00 or CHF 10.00 if you dine at the Canvetto Luganese.

Sabrina and Sandrine have designed a flexible format, so you can choose to come just for the concert or dine there having a small bite, a proper meal, or a light tasting menu (see details below). Canvetto Luganese is known for its homemade pasta. The restaurant is owned by the Fondazione Diamante. The pasta factory, restaurant and various activities employ disabled people to help them integrate in everyday life. 

Please reserve asap, and don’t forget to mention if you want to eat à la carte, pick the tasting menu or just come for the concert (your place will be booked from 19:30 on).
Contact Sabrina Nicod at Tel.079 642 40 18 or e-mail 

1st course: 
Asparagi alla milanese / Asparagus Milanese way 
Risotto ai funghi / Mushroom Risotto 
Tagliatelle al ragù / Pasta with Bolognese sauce 
Quiche Lorraine (pie with cheese/bacon/eggs) 
Vol-au-Vent à la reine (stuffed pastry with chicken, cream, mushrooms) 
Bigné alla crema (pastry stuffed with cream) 
Mousse al cioccolato (chocolate mousse) 
Torta di prugne (plum pie) 
Mille-Feuilles (puff pastry with cream filling 
Sorbetto di frutta (fruit sorbet) 
Strudel di mele (apple strudel) 
1st course+dessert CHF 29.- p.p 
Seefood Spaghetti+dessert Fr. 33.- p.p

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