Monday, July 30, 2012

The Swiss National Anthem

The Swiss National anthem has a unusual history that reflects the unique nature of Switzerland itself. Switzerland may be an old country, but its current National anthem has only been official since 1981. Although the Swiss National hymn was tentatively approved by the Swiss National council in 1961 and was in general use after 1965, the anthem did not actually become official for another 20 years (April 1, 1981).

The stamp above features part of the score and lyrics of the Swiss anthem by Zwyssig issue in 1954.
The Swiss Post Office released a miniature sheet composed of 4 stamps in 2011 honoring the National Anthem 50th anniversary. A special feature of the stamps is that if you subject the stamp(s) to a UV light source the first verse of the Swiss National Anthem will become visable. 

The anthem itself, originally known as the "Schweizerpsalm," is much older. In 1841 the priest and composer Alberik Zwyssig of Urn was asked to compose music for a patriotic poem written by his friend, Zurich music publisher Leonhard Widmer. He used a hymn that he had already composed, and adapted it for Widmer's words. The result was the Swiss Psalm which soon became popular in parts of Switzerland. But some Swiss cantons, such as French-speaking Neuchatel, had their own anthems. Efforts to select an official Swiss National anthem (to replace another representative anthem that was used for political and military events, “Rufst Du mein Vaterland” that used the British "God Save the Queen/King" melody) ran up against the country's five languages and strong regional identities until 1981. The lyrics below are for all four National languages, German, French, Italian, and Rumantsch.

Read the four national versions of the Swiss National Anthem in German, French, Italian and Romantsch.
Listen to Imni naziunal svizzer, the Swiss Psalm sung in Romantsch, Switzerland's fourth national language.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Swiss tradition - the August 1st speech

Now that I am an "Auslandsschweizer" (Swiss abroad) yet again, I feel even more patriotic when 1.August comes around. During our expatriation to Argentina - years ago and feeling slightly homesick -  I insited that my newlywed hubby accompany me to the 1. August party held at the Swiss Club of Buenos Aires. I was the only person to speak Swiss German, the other guests turned out to be second or third generation Swiss with very little knowledge of German or Swiss German. However, it was there that I discovered that the President of the Confederation holds a speech specifcally for the Swiss abroad that is broadcasted thoughout all the Swiss Clubs across the globe. It actually reminded me a bit of the Queen's Christmas speech.

You will find below this year's message of greeting from President of the Confederation Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf to the Swiss Abroad.

Dear Swiss Abroad,

Our National Day on the first of August unites us as Swiss citizens wherever we are. At this very moment, Swiss flags are flying north and south and around the world; if not in the wind, then in our hearts and minds. I hope you have a very enjoyable first of August! “Vive la Suisse”!

The ties that bind us will also remain strong tomorrow and in the future. The world of the internet, e-government and e-voting are bringing us ever closer together. We are online every day, and that is a good thing.

The Federal Council and parliament would like to establish further links in the form of a new Swiss Abroad Act and an Act on the Presence of Swiss Education Abroad, formerly known as the Education Act for the Swiss Abroad. Admittedly, these are just words, and words are by no means enough. However, they form a strong safety net for the seven-hundred-thousand Swiss citizens living abroad. That is something we can rely on, and that is what really counts!

What do we mean by „We Swiss citizens‟? Since last year‟s federal elections, you Swiss Abroad have become much more tangible to us at home. We have a much clearer picture of you. Researchers have compiled a „political profile‟ of Swiss livingabroad, and the conclusion is clear: you are more open and liberal than we are back home. And that, I believe, is good for us and for Switzerland.

Switzerland possesses many strengths that we can build on. This we all know. Quality is our maxim and innovation our objective; that is what makes our economy strong. But we also face big challenges: climate change, energy policy, financial and economic crises, a changing Europe. We Swiss are no strangers to these problems.

We need to keep an open mind and act decisively. We must do the right things today to provide a secure foundation for our children tomorrow and in the future. A foundation that gives them room to manoeuvre. We must establish a firm foothold to be able to withstand the pressures of tomorrow. We must look to the future; and we must try to picture ourselves from the outside, from the critical and self-critical perspective that you have of us, as Swiss living abroad.

You Swiss citizens living abroad are a part of our country. We want to be there for you, a safe haven providing strength and support back home in Switzerland. And we hope that you are also there for us, to be the voice of Switzerland abroad – standard bearers of the Swiss flag and its values of freedom, democracy and peace. To ensure that reliability and a feeling for quality prevail wherever it flies. For that I extend my warmest thanks to you!

On behalf of the Federal Council and the Swiss people at home, I wish you a happy first of August two-thousand and twelve!

Let us continue to be there for one another!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Six fun water games

Wow, is it hot! Help your kiddies cool off with these backyard water games. No more missing the swimming pools and beaches when you can have all the fun at your home and backyard itself.

Try this game on a really hot summer day in your backyard kiddie pool. Kids will love it, but believe me—if it's hot enough adults will play, too.
Fill the kiddie pool with water and add ice cubes! Have each person try to remove the ice cubes with their feet. You'll be cool before you know it! For a real challenge, have each person remove the ice cubes using only one foot. The person to remove the most ice cubes is the winner.

Use a large bucket and a bag of sponges. Fill the bucket with water and put the sponges in it. Use the sponges for tag. Depending on the rules, you can either throw the sponges or require them to keep the sponge in their hands! When someone tags a person, they have to go back to the bucket and get the sponge wet again before tagging someone else!
If you have a group, play multiplying sponges. The first person starts with a sponge, when they tag someone, they keep the sponge and the new person gets their own sponge too until everyone has been tagged! Need to have lots of sponges but it's fun.

The first person of each team holds and rubs an ice cube until their hands get to cold. Then they pass it to the next person, and so on, until the ice cube melts. What ever team melts their ice cube first wins.

Put out a bucket/team filled with water and lots of newspaper. Using only wet newspaper, have your own crazy fashion show by dressing up your teammate! Be sure to make sure that all the newspaper is cleaned up before the next group arrives.

A WATER WINDMILL (Can be played as team relay race)
1. Half fill a child’s pail (with handle) -- with water.
2. Have children hold the pails in one hand and hold that arm straight down by their side.
3. Keeping the arm straight, children swing the pail around and around in a circle.
4. No water should spill, if pail is kept moving like a windmill.
5. Decide how many times the “windmill” will go around before the “next windmill” starts.

1. Collect or buy a t-shirt for each child the day before your activity.
2. Put the shirt in a Ziploc bag with the person's name on it.
3. When you have all the t-shirts, fill the bag with water and freeze them solid.
4. Bring out the frozen bags at your activity and pass back out to the owner.
5. The first person to get their frozen t-shirt out, defrost it and put it on is the winner.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

MelidEstate 2012 open-air market

Don't miss the last days of MelidEstate 2012, the open-air festival and night market of Melide returns this year from July 20th to 29th with its numerous stalls along the suggestive lakeshore of Melide. Fun evenings filled with market, music and culinary attractions in the fascinating atmosphere only a lakeshore after sunset can offer. The numerous stands offer traditional products, local and international enogastronomy, curiosities and much more.

The fair continues until Sunday evening, July 29th, 2012. Click here for the programme: MelidEstate 2012.

Venue: MelidEstate
Where: Lakeshore of Melide
When: July 20th - July 29th, 2012
Time: 18:00 - 1:00

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pinterest Me!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My favourite Lugano beaches

Ever since I was a little girl summer time not only brought warm weather and sunshine but many happy hours spent by the lake. My husband who grew up near the sea still can't get his mind around diving into a lake but I have trained my kids. Not much choice when you live in a landlocked country, one of 48 around the globe!

Lido di Caslano
My absoulte favourite spot is the Lido of Caslano. You need to rise early if you want to catch one of the four sunshades on the sandy beach but it is worth it:

Lido de Lugano
The biggest Lido is of course Il Lido de Lugano. Built in 1928, Lugano Lido’s charm has not faded with time. Though the facilities are constantly renovated, improvements always respect the original wooden structure. Lugano Lido is an extremely popular spot not only with residents of Lugano.
Facilities include:
a beach with fine sand (100 x 20 m) and the possibility of swimming in the lake
an Olympics-size pool heated to 25 degrees (50 x 25 m)
a heated medium-sized pool (25 x 12.5 m)
a diving pool with boards at 1, 3, 5 and 10 metres
a pool for children with water games
a beach volley court (25 x 13 m)
a five-a-side soccer pitch (25 x 13 m)
a very cool bar and restaurant area

Ever since 1992 the Lido also features a giant filmscreen in summer under the auspices of “Cinema al Lago", a festival of great films which has become more and more popular.

Lido di San Domenico
To find respite during torrid days at the beginning of summer the choice is not limited to Lugano Lido. Visit the Lido di San Domenico, an incredibly picturesque natural beauty-spot which affords stunning views over the lake and the Caprino shoreline. Once you have left Lugano behind, heading for Gandria, drive along that section of the Via Cortivo that skirts the village of Castagnola, and you are in the National Pre-alpine Park. Here the nature lover will find thick laurel groves, thriving olive trees, clumps of agave and a wealth of other Mediterranean flora.

Lido Riva Caccia
From the Lido Riva Caccia platform, close to the lakefront and the city centre, a wonderful landscape is to be admired; the setting is characteristic, exclusive and extremely pleasant. The story of this Lido goes back a long way, in tandem with Lugano's development as a centre for tourism. Construction of the "floating Lido” was the brainchild of the Pro-Lugano Association in 1889, inspired by what had already been proposed in Zurich.

Lido di Melide
Another stunning view is to be enjoyed at the Lido di Melide. This outing can be combined with a visit to the nearby Swiss Miniature.

There, you have a Lido for every day of the week. During the weekend you can revisit your favourite spots. Happy suntanning! Happy swimming!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

1. August brunch in Ticino 2012

Switzerland's National holiday is approaching fast.

The 1.August Brunch has become a popular activity on our National Day. For the past 20 years Swiss farmers have been inviting city dwellers (Swiss and foreign alike) for brunch on a farm. Last year over 220'000 guests enjoyed the culinary adventure offered by 410 farms throughout Switzerland. Through this movement the farmers' families wish to promote a better understanding and sympathy of local agriculture by the city population.

The 1. August Brunch is an occasion that one should not miss. Hosted by selected Swiss farms who offer you a brunch, they will provide you with the opportunity to taste different kinds of cheese, meat, milk, bread, müesli and many other gastronomic specialities in a very particular atmosphere. You'll also have the certainty to try some excellent products with high quality standard's. If you're lucky you'll enjoy some typical Swiss music, meet a Swiss celebrity, be served out of a giant Roesti frying pan or admire some amazing National costumes. The kids will love all the direct contact with the farms' animals.

Book now for a brunch in one of the farms! Click here to find a list of Ticino's participating farmers.
For a detailed guide with info such as activites, animals or produce for sale click on the following link:

My favourite so far is: Alpe Duragno at the top of Monte Tamaro. See purple trail on map.
The Agriturismo Ponte di Vello in Breno looks intriguing. My friends recommend the farms on top of Monte Generoso.

As places in the farms are limited, registration is mandatory and better done early. You can register by telephoning the farmers directly before July 30th 2012. Please communicate how many children and adults you'll be.

Venue: 1.August Brunch
When: Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
Time: 9:00 - 13:00
Price: CHF 20.- to 35.-
Directions: All participating farms will be signposted with the logo: «Brunch»
For more info:
Tel: 0901 56 43 43 on workdays from 8:00 bis 12:00 and from 13.30 to 17:00
or  091 851 90 90 for the Ticino.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

When Hawaii meets Lugano

Ever heard of Stand Up Paddle? Well, it is worth checking out this new intriguing sport that hit the shores of Lake Lugano this summer.

The Stand Up Paddling or SUPing, like surfing, comes from Hawaii.

Fully respectful of nature, zen and sporty at the same time, the Stand Up Paddle will give you the opportunity to discover Lugano's lake like you've never seen it before.

It's good for the body and mind: you will enjoy a training time in harmony with the nature. You will increase your balance and develop your shape. All muscles receive a soft workout in line with SUPers motto of: "A clean body in a clean mind".
It's easy and friendly: all you need to know is how to swim and you're off paddling with family and friends. All ages and abilities can enjoy this sport their first time out.

Yoann HAMONIC and his team will provide you with the necessary tools to safely and effectively become a stand up paddler. They would love to share their experience as professional SUP instructors to make sure each and everyone of you get the most out of the sport of SUP.

So go ahead, dive into this new adventure and drive out to Figino with your kids this week and check it out for yourself! Head to the Lido of Figino-Barbengo and make it an unforgettable day.

For more information check out their fabulous site: or contact Yoann directly via: mail:
telephone: 091/604'61'73
cellular: 079/388'62'69

1h - 80 CHF - Initiation
3h - 140 CHF - Advanced Technic

GROUP LESSON (2-5 persons max)
1h30 - 60 CHF/pers - Initiation
c 3h - 80 CHF/pers - Advanced Technic

Monday, July 9, 2012

International Womens' Club of Lugano get together

Feeling like meeting up with some familiar faces or meeting new ones? You haven't left on holidays yet but want to make the most of a pleasant warm summer evening?

Join the International Womens' Club of Lugano (IWCL) Evening Club for a relaxed drink.

Venue: IWCL Evening Group Chat & Drink
Where: La Lanchetta, Viale Castagnola 16, 6900 Lugano, Tel: 091 971 55 51
Date: Wedsneday, July 11th, 2012
Time: 7:30 pm           

Please kindly RSVP to: Sabrina and Sandrine at

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Don't miss Lugano Estival Jazz 2012

Summer has officially arrived in Lugano today. Stroll down to the city center one of these evenings and see for yourself. The Lugano Estival Jazz is set in the heart of Lugano, in the beautiful 19th century Piazza della Riforma.

Lugano Estival Jazz attracts thousands of Jazz and World Music fans each year. In 2012 it celebrates its 34nd year of existence. Once again, Lugano will see its center being transformed into the most prestigious open-air and free musical stage in Europe.

Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Ray Charles, Bobby McFerrin, Herbie Hancock, BB King, Tito Puente, Cesaria Evora and Barbara Hendricks are only some of the over 300 groups/artists that have performed since 1979.

Lugano Estival Jazz is promoted by local music loving citizens and funded with private and some public money. All concerts are OPEN AIR and TOTALLY FREE!

Click here for details: Estival Jazz Programme 2012.

My personal favourite is definately Mory Kante on July 7th, 2012. The legendary West African singer and kora player sold a million singles with 'Yéké Yéké', which topped the European charts in 1988.

Have fun!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Proud Swiss American

"Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better."
Albert Camus

Happy Fourth of July
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...