Saturday, August 31, 2013

Just a regular evening jog in Ticino

In order to keep eating all the chocolate I do, I go jogging. I listen to audiobooks and start running. Two decades ago it was at the Zürichsee, later along the Lac Leman, then the Parque de Palermo in Buenos Aires, on a treadmill in a posh Milano gym and nowadays through Paris' Bois de Boulogne.

I know, I have been spoilt. I do believe the coolest place to jog is through New York's Central Park. It feels like being in a movie.

However, after an invigorating Saturday afternoon jog around the countryside of Lugano, I have come to the conclusion that nothing beats the stunning scenery, fresh air and friendly greetings along the way you'll encounter in this corner of the world.

See for yourself:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Blues to the Bop in Lugano

The traditional appointment with the Lugano Blues To Bop Festival is always the event at the end of the summer to tease fans of blues, jazz and gospel, with original offerings, in a crossroad of genres between tradition and new tendences.

Every night, three stages in four different squares in Lugano (Piazza della Riforma, Piazza Cioccaro, Piazzetta San Rocco) will host some fifty musicians in more than forty concerts; the audience can simply choose, at any moment, among the different options all within easy reach. From blues to pop, from gospel to soul, this event is not only unique in its kind in Europe, but in addition is free.

Enjoy the delightful Piazzetta San Carlo and the big celebration atmosphere in Piazza della Riforma, but don't forget either the unique and emotional moment of the gospel performances in the Lugano Cathedral on Sunday afternoon, or the closing evening concert in Morcote.

For more information click here:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A new Swiss record - 508 alphorn players

Now here's a bit of Swiss history in the making. It might not be life changing but if you ever get the chance to assist an Alphorn concert be sure to appreciate this piece of authentic Swiss tradition.

On August 18th a group of more than 500 alphorn players gathered on the Gornergrat ridge near Zermatt to achieve the world record for the largest ever alphorn group performance.

Against the spectacular backdrop of the Matterhorn and 28 other peaks above 4,000 metres, 508 musicians from Switzerland and abroad dressed in traditional Swiss costume played a specially composed piece by Gilbert Kolly on Saturday.

The gathering of alphorn players beat the previous 2009 record in the same place by 142 participants. A group of 26 flag throwers provided visual entertainment for the event.

Among the challenges facing organisers was trying to find a spot where the conductor could be seen by all the musicians. Some players also had difficulty with their breathing at such a high altitude. Gornergrat is 3,089 metres above sea level.

The alphorn's use varied between the 16th and 20th centuries. Some herdsmen used it as a tool to communicate across neighbouring Alps and to call their cows back to the farm for milking. It was also played on summer nights in the Alps as a form of prayer in Protestant regions.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A stroll along the lake of Lugano

Sunday, August 25, 2013

2 People 1 Life Wedding in Melide's Swiss Miniature

Calling all romatic fans! And all the just-plain curious too!

Dress up to the nines and follow Alex and Lisa, who coudln't settle for just a special place to get married, but decided to marry in every country they visit. 40 weddings so far accross the world and counting! They have chosen Ticino to host their Switzerland wedding.

They're on an adventure of a lifetime. For three years they are driving around the globe in their camper van ‘Peggy’ exchanging vows in the most unusual and unique wedding locations they can find, embracing the culture and local traditions of the chosen location. They want to experience the difference in each ceremony and find out what it is that makes the bringing of two people together such a worldwide tradition, and of course let the world know!

YOU are invited to enjoy the wedding ceremony at 8pm tomorrrow followed by sipping an aperitivo and munching on appetizers at Swissminiatur!

Usually only the entrance fee to the park is CHF 19.-! So take this opportuinity to visit the park and enjoy also this event with food and one drink for CHF 15.- (while doing CHARITY!)
Entrance fee will be donated to UNICEF and you can get a chance to win a trip for two all expenses paid for the last final mistery wedding!

For more information visit:

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lugano City Guide App

This handy offline city guide by the Swiss Board of Tourism provides you with the most useful information about Lugano. Its integrated city map shows the most interesting places and events and the quickest way to the next hotel or ATM.

Exciting tours with texts and pictures let you discover the city individually. Public transport information make sure that you won't get lost. In addition, you can find all relevant information via the integrated full-text search. With an internet connection, this city guide will update automatically.

NOTE: The first time you start the app, all data for offline use will be downloaded. This may take several minutes and should be done using a Wi-Fi connection!

And the best part is ... it's free of charge! Happy exploring!

The Swiss City Guide is also available for these 7 cities: Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, Luzern, Winterthur and Zürich.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Participate in the Swiss National anthem competition in 2014

Switzerland considers its National anthem too old-fashioned, so a new one will be chosen through a competition.

The priority is to have a new text, but contestants will also be free to compose a new tune, says project leader Lukas Niederberger from Swiss Society for Public Utility (SGG). The SGG, founded in 1810, seeks to promote Swiss values and has previously launched social and cultural initiatives.

The current text dates back to 1841 and includes references to God, prayer, mountains and sunshine.
The new text is to include values enshrined in the Swiss constitution, such as democracy and solidarity.

Swiss National Anthem
The competition will run from January to the end of June 2014, with the top prize of CHF 10,000.- to be awarded in 2015.

The runners-up will get CHF 5,000.-, CHF 3,000.- and CHF 1,000.-. The competition is open to Swiss nationals and foreigners living in Switzerland.

The winning anthem will be presented to the Federal Council for approval.

The judging panel has just been selected. It has 25 members from various areas of national life, including football, the Olympics, music, literature and yodelling.
There are four jury presidents - Christine Beerli, Patrizia Pesenti, Pierre Kohler and Oscar Knapp - representing respectively the four official languages spoken in the federation: German, Italian, French and Romansch.

The current anthem is called the Swiss Psalm. In 1981 it replaced "Rufst du mein Vaterland" (When you call, My Fatherland), which was set to the same tune as the British national anthem - God Save The Queen.

"Many people are conservative and the anthem is emotional, but if a composer creates a super song, then we can change the tune too. But that's a bit difficult for conservative people, so we say the contestants don't have to change the music," Mr.Niederberger said.

So? What are you waiting for? You could go down in history as Switzerland's National Hymn composer! Why not give it a try?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

An unforgettable experience called mountain hut

Ever felt like experiencing the joys of staying in a Swiss mountain inn? In Switzerland they calll these houses: Berghaus, Berggasthaus, Berggasthof, Berghotel, Auberge de montagne, Capanna.

The term is a tricky one to pin down, since it can refer to varying styles of simple rustic accommodation in a mountain setting. All, though, possess unique character, by dint both of their often spectacular isolated location (generally only accessible by foot, and then often involving hard long hikes) and of their history – many are old Alpine farmhouses converted more than a century ago to meet the needs of the first holidaying British gentlemen and ladies on their summer tours of the Swiss Alps.

Most have undergone some renovation over the intervening decades, but often not much: in general, you can expect an all-wood building in the local architectural style, with rustic decor throughout and a uniquely relaxed, informal atmosphere of cosy communality.

Hikers are the main clientele, and Swiss families may return season after season to hike their favourite paths, stay at their favourite Berghaus, and catch up on news from the family who owns and runs the place.

Nature, not amenities, are the focus: most Berghäuser maintain charmingly old-style bedrooms, with chunky old beds smothered under plump duvets, but very few offer private bathrooms, some may not have showers, and a handful have no hot water, or must generate their own electricity. Most have plenty of dorm places.

Food is universally good: a Berghaus that skimps on sustenance is a contradiction in terms. Prices are not that much higher than elsewhere – an average Fr 130.- for a double or Fr 45.- for a dorm place, both including dinner and breakfast – but you invariably have to pay in cash. It’s customary to settle your bill the night before you depart.

Have I tickled your interest? Is your adventure spirit rising up inside you? More than 80 alpine huts in Ticino offer the chance to spend the night in a special atmosphere up in the mountains. Here is a link to all the Ticino Capanni:
Pick and chose to your heart's delight.

Capanna al Legn

Monday, August 5, 2013

5 things to do in Lugano this summer

Spending the summer in Lugano and need some inspiration? Following are five activities you can get your kids involved in. The goal of my blog is to help you find your perfect match.

1. Lake Lugano
The centerpiece of the city’s life is the fact that it is located on the edge of the romantic Lake Lugano. The lake is around 50 square kilometers in size so there is plenty of fun to be had doing whatever a water baby’s heart desires. There are many water taxis and boat rental possibilities as well as a great deal of restaurants to simply pull in and dock at for a long and lazy shore side meal.

2. Monte Brè
If you haven’t guessed, Lugano’s strong appeal is that it’s all about nature and outdoor activities. If the lake’s scenic views weren’t enough Lugano is surrounded by plush mountains. These mountains afford the largest network of mountain bike trails in the country as well as incredible scenic views and amazing hiking opportunities. One of these mountains is actually Switzerland’s sunniest spot. Monte Brè is tiny traditional village with only 300 inhabitants and well worth a visit. While here if artistically inclined you can visit Wilhem Schmidt Museum and see many examples of the famous Swiss Painter’s work.

3. The Alprose Chocolate Museum
If you have a sweet tooth then you’ve come to the right place. The Alprose Chocolate Museum follows the historical development of chocolate from its creation to present day. Of course, the highlight is the Swiss tradition of chocolate making and don’t worry there are plenty of chances to sample as you study!

4. Hermann Hesse Museum
After all the sun, music and chocolate you can handle why not have a bit of culture for dessert. The Hermann Hesse Museum is located just south off Lugano in Montagnola. The Noble Prize winning author lived half his life here, how could he not be inspired.

5. Summer Festivals
There are music festivals running all through the summer. The Lugano Festival is mainly dedicated to classical music and runs during April and May. It features over a dozen concerts with world renowned orchestras and soloist performing. The second part of the Festival focuses on the Argentinian pianist “Progetto Martha Argerich” in June. This where young and old guest musicians of the international music scene come together to play. Estival Jazz arrives in July and is the premiere Jazz event of Southern Switzerland. Everyone from Miles Davis to Dizzy Gillespie have played at this wonderful event. And if Jazz or Classical music isn’t your style, no worries, because the Blues-to-Bop Festival rolls into town in late August and early September turning the city into a bustling frenzy as thousands crowd the streets and piazzas for more free open-air concerts.

All in all Lugano is the ideal balance between northern Europe and the Mediterranean. It’s the perfect Swiss city with a dash of Mediterranean flair.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Jump in and enjoy the Verzasca Valley

Of the wonderfully beautiful valleys of the Ticino, the Verzasca valley is probably the most fascinating - for both romantics and adventure fans.

The magical jade green waters of the Verzasca river flow peacefully over smooth polished rocks, passing under the picturesque double arches of the Ponte dei Salti in Lavertezzo.

Follow the river down the valley and you will find wonderful worn rock shapes and natural jacuzzis, and the trail to Brione is home to 34 works of art.

Don't resist it - jump in! You will be hard pressed to find a more romantically beautiful place to do so.

Are you looking for the ultimate adrenalin rush? Then look no further!

The Verzasca dam on the Lago di Vogorno at the entrance to the valley is where James Bond once jumped 220m attached to no more than a rubber rope. For once, copying can be recommended! The "007 Bungee Jump"- lasts exactly 71/2 seconds - take longer to enjoy your well-earned dip in Lake Maggiore.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How a Swiss watchmaker celebrates 1.August National day

After months of training, IWC Schaffhausen presents its very own Swiss National Day orchestra. Discover the secret skills of IWC's watchmakers, conducted by none other than IWC Ambassador and Master Watchmaker, Kurt Klaus.

Happy 1.August to all my reader!

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