Monday, September 30, 2013

Arounder - Virtual Lugano

Ever heard of Arounder? A site featuring images and words of the most beautiful places in the world. Including Lugano, of course. Thanks to their network of professional photographers from all over the world and with more than 10,000 panoramic images, they are the world leader in virtual reality photography.

Wondering what your next Expat destination looks like or just planning a short trip? Arounder features 100+ world’s top destinations including thousands of attractions and places to see such as prestigious museums and historical cathedrals, unspoiled natural paradises and UNESCO sites as well as the most luxurious hotel and the finest restaurants all over the world.

And just for the reference, Arounder was selected by Apple among “top 10 Apps” in 57 countries.
Test them for yourself:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

It's time for brunch at the Lido of Lugano

Hurray! Have you heard? It's brunch time at the Lido. The Al Lido brunches are held every Sunday from mid-September to end December - whatever the weather!

You might be a veteran or you might be a novice, you simply cannot live in Lugano and miss the experience of brunch along the lakeside of Lugano.

Held every Sunday from 11:00, rain or shine, starting now up to end of December 2013 - the brunch  includes buffet à gogo, warm drinks, water and fruit juice.
From 11:00 breakfast buffet + cold buffet (starters and salads)
From 12:00 hot buffet with a choice of first and second courses and a large selection of desserts

Price per person:
Adults - CHF 42.00 (classic brunch)
Children - up to 12 yrs of age, CHF 2 for each year (5 yrs old=CHF 10.-).

Extra choices, wine and champagne can be ordered à la carte. Why not let yourself be swept away and celebrate Sunday with a glass of Champagne?

Reservation highly recommended, please call or leave a message on 091 971 55 00.
For more info, click here:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Mendrisiotto wine route

If you are the sporty type the StraLugano will keep you on your toes (so to say) this weekend. IF, on the other hand, you are a gourmand the wine festival in Mendrisio is your aim.

You can however combine the two. Either by joining both or - maybe a little more leisurely - hike along the attractive trail that lets you discover the world of Ticinese wine.

This route leads through Mendrisiotto, a traditional wine-growing region with an abundance of testimonies to history and art, sited amidst an impressive landscape.

Route 1: (12km)
Route 2: (10km)
Route 3: (15km)

Mendrisio is home to several renowned wine producers: the Cantina Sociale, the wine purveyors Guido Brivio and Gialdi. The wine cellars at the foot of Monte Generoso, in the shadow of mighty trees, are vented naturally by a continual flow of fresh air; ideal for storing wine. Some of the cellars are still used for storing wine, while others have been converted to grottos.

Visits and wine tasting in a wine cellar are possible every Saturday morning. The Cantinas open their doors for guided tours and wine tasting upon appointment. Please call +41 (0)91 641 30 50 up to Friday 11 a.m.
Duration: 1h30
Number of participants: 3-20
Season: march - december
Languages: German, English, French, Italian

If you would actually like to take part in the wine harvesting, go ahead. Click here and you're in business:

For more info contact the Tourist office of Mendrisiotto, Tel. +41 (0)91 641 30 50 or

Friday, September 27, 2013

Europe according to Switzerland

Here are three infograms I came across today that made me smile. Ever wondered what Europe looks like according to Switzerland? And what do other countries think? Read for yourself.

Europe according to Switzerland:

Europe according to Spain:

Europe according to France:

Have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wine festival in Mendrisio: La Sagra dell'uva

On the last week-end in September, as is the tradition, the streets of Mendrisio are dressed in their Sunday best. The courtyards, run by the different sporting and cultural associations, become meeting points where you can taste delicious local dishes or sip some good wine. Via Stella and Corso Bello fill up with curious people walking through the small market which has a never-ending row of stalls, where you can buy everything from roast chestnuts to incenses, from cheese from the Muggio Valley to oriental fragrances.

The origins of the Wine Festival date back to the years of the Second World War. It was a rural feast, where the farmers and the winegrowers of the area displayed their products. Originally held in Balerna, it was transferred to Mendrisio in 1944 after the construction of the covered market.

The elderly still remember those times, when the winegrowers competed to have the best grapes and win the coveted prize. The decline of rural life, the abandoning of the covered market (replaced by the courtyards) and the creation of the small market have all contributed to transforming the Wine Festival into an event involving the whole region.

Every now and then you can see a painter intent on transferring the emotions of the day onto canvas; he is taking part in the “painters in the square” competition.

For more info click here:

Venue: La Sagra dell'Uva
Where: Mendrisio
Date: September 27th to 29th, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

A must try for all Swiss Germans - Dialäkt App

Ever heard of an app that recognizes which part of Switzerland you come from, all on the basis of your dialect? Well, here it is. Researchers at the University of Zurich have developed the "Dialäkt App" for the iPhone.

The application is simple: You answer 16 questions about your own use of language and depending on your answers the "Dialäkt App» will delineate the origin of the dialect. There are some questions about vocabulary. For example: "What do you call the remnant of an apple?" Bütschgi, of course, would be my answer! Many questions, however, boil down to the nuances in the pronunciation of a word.

The makers of this app are hoping to work with the users. "Does the app define a dialect of your own origin?" You will be asked to verify this. "Was the origin of the App's dialect defined accurately or inaccurately?" The user is encouraged to send the correct information to the creators and thus helping to improve the map of dialects.

For all you Swiss German speakers out there, join SRF-presenter Nick Hartmann as he tests the "Dialäkt App" with his colleagues. Beware this is very Swiss! It certainly made me smile....

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Language Apps for Expat Kids

Although children pick up new languages more rapidly than adults, some can find learning how to speak in a foreign tongue a chore. There are dozens of apps aimed at making learning languages easier and more fun, but some are better suited to children than others. Here’s my pick of some of the best.

This app is currently available in over seven languages, including German, French and Spanish. Through the use of visual flashcards your child can learn over 500 common words and phrases. Audio clips from native speakers also ensure that their pronunciation is word perfect.:

A fantastic free app which uses engaging exercises (like word jumbles) to make learning foreign grammar and vocabulary enjoyable. As it’s mainly text based it’s more suitable for older children, but the quizzes included in the app offer a great way for parents and children to learn together:

Okay, this app might not be the most sophisticated, and it isn’t a typical language app, but it sure is fun. Your child can use this app to record themselves saying foreign words and phrases and then have them repeated back in ‘high squeaky’ and ‘low freaky’ voices. A great way of learning words/basic phrases and making your child giggle at the same time:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Corsa della Speranza - Run for Hope 2013

While you get ready for the StraLugano 2013 you can start practicing with your family in a real fun way: the Corsa della Speranza.

Run of Hope is a Festival celebrated in more than fifty countries worldwide for cancer research. The idea was originates in the late 80s, from Canada, where the 23-year-old Terry Fox, lacking a leg amputated of a bone cancer, decided to cross the country, with a metal prosthesis in order to raise awareness about the disease and to raise funds for the fight against cancer. Terry failed to conclude his stoical challenge. The cancer took him away before. But his brave and generous spirit continues to live through the Runs of Hope.

It is a non-competitive event. You can run, march or just walk on a 5 km route through the most emblematic streets of Lugano. The youngest can even join with their scooter (monopattino).

It's a race for everyone: families, schools, societies, children, grandfathers, grandmothers... Revenues, made from inscriptions and from spontaneous offers or donations, are entirely paid to the Ticinese Foundation for Cancer Research, which funds International research projects taking place in Ticino.

You can registrer on the actual day of the race at Piazza Reforma as of 11.00 am.
For more info click here:

Start is at 18.00 in Piazza Manzoni along the lakefront. All the participants are invited for a pasta party after the race with music in the piazza. In case of bad weather the pasta party is organized at the pavilion Conza.

Venue: Corsa della Speranza
Where: Piazza Manzoni
Date: Saturday, September 14th, 2013
Time: 18:00
Registration cost: CHF 25.- for adults and CHF 10.- for children

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

StraLugano 2013

Get ready this weekend. There is a fantastic sporting opportunity for you and your kids coming up. It is a social happening that you cannot miss. Head down town and enjoy the last summer vibes during the annual event of Stralugano.

Stralugano's philosophy extends from elite athletes to the occasional runner but - above all - it has a big heart. A heart logo displays the sensitivity not only in sports but towards neighbours and especially towards those who are not lucky enough to live full and free movement of their body.

Therefore, since it's creation eight years ago, Stralugano has paid particular attention in supporting worthy organizations and enhance their sensitivity.

The six races planned are:
- 30 km - for the usual runners that practice the marathon or the half-marathon
- 10 km - half competitive: 10 winners will be chosen by lot from the finishers
- StraLugano Relay - race on the 30 km course with 3 fractions
- StraSingle - non-competitive romantic 5km walk
- Kidsrun - race for children and kids (max 14 years old)
- Handbike

Hurry, you can still register until September 22nd by clicking here:
There is even a babysitting service while Mum and Dad go running:

The Stralugano is a run and fun event: a folklore festival is held at the "Stralugano Village" that includes amusements, music, fitness, shopping and support for various charity associations. The festival kicks off on Saturday afternoon and continues all Sunday.

Here's the programme:

14.00 Apertura dello StraLugano Village
14.00 Intrattenimenti vari e animazioni nel villaggio con la presenza delle mascotte Cooley e Stralüsc
14.00 - 20.00 Distribuzione pettorali al Ciani
16.00 - 17.00 Zumba con Larissa del Move Me Fitness Centre - Scarica il volantino »
17.30 Presentazione della Lotus F1 con Alex Fontana
18.30 Prove del percorso Handbike
19.00 - 20.00 RoundTable Cup - gara internazionale Handbike
20.30 StraSingle gara popolare su 5km
20.00 Migros Pasta Party
20.30 Premiazione SUVACare Handbike Cup

07.00 - 09.00 Distribuzione pettorali al Ciani

09.55 Cerimonia di partenza con inno svizzero cantato da Ines Moné, seconda classificata a “The Voice of Switzerland 2013”
10.00 Partenza della 30km Panoramic e staffetta 3x10km
10.45 Partenza della 10km City
11.15 Primi arrivi della 10km City
11.30 Primi arrivi della 30km Panoramic e della staffetta 3x10km
12.00 Podio maschile e femminile della 30km Panoramic
12.00 Migros Pasta Party
13.30 Premiazioni della 30km, della Staffetta e della 10km nella tenda del Migros Pasta Party
14.00 - 15.00 Gare della KidsRun con le diverse categorie: U8-U10-U12-U14-U16
15.00 Premiazioni delle gare KidsRun
16.00 Chiusura dello StraLugano Village e fine della manifestazione

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Castrovalva dreamin': an Italian tourism video you need to watch now

So, we've all seen tourism videos at one stage or another in our lives.. BUT .. this one bets them all. It plays to a trio of things we really love: Donna Summer, Italy, and, well, bizarre tourism videos.

I must say the inhabitatns of this small village in Italy do get full poins for originality and effort. Not sure Donna Summer would appreciate the endeavour. The town that is now suddenly on the must-visit list is called Castrovalva, a small town in Italy's Abruzzo mountains, where the permanent residents number a mere 19 people. The rest of the cast is culled from the 200 summer vacationers and second-home owners.

It did make me smile and I hope it makes you smile as well.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Missing family and friends abroad?

This is your opportunity: tell SWISS your story. Why?

Every day, SWISS flies people all over the world. And some of them stay abroad forever. Family and friends often live thousands of miles apart and don’t get the chance to see each other in person. The airline of Switzerland would like to bring these people back together. They are giving away 300 tickets.

So tell them your story, and let them know who you’d love to be reunited with. You can even upload a video or some photos to persuade the judges and website visitors to vote for you.

All the documents, photos and videos submitted will be studied by a judging panel. The panel will then select what they feel are the most moving stories, and the winners will be listed at

If you can get 50 friends or more to vote for your story, you’ll earn an additional one-off panel vote. And all the people who have voted for you will also have the chance to win one of three pairs of tickets to a SWISS destination within Europe.

Beware: only those residing in Switzerland are permitted to take part in the competition. Any entry must be submitted by family members living in Switzerland.

The closing date is Sunday, 6th October 2013 at 24:00.

So, go ahead, tell SWISS your story here:!/en/join/

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