Sunday, April 29, 2018

Pens made in Ticino

Having worked for the Swiss pencil company Caran d'Ache I admit to being biased when it comes to colouring pencils and fine writing instruments, however, I could not resist sharing this video with you produced by Prodir.

Their home is Ticino where they manufacture writing instruments with state-of-the-art machines, experienced employees and the utmost care and attention to detail. They are uncompromising when it comes to quality and ensuring that everything is perfectly orchestrated: from the design to the production and right through to sales and distribution.

I just had to smile when a friend sent me their promotional video about "Being Swiss". Sunday morning humour...

Saturday, April 28, 2018

It's all about the food

It is a delight to indulge into Ticino's flavours whatever the season. The sunny canton is known for polenta, chestnuts, cheese and wine but it offers so much more. Letting nature regenerate me while enjoying the dolce vita treatment I always admire the magical landscape blessed with sunshine around 300 days of the year and offering locals and tourists alike a true “Swiss Mediterranean Lifestyle”. 

Spaghetti ticinesi

Parmigiano imported from Italy

Boccalino is what the local wine is served in.

Local recommendation.
Over the past 20-30 years Ticino's red wines have become of international caliber and during contests they appear as some of the best in the world. The most widespread vine in the Italian part of Switzerland (82%) is precisely that same Merlot that distinguishes the production of Bordeaux, and can also be made into whites with excellent results.

A little treasure spotted in Morcote

One of Ticino's most deep-rooted traditions is the ‘maze’ (the processing of pork, but also goat’s meat and beef), a tradition that brought together families and village communities.

Cantucci with Vin Santo is another Italian import.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The sunny side of Lugano

Lugano is the best spot to enjoy palm trees sprawling luxuriously along the shores of Lake Ceresio and its charm gets me every time. Let's face it: I'm here to relax, so I'll just grab a gelato and wind my way through the lakeside promenade. Come join me...

Park Ciani, a lush park filled with modern art and exotic trees from around the world.

Its water gate evokes the 19th century, when this was the private domain of aristocrats.

The flower beds are organized to show off maximum color all year long.

The Parco Ciani is Lugano’s green pearl and covers a surface of 63,000 square meters.

The park is frequented by locals and tourists alike who admire the colourful flowers as well as rare, majestic and exotic species of trees.

Enjoying the moment with a "gelato" that fits the scenery.

Thinking about a boat ride around the lake as a welcome change to the Bateaux Mouches!

Actually, a "pedal" ride is just the ticket for a hot, sunny afternoon.

Spot the "pedal" with us foot peddling at full speed.

Lugano's emblem: Monte Bré. 
They say that the Monte Bré area above Lugano is Switzerland's sunniest.

A well-deserved rest... that bench has my name written all over it!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Celebrate Earth Day 2018

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."
Native American Proverb

Did you know that the first Earth Day was celebrated by the United States on April 22, 1970 to promote the preservation of the environment? Earth Day is now a global event each year, and it is believed that more than 1 billion people in 192 countries now take part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.

It is a day of political action and civic participation. People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures. Faith leaders, including Pope Francis, connect Earth Day with protecting God’s greatest creations, humans, biodiversity and the planet that we all live on.

This year’s campaign is to End Plastic Pollution. Stand up! Join up! Take action!

From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet.

In response, Earth Day 2018 will focus on fundamentally changing human attitude and behavior about plastics and catalyzing a significant reduction in plastic pollution.

Step One: Learn
Download your Plastic Pollution Primer to learn more about this problem and act to help End Plastic Pollution! This toolkit includes information about plastic pollution, a Plastic Pollution Footprint Calculator, a tool to create your Personal Plastics Plan and to track your progress.
Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit

Step Two: Engage
Take personal responsibility to end plastic pollution and make a pledge to reduce your use of plastic: Don't forget to tell others and invite them to join you.

Step Three: Take small steps:
There are dozens of small things your kids can do every day to save energy and keep the world cleaner and greener. Here are some ways you can encourage your kids to go green during Earth Day and if your child develops good habits now, they’ll endure as he/she grows.
- Switch off the light when leaving a room and turn off the TV when no longer watching.
- Shut off the water when brushing teeth
- Walk, ride a bike or take the bus instead of traveling by car
- Take faster showers or baths in just a small amount of water
- Help hang clothes on the line instead of putting them in the dryer
- Choose products that are not over packaged
- Join a local park, river or beach clean-up
- Use environmentally-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products

So tell me, what is your contribution to Earth Day?

Friday, April 20, 2018

SlowUp - a day without cars

The secret of slowUp is as simple as it is surprising: just take a stretch of road of at least 30km in an attractive landscape, close it to traffic and plan an animation programme along the way. The result is a party: whether you are young or old, a families or singles, sporty or sedentary, everyone can savor the joyous atmosphere of a car-free environment.

SlowUp paths are usually quite flat, the pace and distance can be chosen independently and, of course, participation is free. Last year a whopping 35'000 people participated!

This Sunday slowUp Ticino will offer one of the longest routes ever. A track of about 50 km - entirely closed to motorized traffic - which will run between Locarno and Bellinzona. A beautiful itinerary combining the lake areas of Locarno with those of the Magadino all the way up to the Bellinzona area and its castles.

So don't miss this opportunity, especially given the fantastic weather forecast to walk, bike, rollerblade or skate. You can enter and exit the route at any point, the only rule is to respect the one sense of direction in order to avoid bumping into others.

Along the way join the organized parties, refreshment points and activities. As good Swiss organisers you will be provided with a coupon for your child. Click here: Tagliando bambini.

Route and details information, please click here: Flyer SlowUP. Main access to the slowUp are Bellinzona, S. Antonino, Tenero and Locarno-Muralto but you can enter the path anywhere you wish.

Should you arrive via public transport from other parts of the Ticino by purchasing the Ticino Event ticket, you benefit from a 20% discount on the ticket price. More information on

Venue: SlowUp Ticino tra Locarno e Bellinzona
Date: Sunday, April 22, 2018
Time: 10.00 to 17.00

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Office with a view

Enjoying an early summer this week after having survived a late winter spell last week, I thought I'd share the view from my office this morning.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Grooving through the Street Food Village

We couldn't have asked for a better day to celebrate Caslano's Food Festival. The sun was finally shining and the only testimony of the recent cold spell were the snow-tipped mountains in the background.

Reggae music was blaring from the loudspeakers, prams being pushed passed crowds of young and old; all had ventured out to enjoy the spring and let themselves be carried away to some faraway place with exotic smells and foreign tastes albeit the producers claiming it is all home grown.

From Colombia to Thailand, from hamburgers to risotto, mojito to beer it was a true festival.

View from Caslano beach

My absolute favourite beach in Lugano

Home-made and groovy...

This VW bus won best truck-transformation in my book.

Venezuelan Arepas with ginger-flavoured proscecco and I am one happy camper.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Street Food Festival Caslano

If you enjoyed the Lugano Street Food festival or worse should you have missed it, here is the perfect plan for the coming weekend:

The Streetfood Village Caslano will take place this Saturday. Over 45 restaurateurs and producers based in Ticino will gather to offer you their delicious gastronomic specialties. The first four editions brought together more than 15,000 people.

The Streetfood Village will consist in a welcoming gastronomic square where you will be able to sit and taste many different gastronomic specialties in a summer vacation setting!

A culinary journey that will allow you to discover specialties from Ticino and the whole world. And if that weren't enough did you know the entire village of Caslano is designated as part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites?

Venue: Street Food Festival Caslano
Date: Saturday, April 14th, 2018
Time: 11:00 to 22:00
For more info:

Sunday, April 8, 2018

History of the Swiss Abroad

The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) defends the current interests of the Swiss Abroad in Switzerland, where they can vote and therefore be heard. But what is their specific history?

The Foundation for the History of the Swiss Abroad aims to study and publicize the history of relations between Switzerland and the world, especially through the life and works of Swiss people who, over the centuries and up to the present day, left their homeland and made their own unique mark on the time in which they lived.

In 1932 Oscar Zufferey left Chippis (Valais) for Rosario, Argentina in search of work.

A museum dedicated to the Swiss Abroad opened in 1964 in Penthes (Geneva) and offers a different view of Switzerland's history. Visitors can discover the story of the Swiss who left their homeland – for a while or forever – and made their mark on the wider world, from the 15th century to today.

In French-speaking Switzerland, the Foundation for Safeguarding the Audiovisual heritage of Radio Télévision Suisse (FONSART) launched a participative internet archive platform in 2006. Everyone is invited to add their images, videos and documents in order to create a shared archive. Searching with the key word “Swiss Abroad” reveals a broad range of documents such as the residence permit of Marcel Demont, who left for France to earn a living there. Today also the Italian and Rumantch population is invited to participate at

Edmée Cottier, a farmer's daughter from Rougemont (Vaud), left Switzerland in 1947 to join the mission Philafricaine at Hôpital de Caluquembe in Angola.

In a museum or online setting, the stories of the Swiss Abroad are interesting for people who can see themselves in them and also for Switzerland, which should not forget an important aspect of its own history.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Open: A Boy’s Wayang Adventure

Today I'd like to share a book written by a friend of mine. Eva Wong Nava lives between two worlds. She reads copiously and writes voraciously. We first met in Paris where we used to ride the public bus to school every day accompanying our young daughters. She has since moved to Singapore and our daughters are taller than we are by now.

Eva is a very talented writer and has managed to bring together the rich and yet historical world of Chinese opera in the setting of a Singapore public school, exposing the thoughts, feelings and interactions of a special needs individual meeting that of a neurotypical world.

Open is a 10-year-old boy with a curiosity for life and the things that happen around him. He is on the autism spectrum and loves to draw. He is especially good at drawing monkeys. When his class is selected to perform in a Chinese Opera based on the Monkey King and the Journey to the West, Open must find it in himself to overcome his obstacles and boldly step on stage. A heartwarming story about friendship beyond barriers, Open is a gift calling to the largeness of our hearts.

You're looking at the back cover of the movie edition of the book. Yes, the book is based on a movie, directed by Raymond Tan of Brainchild Pictures. Although most people would say that Open is based on the movie, the author says it's an adaptation of the movie. That's because the book tells the story in Benjamin Oh's voice. Who is Benjamin Oh? You'll have to read the book to find out.

Click here for more info:

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Walking Lugano 2018

One of the most important Swiss appointments for walking and Nordic walking fans is Lugano's "Walking" event. You'll find different itineraries, several secondary activities, plenty of sport and fun for everyone. Discover a way to be healthy while joining the city's inhabitants for a day in movement! For challenge seekers there is also the Brè City Trail, a 18.7km race covering 700m change in altitude.

The itineraries have been carefully selected and extremely attractive in terms of landscape. They are well-suited for all sorts of fitness levels as they include longer and more demanding itineraries for those who want to test their endurance and “softer”, more level itineraries of just a few kilometres for others.
-Relax (7.0 km)
-Melide (8.2 km)
-Panorama (10.7 km)
-Agno (14.9 km)
-Challenge (18.7 km)
-Lake and Walking (8.2 km) this itinerary also includes a boat trip from Lugano to Melide

18.7 km and 700 m climb
Start : 10.10h (Piazza Riforma)

You can still sign up at Piazza Manzoni, Lugano on Saturday, April 7th from 15.00-17.00 or just before the race on Sunday April 8th as of 9:00.
For more info click here:

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Brunch al Lido di Lugano

The Lido of Lugano has opened its doors again for Sunday brunch. It definitely offers the best buffet in town for a cosy Sunday family meal. Situated right by the lake it allows for spectacular views. The kids love the sandy beach and if you feel real courageous you can even have a dip in the freezing water. As they say: "Brunch is always a good idea" so don't miss this treat which only lasts until end of April.

Venue: Sunday Brunch at Lido di Lugano
Where: Lido, Viale Castagnola 4, 6900 Lugano
Time: 11:00 to 16:00
Reservations are highly recommended:  091/971'55'00
Price: CHF 43.- for adult, CHF 2.- for every year of age up to 12

Brunch is always a good idea

Love this vintage Lugano tourism poster

Now that's what I call a brunch with a view

Very tempted to jump in

Holiday vibes are kicking in

Let the fun begin

Disco ball for private parties
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