Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Experience the magic of Christmas in the center of Lugano!

This weekend Lugano will start wearing its Christmas outfit. The City will be transformed with Christmas lights, sounds and colours. The most beautiful festival of the year is celebrated with the markets, a children’s village, concerts, entertainment, the New Year’s Eve open-air party and many other events that will fill the city with the magic of Christmas up to January 6th, 2019.

Christmas in Lugano starts with the lighting of the tree in Riforma Square. From that moment, the heart of the city becomes a bright village, bestowing opportunities for entertainment, musical performances, a market and surprises until the Epiphany.

Following is the programme:

01.12 | 17:30
Piazza della Riforma

With the attendance of the city authorities, the Christmas tree in the Piazza della Riforma will be officially "switched on" with the help of the children present. From 17:30 a little gift offered by Migros Ticino and MANI International will be handed out to all children, accompanied by the Christmas concert of the "Harmony Gospel Choir" gospel group. Then it will be time to switch on the Christmas Tree lights together with Julie Arlin. Finally, the ceremony will close with the concert of the duet Looppoli.

01.12 – 23.12 | 11:00 – 19:00 24.12 | 11:00 – 17:00
City Centre

The aroma of Christmas sweets, mulled wine and other delicious food, as well as handicrafts and Christmas decorations: this and much more will be on offer at the traditional stands with their red roofs lining the streets from Via Nassa to Piazza Dante. In addition, from this year Piazza Manzoni, set among beautiful Christmas decorations, will also host more than 40 wooden huts that will offer Christmas shoppers lots of surprises.

01.12 – 06.01 | from 16:00
Piazza della Riforma

A great destination for a hot chocolate, to have an aperitif with friends or to try winter cocktails, all accompanied by tasty nibbles and background music. This is the recipe of the Food Lovers' Chalets for making the long winter evenings of locals and tourists much more enjoyable.

01.12 – 06.01
Piazza Manzoni

In Piazza Manzoni you can breathe in the atmosphere of a true traditional village with wooden huts, a giant Father Christmas with his sack full of surprises, a surreal and fascinating landscape to be photographed, horses on wheels for trotting around the lit-up fountain, workshops, readings and entertainment in the Big Chalet, music and many other events and attractions to entertain both children and adults alike.

02:12 - 09:01
Piazza Luini LAC

The LAC is hosting a new interactive installation that will transform the Piazza Luini into a giant kaleidoscope. Prismatica is made up of 25 rotating glass prisms more than 2 metres tall, which project multicoloured light in different directions and produce music.

23.12 – 06.01
Riva Albertolli

Gli Amici del Presepe Sommerso place typical figures from the Nativity scene in the lake. Until 6th January you can admire these statues, which during the day seem to vanish under the water and in the evening appear to float in the light of powerful underwater spotlights. On 23rd December at 17:00, the Baby Jesus is carried in a fascinating procession from the lake.

31.12 | 23:00 – 02:30
Piazza della Riforma

A big party in the piazza to welcome in the new year together. RSI will bring the evening to life with music and entertainment from RETE TRE’s best-loved DJs. Special guests: Vad Vuc in a concert that will have the whole square up on its feet.

01.01 | 11:00
Palazzo dei Congressi

Convention Centre With the attendance of the city authorities and the Lugano Volunteer Corps. Aperitif offered to everyone (start of the parade from Piazza della Riforma at 11:00).

Take advantage of the special opening hours of city centre stores to do your Christmas shopping.
08.12 | 10:00 – 18:00
09.12 | 10:00 – 18:00
16.12 | 10:00 – 18:00
23.12 | 10:00 – 18:00

For a detailed programme in Italian click here:

Monday, November 26, 2018

Lugano's International Christmas fair

December! Yes! Such a busy month. So why not kick it off with style? Meet your friends or make some new ones in a lovely central location in Lugano.

Where? At the annual Christmas fair at the Hotel Pestalozzi co-hosted by the lovely IWCL, the Lugano Meetup and InterNations Lugano. You are even invited for a FREE aperitivo at the end of the event. Of course, snacks, small wine tasting and water will be served.

However, don't miss out on the Christmas shopping before aperitivo time starts. You'll also find Christmas photo shooting by appointment with Egle Berruti photography throughout the morning. Excellent gift idea for your close ones! EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

Following is the programme of the day but be sure to pop by any time as there's much more going on:
11:30 - Harp Concert with Eleonora Ligabò and Harp Center
12:30 - Panettonata
13:30-17:00 Christmas Market
15:00 - Christmas Aperitivo

Venue: Christmas Fair and Christmas Aperitif
Where: Hotel Pestalozzi, Piazza Indipendenza 9. 6900 Lugano
Date: Sunday, Dec 2nd, 2018
Time:  11:00 - 16:00
Please sign up if you are joining, although last minute guests are welcome, it's easier to plan for the organising committee.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

P stands for Paris: Two Fat Expats interview

I am delighted and honoured to have been picked as interviewée of the weekly "Two Fat Expats" podcast. Driven by two Aussie expats - whom like I believe that life should be lived large and that it is only fair to share - their podcast bursts with ideas and inspiration on how to make expat life fuller and therefore fatter.

The topics range from International schooling to money matters, from feeling the expat blues to celebrating lifelong friendships. They talk about moving families across continents, the complexities of caring for ageing parents remotely, coping with kids' homesickness and the empty nest syndrome. Career rebooting is a popular theme as is expat marriage. Each episode deals with real-life concerns no matter which nationality you are.

Two Fat Expats is listened to in over 160 countries and although we - the listeners - are all different and most of us have never met, we all come together on Kirsty and Nikki's site to have a good laugh, to seek advice or share soothing compassion. Somehow these two ladies have managed to create a global bond that is alive and active through social media where everybody is welcome to join. It has become a place to turn to, a platform where people pour out their hearts, a spot where honesty is expected, respected and valued.

The beauty of it all is that you will not find affiliations or hidden advertising, just expats looking for independent expat advice. The "Two Fat Expat" podcast is like a weekly cheat sheet on current expat trends where the charming and very professional Aussie Duo share what they have learnt that week.

The "Two Fat Expats" love a good story on the podcast and like most expat women they also love to sit back, relax and hear the stories of others about their expat adventures.

This week I get to tell mine because P stands for Paris!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Feeling thankful on Thanksgiving Day

Today a reader sent me a short message thanking me for helping him with his move to Lugano. He had been reading my blog and found it a useful resource. It is little gestures like these that make me continue my Expat with Kids blog.

Blogging has become my hobby. It gives me the opportunity to connect and network with like-minded individuals who share the same passions. Sitting down to write and doing it consistently is a challenge. Blogging requires time, devotion, commitment, and discipline.

However, by preparing myself for blog topics, I have learned many other things in the process mainly thanks to research necessary to write my posts. Writing allows me to delve deeper into the matters of today's life and the worldview that shapes them.

I enjoy the opportunity of sharing my knowledge in my field of expertise. The best part is seeing that you can make a difference. It’s a humbling experience when people talk about my blog posts and I realize someone pays attention to my writings.

At the same time blogging empowers me to showcase what fascinates me and build a brand around myself and my passion. So, all this to say that I am thankful today that others find inspiration in my writings… that’s a wonderful feeling.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Organisation of Swiss living Abroad

Dear Swiss Expatriates,

You must have numerous opportunities to talk about Switzerland in both private and professional circles. Without any doubts you do this with great pleasure and enthusiasm. But maybe you sometimes wish you had more pictures, films and posters about Switzerland? Or could you perhaps do with more information on the most spectacular hiking trails or the best restaurants in Switzerland? Maybe you would like to visit Switzerland again or are organising a trip to Switzerland for your neighbours or your company? That's the reason why Switzerland Tourism decided to team up with the Organisation of Swiss living abroad (ASO).

To get a little taste the Switzerland Tourism and the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) offer all members of Fifth Switzerland a free desk calendar for the upcoming year.

You may order your copy of the desk calendar 2019 now. Enter your details on the website to get your free copy by mail. Beware it might make you feel homesick!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Curious about Online learning?

Ever thought about signing up for an online course? Online programmes offer the convenience and flexibility you’re looking for, especially if you're an expat in a country where you don't yet master the language or don't have a work permit.

Online learning may not appeal to everyone; however, the sheer number of online learning sites suggests that there is at least a strong interest in convenient, portable learning options, many of which are study-at-your-own-pace.

Online courses are a great resource! Not only is education is moving more in this direction of personalized learning it also gives you a chance to pursue your passion or interest on the sideline. Who knows it might become your profession one day?

I have been browsing through a few sites this week and thought I'd share my findings with you. This list is by no means exhaustive but it's a start...
As learning becomes more digital, universities are adopting new technologies to reach a wider audience of learners. Futurelearn's 149 partners carefully design each online course, so that you can study with them no matter where you are. They are partnered with top universities and specialist organisations who'll share their experience through videos, articles, quizzes and discussions.
Coursera is a learning site offering courses (free for audit) from over 100 partners — top universities from over 20 countries, as well as non-university partners — with verified certificates as a paid option, plus specializations, which group related courses together in a recommended sequence.
he edX site offers free subject matter from top universities, colleges and schools from around the world, including MIT and Harvard, and many courses are “verified,” offering a certificate of completion for a nominal minimum fee.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online courses available for anyone to enroll. MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career and deliver quality educational experiences at scale. is an extension of edX, a leader in online learning and education. Whether you're interested in learning for yourself, leveraging online courses to educate your workforce or creating a MOOC, edX can help.

Looking for more? Click here:

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Signs of a multicultural family...

Can you guess where these different breakfast spreads are from? They are clues to our family's patchwork origins. We left the Marmite out since the British yeast extract is not a hit with our family. Instead, one spread has been adopted by Expat Girl even though we have no particular ties with that country... other than some really cool friends!

Monday, November 12, 2018

IWCL Evening Group goes wine tasting

It's time for IWCL's (International Women's Club of Lugano) next wine tasting event.

Test your palette during a fun and informative night. Praise the ego of the wine connoisseur or, know your limits when it comes to picking the difference between grapes.

A night to share a good laugh and to repeat at home with good friends! CHF 30 pp that will help
cover material given out on the night and of course food and wine.

Venue: IWCL Evening Group Wine Tasting
Where: Ristorante Fresco,Via Lambertenghi 5, 6900 Lugano
Date: Wednesday, November 14th, 2018
Time: 19:00 to 21:00
Price: CHF 30pp
Wine by: L’Arcobaleno del Vino
Sign up at:

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Trailing Spouse Reimagined

Trailing spouse is not a very popular term, however, personally I consider myself a trailblazing spouse and am fine with that definition.

Three women have taken it one step further ... Several years ago, American Rylla Resler, Italian Francesca Incocciati and Brazilian Adriana Quarck left their careers and friends and moved to Switzerland: they quickly learned that a move abroad is as difficult as it is exciting. They learned that to survive, they would have to reinvent themselves.

"The Trailing Spouse Reimagined" is the brainchild of these energetic ladies who are here to teach you how to thrive when living abroad.

Based on dozens of interviews with men and women who have relocated to Switzerland for their partners' career, "The Trailing Spouse Reimagined" explores the real challenges and true joys of life abroad as a trailing partner. Along the way, the authors bring to life a new kind of ‘trailing spouse’: people from around the globe who discover hidden talents and new wisdom in the challenge of making a life abroad.

Expat readers everywhere will be inspired by the personal and professional dexterity of these often-invisible travelers. Swiss readers will learn about their neighbours from abroad.

This book is for anyone who has ever moved abroad - or knows someone who has. Read and be inspired. "The Trailing Spouse Reimagined: Stories of People Transported by Love" will be published in English on November 18th via Bergli books.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

When it rains, it pours...

This year, we are experiencing an exceptional autumn where we have gone from 29 °C one day to deepest fall the next. The past two weeks have brought NOTHING but rain, rain and more rain accompanied by some exceptional thunderstorms and winds up to 180km/hour.

But nothing stops the Swiss from getting out and about... no matter what the weather.

Not looking promising

Leftovers from the storm the night before

Lugano's iconic gate onto the lake

No boats in sight this week

Wondering how long it will take before the floods arrive

Escaping from the rain at the LAC (Lugano's Art Center)

Some special clients

Another Lugano landmark

Hidden corners

Abandoned benches

Empty churches

When will the sun return?

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Swiss treats to cure a sweet tooth

Anybody who has met me knows I have a sweet tooth and an even bigger faible for chocolate. Probably my most British feature (there aren't many) is that I religiously sit down for teatime. It might be 15:30 or 18:00, I do NOT skip tea and biscuits.

Having spent most of the week inside eating due to really bad weather conditions this half term, I did not hold back on what you call "merenda" in Lugano!

Who knew I'd find pink flamingo cakes in this corner of the world?!?

Petit choux filled with white chocolate mousse and 
served in a flamingo shape was this week's highlight!

Vermicelles: a southern Swiss speciality made from chestnuts, butter, sugar and Kirsch usually served with whipped cream and meringues.

A twist on the classic apple tart... served with whipped cream AND ice cream! Yum.

My absolute favourite Swiss tart: Carac, dessert pastry traditionally made of chocolate, cream, fondant, and shortbread pie crust. 

A little petit four after dinner in tone with the Autumn colours.

Zimtsternli, my favourite Swiss Christmas biscuits.
Stocking up before heading back to Paris!

Lindor, Lindt's most famous Export chocolate!

A new Lindt product that I have fallen in love with... 
Nutella's got some serious competition!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

When Switzerland's airline disappoints

After a rather bumpy trip from Paris to Lugano which took us 24 hours... yes, twenty four hours... SWISS airlines got a piece of my mind for extremely poor standard of handling flight cancellations and delays!

As loyal and very happy SWISS traveller over the past five decades I grew up with SwissAir and followed on to SWISS. Stepping onto a SWISS flight always feels like coming home before you even arrived in Switzerland.

Booking a family weekend return flight from Paris to Lugano (via Zürich) we were informed a week beforehand that the return LUG -ZHR flight was cancelled without further explanation. This meant Expat Boy needed to cut his weekend short in order to take the train from Lugano to Zürich to catch his connection back to Paris.

However, things took a turn for the worse on departure day. First the plane Paris to Zürich was delayed and then cancelled making us lose the connecting flight and leaving us stranded in Paris.

We waited in line at the boarding gate for information, another line at the check-in counter only to be told that the officers were only booking hotel rooms and that tickets need to be rebooked with the group ticket desk. Another queue! Finally we waited for our luggage until four hours later we caught the shuttle to the hotel.... compliments of SWISS. I was NOT trekking back into town at midnight to hit the road at the crack of dawn on Saturday with all of Paris departing for the holiday week.

A good company should make sure the service level is assured in every airport. In Paris, the cancelled flight, the absence of a responsible in charge to direct the stranded passengers, the lack of information on how to get the luggage back... all was a huge disappointment to the usual SWISS standards. It was 20:30 and no SWISS representative was around leading.

Most unfortunately we were then further blocked in Zürich the next day due to bad weather conditions and experienced a two hour delay before we finally headed towards the Ticino. It took us exactly 24 hours to get from Paris to Lugano!

SWISS should be Swiss! Unfortunately it seems SWISS is becoming just another company and it hurts to see this happening!

Waiting, waiting, waiting and waiting....

... the morning after... is that our plane from Paris to Zürich?

Made it to Zürich... and the bets are on for the Zürich Lugano flight!

Yes... we are nearly there. Circling over Lugano.

24 hours to get from Paris to Lugano... a new record!
It could have been worse: Malpensa was on strike!!!
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