Thursday, May 30, 2019

A much needed breath of fresh air

Never the one to stay in Paris when the opportunity of "a pont" presents itself... Ascension allows our family to make the most of a long weekend. This time the Weather Gods were with us. After passing through torrential rain in Zurich airport last night, this morning the thermometer in Lugano claims 26°C and the sun is out. What a brilliant wake-up call!

The skies are as blue as the lake, the rolling hills covered in deep green foliage, birds are chirping and the air is fresh...but where has everyone gone? My hubby had to pop into Italy for a work commitment, Expat boy also skipped across the border with his friend for some Italian food, Expat girl has a lunch appointment with her bestie ... which leaves me all by myself?!? 

The day is spectacular and just too beautiful to spend at home, so I take myself off to the nearest mountain, park the car and head for the woods. Breathtaking views, overgrown trails, an invigorating pace and a need to clear my lungs as well as my head has me charging up, up and further into the thick of Ticino's nature paths.

Until all of a sudden I find myself on top of the world and I am at peace again!

View from Cademario carpark

Cademario village church

An enchanted path...

... leading to a secret spot...

... with a breathtaking view

Reaching Monte Cervello after a 90-minute hike

At peace with nature

THIS is what I miss when I'm in Paris!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Switzerland: How to...

Why are rubbish bags in Switzerland different colours? Where can you play sports, and what do you need to know when looking for a job or going to school? These are some of the questions newcomers to Switzerland are confronted with. A new app from and the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation provides the answers through an interactive quiz game and online resources.

“Together”, as the app is called, is available for free in seven languages: English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic. It allows users to test their knowledge, learn new information and challenge other players in 10 quiz categories ranging from jobs to Swiss landmarks.

The app contains more than 300 questions with more questions and categories to be released in the coming weeks and months. Users who have more questions of their own about daily life in Switzerland can submit those to the team behind the appexternal link to have them researched, answered and included in the quiz. How cool is that?!? and the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation decided to produce the “together” app to address newcomers’ desire to integrate into Swiss society and learn more about daily life in the country. "Together" also happens to be highly useful when applying to Swiss Citizenship. So, if you haven't checked it out yet hop over and go browsing!

Together is a playful way to test your knowledge, learn new things and find useful information. Together, we are Switzerland.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

7.5 billion people in one chart

There are close to 200 countries spread around the globe, with populations ranging from near 1.4 billion (China or India) to countries a mere 0.001% of that size. How is it possible to do the mental math in interpreting such a wide range of data points simultaneously?

Data visualization allows us to see the location of the world’s 7.5 billion people by resizing countries based on their populations and then colouring and organizing them by region.

The first thing you might notice on the graphic is the relative size of regions, with Asia taking up a whopping 60% of the visual space.

About 75% of people reside in Asia or Africa. Meanwhile, the regions of Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania just total together to 25% of the mix.

For example, China and India combine to 2.7 billion people, together accounting for 36% of the total global population.

Switzerland just makes in into the Top 100 ranking No.97 with a population of 8'454'000!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

World Day for Cultural Diversity

Today is United Nations World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Bridging the gap between cultures is necessary for peace, stability and development.

Cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life.

Acceptance and recognition of cultural diversity in particular through innovative use of media and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) are conducive to dialogue among civilizations and cultures, respect and mutual understanding.

The year 2002 was the United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage. At the end of that year, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared May 21 to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The General Assembly emphasized links between the protection of cultural diversity and the importance of dialogue between civilizations in the modern world. The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development was first observed in 2003.

Suggestions for observing our cultural diversity:
- Invite people from different cultures, communities and religions to share your customs.
- Undertake to visit a place of cultural importance, such as a museum or place of worship different than yours, and participate in the celebration and activities.
- Learn about traditional celebrations from other cultures

Sunday, May 19, 2019

I'll be back soon

Time has come to say "Arrivederci" once again. Expat daughter and I have indulged in Swiss food and enjoyed the exceptional companionship of our local friends for the past ten days. We might not live in Lugano any longer but it still feels very much like home... even after eight years that we have been living in Paris.

Our adventure in Lugano was a life changer for each family member. Every one of us has a special link to this city and the time we called it home. I had come back to my home country. Expat hubby fulfilled his dream destination. Expat boy received a good dose of Swiss discipline thanks to the local school system and Expat Girl never really let go of her first memories of home.

“The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back.”

A touch of modern art à la Luganese

A touch of Swiss tradition: pedalos

Lugano's meeting point: Manor department store

As Swiss as it gets: a lake lunch cruise

A welcoming spot for food

Delicatessen Ticino style

Just can't get enough...

Romantic teatime invitation

Happy Hour with a view

A morning jog to keep fit

Smile... you're in Lugano!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

International Museum Day

Today is International Museum Day and did you know that Switzerland has over 1,100 museums?

This year's Museum Day will be celebrated in Switzerland on Sunday May 19th. It focuses on the new roles of museums as active actors in their communities with “Museums as Cultural Hubs: The future of tradition”.

While preserving their primary missions - collecting, conservation, communication, research, exhibition - museums have transformed their practices to remain closer to the communities they serve.

Today they look for innovative ways to tackle contemporary social issues and conflict. By acting locally, museums can also advocate and mitigate global problems, striving to meet the challenges of today's society proactively.

Like the "Alimentarium" located in Vevey which is the first museum in the world devoted exclusively to nutrition... and you cannot miss the gigantic silver fork that sticks out of the water in front of the museum. Alert to all chocohlics: it will be is hosting various gourmet activities focusing on chocolate tonight.

Click here to find Ticino's 16 participating museums:

Friday, May 17, 2019

Switzerland at the Eurovision finals

Call me old-fashioned but I do watch the Eurovision Finals ... some years. This time Switzerland has made it into the Finals with a song called "She got me" by Luca Hänni. Yes, he actually has a Swiss name! He is cute and he can sing. Luca was born in Bern and apparently taught himself to play guitar and the piano.

Most know that the Eurovision is an annual International song competition held primarily among the member countries of the European Broadcasting Union... but did you know that the first contest, in which Switzerland competed with six other nations, was held in the town of Lugano on May 24th, 1956?

The Eurovision Grand Final takes place on Saturday, 18 May 2019 at 21:00 and I guess I'll be watching this year!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Swiss hiking routes

Did you know that walking along all of Switzerland’s hiking trails would be the equivalent of going one-and-a-half times around the world?

Ascend a peak, hike through alpine meadows, explore a forest? You decide! Thanks to over 65'000km of waymarked trails, virtually every corner of Switzerland is waiting to be discovered. The paths are well marked and as varied as the scenery. For comparison: the whole of Switzerland has “only” 71'400km of roads and 5'100km of railway tracks.

The Swiss population spends 162 million hours on hiking trails each year, while 59% of all overight visitors in summer go hiking at least once during their stay.

Did you know that there are three types of hiking trail?
- 63% of them are yellow-signposted hiking trails
- 36% are yellow-signposted mountain hiking trails with white-red-white waymarks
- just under 1% are blue-signposted Alpine hiking trails

So where to start? SwitzerlandMobility’s obstacle-free hiking trail network is unparalleled in the world and presents a fabulous selection of local, regional and nation hiking routes - all way marked!

Click here for the Swiss Mobility link:

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

When chocolate has your name on it!

If I had to choose one aliment to survive on it would defiantly be chocolate. Preferably Swiss chocolate! Ok, Lady Godiva assorted chocolates are high on my favourite list as well!

However, there is no place like home when it comes to chocolate. No need to step into one of those fancy chocolatiers to feel pampered, the local supermarket (i.e. Coop or Migros) will have me drooling and raving over their counters.

Many modern historians estimate that chocolate has been around for about 2000 years. For most of that time, chocolate was a beverage.

Etymologists trace the origin of the word "chocolate" to the Aztec word "xocoatl" which referred to a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans. The Latin name for the cacao tree "Theobroma cacao" means "food of the gods". Now I will not argue with that!

Sweetened chocolate didn't appear until Europeans discovered the Americas. Chocolate didn't suit the foreigners' taste buds, but once it was mixed with honey or cane sugar, it quickly became popular. By the 17th century, chocolate was a fashionable drink throughout Europe.

Back to my point... according to science I could survive about a year by eating just chocolate!

Loving Toblerone's latest special edition

When it's wrapped in pink who can resist?

Just your regular milk chocolate

The tourist selection

How many of those can I fit into my suitcase?

Kid's favourite... häsch Dini Ovi hüt schoo kaa?

Ragusa is a well kept Swiss secret

New discovery at Manor supermarket!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

An afternoon at the LAC

How can I resist an invitation to lunch by my girlfriends followed by a guided tour through the local art museum? It just goes to show, Paris might have the most impressive amount of exhibitions but there are little jewels offering a rich cultural programme in every city no matter what size.

After a delicious homemade pesto accompanied by a glass of prosecco we set off to Lugano's LAC cultural center. Inaugurated in September 2015 LAC (Lugano Arte e Cultura) is devoted to visual arts, to music and the performing arts.

The Gottfried Keller Foundation is one of the important collections of Swiss art. The foundation was established in 1890 by Lydia Welti-Escher and was later entrusted to the Confederation for the purpose of procuring important works of visual art for Switzerland.

The LAC exhibition focused primarily on nineteenth- and twentieth-century paintings, with significant incursions into the previous centuries, documenting the production of some of Switzerland's greatest artists such as Hodler, Segantini and Giacometti.

Situated in a breathtaking position overlooking the lake, LAC expresses its mission as a comprehensive cultural venue open to residents and visitors alike, providing a showcase for artists and serving as a place where the public can enjoy and learn about the arts.

The view from inside the LAC looking onto Monte Bré

Die Teufelsbrücke, a classic by Caspar Wolf

Death by Giovanni Segantini

The Chosen One by Ferdinand Hodler

La Luronne by Francois Barraud

Portrait of daughter Hedwig by Max Buri

My favourite: a detail from Equestrian fantasy with pink lady by Alice Bailly

The spectacular view from the LAC

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Opening of Lido di Lugano

On May 1st the Lido of Lugano holds its traditional opening to kick off the summer season. At 11am, in the presence of the city authorities, the City of Lugano offered the usual "aperitivo" to all visitors. Bathing was allowed both in the pools and in the lake for those who dare faced the 11ºC. The good news is that the entrance today is free AND the sun is out! What a treat!

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