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Archive for switzerland

Europe’s Largest Clock Face

By Linda Tancs

You can tell the time from anywhere in Zürich, Switzerland, thanks to St. Peter’s Church. The only Baroque church in the city, it boasts the largest clock face in Europe, with a dial measuring over 28 feet in diameter. The ninth-century church is also the oldest in the city, its tower having served as a fire lookout point for part of its history. Be sure to step inside, where the treasures include crystal chandeliers, an organ with 53 stops, a baptismal font dating to 1598 and 15th-century choir chairs.

The Maldives of Switzerland

By Linda Tancs

At the heart of Switzerland’s Verzasca Valley you’ll find the emerald-green waters of the Verzasca River, enveloped by polished gorges and bathing pools. Locals like to compare its natural beauty to Maldives. One of the most iconic features across the river is Ponte dei Salti (jump bridge), a double-arched medieval stone pedestrian bridge in photogenic Lavertezzo. It’s a jumping point, literally, for divers as well as a good starting point for hikers. The best way to get to this Italian-speaking region in southern Switzerland is by car.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Foliage Train

By Linda Tancs

The Vigezzina-Centovalli Railway runs 32 miles between Domodossola, Italy, and Locarno, Switzerland, passing over 83 bridges and viaducts. Just the mention of a route like that evokes scenic wonders, so imagine how colorful it gets during autumn. That’s when “the foliage train” operates, promising enchanting views enhanced by autumn’s foliage. Each train is equipped with full-length windows, too, so it’s doubtful that the journey will disappoint. You can reach the International Rail Station of Domodossola with Eurocity, interregionali and regionali trains operated by Trenitalia. On the Swiss side, Locarno can be reached by using the international railway lines Basel-Milano or Zurich-Milano, and the route is fully covered by the Swiss Travel Pass (Flex) and GA travelcard.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Haven for Veggies in Zürich

By Linda Tancs

Swiss cuisine is marked by cheese, mounds of fondue and raclette. Add Geschnetzeltes (small pieces of veal cooked in a creamy mushroom and white wine sauce) to the list in Zürich. You’re not likely to think of tofu, greens and chickpeas—unless, of course, you’re dining at Haus Hiltl, which happens to be the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant. Founded in 1898 and operated by the fourth generation of the Hiltl family, the eatery is even recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest, continuously-run vegetarian restaurant. Offering new takes on vegetarian and vegan cuisine, The Hiltl also creates veggie versions of many traditional meat dishes.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Christmas Magic in Lausanne

By Linda Tancs

Designers, wineries and food producers convene this time of year in Lausanne, Switzerland, for the annual shopping tradition, Bô Noël. Among the activities you can sample local cheeses and meats and indulge in a fondue ritual. The event is child friendly, too, including a festival of lights (Lausanne Lumières), featuring light sculptures in the streets. This year’s event runs through December 31.

In the Footsteps of Chaplin

By Linda Tancs

Charlie Chaplin is an icon of the film industry, renowned for his screen persona “the Tramp.” The Tramp made his first appearance in 1914 in the film “Kid Auto Races at Venice.” You’ll learn much more about his life and career at Chaplin’s World in Vevey, Switzerland. His mansion there, Manoir de Ban, was his home for 25 years, from 1952 until his death in 1977. Now a museum, you’ll delight not only in his furnishings and personal belongings but also in a Hollywood-style studio journeying through his long film career and in 10 acres of parkland with unobstructed views of Lake Geneva and the Alps. Signs and displays are in English and French. A guided tour of the manor using mobile and tablet devices is also available free of charge in English, French and German.

By the Numbers in Solothurn

By Linda Tancs

Eleven is a ubiquitous (and some might say auspicious) number in the Swiss town of Solothurn. You’ll count it everywhere. There are 11 museums. Eleven fountains. Eleven chapels. Eleven churches. When the landmark cathedral of St. Ursus was under construction in 1762, its builder built upon the number theme (no pun intended) by including 11 bells in the tower, 11 altars, an outer staircase with 11 steps and an organ with a grand sum of pipes divisible by 11. And the cathedral took 11 years to build. Of course it did. Even the local beer is named “eleven” (Öufi, in the local dialect). As if that weren’t enough of a numbers game, there’s a clock on the wall of a bank with an 11-hour dial and the number 12 missing. Its 11 cogs churn 11 bells with the aid of a metal harlequin to chime out the local song, Solothurner Lied, at various times during the day. A themed tour about the number 11 can be booked with Region Solothurn Tourismus.

 

The Christmas Spirit in Montreux

By Linda Tancs

Along the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, the Montreux Christmas Market is a long-established delight. You’ll likely find that last-minute gift in one of the 160 decorated and illuminated chalets (stalls). As the holiday music swirls, meander around with a glass of mulled wine (like the locals) and enjoy some culinary tastings. Not to be outdone by other popular markets in the region, Montreux offers a nightly 3D light show projected onto the façade of the renowned hotel, Fairmont le Montreux Palace. Go there during the week and avoid the weekend frenzy.

A Nod to Nutrition in Switzerland

By Linda Tancs

There’s a museum for everything. Why should diet and nutrition be any different? Alimentarium is billed as the first museum in the world dedicated entirely to the subject of nutrition. Located in Vevey, Switzerland (home to Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company), the facility’s exhibitions examine all aspects of the human diet and nutrition throughout the centuries, including eating habits, science, art and culture. There’s also an educational vegetable garden to quench your appetite for knowledge.

Thunder in the Valley

By Linda Tancs

Switzerland’s Trümmelbach Falls drain glacier meltwater from the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. Europe’s largest subterranean waterfalls, they’re located in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, often called “the valley of 72 waterfalls.” Thanks to the glacier ice melt this time of year, over 5,000 gallons of water per second can thunder and roar through the interior of the Jungfrau down into the valley. The entire course of the cascades is accessible underground by lift, galleries, tunnels, paths and platforms. If you’re going to “Trümmelbachfälle” by train, go via Interlaken (SBB/BLS/Zentralbahn) toward Lauterbrunnen (BOB). A bus will take you from there to the “Trümmelbachfälle” bus stop.

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