All posts filed under: Travel

Discover open spaces with Swiss Heritage’s Historic Trails booklets

The Swiss Heritage Society — (Schweizer Heimatschutz / Patrimoine Suisse) dedicates itself to preserving Swiss culture in the shape of its buildings and national monuments as well as its open spaces, including parks and walking trails.  If, like me, you enjoy combining walking and discovering landscapes, architecture, history and local culture, then you’ll enjoy the Society’s Destination Heritage guidebooks. The first guidebook, Destination Heritage, Volume 1: Historic Trails is dedicated to connecting history and nature-lovers with the 35 most beautiful and historically significant transit routes in the country. From bridges with a daring structure, old mule tracks, and Napoleonic alpine roads to romantic Belle Époque routes through the countryside, these historic trails shine a light on the country’s social and political developments as much as its architectural and technical ones.   Routes of communication are cultural property   In Destination Guidebook Volume 2, entitled Ripe Fruit and Golden Hay, walkers are led to discover the beauty and diversity of 23 traditional rural landscapes, many of which have been transformed over the centuries. And Volume 3 will set …

Switzerland’s Loveliest Cafés and Tea Rooms, Revised, 2nd edition

  If coffee culture and architecture are among your passions, then search out the best of both in one spot with the revised, 2nd edition of the Swiss Heritage Society booklet “Switzerland’s Loveliest Cafés and Tea Rooms”. In recent years, there’s been a revival of coffee and tea houses not only as places to enjoy a stimulating boost of caffeine but also as a rendezvous spot for culture, conversation and relaxation in a unique and often historic setting.

Montreal’s McCord Museum: preserving the First Peoples’ cultural heritage for future generations

This is a special year for Canada and for my hometown Montreal as they both mark another benchmark year in their respective histories. In recognition, I want to include a piece about a cultural gem that is well worth adding to your bucket list of must-see museums should you ever be fortunate enough to visit. Here, Montreal-born writer Andrea Grimaud gives us her impressions as to why the McCord Museum is so worth your while to experience. Throughout the year, Montreal’s McCord Museum mounts stunning temporary exhibitions dedicated to illuminating for citizens and out-of-towners alike the history, people and communities of this vibrant, multicultural city, which this year celebrates its 375th birthday just as Canada marks its 150th.

Swiss Heritage adds “Switzerland’s Loveliest Islands” to its collection of handy touring booklets

Think of Switzerland and what comes to mind are mountains, pastures and lakes, but islands? Not really. Yet Swiss Heritage’s latest addition to its “Switzerland’s Loveliest” brochure collection introduces 33 islands — both big and small, natural and man-made — that dot the country’s lakes and waterways and traverse national borders.

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Meet Céline Dreveton: Artisan, Entrepreneur and Creative Force behind the UNIcréa arts & crafts fair

From 3-6 November, 100 talented artisans from across Europe will gather at the magical Château de la Sarraz above Lausanne for the 22nd ed. of the UNIcréa Salon for Art, Fashion & Decor. This ‘must do’ biannual event attracted more than 6,000 arts and crafts lovers to its Spring edition at the Château de Morges last May, many of whom were returning clientele eager to enjoy four-days of original creations, fashion shows, children’s workshops, and a uniquely welcoming and upbeat atmosphere that celebrates artisanal craftsmanship at its best.

Parting shots of winter in the charming village of Zermatt

I loved Zermatt the first time I saw it during a one-day stopover almost 30 years ago. I continued to love it every year for ten years when my husband and I celebrated his birthday with a ski-week vacation every mid-January. We saw its fortunes rise and fall and rise again and with it the opening and closing and opening again of shops, bars, restaurants, hotels and luxury villas. The last few years, as foreign money rolled in, it was hard to view an unobstructed skyline free of construction cranes. It was worrying, but somehow through it all, the village maintained its charm and authenticity even as free green spaces were eaten up, prices climbed, and the slopes became more crowded (especially with the new ski lifts). So what would we find — or not, I wondered, after a five year absence devoted to the needs of a house and garden and two adorable cats that were unable to handle our absence for more than a few hours at a time. Good to be back — and reassured Happily, we found that many …

hiking through Swiss vineyards

Walking Switzerland’s breathtaking Lavaux terraced vineyards.

The terraced vineyards of the Lavaux region, stretching from Lausanne to Montreux, offer breathtaking views over land and lake that can be enjoyed on foot with relative ease. First terraced by monks in the 11th century, the region received UNESCO World Heritage-site status in 2007 and doubtless is one of the country’s most beautiful to explore. Together with my friends in the Internation Women’s Club of Nyon (IWCN) I walked the very popular portion through the vineyards that stretch from St. Saphorin to Cully. The journey took approximately two-and-a-half-hours at a leisurely pace and offered only a  few steep but shortlived inclines. Meandering paths cut through charming medieval villages and took us through vineyards where day-workers picked grapes and wine was available to sample and purchase. Easy to reach by public transport The Lavaux walks are easily reached by train: we boarded in Nyon, changed trains in Lausanne and uncamped at St. Saphorin, a one-hour journey in total. We descended to lake level shortly before Cully and walked along the beach towards the village, where we headed for …