Read this in: German
I’ve been to Switzerland before, but I can not remember this trip. It was my second birthday when my parents bathed with me in a lake. I was sitting in a swimming ring near a liquor factory and I then had a conspicuous good mood. Everywhere there was a smell of apricot liqueur. Switzerland was always a desire destination for me. I come from a place where others go to vacation – at the German Northern Sea. But you want to know what you do not have at home and that would be mountains in my case.
Yes, there were also some hills on my summer vacations in England. Bristol was hilly than expected. But that is of course no comparison to the Alps.
Fortunately, in the form of a press trip, I had the opportunity to explore a region that sounds a bit too good to be true. Beautiful mountains, opportunities for outdoor sports, but also swimming in lakes, driving through winding roads, stroll around in city centers or just enjoy the beautiful weather. Villas and promenades, mountain villages and wild nature, both just a stone’s throw away.
The fortresses of Bellinzona
When I arrive in Switzerland, it’s raining heavily. So I already know that I can’t take good pictures on this day, but later I learn: It does not rain so often in Ticino. But when it rains, it really rains a lot of rain. Rain is rather unusual after this summer, but rather annoying, if you want to orient yourself in a strange place and looking for the way to the hotel. WIFI is a rare commodity in Switzerland and holidaymakers should not forget that there is no data roaming in Switzerland and thus mobile data can be very expensive. So take care and look for free WIFI.
For the first evening of the press trip, a short walk through Bellinzona was planned. That walk isn’t that nice ’cause of the heavy rain. We climb the steps of the lowest fortress, the Castel Grande. Unfortunately, I have not seen much of Bellinzona on this trip, but I really liked what I saw. If you want to travel through Ticino, you can take this city as a starting point for your day trips. In the city there are three fortresses, which can also be climbed on a 5 km long circular route. That evening, we ate in one and amazingly even had something vegan ready for me. Dear vegans, this is not self-evident in Switzerland. Anyone who is vegan or allergic, should also stock up enough with food that he tolerates. In my case it was nuts and humus.
Everything is different than planned
At 9 o’clock in the morning in a small village in Ticino near Bellinzona. I’ve just come out of the pharmacy when a hell of a noise breaks out. Several men discuss with a police man, an elderly man sprays his flowers in front of the lime green house, next door is built and, behind it, a move takes place. A lady, who seems to be bleached, rages furiously in full barber’s outfit from the salon self-confidently on the square and talks to the police in prevailing tone and waving barber’s cloak.
Her husband and a hairdresser stumble awkwardly afterwards, felt half the village gathered there. Only the old man continues to spray and gives me a dirty look because I did not greet him. “Buon dio” I stammer, in this region I never know what to say. German? Italian? Sometimes they also speak a little French words. Very confusing for me, since I mostly travel in English, but here with German on. The old army considers me with a toothless smile and greets me back wordlessly.
Be active or relax over the clouds
The lift for up to 4 people can also transport 2 bikes at the same time and costs 10 francs for a return trip. The lift is 22 years old, but was closed in 2012 and reopened in May 2016.
A region for wine connoisseurs
A touch of mysticism
The diversity of buildings in Ticino
Between mountain village and cooking
By bike through forest and mountain
If you need a guide to do a technical course or drive a certain distance, you pay 400 francs for groups of up to 8 people.
Hiking on the turquoise water
Chestnut Festival in Ascona
In the footsteps of the chestnuts
But outside the Chestnut Festival you can also explore the trail all year round on your own. If you want to be part of the Chestnut Festival, you should remember the second Sunday in October. This was created by the forestry engineer Carlo Schiegga, who presents us this way and answers all sorts of questions. And my personal advice would be to visit this path in the fall, as you can then pick your own chestnuts.
The chestnut comes originally from the Middle East and came to Ticino 2000 years ago with the Romans. Of course it is an interesting fruit as it is very nutritious and gives a lot of energy. Later, however, the long chestnut culture in Ticino was replaced by corn and potatoes. These crops have a different taste and yield. After the Second World War, the chestnut tree slowly fell into oblivion, as it focused more on the economy of the center Lugano. Chestnuts were used only for personal use, trade and sale and so they lost relevance. For recultivation belongs today that other trees such as linden or birch must not keep unique in the chestnut forests. And although I’m talking about chestnuts, there are about 50 different varieties in Ticino. Different varieties guarantee that there is a variety – some deliver fruit earlier, some later.
During the press trip we stayed at the Hotel la Tureta in Giubiasco. This is a 4 star biking hotel that has a nice ambience and offers a generous breakfast that I unfortunately did not have much of besides the variety of teas. Especially the breakfast hall pleased me with its beautiful murals.
But there are other ways to get a good accommodation in Ticino. In addition to guesthouses or guesthouses that rent rooms there are also other options. For example, you can rent a cabin on one of the campsites. Or you can rent Rustico on a weekly basis and be on the road from there. Airbnbs is also available – but there is no Ticino ticket included.