Switzerland’s secret cherry liqueur

I shut my eyes to enjoy the sensation of the Röteli going down my throat. The flavours of the Swiss cherry liqueur are new to me, somewhat spicy, somewhat tart, and thoroughly delightful. It is a warm summer evening in Chur, the capital of the Grisons or Graübunden canton in the eastern part of the…

In love with Lucerne

It is still bright and sunny when I head out for an early dinner at seven in the evening. My handy phone map shows the restaurant is just around the corner from where I am staying in Lucerne. So I stroll out of the doors of my charming ‘Romantik’ hotel – as many of the…

Friday photo: Lucerne

In a country that is dotted with blockbuster landscapes and picturesque cities, I found myself falling in love with Lucerne very easily and rapidly. Its location at the banks of Lake Lucerne and River Reuss, surrounded by the majestic mountains; the Kapellbrucke covered wooden bridge across the river; and then the medieval buildings with their…

Postcard pretty Appenzell

In a country that is littered with jaw-droppingly, breathtakingly beautiful natural scenery – just think Interlaken, Jungfraujoch and Zermatt – Appenzell stopped me short. No towering mountains here, all that snow sprawled on top like it belongs there. No icy blue waters or Bollywood heavyweights (although Yash Chopra is mentioned ever so often in hushed,…

The Swiss Sound of Music

Matthias Ammann puts his hands into his pockets, smiles at us, and yodels effortlessly. Of course he would. He has been yodeling since the age other children learn to gurgle and crawl. He then looks at our stricken faces and sings one note at a time, making us repeat it. It is all very pleasant,…

High up in Heidiland

As I peel off a jacket and then a sweater on my hike up from Maienfeld village towards Heididorf, I am reminded of an initial scene from the book. Heidi is clambering up the Alps behind her aunt Dete, and as it gets warmer and warmer, off comes one layer of clothing after another. I…

Tour de dessert: Swiss Bliss

Cheesy, I know. But it’s Swiss, so I’m allowed to be cheesy. And I’ll stop before it gets worse. Lonely Planet recently had this piece on Europe’s most delicious pastries, cakes and tarts – some usual suspects like the Italian Cannoli, some surprises like voting for the Fächertorte over the Sachertorte in Austria. But overall,…

Friday photo: Alphorning

A couple of weeks ago, I learned to play the alphorn in a small village in Switzerland. Okay, learned to play is way exaggerating what I actually did – which was, learned to blow into the alphorn to produce what sounded like a musical note. To a very generous ear. Great fun (to me, not…