Top 5 things to do in Arosa during summer

Many know Arosa as a place to spend an amazing winter holiday. You can ski and snowboard or simply go for a walk by the lake and along the snowy streets of the town. Arosa sure is a great destination for a winter vacation but it’s just as beautiful in the summer. Arosa is 1’775 meters above sea level. This is why the temperature won’t rise as high up in the summer. A visit is a great possibility to cool down and enjoy a wonderful and sunny summer day.

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  1. Spend the day in the forest

In Arosa you can experience nature on a whole new level. There’s the “Squirrel Trail” in the forest, which is basically a family hiking trail with barbecue areas and places for the children to play. Squirrels and birds will accompany you along the way. Make sure to bring them a little treat. They absolutely love hazelnuts.

2.  Try the best “Gerstensuppe” in the country

At the end of the trail you’ll come across the Gold and Sports Hotel Hof Maran. There they serve they serve by far the best “Gerstensuppe” (barley broth) in Switzerland.

“Gerstensuppe” (barley broth) is a Swiss national dish.

3.  Enjoy the view of the lake and local pastries

My favorite bakery in Arosa is the Widmer bakery right at the lake front. When you go there make sure to try the squirrel cookies.

When you get tired of exploring the beauties in Arosa you can stop by the café next to the bakery. There you get to relax while enjoying the view of the lake.

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4.  Exercise by the lake

The fact that there is a lake in Arosa makes this place even more unique. Not only tourists but also locals like to stay and exercise by the lake. Some people go for a run, others prefer to ride a bike, roller-skate or simply take a walk. There’s also the possibility to rent a paddle boat. Arosa often happens to be the host of sports events because the scenery simply makes it possible.

5.  Go on a horse-drawn carriage ride

There’s also the possibility to discover Arosa by carriage. Departure is in front of the train station. The coachmen are locals and will be able to tell you anything about they’re hometown.

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Willy Wonka is working his magic in London

We have so much time and so little to see … wait a minute! Strike that! Reverse it. – Willy Wonka

Every chocolate lover knows it. The renowned story of little Charlie Bucket whom’s biggest wish is to satisfy his curiosity and see what’s behind the doors of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. In 2014, Roald Dahl’s novel has finally made it’s way to London’s West End. The wonderfully scrumptious and delicious production directed by Academy Award® Winner Sam Mendes keeps enchanting everybody with a sweet tooth.

London simply couldn’t resist temptation of the super delicious Wonka chocolate bars and caught the Willy-Wonka-Chocolate-Fever. It is highly contagious and chances for a full recovery are ridiculously small. Here are some tips to ease the pain while staying in the city of London. Get well soon!

AFTERNOON TEA

CHARLIE AND THE CHESTERFIELD AFTERNOON TEA

willywonkateaThe hotel offers two different kinds of afternoon tea, which can be directly linked to the story of Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka.

For their Charlie and the Chesterfield Afternoon Tea they added Wonka Bars, Oompa Loompa cupcakes, fizzy lifting drinks and gobstoppers of all sorts to their traditional afternoon tea. As well as a cup of one of their finest loose leaf teas one can enjoy hot chocolate and coffee.

For their Little Oompa Loompa Afternoon Tea they serve you peanut butter and jam sandwiches, fruit and chocolate chip scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam and other Wonkatastic pastries and delights. A free milkshake or tea is included.

They now added an additional type of tea to their incredible variety of loose leaf teas:
The Willy Wonka Chocolate Tea. Enjoy!

AFTERNOON TEA INSPIRED BY CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

Charlie-tea-overview(di)-5bd9c1b0-e073-4720-8ac7-4f9bc73c12be-0-455x303In celebration of their partnership with the musical production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the One Aldwych Hotel created a scrumdiddlyumptious afternoon tea special.

The afternoon tea reflects the wit and wonder of Roald Dahl’s delightful tale, so that not even Willy Wonka himself could resist its tastiness.  The menu offers everything from decadent golden eggs to blueberry brioche and playful flavoured candy floss. Teatime treats are presented with a selection of loose leaf teas and infusions from Covent Garden’s Tea Palace.

In addition to the menu one can order the Charlie Bucket Cocktail. The mix of Dalmore whisky, Grand Marnier Cherry, chocolate bitters, grapefruit juice, cherry syrup and Champagne topping rings in a perfect evening at the West End.

CANDY SHOPS

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HOPE AND GREENWOOD – OLD FASHIONED SWEET SHOP

Hope and Greendwood stands for The Best of British confectionery. Ms. Hope and Mr. Greendwood met in 1973 and soon became aware of each others passion for all things sugary and sweet. With the opening of their first candy shop they created a place where they feed the retro-cravings of the Willy Wonka generation. Racks and counters are filled with self-made candy,  chocolate, truffles, toffee, fudge, bonbons, candy floss, lollipops, gum, jellies, liquorice and marshmallows. It’s quite overwhelming!

Their store’s location couldn’t be any better. The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical theater is situated right around the corner. I’m sure that Willy Wonka stops by the candy shop before every show to grab some scrumptious candy bars. Follow his lead and enjoy!

MR. HUMBUG

Entering Mr Humbug’s candy shop feels just like entering Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. No matter what type of confectionary you’re looking for, Mr Humbug’s got it all. The candy man offers you sweets out of a gigantic selection containing goodies one thought were long forgotten. It’s the type of candy shop one knows from the movies and which are almost nowhere to be found anymore. The shop is located in Greenwich but it’s well worth the trip for a Charlie Bucket like me.

I hope this will help with the Willy-Wonka-Chocolate-Fever. Enjoy!

New Year’s in London

By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show. – Samuel Johnson

Winter might not seem like the perfect time to visit the UK but the city of London has a lot to offer especially during the holiday season. Spending Christmas or New Year’s in the English capital is well worth a trip.

To enjoy the holiday season in a metropolis like London one has to avoid the crowds and find the more calm and quiet areas. This seems impossible at first but it’s well worth the effort.

Right before the holiday season Hyde Park turns into this incredible Christmas extravaganza, which is basically a huge fair with a ferris wheel, an ice rink, food stands, a Christmas market, live music and even circus shows. A visit in the park really puts you in the mood for the holidays. It’s as if the park itself wishes you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Entering the wonderland from the west end side after leaving the Hyde Park Corner tube station will lead you directly to a more decent and calm area of the park. That’s where local bands and singers perform their music and passengers simply stop and listen.
I personally really enjoy these kinds of concerts where the focus is still on actual music and the artists interact with their audience. Last time I was in London for New Year’s I came across two very talented British singers, who both seem to be on the verge of great success. If you’re interested check out the following two videos.

Latch by Olly Chamberlain
American Boy/Beggin’ by Fraser Churchill

Afternoon tea in London is a must and what better time to sit down for a  of hot cup of tea than a cold december afternoon. The Café at the Hotel Café Royal on Regent Street close to Piccadilly Circus has become one of my favorite places to just hangout with friends while sipping tea and enjoying some delicious pastries, cakes or chocolates.

Taking in all the twinkling lights and sparkling Christmas decorations while wandering the streets of London during the holiday season turns your trip into an even more festive experience.

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New Bond Street
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Regent Street

A stop at Covent Garden is inevitable if you’re looking for a little something for your loved ones. There you can find all sorts of souvenirs and presents. Various shops offer you the biggest variety of tea. You might even get a free sample. 😉

When the temperature drops at night you don’t have to hide in your hotel room. Go and watch a musical at London’s West end. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is brand new and celebrates great success all over the world. As an alternative there is  “The Lion King” and “Wicked”. Both are must-see musicals that keep fascinating people over and over again.

Also at Covent Garden you will find typical English bakeries and sweet shops. My favorite one is the old fashioned sweet shop called Hope and Greenwood. If you get a chance go and check it out.

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London’s spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks display at the London Eye is famous around the world. At midnight, Big Ben will ring out and is followed by the UK’s largest annual fireworks display.

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On New Year’s day there is a parade taking place to ring in the new year. It starts on Piccadilly and finishes in Parliament Square.

The experience the city will provide is one of a kind and filled with possibilities to create unforgettable memories. London never seemed like a place to visit in the winter. One would expect the low temperatures to freeze the entire city and bring everything to an abrupt stop. Surprisingly it turned out to be this really amazing city full of life and holiday spirit. Everything just seems like one huge celebration.

Salto Natale

Salto Natale is one of Switzerland’s most famous Christmas circuses founded by Rolf Knie and his son Gregory in 2002. Every year they put on an amazing show, which attracts people from all over the country. The costumes, music, lights and performances are well-matched and melt to a unity.

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From the moment when one takes a step into the circus tent one is surrounded with magic and Christmas spirit.

Click here for more information.

Advent season in Switzerland’s oldest city

Compared to Zürich (Zurich in English) – the biggest city of Switzerland – Chur (Coire in English) seems rather tiny. However if you decide to take the chance and visit the oldest city of Switzerland during Advent season you surely won’t regret it. Coire’s treasures are hidden and you actually need to seek the beauties of the ancient town, which are usually only known to local people. In this blog post I will introduce you to some of the city’s secrets.

1. Christkindlimarkt
The Christkindlimarkt is a little Christmas fair in the heart of Coire. It offers everyone in the family some kind of entertainment for little money. Children may go on a ride on the carousel while grown-ups warm their hands on a hot cup of delicious punch. The Christkindlimarkt is gaining popularity. This year it took place for several days and not just for one single weekend.

2. Ice skating in the center
Every year the city provides an outdoor ice rink, which is popular with all age groups. I used to go there with my grandmother when I was in kindergarten. I loved the experience and I won’t ever miss a chance to go ice skating when I’m in town.

3. Merz Café
If you want to escape the cold or simply need a break from all the Christmas craziness that’s happening in december I highly recommend to stop by the Merz Café. It’s located in the same building as the Manor department store. The café seems like paradise on earth for everyone with a sweet tooth.

4. The “Obertor”
The “Obertor” is the town gate of Coire. The four-storied tower represents the town’s landmark.

5. Alexanderplatz
On the Alexanderplatz in Chur you find the “3 Lotus” – Statue by the artist Not Vital.

6. Go and see a mammoth-tree
In the Fontanapark, which is located in the heart of the city one gets to see a sequoia or how the Grisons call it a “mammoth-tree”.

7. The “Bärenloch” (possible translation: bear-cavity)
Slip through the bear-cavity and find yourself in the olden days. The bear-cavity between the Arcas and the Martins Square visualizes the housing situation before the fire of 1464.

8. “Das Haus zum Meerhafen” (possible translation: the house to the seaport)
This house is one of the first newly constructed buildings after the fire of 1464 so therefore it’s one of the oldest (most likely the oldest) buildings of the city.

9. The “Zschaler” Haus
The “Zschaler House” is a beautiful little house in the historic part of the town. Its facade is opulently painted, which makes the house one of a kind.

10. New Year’s on top of Coire’s backyard mountain
If you haven’t gotten enough you can spend a few more days in the amazing city of Coire and stay for New Year’s. The “Brambrüesch” ropeway will get you quickly to the top of the mountain where you get to watch the fireworks. The view is breathtaking.

Little hint for the little ones: Kids can get the city’s travel guide for kids (Kinderstadtplan Chur) at the tourist information center in Coire. The guide is also available online.

This was only a little foretaste of what is to come if you decide to spend Advent season in the city of Coire.

Zurich’s Charm on a Cold December Night

Dear readers

I’d like to start my new blog with something that fits perfectly into the holiday season. This blog post is all about city lights. Zurich is an enchanting city especially at Christmas time. Walking along the streets feels like walking through a winter wonderland. It’s magic.

See for yourself!

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Rennweg, Zurich

The Christmas lights were switched on on November 20th this year and was followed by the traditional Night Shopping in the heart of Zurich.

Zurich offers you many occasions to find a little something for your loved ones. My two favorite places in the city are the Christmas market at the main station and the Christmas market in the old town. Both markets are always fully packed with people but they’re definitely worth visiting.

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Swarovski Christmas Tree

Every year, a giant Christmas tree decorated with hundreds of Swarovski Christmas ornaments (worth over one billion Swiss francs) embellishes the hall of the Zurich main station. (Click here for a video behind the scenes.)

If you haven’t gotten into Christmas spirit yet there’s still hope. The Conelli Christmas Circus offers a program full of world-class entertainment, which includes a huge variety of everything a circus-loving heart could ever wish for.

Zurich is one of my favorite cities in the world. It has got so much to offer. I hope you’ll find something that appeals to you. 🙂