Saturday, 22 April 2017

Swissminiature

After our last trip to Melide, I have got an e-mail from one of the readers telling me that I have forgotten about the biggest tourist attraction in the town. Of course, I did not. I simply wanted to give it full attention and a separate post. The Swissminatur park is really worth it! I hope that you will enjoy as much as myself to revisit places we have seen in Switzerland over the last months.


The first image that welcomes us is of course the Oath of Rütli, which we have already seen in the Tell's chappel.


The Chapel itself is obviously also present.


Later on, we will be able to discover all the important landscapes of the country. First the mountains, with the Titlis Rotair, an amazing rotating cable car between Stand (2450 m) and Titlis (3020 m).


And then, Matterhorn.


In between, you will find the Glacier Express.


And not only it looks great. It really moves!


You will of course find in the park all the major Swiss cities. Let's start by the federal city of Bern and the Swiss Parliament.


The Zytglogge is here as well, together with one of the famous Bernese fountains.


Geneva is also present, with its cathedral ...


... and the International Red Cross headquarters.


On the banks of Lake Geneva you will find Chillion castle which we have visited recently.


The lake itself would not look credible without tourist ships cruising around it.



Zurich, as the largest Swiss city, has several sites, including the Frau Munster church ...



... the Town Hall (which is far from being impressive to be honest) ...


... and just behind it (though it is not even close in reality) the Zurich airport called Kloten.


The cathedral in Basel stands apart thanks to its red bricks ...


... and the Town Hall of Schwyz thanks to its square shape and the magnificent decorations on its walls.


Last but not least, the rural areas are also represented, with typical houses from various regions of Switzerland. Some very large ...


... and other rather small.


Look, they even have the house of Heidi, from Johanna Spyri book.


I must say that I was impressed by the attention to details that the authors of the Swissminiatur devoted to their work. All the tourist attractions are surrounded by roads, rivers and tunnels, with tiny little cars or trains.


Some of the trains actually carry cars into tunnels.


Even the miniature fountains are real, spreading the sound of peace and happiness. Let's enjoy it for a last moment.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Melide

As you all know, Switzerland does not have access to any sea. Still, it is possible to have a glimpse of Mediterranean while still being in Switzerland. I invite you to walk with me around a picturesque town of Melide in canton Ticino. 


Nice residential buildings rest here calmly in the shadow of palm trees.


So is the church, actually.


The streets are narrow but inviting. Often, the houses are connected by little passages on higher floors.


The houses are ornamented, often with religious motifs, both on upper floors ...


... and on ground level. Look - this is a fountain topped with an image of Our Lady holding Baby Jesus in her arms.


But you can find on the walls also typical Mediterranean landscapes.


Even the window blinds have the azure colour of the sea.


Though some of the windows only look like real. 


The reason why I chose Melide out of all small towns in Ticino was that it is the hometown of a famous architect Domenico Fontana.


On almost every corner you can find a place that was connected with Fontana.


Large posters explain facts from the life of the famous architect.


So let's check what is behind that whole in the wall ...


... or at the end of this little lane.


Do not forget to smell the roses on your way.


Finally we arrive to the main square in town. Dedicated, what a surprise, to Domenico Fontana.


Look, there is a little, very Italian, cafe over there.


Hmmm ... A little Italian cappucccio. What a delight. Let's enjoy it in the welcoming sunlight of Ticinese Melide.


Saturday, 8 April 2017

Bellinzona

Bellinzona is the capital of canton Ticino. It is a nice Italian-speaking town.


It is world-wide known for its three medieval castles which are together forming a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



The biggest one is called, what a surprise, Castello Grande.


It was built on a high rocky hill.


The original castle was built in the thirteenth century and then rebuilt a number of times. As a result, it is still impressive.


It is surrounded by a high wall with a large path where in the old days soldiers guarding the castle, Bellinzona and the whole valley were walking.


It is topped up with some symmetric structures. To be honest I am not sure if they were built with a purpose or just for aesthetic reasons.


The hill below the castle is covered by vineyards that go next to the ramparts. In the back you can see the Alps still covered with snow.


And on the other side of the valley you can see the other two castles. The upper one is a bit too high but let me take you to the one just opposite.


Let's go down to the old town first. Some of the residential buildings are really interesting.


I like these decorations.


Looking at this tower I first thought that it was a church. But not, it is the Town Hall.


The main church in town, Collegiata of Ss. Peter and Steven, is a few steps away. We need to past next to it to reach our second castle today.


The road to the next castle is long, narrow and steep.


As we arrive to the Montebello castle, the familiar wall with lily-shaped decorations welcomes us. You can see clearly now, that they have holes through which the defenders were able to shoot at the attackers while still being hidden and protected.


The inner courtyard is rather small and not really interesting.


In the middle stands a tower.


Let's go up on the walls.


On the left, you can see Castello Grande that we have just visited.


On the right comes the third castle - Saso Corbaro.


I must say that even though the Bellinzona castles were maybe not impressive from architectural perspective, altogether they are really worth a visit. So if ever you come to Ticino, make sure you do not miss them!