astragalus root twttrLook beyond the chocolate, cuckoo clocks and yodelling – contemporary Switzerland, land of four languages, is all about once-in-a-lifetime journeys, heart-racing Alpine pursuits and urban culture.

 astragalus root twttr

Great Outdoors

Switzerland's ravishing landscapes demand immediate action – grab boots, leap on board, toot bike bell and let spirits rip. Skiing and snowboarding in Graubünden, Bernese Oberland and Central Switzerland are winter choices. When pastures turn green, hiking and biking trails abound in glacier-encrusted mountain areas and lower down along lost valleys, glittering lake shores and pea-green vineyards. View the grandeur from a hot-air balloon or parachute, or afloat a white-water raft. Then there's those must-do-before-death experiences like encountering Eiger's chiselled north face up close or reaching crevassed ice on Jungfraujoch. Most extraordinary of all, you don’t need to be a mountaineer to do it.

Urban Edge

The perfect antidote to rural beauty is Switzerland's urban edge: capital Bern with its medieval old town and world-class modern art, deeply Germanic Basel and its bold architecture, chic Geneva astraddle Europe’s largest lake, party-loving Lausanne, tycoon magnet Zug and uber-cool Zürich with its riverside bars, reborn industrial west district and atypical street grit. Castles and craft beer, gigs and new-wave restaurants – you’ll find the lot in Swiss cities. And never has the urban been so close to the outdoors: within minutes you can reach nearby peaks, chill at waterfront bars with Alpine views, or enjoy invigorating swims in the Rhine, Aare and Limmat.

Alpine Tradition

Variety is the spice of rural life in this rich, earthy land where Alpine tradition is rooted in the agricultural calendar and soaring mountains are a dime a dozen. Travels are mapped by villages with timber granaries built on stilts to keep the rats out and chalet farmsteads brightened with red geranium blossoms. Ancient markets, folkloric fairs, flag waving and alp-horn concerts engrave the passing of seasons in every soul. And then there's the food: a hearty and flavoursome gastronomic celebration of gooey cheese desperate to be dipped in, along with velvety chocolate, autumnal game and air-dried meats.

Avant-Garde Culture

Ever innovative, the Swiss have always embraced the new and the experimental. Capturing the zeitgeist up and down the country are cultural venues, attention-grabbing architecture and avant-garde galleries. Bern's wavy Zentrum Paul Klee bearing architect Renzo Piano’s hallmark, Basel's Frank Gehry–designed Vitra Design Museum and astounding Fondation Beyeler, Lugano's Mario Botta–splashed centre and state-of-the-art MASI gallery, and Geneva's thought-provoking Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in a revamped 1950s factory are just the tip of the cultural iceberg. Even in back-of-beyond corners of the Alps you'll encounter unexpected nods to modern aesthetics, contemporary art and fresh-faced design.

 

 

bookingsretreats.jpg medium

 

astragalus root twttrAstragalus root is an herb that’s tremendously important in traditional Chinese medicine. It is known for its many health benefits, especially its potential to slow the aging process.

5958More delicately flavored than its cousins the onion, shallots, and garlic, the leek has a similar history but its own distinctive flavor and panache. While it’s similar-looking to a green-topped garden onion, it is much larger and cigar-shaped, with tiny hairs for roots rather than a bulb.

auberge et vue montezillonThe hotel has 25 bright and friendly rooms, some for up to five people. Most rooms have a balcony or direct access to the garden and views of Lake Neuchatel...

wheelbarrowThe study, conducted by the University of of Frankfurt in Germany, was published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. It uncovered new evidence of the link among emotions, the “stress hormone,” and inflammation throughout the body.