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Switzerlands best kept secret…EXPOSED

One wonders what & where the real secrets are about this wonderful country and to ones delight there are many to be found,yet this secret is a jewel and delight.

The Prättigau valley said to be the best of all and hosts many breath taking places and views that one can imagine, alp upon alp,valley after valley and constructions unimaginable attained in early 1900s and all these still stand proud.

On one of our excursions we set off in the direction of what we heard to be one of the most quaint villages in the Swiss alps, St.Antönien which borders on the Austrian alps. Fortunately we were in the region so did not have to travel too far, 30mins, to get to what we had heard was a jewel in the alps. Driving up the steep twisting and sometimes sharp bends overlooking the villages below we finally came to a small village Pany which in itself was so delightful we stopped off for a German apple tart and a cup of specially brewd coffee, taking in the breath taking views.

But we were still not where we were told to go and lingered a little longer walking the main street of this tiny *dorf* village. The houses been built in traditional Swiss chalet style and some over 200 years old. The fields were dotted with Swiss cows having huge bells around their necks and as they moved en masse it sounded like a special bell ringing concert. As it was very quiet and the air  very light yet crisp clean and fresh we heard each bell ringing its tone, leaving us relaxed and wanting to sit a while longer.

So time had come to travel a further 4Km to our destination in great anticipation of what we were set to find. Once again the slow winding road took us along the mountain side and straight ahead we saw the welcoming sign *Wanna* standing in the middel of nowhere with fields of lucious grass,trees and once again in the distance a cow or two.

We parked along side and clambered out the car to take in this most amazing view that spanned the alps before us and then turned back to find out what *Wanna* was all about. A Typical Swiss house built of wooden logs and some farming equipmet around we had wondered whether this was the right place to discover that well kep secret. On our arival we met the owners who greeted us as if we had known them for years,speaking english as well as several other langages. The outside terrace with tables chairs and umbrellas as well as a outdoor hot tub and still we were at a loss as to what this was all about. We entered the most charming interior filled with exposed beams meters thick and rooms leading off each other with a huge modern kitchen with shining stainless steel fittings and a view on the mountain through the expansive kitchen window.

The secret was about to be revealed as we stepped into an area where we disposed of our shoes and started to climb a short staircase leading us into a very large lounge complete with a romantic fireplace and a pleasant fragrance wafting through the air..The furniture with muted tones but all the same very inviting.The magic thing here is that should you or your team/guests wish to rearrange the setting to yout taste and comfort you may do so. There is that once again a huge window which allows in all the brillant sunlight and what views! So yes the secret is out….. a charming yet elegant and luxury mountain hotel with limited rooms and they are all doubles, so a single traveller has the same luxury at i believe a small increment. The seducingly lit hallway leads to the bedrooms off either side with plain wooden modern doors and the bedrooms are excellent….not that large that one can have a barn dance but hey just so comfortable and pleasantly elegant yet simple. No clutter around which gives this wonderfully re-modelled hotel its serene feeling of elegance. Choose one with the skylight window which allows one to gently fall asleep watching the stars…starry starry light…ho hum.

Meals are cooked as per the day and all ingredients are locally sourced from the small farm itself or from its neighbors. Hmmmm fresh creamy milk,eggs and local meat are all on offer.  A large buffet breakfast available with all things mountain Swiss.There is a wine cellar where you can go and choose your own bottle/s and the choice is amazing. Off to the right is a large sauna with a toilet and shower area, towels etc… which leads off to the outside Hot Tub…a huge favorite in winter….eeek…for the brave at minus something!

I am sure i have forgotten a lot more but then it was all too short a time to take it all in.So whether its summer or winter this is the perfect place to unwind completely with all your cares smoothed away with its total modern and fresh architecture as well as surroundings. Summer time allows you go hiking,paragliding or even hiking to the far away caves that were once inhabited by large…scary…bears and smugglers…so those who would like to let their hair down….Johnny Deep style, this will be for you. Winter time and there are ski-lifts & pony lift in the area as well as tobogganing, night walks through the moonlit snow seeing all the small villages on the other side of the valley with their warm yellow lights twinkling in the night.

There is so much to see and vist in this alp area thats if you want to get about. Also a great place for a country wedding or sepcial events, conferences or group outings.

A *Wanna* to remember experience all in all.

A couple of links :

*Wanna* Mountain Hotel :http://www.wanna.ch/

World Monument Bridge :  https://www.google.com/search?q=world+monument+bridge+saginatobel+schiers&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b

Prättigau Valley Switzerland : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pr%C3%A4ttigau

 

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Switzerlands Antique/Fleamarket Bürkliplatz Zurich

Once again the market has been very busy with so many new dealers and local housewives selling their wares,some treasures and lots and lots of second hand items.

This market which is at the bottom of the main street, Bahnhofstrasse, is host to some of the most exciting collectibles which are to be found amongst the trash. Its always striking that many do no research into what they may have as a treasure and that allows those dedicated collectors and dealers alike to find the *jewel* that is tucked away amongst the other *stuff*.

The tables are set on the alloted space and as usual everybody brings far too much and this then leads to things been piled up or set under the table. These are the tables one needs to watch as under the pile of plates one finds a rare plate by Fornesetti and early english wares dating to 1740/90 which are priced at a few Swiss Francs. Under one table a friend discovered a rare Lalique table lamp and walked away, after parting with 30Sfr, with the biggest bargain i have seen in this last year. Italian glass being plentiful but then the more desirable pieces been controlled by two dealers who snap up whats on offer early morning, so being up and sparkly at 5.30am onwards certainly allows one to snap up the bargains. With this being said not every dealer arrives at that time and unpacking goes on till 10am, so there are still great items to be found, like the Lalique lamp.

So whats on offer ? A vast variety of goodies and mostly porcelain, glass, jewellery, silerware and textiles. The items are mostly marked with a price and others simply seem to know the asking price of the somewhat 100 items they have on display. Wish i had such a good memory but then i rather like pricing my goodies as i think this is a fair and open sell. Ofcourse no matter what you price the item at there is always the bargaining that will take place.

The market as seen in the attached pictures runs till end October on each Saturday from early morning till 4.30pm. There are a number of good fountains for drinking water and ample shade. There is also a kiosk that sells goodies to eat and drink being more of the smaller bites than a large meal but meals can be had in the numerous restaurants close by. To cool off there is the Zurich lake across the road and one can also take a boat trip around the lake. The bus stop is right opposite with connections to all sections of Zurich with the main station at the top of the Most expensive Bahnhofstrasse. Well i guess expensive is only relative.

Clothing and footware are plentiful and at bargain prices. One simply needs time to look for that super deal, thats if you are into second hand. This is the place to find great deals as well as desireable collectibles. A suite of early Daum Nancy drinking glasses priced at Sfr.7.00 each i am sure you will agree is fantastically cheap and as they say a *schnapchen*. Early English wares as well as Chinese items are readily available at affordable prices as people are simply unaware of what they have, infact these are to be

found at real real next to nothing prices.

Wishing all who visit a successful hunting trip, as thats what its all about i guess. Some dealers also buy wares so if you have something to throw out rather bring it along to sell. Many are eager to buy but i will advise to have a price in mind as dealers are rather reluctant to make an offer which i understand to a point.

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Vitra Design Museum,Weil am Rhein

Our visit to the Museum was planned weeks in advance as there was so much to see and experience, so we were told. A visit to their website tells it all and with over 200 actual photographs of exhibits and locations. After reading through their detailed plan we researched what we wanted to do and see, afterall we did not want to do the full 4 hour guided tour but rather meander and discover for ourselves what was on offer.

P1090298We arrived at the museum and was greeted by rows upon rows of cherry trees loaded with ripened fruit and yeah who could resist, we picked some. Infront of us on this hot day there was a mobile van of years goneby design that catered for smaller snacks and icecream. We started with the shop and then meandered through the main building exhibits which were quite stunning and everything having its space and spotlessly clean.

It gave me a feeling of being in a space where people were in love with what they were doing and exhibiting. The staff were exceptionally friendly and had time to inform as well as share a hearty laugh a great difference to what we experienced in Basel. Booklets and a welcome map guide to the Vitra Campus we set off on a find and see tour of the Campus. Well signed we found our way and ofcourse we did get slightly lost at one point but that was to our advantage as we came across some fun play spaces and rested our legs.

Students were present in large groups and were more interested in the Architechtural and production tours as well as the most popular *Night Fever* museum. This was a rather stunning exhibit and well attended. Overall the buildings housing the various exhibits were not crammed with visitors which allowed us time to ask questions and photograph at will. This was really a day well spent experiencing all that was on offer and yet we had just scratched the surface as we had limited time. Another visit is certainly on the cards and knowing what we know now arrangements will be made to visit the other buildings and architectural features.

Should you have the chance/opportunity then it is well worth the minimal fees they charge and mostly free to other exhibits. To show and describe what is on offer cannot do it justice but a quick visit to their website you will be delighted in have a small taste of the Campus as a whole. Not forgetting a tour round the factory which is on site. After 4 hours travelling to the museum and now our return we were exhausted and looking forward to relax on the fabulous Swiss trains which took us through so many picturesque villages and stations. Finally home with a drink in hand and in time for the sun setting…our day draws to a *happy* end.

design-museum link……Information and Photos

 

Ceramic, Swiss Ceramic

Margrit Linck Swiss Potter delux

There has been so much already said about this important & innovative Swiss Artist & Potter there leaves little for me to add about her creations and innovations.

When i first arrived in Switzerland i came across the name and had no idea what was made by Margrit Linck. Due to the kindness of a dealer i was told what to lookout for and that was the *Fisch* mark. That was the start of the searching and discovering what was out there in the market place. Not having been a lover of ceramics, rather porcelain, i opened myself up to Swiss ceramics on the whole as i had come across so much and when i say on the cheap i really mean on the cheap.

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Ceramic

Africana collectible figure of a newspaper seller…the Cape Argus

Here is a small handmade figure by the housewife potter Peggie Foy of West Wickham London. She started her enterprise working from home and had 4 young ladies,including her daughter,modelling and painting these delightfully naive figures.

Peggie developed the narrative and then the modellers got to work. These earthenware figures were fired at a temperture of 1100 degc which took some hours, thereafter the painters started the detailed task of hand painting these models.This was a family affair as her husband conducted the sales aspect of this enterprising business and not all was made available to the local market as more that 80% was for export. Looking at this paper salesman one can see why and just how right she got the person and trade.

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