Sunny Days in Ticino, Switzerland

I’ve had this deep intense burning for Europe lately that I can’t exactly explain. Although it’s only been 14 months since I’ve last been on the continent—on an adventure trek through Switzerland last fall—it feels lightyears away.

And then I came across SVV doing some stealthy Google mapping in our office. I got closer, and he revealed the fruits of his labors: the villa he lived in on Sicily for three years more than a decade ago is finally searchable via street view. And so I got to see—albeit, virtually—where he lived, a place he speaks fondly of often. And he also got that all-too-familiar dreamy, far-away look in his eyes: Europe Lust.

ticino, switzerland, europe, travel, photographyI always thought I’d make it back to Europe as a resident—somewhere, anywhere really. At this point in my life, I’m not so sure of that. So many things are changing and taking the two of us in other directions, leading us further and further from our once shared dream. (Though we do still have a glimmer of a hope of one day owning a beach house on Portugal’s Algarve shore.)

travel, photography, ticino, switzerland, europeIn a perfect world, one where finances and careers and proximity to family matter not, I would relocate to Switzerland. It’s got everything: world-class cuisine, incomparable landscapes, cosmopolitan cities, adventure opportunities in spades.

Ticino, Switzerland | Camels & ChocolateI first saw its beauty through the eyes of a backpacker way back in 2003 when I was taking a train around the western third of the continent. This time was different.

Ticino, Switzerland | Camels & ChocolateWhen you’re a backpacker, you see all the mainstream attractions; in the case of Switzerland, that’s more often than not Interlaken, Lucerne, Geneva and Jungfrau (all beautiful and worthy of visiting, mind you). But you’re at the mercy of buses and trains and other public transportation—you don’t really get to “off road” it unless you splurge for a fancy tour or rental car (which I rarely did).

Ticino, Switzerland | Camels & ChocolateOff-roading it was what this trip was about. We started our cross-country tour in St. Moritz, after taking the train from the airport in Geneva, then continued onto the Italian region: Ticino. We wound in and out of tiny towns that dotted the countryside (unfortunately, I wasn’t smart enough to write down their names…bad, travel writer, bad), popping into churches or stopping by a cafe for Swiss chocolate when we damn well pleased (read: often).

Ticino, Switzerland | Camels & Chocolate

Having only ever been in French- and German-speaking Switzerland, it was a bit bizarre being in this very Swiss countryside, surrounded by soaring mountains and paying for things in euro (not francs) and hearing people speak rapid-fire Italian.

Ticino, Switzerland | Camels & ChocolateAnd as if Switzerland weren’t great enough, I was traipsing about with la creme de la creme as far as travelers go. Not a bad apple in the barrel; everyone was pleasant and adventurous and there for the right reasons. (You’d be surprised how many people I meet on the road who aren’t.)

Ticino, Switzerland | Camels & ChocolateAnd ones who appreciate a good fart joke or two, which let’s be honest, is a character trait I look for in a travel companion.

Ticino, Switzerland | Camels & ChocolateHow about you: Do you get Europe Lust? What’s your favorite spot on the continent? It’s hard for me to say, as I have such a deep love for so many places—Scotland, Spain, Romania, Norway—but Switzerland definitely hovers around the top of the list.


  • November 12, 2010

    These photos are amazing!! I want to go, I want to gooo!!!
    Haha, and.. I too love a good fart joke. Hehe!

  • November 12, 2010

    GORGEOUS photos! We were in Switzerland in the summer, the scenery is just beautiful. Proper Heidi material in these shots! Pity it’s so expensive to live there but I guess such a high standard of living has a price tag.

  • November 12, 2010

    I’m dying to visit Europe. I’ve been to Cyprus and England. Not the main continent… *sigh*…

  • November 12, 2010

    I really want to go back to Switzerland. Though I studied abroad just across the border from it, in Freiburg, Germany, I only really made one proper visit there, but I did get to get a bit off the backpacker path, visiting my “ancestral home” of Thun.

    As for Europe lust, oh yes. So many places I want to revisit or visit for the first time. We too dream of living in Europe for at a couple of years. We keep thinking Sweden (since husband has Swedish citizenship) but the winters there scare the crap out of me. Maybe if I had a winter home in Greece?

  • November 12, 2010

    I feel the same way about Ireland. I was just there for a week in October, but would do absolutely anything to get back.

    Switzerland looks incredibly beautiful, though. It’s definitely on my list of places to visit.

  • November 12, 2010

    I can’t wait to get to Ticino. These photos are absolutely stunning!

  • November 12, 2010

    Yes, I get Europe Lust ALL THE DAMN TIME.

    I’d love to do Great Britain and Ireland (never been), Barcelona (again, never been), and thanks to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo books, would love to see Sweden (or Finland or Norway…Not too picky about my Nordic countries!) However, there’s just something about Italy (maybe it’s the food? Probably) that makes me just itching to go back.

    And even though it’s not in Europe, I have a perpetual case of Israel Lust.

  • November 12, 2010

    Your photos look like something out of a storybook! So quaint 🙂

  • November 12, 2010

    Italia, Italia! Sicilia, Sicilia!

    I’m lobbying for a trip to the aforementioned locales then – as a cherry on top – some remote Swiss town high in the Alps.

    LOVE the mirror shot. Well done my dear.

  • November 12, 2010

    Can you hire me to carry your camera bag or something?! You have the best job in the world!

  • November 12, 2010

    Having never been, I have HUGE Europe lust! I want to go SO BAD and you’d think with the husband working for an airline we would’ve made it already but sadly not yet.

  • November 12, 2010

    Well Switzerland is definitely on my list now; great pictures!I’ve had Europe lust for the last five years since I returned from study abroad, and there are soooo many places I didn’t get to see, so really anywhere would be great =)

  • November 12, 2010

    I was just in Europe in February and I’m already craving going back again…I love it. And these photos! Haven’t made it to Switzerland yet, but it’s high on the list!

  • November 12, 2010

    I’d love to head to Europe. It’s been over 25 years since I’ve been there. But my lust and longing always goes back to Japan. Probably because of the same feelings you have about Europe – I lived there for a year and a half and really got to know the country. sigh… travel daydreams.

    Stunning photos. I especially love the one of the roadside mirror – clever and beautiful!

  • November 12, 2010
    joan van velsor

    oh I do, I do…we are looking at maps, checking airfares, ocean liner itineraries…the lust is upon us

  • November 12, 2010

    No Europe Lust for me, it’s Latin Lust for me baby! 🙂

    Gorgeous pics!!!! Hope you and SVV get back there soon!

  • November 12, 2010

    I love Switzerland and feel blessed to have worked there for three years. It is absolutely gorgeous every day the drive to work was a picture postcard, one that literally changed every day, now I miss it!

  • November 12, 2010

    For me it’s more Europe pining than lust. I lived in France for 6 years back in my twenties, and there’s something about the Hautes Alpes, particularly the Chamonix Valley, that makes my heart hurt. I would go back in a heartbeat, were working papers and a job not such an issue.

  • November 13, 2010

    Beautiful pictures, I haven’t really had much lust to visit mainland Europe, but that could be because it’s so close to the UK. For me it has been about South East Asia and the Pacific.

  • November 13, 2010

    I don’t really have Europe Lust so much as Vacation Lust. My family stopped doing vacations after about jr high, and I’ve only been on one or two since high school. We do a lot of hiking and exploring in the area, so it’s not that I miss the adventure, it’s more that I miss having something exciting to look forward to.
    I also miss trips for just me and Kyle, no one else. Every trip we’ve taken in the last two years have been to see family, which are lovely, but I would love to set out, just the two of us, somewhere new and exciting.

  • November 13, 2010

    I loved Switzerland- it was one of my favorite places to visit when I lived in Europe. Plus, the whole paragliding above the Alps didn’t hurt my view of it, either. 😉

  • November 13, 2010

    Yes, EuropeLust! I always tell people I have Wanderlust, but this portmanteau is much more accurate. Having already lived in London (and assuming I could pick up other languages better than I can in reality), I would love to live in Southern France (mmm cheese), Edinburgh and Munich. Not necessarily in that order, though.

  • November 14, 2010

    I get Europe lust a lot…my heart feels called home to that continent. I google Earth often, and find myself staring at places I’ve visited, like the three sisters in Glencoe, Scotland, or the Eiffel Tower, or the Isle of Capri. But my family lived in the Netherlands when I was a child, and I really get homesick for the little tiny farming towns that dot the southern provinces of the Netherlands. Thanks for sharing your Europe lust with your blog readers…Switzerland is definitely on my short list, too!

  • November 14, 2010

    I get Europe lust all the time. Our honeymoon was my first time back since college and it only made me want to go back again. You’ve really sold me on Switzerland, your photos are stunning.

  • November 14, 2010

    I’ve only been to Paris, London and Italy. LOVED London and Italy. Not too fond of Paris. I don’t think it lived up to its reputation of being the most romantic city …

  • November 15, 2010

    Do I get travel lust??? Oh my god…is the pope a catholic. I get what’s called ‘fernweh’ in german, fern meaning distance, weh meaning pain….i.e. travel lust so bad it hurts.

    I’ve lived in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Frankfurt, and I miss it badly. I miss the food, the walking around the cities, the easy unstressfull pace of those cities. Rollerblading around Amsterdam and Berlin on the friday night skates (or wednesday, or tuesday…or whatever night it was), and sitting down on the river in a deck chair with a blanket drinking real beer. Living in Frankfurt—-easily one of the best times of my life.

    And that’s without even talking about all the amazing places to see. I am LONG overdue for Europe. LONG LONG overdue.

  • November 15, 2010

    Ah my favorite part of Switzerland, the Ticino – love going camping there, so beautiful!
    I have to say, as I live in Switzerland, I am dreaming of living in Asia, but also my career, family and personal matters lead me more and more away from it… Too bad. But I know that Switzerland is for sure not the worst place to live on the planet, but certainly also not the most exciting one 🙂
    Viele Gruesse, Kristina

  • November 15, 2010

    Yep, I’ve been diagnosed with Europe Lust. Lovely pictures of Switzerland, another country on my “must see” travel list.

  • November 15, 2010

    Gorgeous pictures and flatulence humor…you just made my morning!

  • November 16, 2010

    Wow! Those pics are definitely amazing and already making me reconsider my short time in Switzerland. I’m bummed I missed out on such gorgeous places! But now I have something to plan and look forward to! =)

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

+ Sign up and receive your free copy of my eBook