Biking Blitz: Racing Through Switzerland

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The best part of my trip to Switzerland in the fall of 2009 is that while it wasn’t my first visit to the country, I did get to explore an entirely new region, completely foreign to me.

Locarno, Switzerland | Camels & Chocolate

The main city in the region is Locarno. It was bizarre to still feel very much in Switzerland but be very much surrounded by Italian speakers.

Locarno, Switzerland | Camels & Chocolate

It was very overcast and slightly stormy throughout my three days there, which in my eyes only added to the romance of such a charming little nugget of a city.

Locarno, Switzerland | Camels & Chocolate

Locarno was very walkable, so once I recovered from a debilitating stomach virus, I took a bus into town and recovered via retail therapy.

Locarno, Switzerland | Camels & Chocolate

Surprisingly—or maybe not so much due to its proximity to Italy and Italian influence—this small town is quite fashionable with decent deals to boot (something very atypical Swiss…I could barely afford a latte in German Switzerland!). I almost needed a second suitcase to take my loot back to the US.

Locarno, Switzerland | Camels & Chocolate

A very popular sport in the area is cycling. Now, I’m a fan of biking as a form of exercise, but I’ve never really been into following it as a spectator sport.

Locarno, Switzerland | Camels & Chocolate

After all, if you’re at a live race, you really only get to see the cyclers for a few brief seconds every time they lap the circuit.

Locarno, Switzerland | Camels & ChocolateWhile we were there, one of the biggest international races of that year was taking place, so naturally we went to join in on the festivities.

Locarno, Switzerland | Camels & Chocolate

My little posse had VIP seats, however, so we got to see the race from above. Our vantage point far exceeded watching from ground level.

Locarno, Switzerland | Camels & ChocolateAnd we weren’t the only ones taking advantage of the view either.

Locarno, Switzerland | Camels & Chocolate

Speaking of cycling, that’s one of the best ways to see the area. In fact, we rented electric bikes—even better! they work the hills for you! no huffing and puffing! minimal sweating!—and pedaled around the town.

Locarno, Switzerland | Camels & Chocolate

The sun finally came out just long enough for us to experience Locarno in all its colorful brilliance.

Locarno, Switzerland | Camels & Chocolate

One day, I will live on the East Coast again and a long weekend trip back to Europe will be a bit more plausible. For now, a last minute jaunt to New York isn’t even a possibility.

Locarno, Switzerland | Camels & Chocolate

COMMENTS
  • January 14, 2011

    Isn’t Locarno beautiful? Love this part of Switzerland!
    I am so much looking foward to the summer and many camping trips to Ticino!
    Have a nice weekend and get some tan for me as well. I am headed to Paris, but no sunshine there 🙁
    Viele Grüsse, Kristina

  • January 14, 2011

    I love the fifth picture–the one with the bicycle and the statue with the colorful buildings in the background. And I’m all about the electric bike. That sounds awesome!

  • January 14, 2011

    Great photos! I had a friend from this part of Switzerland, and she was always telling me how different it was from the French & German parts. Enjoy you weekend down here, it’s to be near 80! I am headed up to SF, and coudn’t be more excited to wear jeans and coat in January! 😉

    • January 14, 2011
      Kristin

      That’s so funny–I’m sure living in Southern California you crave fall weather (since SF never truly gets “winter”) and in Northern Cal we constantly crave the sun and warmth since it pretty much stays between 55 and 60 year round!

  • January 14, 2011

    I never knew that part of the world was so colorful!!! I love the granny looking out the window! Good luck with your tan. 🙂

    • January 14, 2011
      Kristin

      Thanks, Andi! Something tells me three days in 75 degrees will not have me anywhere near your color 😉

  • January 14, 2011

    Wow, that’s tight living space. But I suppose you’re used to that in SF. Not into biking but agree a race would be better seen from up high. Have fun in LA. Looks like you’ll get some sunny weather.

    • January 14, 2011
      Kristin

      Haha, yeah, compared to San Francisco, the Ticino apartments are palatial!

  • January 14, 2011

    Man, I can’t wait until we go to Switzerland. It’s pictures like these that make me think that we are going to totally fall in love with the place.

    • January 14, 2011
      Kristin

      You and Patrick (and the dogs!) will totally love it! It’s very much like South Africa or New Zealand in that it’s got pretty much everything to offer: mountains, lakes, adventure sports, amazing dining, great beer, cosmopolitan cities, diverse culture, some of the best vistas in the world. How can you not dig that??

  • January 14, 2011

    Love these. The colorful buildings remind me of the Venetian island Burano in Italy!

    • January 14, 2011
      Kristin

      I’ve never been there! All my Italian travels have been on the mainland. But I love colorful buildings so sounds like I’d like it =)

      My husband spent three years in Sicily, so we’re forever trying to plan a trip back to Italy!

      • January 14, 2011

        Oh you would love it then! When we were there we started in Venice and worked our way down to Sorrento. Really wanted to go to Sicily but ran out of time!

        Make sure you go to Venice and I’ll make sure we get to Sicily! haha

  • January 14, 2011
    EllaDean Bratcher

    Kristin, I LOVE all your pictures!! I haven’t traveled much so I am enjoying the beautiful scenes thru your camara’s eyes!! You’ve got your Mom’s eye for what makes a great picture. Thanks for accepting me as a “friend” and sharing your experiences with me!
    Now I’m off to your other trips!!

    • January 15, 2011
      Kristin

      Thanks, EllaDean! It’s so nice of you to stop by!

  • January 14, 2011

    Switzerland truly is diverse, with its three languages and completely different regional cultures. Love your pics!

    • January 15, 2011
      Kristin

      Thanks, Sonja! It is a rather bizarre place: Switzerland is more like three countries that share one relatively small landmass than a unified nation.

  • January 14, 2011
    Abi

    I love the photos of the cyclists, especially the curves in the vertical shot (also – nice new blog look by the way!)

    • January 15, 2011
      Kristin

      Thanks, Abi! Very nice of you to say! (And oh hi, I can now respond to comments directly on here, which is le awesome!)

  • January 14, 2011

    SIGH, absolutely blissful. My 85 yr old grandmother has traveled all over the world in her lifetime but has always said that Switzerland is her favorite place. ♥

    • January 15, 2011
      Kristin

      I would have to agree with her. There’s just something so perfect about it. Rather than just one thing, I think it’s more a perfect storm of perfect factors.

  • January 17, 2011

    Did you score that tan lady? LOVE these gorg photos!

    • January 18, 2011
      Kristin

      I did, I DID. It was 80 degrees out all weekend! Pure bliss. Hope Florida’s the same =)

  • January 23, 2011

    Have you been to Lugano, SU? I had never heard of it until my son moved there. A fabulous setting by a beautiful blue lake and a great old city. A must.

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