WHEN THE SWISS MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING…

… heed the call. Every summit in the bucolic country offers a unique slice of Swiss bliss

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity

― John Muir, Our National Parks

They say you have to climb up a large mountain to appreciate how small you are and Switzerland offers ample towering mountains for you to explore the world outside and the one within you. You cannot help but marvel at their breathtaking beauty. Whatever the season, you have the opportunity to appreciate unspoiled nature at its best – dainty wild flowers, dramatic rock faces, cascading waterfalls, snowy peaks, fresh and pure mountain air and a unique feeling of calm and tranquility…

Mt Säntis

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Seeking a pleasurable high-altitude excursion? Head to the hamlet of Schwägalp that’s a favourite with the locals.

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What you see are mammoth mountains enclosing you and free-roaming goats and cows dotting the lush green landscape while nibbling on fresh grass. Ride a cable car that departs every 30 mins up to the peak of Mt. Säntis. At 8,209 ft, it is the highest mountain in eastern Switzerland. The very shape of the summit— an arc of jutting rock that swings up to the jagged peak housing the station — is spectacular. In perfect weather conditions, you can get a 360 degree view of five other countries – Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, France and Italy – all at the same time!

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HOW ABOUT DOING DC DIFFERENTLY?

If you’re visiting the US capital for the first time, it can be tough to sort through the maze of its must-see sites. Go beyond-the-norm and do DC just like a local

Lincoln Memorial? Check. Smithsonian troves? Done. National Zoo? Clicked a selfie with the pandas. But there is a lot more to do in DC beyond visiting its astonishing museums and historical sites. Have you had a bite of the very bucolic Georgetown’s famed cupcakes or flicked through 500 years of news history at the Newseum? If you haven’t, here are a few unusual things to do when in Washington DC. This way you won’t wind up ensnared in queues for most of your trip.

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Washington’s oldest and wealthiest neighborhood, Georgetown, can be divided into four sections – the marketplace along M Street, the university, the historic residential neighborhood where miniature cottages stand side by side with rambling mansions, and the waterfront. Stroll or bike along the tree-lined paths that offer wonderful views of the Potomac river, indulge in some serious designer retail therapy, step into the town’s past with a visit to Tudor Place, a Federal-style mansion of the Custis-Peter family, or spend an evening enjoying sunset drinks aboard a cruise. You won’t regret a visit to Dumbarton Oaks. The lovely oasis boasts of galleries filled with Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and European art, as well as acres of meticulously tended historic gardens. You can easily spend a day in Georgetown as the vivid street scene invites you to linger.

TIP: Georgetown is almost always crowded at night. Driving and parking are difficult, so it’s wise take a bus or taxi.

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A FRUITFUL DAY AT A SWISS FARM

While you may undoubtedly visit the picturesque Alps and sample deliciously popular Swiss cheese and chocolates, you are likely to miss out on an opportunity to experience traditional countryside life in Switzerland. On my recent trip to the Central European country, I uncovered the adorably quaint Hinter Musegg in the middle of the delightful little city of Lucerne, and it touched all my senses.

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Pic by Micha Eicher

Every road in Switzerland gives you a thousand photo opportunities and this isn’t an overstatement. While it does take a good amount of walking to reach this mini farm nestled just beyond the town walls, you are likely to lap up every moment of the stride as the setting on both sides leaves you in awe.

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GO FISH OR GO HOME

A pleasant 45-minute drive from Boston, Gloucester in Cape Ann, Essex County is America’s oldest working seaport that beautifully blends incredible food, art, adventure, shopping and culture. The heart of this fishing town beats in the vibrant Downtown and the waterfront. There is so much you can do here to experience its real flavor and quirkiness!

All things ‘fishy’

IMG_20160404_230851_HDR (2)Start your day by meeting the mammoth local residents – the great whales who live just off Gloucester’s shores. The cold, rich waters of the North Atlantic draw whales from thousands of miles away each summer – from April to October – to slurp up tons of tiny fish and krill. Go whale watching just 24 km off Gloucester’s rocky shore or catch cod, haddock and tuna on a deep sea fishing trip. For most people in Gloucester, fishing isn’t just a way of life; it’s an addiction. They live by a simple philosophy: Go fish or go home. There’s nothing in between. Don’t forget to halt at the Gloucester’s Fishermen Memorial – a famous statue of a man steering a ship’s wheel, his eyes searching the horizon – at the scenic seaside promenade.

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