Spain and Switzerland travel blog

On the terrace at the Eden Palace au Lac



Our hotel

Street art


Along the promenade





Why we are here


Waiting for the show to start

Leonard Cohen in action



Incredible concert!

Breakfast with a view

Paddle boarders

Last look at Montreux

In the Valais canton of Switzerland

The small mountain village of Mase






Sven takes a trip down memory lane











Coffee with a view

Last look at Mase

Guess who?

Swiss hoodoos

The picnic

The picnickers

The Grande Dixence Dam

Looking back down the valley from the dam

Now that is a cow...

...and a cow bell!

Driving through the Simplon Pass

Jack gets confused in Italy

Made it to Locarno

Entering the Moon and Stars festival

Glen Hansard belts out a tune

Locarno main square, great venue for a concert!


Us and 9998 other people wait for Amy

Amy Macdonald

Another great concert!

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(MP4 - 7.19 MB)

Dance Me to the End of Love

(MP4 - 3.99 MB)

Tower of Song

(MP4 - 2.77 MB)


(MP4 - 8.07 MB)

Simplon Pass to Italy

(MP4 - 5.32 MB)

4th of July

(MP4 - 4.82 MB)

Down, Down, Down

Wow, a whirlwind couple of days!

We've talked for years about going to the Montreux Jazz Festival so when Sven asked if we would be interested in stopping in Montreux to see Leonard Cohen on our way to Ticino , we jumped at the chance! Sven had to work yesterday and was to meet us in Montreux later in the day so once we got a lesson from the not-so-crabby parking guy on how to get out of the parkade, we headed right to Montreux. Montreux is located in the French speaking part of Switzerland so it was time to put away the German and try to remember the little bit of French that we know. Sven had booked a room for the 3 of us at the Eden Palace au Lac hotel which turned out to be right on Lake Geneva. It is a beautiful old Belle Epoch style hotel, a bit faded (orange carpet in the lobby!) but a wonderful place to stay. Our room wasn't ready yet so after a nice lunch on the terrace, we wandered along the lake front promenade. It is a beautiful place, with flower gardens, rocky "beaches" where people were sun bathing, lots of boats and even a castle in the distance. Sven arrived later in the day and we headed right to the Stravinsky Auditorium so that we could get a good spot to watch the concert from. Tickets to the festival are not cheap! We paid about $140 for general admission, standing tickets. If we had wanted to sit, it would have cost $200! So we grabbed a quick snack and then hung out in the music hall for about an hour before the concert. And what a concert it was! Leonard Cohen and his group of amazing singers and musicians put on an incredible performance, one of the best we've ever seen. They played for about 3.5 hours so we ended up being on our feet for 4.5 hours but we hardly noticed, the music was so good! We're sure that Leonard Cohen's voice is better now that it has ever been.

This morning we had a nice breakfast overlooking the lake and then headed out. Our final destination was Loco, a village in Ticino but we took a detour along the way and stopped in the small village of Mase. Sven's father worked in the village as a doctor when Sven was a boy and he hadn't been back to visit for years. So we took a trip down memory lane with Sven as he chatted with the locals (who all seemed to remember his father), visited his father's house, wandered around the beautiful little village, had coffee on a sunny deck with a view and then went to the local deli where we picked up the fixings for a picnic lunch. Then we drove the winding mountain roads until we reached the Grande Dixen Dam at the end of the valley, quite the spectacular site! And a beautiful spot for a picnic. After lunch, we drove back down the valley to the highway and went from the French part of Switzerland, back into the German part of Switzerland, over the Simplon Pass into Italy and then back into Switzerland, this time into the Italian speaking canton of Ticino. It was a long day of driving on difficult curvy, narrow roads and by the end of the day, Dale's hands were actually sore! Our GPS, Jack, must have also been tired because he went crazy a couple of times and thought we were going 900kph!

Our destination was Loco, a village of about 150 people in the Onsernone Valley. Sven's father spent the last years of his life living in a house here and Sven and Cristina now own the house. We didn't have much time to check it out, we dropped our bags, jumped in the car and drove back down the long and winding road for 15km to the resort town of Locarno. Cristina arrived on the train from Zurich and we had a nice Italian meal before walking to the main square in the Old Town for the Moon and Stars Festival. We had never heard of this festival before but it attracts some amazing musicians every year. Tonight we saw Amy Macdonald, a Scottish singer who does fun, upbeat pop tunes. This festival is as much a party as a music festival with 10,000 people standing shoulder to shoulder on the cobblestones drinking beer and listening to the music. A really fun experience! Dale wasn't really thrilled with the idea of driving back to Loco up the narrow mountain road in the dark but it turned out there was no traffic at that time and we arrived in Loco safe and sound. Tomorrow we'll get a chance to check out the house and the village.

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