17 Nov 2010

Visa for Thailand

I sent my passport off to the Thai consulate in Zurich on Saturday and got it back today with the tourist visa for which I had applied. The visa itself was free but I had to pay an administrative fee of CHF 10.00

5 Nov 2010

Bird box

Cleaned the bird box in the Kiwi tree this afternoon. I see that I did not close the latch. Better go and do it right away.

29 Oct 2010


Remember the grasshopper I mentioned yesterday? Here are three video scenes with him as the leading actor.

Scene 2   Scene 3

Kiwi harvest

Just finished harvesting the Kiwis in my garden. Quite a lot this year.

28 Oct 2010

Short hike around Castelrotto

The countryside and forests look beautiful in autumn. In the track posted on Google Maps, look at the photo of the grasshopper taking an interest in my smartphone.
View 20101028 Castelrotto in a larger map

16 Oct 2010

Wasabi Lugano - Mauricio Kagel - Exotica

Another concert last night in the Wasabi series of OGGImusica was the Exotica of Mauricio Kagel, performed at the Radio della Svizzeral Italiana. Regrettably, the lighting was bad for video recording.

15 Oct 2010

Wasabi Lugano - Sarawan Tamburi d'Iran

The trio Sarawan Tamburi d'Iran performed at the concert hall of the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano, Switzerland on 14 October 2010. A most enjoyable concert.

Goats climb 160ft dam in Italian Alps

The daredevil herd were snapped at the 160ft Cingino barrier in Northern Italy, near the Swiss border.

I haven't seen this myself, but having found the place on Google Maps now I may go there next summer.

14 Oct 2010

Wasabi – Japanese music festival in Lugano

OGGImusica, an association dedicated to bring a large variety of concerts of contemporary music to the Italian-speaking part of switzerland, the canton Ticino, has organised a festival of Japanese music in collaboration with the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana and today were the first two concerts in Lugano. I recorded videos of a few pieces and plan to upload them tomorrow.

2 Oct 2010

Buying more wine, a Sangiovese this time

Whilst my wife was doing her shopping accross the border in Ponte Tresa Italia I strolled around town and bought six bottles of this Sangiovese di Romagna, vintage 2009. It should be ready to drink in two years.

1 Oct 2010

Veronika Kiss performs at a concert in Lugano

With some delay, I upload my video of part of the performance of Veronika Kiss at the concert in Lugano, Switzerland on 24 September 2010, where she played the bassoon concerto of André Jolivet.

Spanish wine Las Flores

I saw this Rioja in a local wine shop today and bought six bottles, as I always like to have some Spanish wine in my cellar.

24 Sep 2010

English Film Club Lugano

The English Film Club in Lugano usually shows 10 English-language films during the winter, on Thursday and Friday of most weeks. This season's program, which after a long search I finally found today, is here on the web:

The first film will be shown on 14 and 15 October, which is when the tickets can be bought.

18 Sep 2010

Concert in Lugano

There was an interesting concert in Lugano tonight, performed by the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana in collaboration with soloists from the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana:

  • Veronika Kiss
  • Zsofia Györffy
  • Chiara Pavan

14 Sep 2010

Hike to Monte Bar

Today I hiked to Monte Bar with a friend and we had lunch at the mountain cabin restaurant. The air was a bit misty but we could see as far as Monte Rosa and Matterhorn.

View 20100914 Monte Bar in a larger map

11 Sep 2010

Matteo Sarti, piano

Matteo Sarti played the Allegro maestoso from Chopin's Sonato No. 3

Born in 1980, he obtained his diploma in piano in 2001 with the highest notes at the Istituto Musicale Pareggiato "Pietro Mascagni", Livorno with M. Cecchi. After winning an audition for the Italian Youth Orchestra, he began his concert activity as soloist in Italy and abroad, under conductors such as G. Noseda, G. Ferro, D. Gatti, D. Geringas, recording for the Italian National Radio and TV. At present, he is the pianist of the Trio Degas with whom he was awarded the 1st prize at the 5th National Competition "Riviera Etrusca", 1st prize at the 5th European Competi¬tion "Citta di Vasto", 2nd prize at the 11th National Competition "Giulio Rospigliosi", 2nd prize at the 12th Competition "Citta di Grosseto". His studies continued at the Accademia Musicale del Teatro Cinghio, Parma, with A. Miodini, and presently, at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana (CSI) earning diplomas for "Interpretation and Performance" with N. Doallo and "Piano Pedagogy" with R. Braccini with the highest notes. He participated in the opening concert of the "Festival del cinema italiano” in Rome, performing music by Nino Rota. Since 2006, he has regularly performed in the concert seasons of contemporary music “’900 e Presente” of the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana, in collaboration with the Italian Swiss Radio, both in ensemble and as soloist. At present, he teaches piano at the Accademia Vivaldi in Locarno and is completing his piano studies at the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana in the soloist class of N. Doallo.

Benamin Kim, piano

Benjamin Kim played the piano for Schumann's Quintetto

Ben Kim started studying the piano at the age of five with the famed Oregonian piano teacher, Dorothy Fahlman. At the age of eight, he performed his first public solo recital and his orchestral debut at twelve. He has featured on National Public Radio’s classical music show “From the Top”. In 2004, he finished and accelerated Bachelor of Music degree at the Peabody Conservatory of Music as a student of Leon Fleisher and Yong Hi Moon. Afterwards he received the Artist Diploma which is the school’s highest distinction. From 2004 to 2006 he was a student at the International Piano Academy Lake Como in Dongo where he studied with Fou Ts’ong, Dmitri Bashkirov, William Grant Naboré, Andreas Staier, John Perry and Claude Frank among others.

In 2006 he was awarded first prize at the ARD Competition in Munich. At present he is studying at
The University of Arts in Berlin.

François Dumont, piano

François Dumont played the piano for Beethoven's Trio No. 5.

François Dumont born in 1985 in Lyon , France was admitted to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique of Paris, in the class of Bruno Rigutto. Since then, Dumont has won several important awards in various competitions such as Concours Reine Elisabeth in Brussels in 2007, Clara Haskil Competition 2009 and the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition also in 2009. His concert activities includes appearances in major concert series in Holland, Germany, Irland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Syria and China. Dumont has made many recordings for the radio and television in Belgium, Japan, Irland, Switzerland, USA, Italy, Brazil and China. In spite of his young age, François Dumont has made CD recordings of all of the sonatas of Mozart and with his “Trio Elégiaque” wor ks of Messiaen and Dusapin which have gained him worldwide success. François Dumont continues his artistic formation with great Masters such as Murray Perahia, Leon Fleisher, Dmitri Bashkirov, Fou Ts’ong, Menahem Pressler, William Grant Naboré and Andreas Staier at the International Piano Academy Lake Como in Dongo.

Classical concert in Lugano

I enjoyed the concert in Lugano tonight, part of the series "young masters of the keyboard". Sadly, the lighting was unsuitable to record a video. The interesting program included compositions of Beethoven, Chopin and Schumann. I believe today was the first time I heard Beethoven's the Trio No. 5 permformed.

1 Sep 2010

Hike to Alpe Pairolo

With friends, I hiked to Alpe Pairolo today, with sunny weather and a clear sky.

View 20100901 Pairolo in a larger map

The photos I took along the way are in this album.

30 Aug 2010

Tax money at work

It is always nice to see one's tax money at work. On my hike to Agno today I saw big boulders being placed in the bed of the river Vedeggio, to slow down the water current, I understand, for a good reason that I once heard explained but have since forgotten.

29 Aug 2010

Blues to Bop: Gospel concert

The San Lorenzo cathedral in Lugano was the venue for a beautiful gospel concert with the Fierson Brothers, Bill Sims Jr., Woody Mann, and members of the Imani 7.

28 Aug 2010

Blues to Bop: Dave Keyes & Bill Sims Jr.

Before going home I stopped by Piazza Riforma once more to listen to Dave Keyes and Bill Sims, accomonied by a drummer.

Blues to Bop: The Lugano SMUM Guitar Quartet & Woody Mann

I wanted to see and hear more of The Lugano SMUM Guitar Quartet & Woody Mann and went to Piazza San Rocco for this.

Blues to Bop: Luna Blues Big Band

Coming back late from dinner in Italy, I missed the first part of tonight's shows. In Piazza Riforma, I recorded the Luna Blues Big Band.

27 Aug 2010

Blues to Bop: Guido Melone & The Down Town Blues Band

The Swiss group Guido Melone & The Down Town Blues Band played in Piazza Dante.

Blues to Bop: Bill Sims Jr.

My next stop was Piazza Cioccaro, Where Bill Sims Jr. was on the stage.

Blues to Bop: The Frierson Brothers

On stage in Piazza Riforma: The Frieson Brothers.

Blues to Bop: Dave Keys & Woody Mann

I started the second evening of Blues to Bop in Lugano in Piazza San Rocco, listening to Dave Keys & Woody Mann.

26 Aug 2010

Blues to Bop: Imani 7

Just before the battery ran out I managed to record the group Imani 7 on the stage in Piazza Cioccaro.

Blues to Bop: The Frierson Brothers

In Piazza San Rocco, The Frierson Brothers took over the stage.

Blues to Bop: The Lugano Harlem Blues & Soul Review

My next stop was Piazza Cioccaro, where The Lugano Harlem Blues and Soul Review were on stage.

Blues to Bop: The Lugano SMUM Guitar Quartet & Woody Mann

In Piazza San Rocco, The Lugano SMUM Guitar Quartet & Woody Mann were performing. These are four students of the Scuala di Musica Moderna (School of Modern Music) in Lugano, joined on stage by their artistic director Woody Mann.

Blues to Bop: The Flag

Imani 7 left the stage and The Flag played on their own.

Blues to Bop: Imani 7 & The Flag

On this first evening of Blues to Bop in Lugano I stopped at Piazza Riforma and filmed the Imani 7 on stage together with the local group The Flag.

22 Aug 2010

Hike in Lucomagno area

The whole family went for a hike of 10 km in the area of Lucomagno, starting from Acquacalda. Sunny weather.

View 20100822 Acquacalda in a larger map

6 Aug 2010

estivaLugano: Sandy Muller

I missed out on a few weekends of music in Lugano but but finally made it there again today, to listen to Sandy Muller and her group.

3 Aug 2010

Short hike near Arosio

With a friend I went for a short hike in the region of Arosio, mostly through forests:

View 20100803 Arosio in a larger map

16 Jul 2010

estivaLugano: 77 Bombay Street

On the way back to the car park I stopped in Piazza Riforma and recorded this performance of the Swiss band 77 Bombay Street.

estivaLugano: Djangomania

Lugano is host to the Swiss Harley Days as part of estivaLugano, hundreds of glorious Harley-Davidson machines in all squares and streets, but it was Djangomania that lured me into town tonight. This is what the festival program says about them:

“Djangomania” offers an original performance, a tribute of Django Reinhardt, traditional manouche music and popular italian songs from the fifties. Fresh, dynamic and intense.

 Amore, baciami Instrumental piece 

The last two songs:

11 Jul 2010

Making like Pan

Lying in a hammock in the garden, I listen to the sound of water running in the brook and a bird  a chaffinch  singing in the tree.

9 Jul 2010

Concert in Lugano

The duo Labirinto performed a most beautiful concert as part of estivaLugano this evening. Chiara Pedrazzetti played the celtic harp, Sean Lanigan the electric guitar. Exploring and mixing their skills, they form a unique duo combining these two instruments, showing that the harp can rock and the guitar can roll!

23 Jun 2010

San Clemente

San Clemente is a little mountain near Lugano with a church of the same name at its top. With friends, I hiked there today, in sunny weather, and put the track on Google Maps, together with some photos I took along the way.

View 20100623 San Clemente in a larger map

18 Jun 2010

estivaLugano 2010: Sienna Dahlen

Under the title of estiva Lugano, the city of Lugano offers its residents and visitors musical and theatrical performances by international artists in various squares and parks every weekend from 18 June to 29 August. The opening day saw the Candadian singer Sienna Dahlen give a concert for over one hour, accompanied by the guitarist Roberto Pianca. A most enjoyable performance, of which I filmed one minute.

13 Jun 2010

Cademario: Musica in piazza

In conjunction with a procession of the the statue of St. Anthony of Padua of the Catholic church in Cademario the Filarmonica Alto Malcontone, conducted by Rama Bozzini, performed a concert in the town square.

And here is a slideshow of ten photos taken on my excursion today:

11 Jun 2010

Bye-bye, frogs

The frogs made too much noise, so I transferred them to the neaby Lago di Muzzano.

View Lago di Muzzano in a larger map

9 Jun 2010

FIFA World Cup and wine

The hype about this year's FIFA World Cup in South Africa prompted me to go and buy six bottles of a South African wine.

The wine is still young, vintage 2009. I will probably drink it during the next World Cup in 2014.

I already had a Pinotage once, vintage 2007 of the Kaapdal winery, and I liked it when I drank it earlier this year. It will be interesting to see what this new wine, a mixture of Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon, tastes like.

3 Jun 2010

Hello, frogs

Today, I see two frogs sitting on the plank in the pond in the garden. I figure the bigger one of the two must be male, the other female. They have been sitting there, immobile, for a long time.

7 May 2010

Had a visit

My brother Franz and his wife Elsbeth are vacationing in the region and I had them over for a merenda (snack) this afternoon and to drink with me the bottle of wine their daughter Gabriela brought me years ago on a visit, a Brestenberger, vintage 2000. Decanted several hours before consumption, it was excellent.

The vinyard from which this wine comes belongs to the castle Brestenberg in Switzerland, which is now operated as a hotel, undergoing renovation at the moment, I believe.

6 May 2010

Frog in my pond

Looking out of the upper-floor window I see a frog sitting on the plank I put in the pond for his – or is it her? – convenience. Is there a way of knowing a frog's gender just by looking at him, ie without a close physical exmination?

Follow me on Twitter

I started my Twitter account yesterday, with the member name Snowbird756. Click here to go to my account and if you like what you see, follow me.

Mama bear shows her offspring who is the boss

When I saw this video clip today I knew I had to share it with you people. These bears were filmed in the bear park in Bern, the capital of Switzerland, a week ago, on 29 April 2010. One of these days I shall go and see them live.

The mother is called Björk, the twins are Urs (male) and Berna (female). I don't know which one of the twins is on the tree. The father, Finn, is not in the picture.

5 May 2010

Flight is booked

My flight to Thailand is booked, at Girair in Agno. Eastward bound early in December, return flight last week of January.

4 May 2010

I am a Snowbird

The term Snowbird is used to describe people who spend a large portion of winter in warmer locales. Resident in Switzerland and Thailand, I like to spend much of winter in Thailand whenever I can manage it.

In this blog, I will talk about my life in these two countries, trips I make, people I meet, places where I eat, etc. I meant to do this blog on Google Sites but unfortunately they do not allow comments by readers. I shall be happy to receive comments from everybody, in any language (if it is a language I don't understand, I will use translate.google.com to translate it)