Summertime is travel time. But why dream of far-off places when there is so much beauty close by? Apart from its mountains and lakes, Switzerland has so much to offer that is unique and unexpected and is just waiting to be discovered. Our travel guide, Dimitri Burkhard, is a "Swiss specialist". As founder and community manager of the online portal, Newly Swissed, he takes us along on four journeys of discovery right across our multifaceted Switzerland.
For each of the four day trips our rendezvous was the iconic Mondaine Meeting Point in Zurich's main railway station. From there each trip set out in a different cardinal direction.
Cardinal direction west
Mobility of the future in the Swiss Museum of Transport
With no traffic jams to speak of, our train set off on our first trip from Zurich to Lucerne, comfortably and on time.
There we visited the legendary Swiss Museum of Transport to see the "Mobility of the Future" exhibition. What will mobility look like for the people of the future? What are the factors that influence people's mobility behavior – with no end in sight to the steadily increasing demand? What influence do technological and social changes have? How will travel and logistics chains be organized in future? All of these topics and more are included in the new "SBB – Mobility and the Future" exhibition in the Swiss Museum of Transport. A journey from the past to the future can be experienced in a futuristic train, which offers an entertaining look at mobility. The four exhibition modules cover everything from the pioneer spirit of the early days through to developments in train travel, right to digitalization and the mobility of the future.
In 2017 the exhibition attracted more than 850,000 visitors.
Explore Dimitri's exhibition highlights at his Newly Swissed blog.
The essence of nature, or discovering sustainability in Entlebuch
With its new "made of renewable raw materials, such as castor oil. The watchband is made of natural rubber, and the pouch is made of recycled PET, and can also be used as etui for a smartphone, for example. The Mondaine series radiates beauty and sense, is innovative, and in tune with the times.
With our essence watches strapped on we made our way to Entlebuch (Lucerne) to Stefan Wiesner's Landgasthof Rössli. The field and forest chef is famous for his avant-garde culinary skills and his boundless creativity. His creations are unique and unite enjoyment and consciousness with philosophical ideas. Many even call him the "Wizard of Entlebuch".
For his natural cuisine Wiesner uses regional, fresh and healthy products from the forests, waters and fields nearby. We were privileged to accompany the Wizard as he gathered ingredients for his dishes. In the nearby forest we looked for different herbs, from which a special creation was to be made in the evening. Later in the kitchen we watched as Wiesner and his well-versed team prepared dinner. The five course evening meal was an absolute taste sensation and unforgettable experience.
Read Dimitri's blog entry on the visit to Stefan Wiesner at Newly Swissed.
Cardinal direction south
A journey of discovery to the south
At Zurich's central train station we are standing at the Meeting Point and marveling at the large clock under which countless people meet every day. Roughly two and a half years ago Mondaine incorporated a " wristwatch.
Cardinal direction east
When we hear the word Appenzell we probably immediately think of cows and cheese. But the canton of Appenzell has far more to offer than that. On our third trip to the east we discovered exceptional hiking possibilities, Swiss innovation, and culinary treats.
The day begins in the early morning hours with a train trip to Appenzellerland. We hardly arrive and then we are off again immediately to the Goba factory in Gontenbad. The Swiss firm Goba AG sells mineral water, Flauder and soft drinks, whose origin is the Alpstein massif in Appenzell. On a tour through the modern factory we learn about the exciting history of the family operation, which is now being run in the third generation.
A very innovative business with a huge passion for its unique products, very similar to Mondaine in this respect.
For more than 60 years Mondaine has focused on the essentials, combining independent and timeless Swiss design with innovation, skilled craftsmanship, functionality and lasting value. This is how a Swiss way of life is born, producing watches that unmistakably and credibly express modernity and independence.
Mondaine's SBB evo models are timeless classics. The slightly rounded form of the cases with virtually seamless transition to the case back is a striking design element, but also ensures high wearing comfort. Finely crafted case lugs and a functional crown are perfectly proportioned, ensuring precise balance throughout the entire collection. With their contemporary character these Swiss-made watches accompany us on our trip to Appenzell.
An experience for the senses
Fortified by a fine Appenzell lunch, our journey continues on foot. From Gontenbad we hike along the barefoot trail to Jakobsbad. As the name suggests, this trail should actually be travelled barefoot. As such, we walk the roughly five kilometer trail with no shoes on. An unfamiliar but simultaneously very pleasant and liberating sensation. A special experience for all the senses.
After hiking barefoot we take the train to Wasserauen. In rural surroundings against a beautiful backdrop we stroll to the Loki restaurant, a decommissioned train that has become an insider gastronomy tip. In the Loki we enjoy a tarte flambée and Appenzell Flauder from Goba. On the train trip back to Zurich we reminisce happily about the wonderful day and unforgettable impressions we were fortunate to experience.
The blog entry on Dimitri's trip can be found at Newly Swissed.
Cardinal direction north
How are Mondaine watches made? A glimpse behind the scenes of the Swiss-made watches in Biberist
Our last journey began in the early morning hours with a train trip to Biberist in Solothurn. Biberist is the site of "Mondaine House", the place where Mondaine watches are produced. As we arrive at the factory, we are already awaited for a behind the scenes tour. On our exciting tour through the factory we experience first-hand how much precision, craftsmanship and perfect planning go into the production of a Mondaine watch.
In finely-tuned processes countless Swiss-made watches are manufactured in Biberist every day. The Mondaine SBB Simply Elegant, which accompanies us on our outing today, was also produced here in Solothurn.
The Simply Elegant models are distinguished by a simplicity that is accentuated by the ultra-slim case, and by the multifaceted strap styles and scratchproof sapphire crystal glass.
The blog entry from Dimitri can be found at Newly Swissed.
Werkraum Warteck pp, Basel
Directly after the factory tour it is off on the train to our next destination in Basel: Werkraum Warteck pp. What is Werkraum Warteck pp all about? Werkraum (workspace) stands for the togetherness of different projects, operations and people, all under one roof. Warteck is the name of the old brewery building of the beer of the same name. "pp" means permanent Provisorium (permanently provisional), alluding to change and evolution.
Basel blends the traditional and the modern in every way, including architecture. The Warteck is a unique construction that is steeped in tradition. It is a building that blends architecture with craftsmanship – properties which also define Mondaine. Curious but also amazed by the building's architecture, we were guided through the Warteck's different rooms and facilities.
30 years ago the inside of the building looked completely different. Back then the air was full of the smell of malt, and beer was brewed. After being sold to Feldschlösschen in 1989, the Warteck brewery was slowly transformed into a creative center.
Dimitri's blog entry can be found at Newly Swissed.