Palm Trees… and Snow ?!

It was a weeklong adventure with my parents visiting us in Zürich from New York City, and we certainly covered a lot of ground – walking around Zürich and warming our bellies with Swiss fondue and hot chestnuts, experiencing Bern’s crazy confetti-filled Onion Festival even if in the rain and sleet, tasting kugelhopf in the colorful and charming Alsatian town of Colmar (which you’re sure to read about soon on the blog!) and even recreating an authentic Thanksgiving feast here in Switzerland.  Having had our fill of wursts, cheese, chocolate, snow, Swiss German and French, we went off on a search for sun, pasta and gelato! 

We hopped in the car and headed south from Zürich for “always sunny” Ticino, Switzerland’s Italian region.  Looking around at the architecture, the people and how they dress, hearing the sing song melodies of Italian, reading restaurant menus, and even observing people’s driving, you’d have a hard time believing that you weren’t actually in Italy.  After two hours in the car, we passed through a 17-mile tunnel and all imagined what would welcome us on the other side… we each had our own visions of blue skies and sun and beautiful Italian people walking around outside with large cones of gelato (despite it being the end of November).  What a shock when we emerged from the tunnel?.and found ourselves in the midst of a snow storm!

Locarno, Switzerland

Locarno, Switzerland

Locarno, SwitzerlandSeeing palm trees in Switzerland is already quite of a curious thing.  Looking up at tall, green palm trees, and then looking down at piles of white snow is yet another. Vegetation that seems better suited to Florida or Brazil made for quite a contrast with the Alps as a background.  Our base for a few days of this Italian winter exploring was in Locarno, ironically known to amass the most hours of sunshine of any other Swiss city – or so our guide book told us!  It is a beautiful old town full of Italian piazzas and arcades, subtropic gardens and churches, all sitting on Lake Maggiore.  The weather didn’t hold us back, and we enjoyed the Italian atmosphere, savored thin crusted pizzas, platters of mixed grilled fish, fresh pasta and big scoops of gelato.  In and out of pasticcerias, we even honed our Italian, ordering individual cream pastries and admired the tall panettone in the windows.


Locarno, Switzerland Locarno, Switzerland


Below are two good spots for eating out in Locarno.  Next up on the blog: a fabulous find for where to stay in Locarno – which may just be the same place to get the city’s best cappuccino.

Via Cittadella 18
6600 Locarno
In the heart of the old town, a trattoria downstairs with a large menu of fish dishes, pizzas and pastas.  Upstairs is a more formal restaurant specializing in fish.


Cantina Canetti
off Piazza Grande
6600 Locarno
Where the locals go – more the neighborhood bar than a restaurant, they have live music on Friday and Saturday nights.  Enjoy while snacking on plates of dried meats and bowls of hearty minestrone soup with fresh bread.

5 Responses to “Palm Trees… and Snow ?!”

  1. Sarah says:

    and i thought palm trees in seattle were odd… 🙂

  2. Jenn says:

    I love your pictures! This looks like such an interesting place. Although, with authentic Italian food like that, I doubt I’d be wasting time looking out the window… 🙂

  3. jenni says:

    i just found this page…and i’ve been to locarno,ascona, and bellinzona the past two years…it is one of god’s most beautiful creations……we stayed at a 5 star in ascona,and were in and out of locarno and bellinzona….but in the beginning of march,the weather was very warm and pleasant, the flowers were bloomed or blooming,and the palm trees viewed with the snowy alps behind them,were an incredibly amazing site…lake maggiore is an immensly long lake…but the end of it thats by locarno is just gorgeous…walk along the promenade…look at the boats and the alps surrounding takes your breath away…you can’t stop staring at the scenery…i call it the swiss riviera..

  4. Patricia says:

    Goodmorning Kerrin, I came to read more articles and saw Locarno, my birth town, nice to see some pictures, I didn’t see the town since 1997. Happy to see that you like Zürich, I like it too. Thanks again for your e-mail, hope you got mine.
    Je vous souhaite une belle journée, j’espère ensoleillée, ici il pleut fort. Cordialement

  5. chris says:

    how about this: banana trees in tulsa, oklahoma!

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