It was the perfect end to the year: a weekend-getaway in December with my girls at the luxury Quellenhof hotel in South Tyrol (Italy). For those that know me, know that I am a sucker for weekend retreats. Although I don’t get the chance all too often, I love doing absolutely nothing. This weekend was exactly that. We went 3-4x a day to the sauna, then to the hot steam baths, enjoyed the inside and outside whirlpool, drank hot teas and closed our eyes in the relaxation area.
One thing I very much appreciated, is that most areas were adults-only. Although the resort offered many activities for children, has a water-park and even the restaurant has great offers for children, the “children-area” was always separated slightly from the rest of the resort or the adults-only-restaurant. This way families with their children did not have to worry that couples or hotel guests would get annoyed with their little ones and vice-versa.
I left my dog home with my family for that time and did not take her with me. Yet, on the last day before driving back my girls and I noticed that quite a few dog-walking paths were leading directly from the resort into the woods. We then also saw a few dogs and my guess is that one of the other hotels of the same resort allows for dogs. My mission for the next year is thus clear: Visit more hotels, more down-time, more me time – but trying to take my dog everywhere. It seems there are a few hotels that offer dog services, dog-walkers for when I would go to the SPA areas and even state that dogs are very welcome to their resorts!
and before I forget: I wish you all a great last day this year and a wonderful start into 2019!
If there is one thing that can always sweep me off my feet – it‘s the breathtaking beauty of nature. Whether it is art, design or fashion; us humans usually try to replicate the beauty we see out in nature. Photography, is one of the greatest tools invented. The fact that I can capture certain moments in life and be able to re-visit them in years from now, is something we need to appreciate. Yet, no photograph in my opinion, no piece of art or painting, captures the actual roughness, the raw beauty of what nature has given us. It is our memories together with the moments we capture that take us back in time.
Yesterday I drove up from Zurich to Saas Fee for to attend a training program by a large law firm I work with. The drive up was already breath-taking; absolutely fascinating. The higher I went (almost 3000m above sea level) the more snow was around me. Not the fluffy snow we know, however, it was parts of the glacier, leftovers from the previous winter. Hard blocks of ice slowly melting in the sun with 16°C temperatures barely being able to move the ice. Together with the greens of the grass, the brown tones of the earth slowly warming up to summer and the blues of the sky – the colors couldn’t have been more harmonizing, more inspiring, more motivating.
Saas Fee is a fairly old town in Switzerland with a great history in regards to cars. Cars are used a lot to getting to Saas Fee, but have been forbidden for generations within the actual town. Shortly after entering the town, we stood introns of a huge parking space to leave the car. Every couple of meters there are cute little oldschool phones to call the hotel one will stay at – or the regular transportation service. Shortly after we called our hotel, a small electro-shuttle came to pick us up. I couldn’t stop myself from smiling – and being impressed. This environmentally friendly approach, which so many praise these days and try to incorpate into our lives, has been with Saas Fee for so long.
We then arrived at our hotel – the Fletschhorn. It is an absolutely cute hotel, with great servicing, amazing breakfast and very spacey rooms. I can only recommend it. The wine cellar is huge, the cook received a Michelin star and the view from the balcony of the room, is simply stunning (second photo below).
Today my day is mostly consisted of a conference and team-building exercises. My personal goal is to exploring the area just a little more before leaving again Friday morning!
Malta. The island isn’t all too big, all too large and rather easily explored – yet, there’s a new place every time I go for walks with my family. Right after New York, and after spending less than 36 hours in Zurich, I headed right back to Malta to see my puppy again. I left Zaphira with my mom and sister whilst I was gone traveling overseas so that she had family around her and wasn’t alone. Upon my return, I received a million kisses from my pup and couldn’t feel happier. It was just what I needed. Malta was just what I needed. In fact, I needed a short break. Traveling is a passion I love and I cannot be happier about the life I am living and about my career allowing me to travel to different places. Yet, once in a while I am just happy to let go for a bit; almost to shut down in order to reload my personal energy again. That is what I did over Easter together with my pup and the family. We were out daily, surrounded by winds, yet enjoying the warm sun that spring has brought to the island.
Generally, there is not much I love more than enjoying the silence of nature. That is, the sounds of breaking waves, the wind whistling through the sails of yachts and boats, the birds humming their songs and wings of bees vibrating so fast you can hear it for miles if you listen closely on an open field. I have learnt not only to love being outside in nature but appreciating all that it gives to us and does for us. My next personal challenge: the ultimate detox and enjoying nature to the fullest. That is, I want to plan a trip in the near future where I will be almost fully offline – cut off from the digital world.
I love the internet. Don’t get me wrong. I love being online and knowing what is happening exactly when it happens and the second a message gets in. Yet, being available at all times, receiving emails and calls 24/7, answering WhatsApp messages in bulks and FaceTiming every night with family and friends can make one feel restless. I’ve come to notice that a break from everything, at least once in a while, is quite the positive change. I now try going outside without checking my phone every 10 minutes – at least for those 2 hours that I am outside with my dog when going for a short hike. And my next challenge is a trip – a trip where I will restrict myself to only 2 short periods of online time a day (to let my family know I’m alive whilst abroad and to check important emails once a day). I think it will be a real treat for myself. Have any of you gone through a digital detox – is it even possible nowadays in such a fast pacing world? I cannot wait for it!
Finally I’ve managed it. It’s always been high up on my list. Yet, I’ve never found the time previously to go and enjoy it myself. The MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, is exactly what I am talking about. This time around in NYC, the big apple, I actually found myself more or less free one afternoon (due to a snow storm and all meetings had been cancelled) with my hotel being right across the street of the MoMA. Immediately I took off and decided to spend a few hours in this museum, allowing myself the time to digest each and every piece carefully as I walked through the halls filled with one masterpiece after another. My favorite? Hard to say, though I extremely liked the contrast play in Andy Warhol’s painting “The Supper” from 1986 (top photo) – especially because looking at it I would have thought its from after the 2000s. It’s incredible how far ahead Warhol was with so many art pieces he did 30 years ago.
Yet, it’s hard to say which my overall favorite piece was. All brought out different emotions within me – from feeling blessed and fuzzy all around to being worried about where the human race is heading to feeling empty all inside. That is what I love about Art so much – it has the power to making people feel all sorts of emotions. So I’ve picked out some of my favorites, those that spoke to me with varied emotions, to share with you.
Of course, the all-time famous “The Starry Night” from Vincent van Gogh from 1889.
Tarsila do Amaral’s “Operation (Workers)” from 1933.
Jackson Pollock’s “One: Number 31, 1950”.
Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” from 1914-26.
Carmen Winant’s wall of photography called “My Birth” from 2018.
Henri Matisse’s “Dance (I)” painting, which I loved so much I had to buy the miniture poster of it for my own apartment back in Zurich!
There is nothing I love more than traveling – especially when it involves seeing my family and being able to take my puppy, Zaphira, with me. Due to my family living in Malta, as you may know by now, I tend to visit them ever so often. Traveling to Malta with a dog in general is rather easy – even easier, if it‘s a small dog (up to 8kg in weight) that you can take into the plane cabin with you. Zaphira has flown around 3 times with me to Malta already now, and is getting more and more used to plane rides. It calms me to know that she is less panicky now and I do not have to give her any tablets anymore (which I tried in the beginning to calm her down but did not feel was the right thing to do).
When entering Malta with a pet (cat or dog) it is of utmost importance to register the animal prior at the customs. Recently, this process has been simplified and can be done online here.
Likewise, you must see a vet around 3 days prior to entering Malta to confirm the dog is healthy (get a statement of good health) and it must be treated for worms (in the form of a tablet).
Once you arrive at the airport, you will be awaited by the customs to check that the above processes have been done and to verify the mircrochip number with the one entered onto the online form.
Discovering Malta with your dog is fairly easy when it comes to walking through the streets and visiting utmost touristy places. Dogs are allowed in most public spaces, given they are on a leash, and can run freely in certain areas. Yet, although people living in Malta love dogs, many of them are not used to having their dogs play with others. You will notice that they are kept rather tightly on leashes and are often even scared towards other dogs.
When it comes to Restaurants, one wants to call beforehand to see whether dogs are allowed. It seems that some do not allow dogs at all – not even in the outside areas, whilst others offer your dog their own chair to sit at the table with you. The same thing goes for hotels – make sure that you check online or by calling before booking any rooms.
Funnily enough, and in contrast to what we are used to in most other countries in Europe, dogs are allowed in supermarkets. That is, not all dogs. Big dogs usually need to wait outside and are not permitted. In case you have a small dog, however, no one will tell you to leave the dog outside by itself. Simply carry the dog around whilst you go grocery shopping!
The best seasons to visit Malta with you dog is anything from very late summer / early autumn up until mid-spring. Already in April, and most definitely in May, Malta reaches very temperatures already and walking with the dog for outside for hours is almost impossible and surely not recommended. If you don’t want your puppy to melt away in the sun, and likewise if you don’t want to sit around in the shade all day, the summer is not the best time to exploring Malta with any pet (nor without, as most Maltese that have the possibility leave the island as it becomes too hot)!
If any of you have any recommendations of where to best stay with your dog in Malta, do let me know – as I am still in the midst of further exploring the island; of course, with Zaphira. Likewise, I have planned quite a few trips this summer with her and am always looking for new places to explore that are dog-friendly. Up next with Zaphira is Munich! If you wish, I am more than happy to sharing some tips with you after my visit. Until then, I wish you all safe travels wherever you go! Xo