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Switzerland Naked? Try the Appenzell Ausserrhoden

By now, the observant among you will have noticed that the teeny-weeny Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden has, in response to a bevy of body-loving German trekkers moving through the canton with unbridled nether bits, recently levied fines for naked hiking.

Boo to them. But what you may not know, or be able to pronounce, the adjacent and slightly larger canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden has, to my knowlege, not levied such fines.

Perhaps you are adverse to the human body being allowed unswathed into the stark woodiness of Switzerland. I’ve heard Puritanism is alive and well in some places. But we’re talking Switzerland here. These people are known for their high-quality pocket knives. Sure, I know, if you’re buck nekid there’s no pocket in which to place one, but that’s beside the point I was going to make. See, just about every knife the Swiss make has a corkscrew embedded between its red plastic handle. Ergo, the Swiss must be a fun loving people who enjoy a little wine-induced hedonism from time to time. No?

Haus Aeschlimann - Switzerland Vacation Rental

Haus Aeschlimann - Switzerland Vacation Rental

Well, naked or not, this little part of Switzerland is a veritable Eden. Mountains, lakes, virgin florests and the like provide the “ahhh” factor. Hey, weren’t folks naked in Eden?

So, maybe rent a house in Appenzell Ausserrhoden somewhere. How about renting the cute little place in the picture on the right? It’s called Haus Aeschlimann and it’s located in the village of Walzenhausen, which is also referred to as the “balcony above the Bodensee.” Nice.  It’s close to the town of St. Gallen, which is a great little town to visit (see the Abbey library, the world’s oldest, and notice all the ornate oriel windows).

And it’s on the edge of a vast woods. Go ahead. Shuck them clothes. You’re only on the balcony above the Bodensee after all. Who’s gonna see?


Lugano: Refuge for Political Blogger Beppe Grillo

Hey, where can you go these days to escape the assault on political criticism that governments seem to think is conducive to freedom and democracy?

I have no idea.

Blogger and the Italian government’s biggest critic Beppe Grillo has purchased a house in Switzerland’s Ticino region (where Italian is spoken) to try to avoid pending legislation looking to restrict or censor blogs, which would have to be registered with the Italian government in order for the blogger to avoid prison. Good deal, eh?

Lake Lugano seen from Villa Camélia, a Lugano vacation rental

Lake Lugano seen from Villa Camélia, a Lugano vacation rental

So what the heck, it’s a nice place this Ticino. I’d head for where Grillo did, around Lugano. I mean, look at that view from Villa Camélia, a spectacularly situated vacation home. This place has some privacy, and it’s in Switzerland, so you can probably have some fun, or at least some chocolate.

You could also blog to your heart’s content, evidently. And when you wanted to go to Italy, it’s only a short drive. If you drink mineral water with your meals, you’ll want to make that drive frequently. You wouldn’t believe what bottled water costs in Switzerland. I’ll give you a hint: it’s more than most bottles of wine in an Italian supermarket.

Have fun in Switzerland. If it’s good enough for Beppe Grillo, it’s good enough for me.

Seclusion on the Italian Riviera: Tellaro and the Gulf of Poets

Maybe you only think of pesto and the Cinque Terre when you think of Liguria. Well, stop it. The pencil-thin region of Liguria is loaded with places tourists don’t know about. Of all those places, Tellaro might just be my favorite.

It’s a small, seaside village . Houses spill down the hillside toward the tiny, secluded harbor that you can swim in, topless if you’d like. Tellaro’s main piazza is a wide spot in the road. But that piazza has a number of bars and restaurants nearby. One, the Miramare, even has a Michelin star. Still, you don’t have to be squished in with the tourist hordes when you visit Tellaro.

Because it’s not the Cinque Terre.

Tellaro and its harbor

Tellaro and its harbor

Ok, I shouldn’t be telling you all this stuff. Tellaro should remain a secret. And if small town life seems dull, well, take off in the ferry in the summer for Lerici with its fine castle or go to the Cinque Terre or Portofino. The marble quaries of Carrara aren’t far away, and Lucca beckons from the Autostrada. It’s seclusion with options, the smart choice.

You’ll want to stay in a place with a view of the sea. Clio is just such a place. Your view of the sea will be unobstructed.

Percy B. Shelley, with his wife Mary, the creator of Frankenstein, along with Lord George G. Byron were known to meander through the streets of Tellaro, at least when they weren’t swimming in the Gulf of Poets. What better recommendation than from poets? Isn’t it about time poets rose to social prominence again, perhaps displacing tee-vee stars and warmongers as our guides to the intellectual good life?

Sicily: Stay in Portopalo like Michael Schumacher

It’s sometimes hard for us earth-bound peasants to get a glimpse of the beautiful people, especially if they drive fast like Michael Schumacher–you know, the formula uno Ferrari guy. But…an opportunity might just be heading your way.

You see, Michael might be buying Castle Tafurilocated nearby Portopalo in Sicily, according to Sicily Guide.

Grecale, Sicily vacation rental

Grecale, Sicily vacation rental

So, if you’re a fan, maybe you’d like to be residing close by. Maybe in that rather nice Sicily vacation rental over there, called Grecale. It’s located on a hill behind the above referenced town of Portopalo. Hidden from view, with a pool and gardens.

But just imagine, If Michael Schumacher’s wife gets her way and Michael buys this castle of his, then maybe one day you get in the rental car and happen to pull up at a stop sign right next to Mr. Schumacher’s beast. You blip the throttle, then you speed off down the road toward the supermarket, with Schumacher in close pursuit. The cars touch lightly at the big right hander entering the parking lot, but you hold your ground and nurse the car into the best spot near the door of the super ahead of the exasperated Mr. Schumacher.

Can you imagine? I mean imagine the scenario as presented, rather than imagine the crap you’re gonna get from the wife and the guy at the rental car desk.

I’m pretty sure Michael will be cool with it.

But then, you better hide out for a bit, with or without the wife depending upon the amplitude of her ire. I’d try the island of Pantelleria, between Sicily and Tunisia. Nobody would come looking for you there, I’m sure.


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