Hidden in a magnificent valley on the edge between Switzerland and Italy and unknown even by your navigation system (but just one hour away from Milan and two and a half hours of train from Zurich), the new boutique accommodation Cloud9 has been on top of my wish list for a while – I saw the location two years ago, when it was just a project, and was quite curious about its realisation. Finally it was completed, and I could try it before its official opening, so I decided to put it to the test. I went to Cloud9 with my dog Simba, after a really busy week that made me crave for rest and freedom. And if you know me enough, that didn’t mean that I wanted to get bored.
Do You Recognise Yourself?
See if you can relate: You don’t really believe in online reviews. You’re fed up queueing up for a tourist attraction or watching a beautiful sunset among a crowd of people taking selfies. You want to feel free and light, like walking on air, or…on a cloud.
If you know what I mean, you’ll understand why I loved my stay at Cloud9 and started it slow, then ended it up with a bang.
Be Like the Ocean
When I arrived at Cloud9, I spent a day doing nothing. Even though nothing doesn’t quite describe it. I sat on the terrace, then did yoga in the shade. I watched the valley and forgot my phone. I smelled the fresh herbs indoor and outside, in the garden. I let my thoughts roam wild. I planned nothing. I played with the dog and moved slowly. I flipped through the books and watched the black and white photos. I had a long outdoor shower among the bamboos. In short: I found myself. Not that I was in a crisis! But I think we are all like the sea or the ocean: on the surface, depending on the outside circumstances, there can be big changes in the waves, wind, and temperatures. Deep down, under the moving exterior, there is always the same person. Sometimes one needs to take a dive down there and find that real self again.
On the second day, when I felt calm and recharged, I was ready for the next step, and I decided to explore the area around Cloud9.
I knew that a hike to Monte Generoso offered spectacular views, but what I didn’t know that it was exactly on the Italian border, so that your dog can trot in Italy while you’re holding the leash in Switzerland, or can smell some edging stones either on their “S” (Swiss) or on their “I” (Italian) side. I also found out that that, at the summit, there is a beautiful Pathway of the Planets, a 600-m-long nearly straight and level solar system model, built at a scale of 1:10 billion, where a single step of about one meter corresponds to traveling 10 million kms in the real solar system. Kids and grown ups marvel at the proportions and discuss the sky, while live jazz music serenades them (or at least so it was, when I was there).
But I love contrasts, so that afternoon, after the hike, I decided to spend one hour at the most popular outlet in Switzerland, Foxtown, that is about 20 minutes away. Open 7 days a week and featuring many top brands like Burberry and Gucci, and also more sporty ones like Nike and Adidas, this place is always worth a visit. Even though this is the perfect activity on a rainy weekend, I really enjoyed going with good weather and sitting at its outdoor cafe for a well deserved rest – to me, shopping is more tiring than a hike.
The third day I was ready for a blast, and it was something I had had in my bucket list for a while. The most exciting experience one can do around Cloud9, in my opinion, is also related to the clouds: skydiving.
I went to Paracentro Locarno and was joined by the whole family…and by Simba of course! He had to watch from the ground though, while resting in the shadow of a tree.
We had booked our jump online and didn’t know much about how it worked. We entered the training area and, in order to be admitted to the course, we had to show our fitness level – so we had to run with our instructor for about 1 km at moderate speed. Then we sat on a table and were briefed. The staff was friendly and informative, and showed us a book with photographs to illustrate every step. We had to do a mock jump and lie on a bench moving our body as the instructor told us to. That was funny and gave us a lot of giggling. Finally we were helped to get dressed in beautiful overalls and harnesses, and off we went.
Three, two one…jump! The clouds, again. The wind, the sun, the amazingly fast changes of landscape, the adrenaline.
It was glorious. I went first and my daughters watched me from the landing spot. I was less scared than I imagined. However, I had a light problem with my ear (after all, I jumped from 4’000 mt. for the first time in my life) and my mouth kept opening in an uncontrolled way. The girls became so enthusiastic for seeing me all happy after landing, that they went on the next flight completely fearless. One of them, afterwards, told me that one of her legs “fell asleep”, so even a very young person feels some kind of side effects. But hey, did they like it. When we all met again on the landing strip, we felt like real heroes. Imagine four super excited women who can’t stop talking – my husband was so overwhelmed, that he went walking alone with Simba to find some peace and quiet, boys only.
Mangiare – Osteria Manciana
A perfect day doesn’t end without a great meal, and I had heard that the top spot in Valle di Muggio is Osteria Manciana.
Hi, many people recommended me your restaurant!
I told the owner when he greeted me and pointed me where to park (even parking is unique, in the valley).
Of course, there is nowhere else to go, here!
He answered cheerfully.
His modesty was quite refreshing, because this place is special indeed. Sipping a welcome drink on the brand new terrace overlooking the valley, guests wait for a deer or a fox to turn up – apparently they come every evening, and it’s more likely if you throw down a little piece of food.
The menu is short and traditional, with an ever popular Ossobuco from Piera that most people order, but there is a vegan option too. The night I was there I was presented a wine called Beatrice and I got so excited about it (even though I don’t drink) that I took a picture and asked the reason of the name. I couldn’t believe when the owner of the restaurant pointed me two guests entering that exact moment: they were the wine makers, and owners of the winery. They told me that the name comes from the family, and explained its story. It was so interesting and entertaining, that other tables joined the conversation, until the whole restaurant was chatting. It felt like a big family having dinner together.
The Mind Behind Cloud9
And now it’s time to tell my story too: I badly wanted to see Cloud9 because I know the mind behind it, Evelyn Gorgos, who is a friend of mine, and also the Head of Corporate Communications & Media Relations
This is the place I’d like to find, when I am traveling myself.
She told me while opening the door.
I discovered Valle di Muggio when I first came to do biking training camps. I was smitten and decided to settle here.
For this project, Evelyn has joined forces with her daughter Jannah, who is also a host and marketing specialist to Cloud9. One really feels the warm family atmosphere, but also the famous “deluxe” expertise. A very unique mix that allows you to choose to either stay in complete peace, or ask for help and find assistance for local tips, activities and logistic. Or maybe…to decide not to choose. Just to let go, you’re on Cloud9!