Sunday, May 08, 2005

Slow Down and See Switzerland 2005

The first of 10 Open Air Festivals was kicked off into full gear this weekend around the Lake of Muren. Around 50,000 people were in attendance Sunday, kicking off Switzerland’s biggest ever season of car-free “SlowUp” festivals.

These "SlowUp" festivals are to promote more people to get out of their cars and onto cycle, skating or riding scooters. Thanks to the huge success of "SlowUp" since it began in 2000, five additional events are set to go ahead this summer in scenic locations across the country.

The tired and thirsty pedalling public listened to live entertainment from portable stages along with fried fish and local sausage at the many roadside stalls.

“It’s not a sporting event, but a social event bringing people together to have fun,” says Jörg Stäuble, one of the SlowUp organisers.

People from other parts of the world have also joined in as this Sunday's festival attracted an 84 year old rider from Britain.

The next event takes place along the Rhine River in northern Switzerland before moving to the Jura hills in the west of country, where the setting will be the picturesque Vallée de Joux.

Here are a few dates to consider:

- Lake Murten – May 23
- Rhine River – June 6
- Vallée de Joux – June 20
- Gruyère – July 11
- Lake Constance – August 29
- Lake Zurich – September 26 (provisional)

If you are in any of these areas during this time, its a great activity to join in on since roads are closed to cars with a mild ride anywhere from 25 to 40 km in length...

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