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Ford Vignale Lifestyle mountains with sea by them and a city on one of them

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FORD VIGNALE EXPRESS: COLOGNE-MILAN

From Cologne to Milan, from “Ford City” to the Design Capital of the World. It’s a journey to savour – especially in the refined Ford Mondeo Vignale 2.0 TDCi AWD.

Ford Vignale Lifestyle brown Mondeo Vignale and woman walking with her dog

Less than five hours after leaving Ford’s European HQ in Cologne, we arrive in Zürich. The city consists of banks, tailored suits and glamorous shopping streets in the Altstadt. But there’s another, surprising side to this city. Zürich-West has been transformed into a bustling, modern hotspot.

Regenerated docks

The former industrial and harbour district is being regenerated along the same lines as the docks in London and the old ports of Rotterdam and Lisbon. Imposing overpasses and train tracks twist their way around renovated warehouses and factories. The streets and trams are filled with people wearing the latest trends. You feel the buzz on the streets and in squares, with names like Schiffbaustrasse (Ship-building Street) and Turbinenplatz (Turbine Square).

Modern meets traditional

An exciting mix of old and new can be found on the premises of the old Löwenbrau brewery (Limmatstrasse 270). Above the brick building dating from 1897, two gleaming apartment buildings have been erected. Located in the building are art galleries and art museums, such as the Kunsthalle and Migros Museum.

Ford Vignale Lifestyle Löwenbrau brewery and bar in a restaurant

Zürich's nightlife

When night falls, purple, green and blue LED lamps begin to light up all over the neighbourhood. We decide to go to Les Halles (Pfingstweidstrasse 6), a bustling restaurant/delicatessen in a former car park. The menu is brief but all the ingredients are fresh and organic. The chef understands the art of Mediterranean food – craftsmanship, good taste and the desire to attain perfection. It’s the Ford Vignale feeling in a Swiss kitchen.

Playground for young and old

From Zürich-West, we drive two hours to Lucerne. It’s a fairytale-like place. Swans bob on Lake Lucerne, which is surrounded by mountains. In the city, we discover fascinating contrasts. The KKL, by architect Jean Nouvel, seemingly defies gravity with its refined, airy lines. This modern, eye-catching building is home to a concert hall renowned for its acoustics, as well as an art museum. Nearby, is the wooden Chapel Bridge, built in the Middle Ages and almost 205 metres long.

Slice of paradise

The Ford Mondeo Vignale continues self-confidently – no, gallantly – into the mountains, hugging the many curves. It’s a great feeling. And we have time. The trip from Cologne to Milan can be done in 10 hours. But why rush?

We arrive in Lugano, its downtown area nicknamed ‘paradise’. With its 67,000 inhabitants, Lugano offers a heavenly mix of Rösti and pasta, Swiss efficiency and a joie de vivre. It’s also the Swiss town with the most hours of sun per year and 90 public fountains with crystal-clear drinking water. What else could anyone want?

Ford Vignale Lifestyle food, Vignale key-fob and brown Mondeo Vignale with man standing near it

Café for the stars

Well, perhaps the beautiful pastries in the Grand Café Al Porto (Via Pessina 3). This is one of Lugano’s oldest cafés, and its interior hasn’t changed much since 1803. There’s plenty of walnut, chandeliers and stained glass windows. Clark Gable and Sophia Loren ate here regularly. George Clooney (who lives in nearby Como) always drinks his Caffé Shakerato at the same small table next to the fireplace. Brazilian top model Gisele Bündchen comes all the way from Milan for a ‘desiderio al cioccolato’.

Don't miss the Lake Lugano

A walk along Lake Lugano is a must. From the sycamore-lined boulevard, you have a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains, including Monte Brè, Monte San Salvatore and, of course, Collina d’Oro, the mountain that offers the best view. Next stop: Milan, an hour away. The Salone Internazionale del Mobile is about to begin for the 51st time. Naturally, Ford will be at the world’s largest design fair. And so will we.

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