Archive for SHOWCATION

SHOWCATION: Swiss Expo – The Greatest Experience in The World

SHOWCATION - IDW swiss expo- BadgeAnyone who has ever attended Swiss Expo will tell you that there is nothing like it in the world.  Even before the cows enter the ring, the ambiance is electric. Your heart rate increases and you can’t wait for the stars of the show to enter.  Simply put, attending Swiss Expo will be one of the greatest show experiences that you will ever have in your life.

Getting in

Each year the show is held in January in Lausanne Switzerland.  The closest airport, Geneva airport is served by almost all European carriers and by four daily trans-Atlantic flights: one from Washington-Dulles on United, one from New York, JFK on Swiss, one from Newark on Continental and one from Montreal, on Air Canada.

Let’s Talk

Lausanne is part of Suisse Romande/Romandie and thus is French-speaking. However, English is not as commonly spoken as in Geneva, and less than half the population can speak English at a competent level. You will probably have trouble communicating with a commoner on the street, but most service-sector employees speak a little English.

Getting Around

Walking is an excellent way to get around Lausanne. There are a number of sites within a short walk of the Main Station with the largely carfree streets beginning right across the street on rue du Petit-Chêne, which leads up to Place St. François in the old town. Like many streets in Lausanne it is a bit steep, though, so if that’s a problem consider taking the Metro M2.

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Sights to See

  • Swiss Expo Holstein Show
    From the dual purpose breeds that kick off the show to the culmination with the Holstein Show, you heart will race and you will keep thinking, “It can’t get better than this” …. but it does. The Red & White show is the best Red show in the world….bar none.  No one, I say No one in the world puts on a better show than the Swiss.  The Swiss ring is the most visually amazing place to see a cow shown in the world.  And the people are so passionate about the cows that the capacity crowd keeps the building electric. (Read more: 2016 Swiss Expo Holstein Show2016 Swiss Expo Red & White Holstein)
  • Explore The Old Town
    Thanks to the hills making it hard to pave over, Lausanne’s old town is larger than most found in Swiss cities, with the notable exception of Zurich. You can spend days wandering the old cobbled streets and still not know all of its nooks and crannies. After the shops close, there are dozens of quaint, cozy, hip, or just warm restaurants, cafes and nightclubs to experience, especially considering that at Place Central the old town joins with the Flon nightclub/gallery district. Wander as long as you like for, of course, there’s no charge for that,
  • Climb the Cathedral Tower
    The view from the top of the Cathedral tower is well worth the climb. Ask the nun at the souvenir shop in the Cathedral. From 10 PM until 2 in the morning, a watchman shouts the hours, perpetuating a tradition that dates back to 1405.
  • Musée Historique de Lausanne
    Here you will find a collection of maps, images and documents about the history of Lausanne, and the Lake Geneva Region from the earliest times through the long Bernese occupation to liberation and the present day. A beautifully hand-crafted diorama of 16th-century Lausanne is worth a visit all by itself.


Also, be sure to see the sights in Geneva including:

  • Jet d’Eau, the Rade
    One of the crowning symbols of Geneva is the great Jet d’Eau, a fountain of water pumped 140m into the air. The spectacular plume was once an occasional pressure release for hydropower generation on the Rhône River, but people liked it so much that in 1891 the city created a permanent pumped fountain. It’s beautifully lit at night. Best viewed from a distance — the surrounding half kilometer is soaked with water. However, the more adventurous might want to try the pathway leading right up to the Jet d’eau — prepare to get enjoyably wet!
  • Cathédrale St-Pierre
    The Cathedral and its towers, originally Catholic, both embody the high point of the Reformed tradition and explore the origins of Christianity with an extensive archeological site, and they are now complemented by the International Museum of the Reformation on the ground floor of the Maison Mallet. An underground passage reopened when the Museum was created, connects the two buildings. The archeological tour beneath the cathedral is excellent for those interested in such material, and it explains the origins not only of the cathedral but the reason for Geneva’s location back to pre-Roman times. Those willing to climb the steps of the Cathedral’s towers will be rewarded with magnificent views of Geneva and the lake.
  • Old Town
    Aside from the cathedral, the Old Town, in general, is worth walking around in for an hour or two. Among the highlights are the city hall with the cannons in the little square opposite to it, Rousseau’s birth house and various antique shops with all sorts of interesting stuff in the windows. The Old Town is situated on a hill with quite steep streets leading up to it.

What to eat


The best souvenirs from Lausanne are probably food specialties from the Canton of Vaud:

  • Saucisson Vaudois (pork sausage) and Saucisse aux choux (pork and cabbage sausage), both protected (IGP) brands. Each sausage carries a green seal with an individual registration Best eaten with papet Vaudois, a dish of leek and potato in a sauce made from cream and white wine.
  • Pâté à la viande – a small muffin-like puff pastry baked with a piece of meat inside. Join the never ending discussion, which pâté à la viande is better: the one bought from a baker or the one bought from a
  • Taillé aux greubons – another cake made from puff pastry mixed with small pieces of bacon.
  • Tarte à la crème – a pie baked with cream and sugar on top.
  • Tarte au vin cuit also called Tarte à la raisinée – a sweet pie with condensed fruit juice, typically apple or pear.
  • Tomme vaudoise – a soft cheese with a mold Best eaten if it is warmed up so that it melts inside.

Where to stay


Most of the hotels in Lausanne are in the mid-price range though there are also some luxury hotels as you would expect in the city which hosts the International Olympic Committee. There are also a few cheapies.


The Bullvine Bottom Line

There are some experiences you just know you will never forget; Swiss Expo is one of those experiences.  From the great cattle to the incredible atmosphere, Swiss Expo is simply the greatest cattle experience in the world.  Add to that two historic cities and you have a SHOWCATION that is out of this world.



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SHOWCATION®: Down under at International Dairy Week

SHOWCATION - IDW Australia - BadgeFrom the land of Crocodile Dundee, Road Warrior and Vegemite is also the home to one of the greatest cattle shows outside of North America.  While Australia may be world famous for producing UGG boots, AC/DC and the dual flush toilet it is their annual International Dairy Week that will have Showcationer’s from around the world flocking to Southern Australia in the middle of their hot season.

Getting In

Melbourne is served by Tullamarine Airport, it is situated to the northwest of the city and is the main international and domestic hub.  It takes about 22+ hours to reach Melbourne from North America and about 24+ hours from most European cities.

Getting Around

While the sites around Melbourne are easily all reached on foot, you will need to have a rental car to make it out to the Show location that is held in Shepparton, which is about 2+ hours north of Melbourne.  Side note: If you are channeling your inner Mad Max you can make that drive in 1 hr. 15 minutes when you are late for your flight, but the speeding ticket from the aerial surveillance will significantly increase the cost of your trip, trust me I speak from experience.

Sights to See

While in Melbourne be sure to check out

  • Flinders Street Railway Station
    Arguably the defining landmark of Melbourne, a nice, colonial-era railway station at the junction of Flinders Street and Swanston Street. The main entrance is known for several clocks hanging over it and is a favorite meeting spot for locals. “Meet you under the clocks at Flinders Street station” is in the DNA of every Melburnian.
  • Docklands
    An entire new precinct filled with shops, bars, restaurants and things to do for all the family as well as a large sports stadium with a waterside setting. Boat trips touring Melbourne’s rivers and Port Philip Bay leave from here.
  • Eureka Tower
    Tallest residential building in the southern hemisphere, panoramic views of the whole of Melbourne.
  • The Australian Open
    First held in 1905, the tournament is chronologically the first of the four Grand Slam tennis events of the year. The Australian Open typically has high attendance, second only to the US Open. It was also the first Grand Slam tournament to feature indoor play during wet weather or extreme heat with its three main
  • On the way to Shepparton be sure to check out the following herds – Bluechip Genetics, Coomboona, Cairnhill, Leslie farms, Darren Crawford, Paringa & Brunchilli. If you are planning on doing some extended touring, you may also want to check out the likes of Elmar Holsteins and Riverside Jerseys (Read more: RIVERSIDE JERSEYS: TRAVELLING HEARTS – A GIRL, A GUY AND THEIR JERSEY LOVE STORY)
  • International Dairy Week
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    Of all the shows that I have been to around the world IDW has to be the most similar to that of North America. With many of its winners being able to to compete at the Regional/State level in North America and even a few that could compete at shows like The Royal or World Dairy Expo.  The show may not be vast in its size, but its unique atmosphere with the booths surrounding the ring make it a great experience.  (Read more: IDW 2016 HOLSTEIN SHOW) The passion among the exhibitors would be 2nd to none in the world.  With the likes of Bluechip Genetics running a show crew that would make those in North America envious, contributing to them being premier breeder and exhibitor six of the last seven years.  Pretty impressive for a program that only started in 2006. (Read more: DEAN AND DIANNA MALCOLM: FORWARD IN FIVE GEARS! THAT’S AUSSIE D.I.Y. and DEAN AND DIANNA MALCOLM: GOBSMACKED IN AUSTRALIA – LANDING RIGHT SIDE UP DOWN UNDER!)
  • New Zealand – While half way around the world, make sure to stop in New Zealand just after IDW for their national show and see operations that will be certainly eye-opening for breeders as to how grazing operations operate.


What to eat


For the culinary traveler, Melbourne, and the surrounding region is one of the best destinations in the world. There is an abundance of affordable, high-quality restaurants representing almost every cuisine. Eating out is cheaper than in Western Europe but not as affordable as North America. The service in Australian restaurants may be more discreet than many North Americans may be used to. Although service staff in Australia are paid considerably more than their North American counterparts and tipping is not compulsory, a tip for good service is always welcomed.  “Australian cuisine” is a nebulous concept that may include traditional native foodstuffs and more modern cafe infusions of international influences. Items such emu or kangaroo meat are unusual and are most likely to be found only at the high-end fine dining restaurants as a specialty item. You can, however, find great kangaroo steaks at the Napier Hotel (Napier St, Fitzroy) for around $30, or at the Edinburgh Castle pub on Sydney Rd, Brunswick for around $26.  Melbourne nightlife is 24 hours; loud, colorful and anything goes. Door policies can be strict, but once inside high-quality entertainment is guaranteed. DJ’s, live music, artists, beautiful people and so much more can be found. There truly is something for everyone and every taste. It has a massive live music scene, with many inner-suburbs pubs catering many genres, with drink and food specials all week. The key is to find one you like the most!

Where to stay


Hotel spaces in Shepparton are limited so be sure to book as early as popular.  Many repeat visitors enjoy staying at Quality Inn Parklake Hotel, but space fills up very fast. Other places to consider the BEST WESTERN Wyndhamere Motel, Paradise Lakes Motel, and the Country Home Motor Inn.


The Bullvine Bottom Line

When it comes to a great showcation® to see part of the world that is very different from that of North America or Europe, Australia’s IDW is certainly a showcation® that many dream of.  It has become a very popular destination for young North America breeders to travel to and learn about dairying in other parts of the world. (Read more: DAIRY YOUTH WILL GO FAR: EXCHANGE IS GOOD!) The cattle at IDW would be probably the best outside North America found anywhere in the world, and their slang takes some getting used to (Read more: DAIRY SLANG: 22 PHRASES THAT MEAN DIFFERENT THINGS TO DAIRY BREEDERS).  A showcation® to IDW is certainly one of the greatest experiences any breeder could imagine.



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SHOWCATION®: Italian Style

SHOWCATION - Verona Italy - BadgeIf you are like most breeders and members of the dairy community, time for vacations is very limited.  But, like most, you are also probably very passionate about this great industry we are all a part of and have often wondered just what it’s like in other countries.  Enter SHOWCATION®, a vacation to a dairy show somewhere around the world.  The first stop in our SHOWCATION® series is Italy for the European Open Holstein Show held in Verona Italy every year in the first week of February.

Verona is famous as it is the place where William Shakespeare set his play, Romeo, and Juliet. It is situated an hour away from Venice, which is hosting its annual Carnival at the same time, but more on that later.  First let’s take a look at Verona.

How to get in

Verona-Villafranca Airport is the closest airport to Verona. It is located 12 km southwest of the city. National carriers fly from Frankfurt, Munich, London-Gatwick, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Rome-Fiumicino (‘Leonard da Vinci’) and Moscow.

Getting around

Upon arrival at Verona Porta Nuova station, it is a 15-minute walk down a long boulevard to reach the center of town, the Verona Arena (Arena di Verona). Just leave the train station, walk through the bus station and past a triumphant arch and follow the boulevard Corso Porta Nuova till the end. Also, Fieragricola, host of the European Open Holstein Show is held at the Veronafiere Is about a 10-minute taxi ride from downtown.  Due to the relatively small size of the city and the proximity of everything, there is no need for a taxi but rather public transport will work great, as is the case in most European countries.

Let’s Talk

Well, naturally, Italian is spoken by everyone. However, you will find a decent number of people who speak or, at least, understand English.  While there may be the odd challenge with the communicating, it’s nothing that non-Italian speaking dairy enthusiasts from around the world can’t deal with.

Sights to see

European Open Holstein Show

Some of the best cattle, not only from Italy but also from neighboring Spain make the trip each year to Fieragricola. The show environment is fantastic.  The ring is not huge but provides excellent sightlines for those attending the show. Herds such as Ponderosa, and Al Be Del Rio as well as up and coming herds like BEL Holsteins, are regular exhibitors at this show. Of course, in true Italian Style, there are plenty of places to get wine and purchase panini sandwiches.  (See more at The 15th European Open Holstein Show)

National Brown Swiss Show


Due to the proximity of Switzerland, there is a high-quality population of Brown Swiss cows in Italy, lending itself to a great Brown Swiss Show. The show would almost rival that of the Holstein show for numbers and quality.   Also, Fieagricla is the largest trade show in Europe and the trade show sections would be greater than those at say World Dairy Expo.  As a North American attending this show, I found there to be some very different implements and equipment. (Read more: The 48th National Show of Italian Brown Cattle Herdbook)

The Arena


The Arena is an enormous, spectacular Roman amphitheater, crumbling on the outside but it’s still functioning today. It was erected in the 1st Century AD in an elliptical shape and is the world’s third-largest amphitheater to survive from antiquity. Much of the outer ring was damaged during the earthquake of 1117, but the inner part is still intact. The Opera is closed at the time of the show.  There are also many great cafés to eat an excellent meal and appreciate the Arena and its spectacular nighttime images.  After a day at the cattle shows, this can be a great way to enjoy some fine Italian wine and authentic cuisine.  Be sure to try horse-meat (Cavallo), a local specialty.

Juliet’s House (Casa di Giulietta)


Just off the Piazza del Erbe and about 3 minutes walk North of the Arena, through some great shopping, is Juliet’s house. This is supposedly the location of the famous balcony love scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The tiny courtyard is normally packed with lovestruck teenagers photographing each other on the famous balcony. In fact, the house has no connection with Shakespeare’s fictional characters – although the house is old, the balcony was added in 1936 and declared to be “Juliet’s House.” This also makes this a great trip for you and your special someone, just before Valentines, especially combined with a trip to nearby Venice.



A 14th-century, red brick, fortified castle on the banks of the river Aldige. The main castle buildings house the city art museum which is packed with a rich collection of medieval sculpture and Renaissance paintings. As well as the museum, the extensive castle ramparts are great for exploring – ideal for families with children who enjoy running around castle fortifications. The Castelvecchio has an adjoining bridge over the river which is open all the time. Walk over the bridge for some fantastic views of the castle on the river.

Castell San Pietro (St Peter’s Castle)


Climb the steps up the hill above the Roman Amphitheatre to the Castell San Pietro. This former Austrian barracks dates back to the Austrian occupation of the left bank, and while the building is not open to the public, the views from the hill over Verona are spectacular. Go up in the early evening and enjoy a romantic sunset for free!

See more photos from Verona here

What to eat

  • DSC07736Horse-meat (Cavallo), a local specialty. Pastissada de caval, is a dish of braised horse meat, as is Picula de Caval.
  • Pizza is not as traditionally eaten locally, but pasta dishes feature widely on restaurant menus. Try Pizzocheri (buckwheat pasta with cheese and sage), casoncelli (a type of ravioli) or bigoli (thick spaghetti).
  • Casoela is a pork casserole, and a bollito misto is a mixture of boiled meats, usually served with pearà, a local sauce which you can find only in Verona.

Where to stay

Verona is frequented annually by millions of tourists, so you’ll be able to choose among a lot of different accommodation options. Turn up on spec or late and it is possible to find every bed in the city taken.

Don’t forget to visit Venice for Carnival

DSC07232Located about 1 hour and 10 minutes’ train ride from Verona, this is the perfect time to visit Venice for it’s annual carnival.  Venice is one of the most interesting and lovely places in the world, especially during carnival when the city comes to life. This sanctuary on a lagoon is virtually the same as it was six hundred years ago, which adds to the fascinating character. Carnival of Venice is one of the most famous carnivals in the world. First organized in 1926 this carnival is particularly appreciated because of the masks that are exhibited by its participants. During the carnival period, the inhabitants of Venice are allowed to carry out unusual behaviors.  If you have brought that special someone with you, take a Vaporetto (Water Bus) down the Grand Canal right before sunset. The sights are priceless: amazing architecture, soft seaside sunlight, and a fascinating parade of Venetian watercraft. For an, even more, romantic experience take a Gondola. It’s expensive, but it may be one of the most romantic experiences of your life.  While most of the Carnival events are centered around San Marco square, there are certainly sites to see all around this city that is built on the water.  There are no cars in the city and many narrow streets, so best to get a good map and be ready to enjoy the sights. (See more photos of Carnival here and Venice here)

The Bullvine Bottom Line

A trip to Verona and Venice in early February will certainly be a SHOWCATION® you will never forget.  In true Italian style you will see great cattle, fantastic food and, if you are fortunate to make it to Carnival, you will see some of the most fabulous costumes in the world.



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