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Rigi

2018-09-13T14:32:34+00:00

On the 2nd weekend in September I joined a group of friends for an outing to the Rigi also called „the Queen of Mountains“.
The Rigi is a group of five mountain peaks between the lakes of Zug and Lucerne. Situated so close to Lucerne the Rigi was right from the beginnings of tourism one of the favourite destinations. 1871 the first mountain train of Europe was built on its slopes.

Many hiking trails lead travellers to splendid vistas of the Alps, the lakes and the rolling midland hills. There were trails for each taste and energy level of our group.

Rigi Kulm is the top peak and also a sister moutain to E Mei Mountain in China. Up on the top we enjoyed refreshments. Then we took the famous rack railway down the steep decent to Viznau. An hour long boat trip on the sparkling Lake Lucerne led us back to the middle age City of Lucerne.

Rigi 2018-09-13T14:32:34+00:00

Rehabilitation

2018-08-28T19:13:19+00:00

In Switzerland after people had some specific surgeries they often need to go for 2-4 weeks of rehabilitation. For that purpose there are quite a few rehabilitation centres. The treatment is covered by the national health insurance.

Our 90 year old auntie is still doing very well. But recently she fell while moving around in her apartment. She broke her hip and had to undergo some surgery. Now she is working on learning to walk again with a rollator hoping that soon she will be able to function without one.

The rehab place she stays at is above lake Thun. The view is wonderful. She gets physiotherapy twice a day and is taught, how to get around.

Food is provided by the hotel service of the center. Guests are welcome and can join in for meals in the restaurant. She has made some other friends and is quite happy there.

A social worker is contacting the social services in her area. Once she returns home there will be people coming in to help with cooking, cleaning or whatever is needed.

Rehabilitation 2018-08-28T19:13:19+00:00

Wonderful Neighbours

2018-08-17T11:18:43+00:00

Switzerland is a small country with small cities, especially when compared with China. So Chinese friends are amazed when locals greet them as strangers.

We live in a lane with several row houses. The nice thing about this lane is that we all know each other by name and that we function somewhat like a small community.

In summer one lady usually organises a summer party where we set up tables along the lanes, bring food and wines and share the food with each other. We even have three musicians that play as we join in with singing songs.

Our neighbourhood is really great. When we are gone for a while neighbours empty the mail box and water our flowers.

The night we had our party going, the neighbourhood next to ours also had theirs going.

I have to admit that such a friendly neighbourhood is a privilege that can’t be taken for granted. But at the same time it isn’t a just a big exception. In our country there are many other friendly neighbourhoods too.

Wonderful Neighbours 2018-08-17T11:18:43+00:00

Lugano

2018-07-26T15:52:30+00:00

Lugano is the biggest city of the canton of Tessin. It borders on Italy and boats a beautiful mediterranean flair. Italian is the official language spoken in this part of Switzerland.

Lugano has it’s own university and also a bigger financial center. The Italian speaking Swiss TV and radio stations are also here in Lugano. The city itself is compact and romantic and has only about 65’000 inhabitants.

The relationship with Italy hasn’t always been easy and there were numerous battles between Como and Italy often carried out in the area of Lugano. The Identity of the local people is clearly Swiss and not Italian.

The view on this picture is from the top of Monte San Salvatore reaching an altitude of 912m. Lugano lies 600m below (on the left). This peak offers a splendid view of the city and the lake Lugano with its many branches. A cable car leads directly to the top.

On our recent visit the water of the lake was at least 24°C and it was such a pleasure to go for a swim in the clean water of the lake with a panoramic view of the picturesque environment.

Lugano 2018-07-26T15:52:30+00:00

FIFA Soccer World Cup

2018-07-03T21:53:36+00:00

The Soccer World Cup is a huge event taking place from mid June to mid July at different locations in Russia. There are 32 countries represented through their teams, each fighting to win the cup. There are many public viewing areas where all the games can be watched.

From a Swiss perspective the cup is over by today (July 3). The Swiss soccer team just lost against the Swedes 0:1. Now they are out of the games and will fly home.

On June 17 the Swiss team fought and ended with a tie against Brazil (1:1) and won against the Serbs on June 22 with a 2:1. On June 27 the Swiss team again finished with a tie of 2:2 vs Costa Rica. There were high hopes that the Swiss would actually make it past the Swedes into the quarter finals. But alas, today their hopes were bitterly dashed.

The Swiss have a very international team with most players coming from a migrational background but raised in this country. This also led to a hot controversy when earlier on the Swiss fought the Serbs who especially taunted the Swiss players with a Kosovar family background. At the end of the game two exasperated Kosovo Swiss player used their hands to make the Kosovar double eagle symbol thus taunting the Serbs celebrating their victory. Many Swiss disliked this gestured from the two Kosovar Swiss team members which led to a huge contraversy whether those players were true Swiss or not. However reality is that Switzerland isn’t a homogenous country anymore and as such probably has never been one.

FIFA Soccer World Cup 2018-07-03T21:53:36+00:00

Burgdorf’s Summer Festival

2018-06-26T14:21:53+00:00

On the last Monday of June the whole town of Burgdorf is celebrating. The festival is called Solennität – from the latin solemnis or solemnly. The beginning of the festival dates back 250 years. All the locals remember how they as kids in their school classes paraded through the streets along with an occasional marching band. I grew up in Burgdorf and love to flock back for the event.

The morning event starts at 9am. The girls are all dressed in white with flower wreaths in on their heads and holding a bouquet of flowers. The boys follow, also clad in white shirts. The morning event finishes with a service in the beautiful gothic church on top of the hill in the old town.

In the afternoon a topical parade leads through the whole town and ends down at the public meadows with dancing and a folk festival finishing in the early morning hours.

Burgdorf’s Summer Festival 2018-06-26T14:21:53+00:00

International Geneva

2018-06-18T15:55:42+00:00

Geneva is a beautiful cosmopolitan city with a lot of charm. It is certainly known for its many international organisations such as the UN, the red cross, CERN, ISO and many others.

Here, in front of the UN headquarter is the famous broken chair. It is a symbol for refusal of armed violence against civilians. In the background is the UN. It has been a busy place sind 1946 with yearly around 8’000 meetings, of which 600 are bigger conferences.

Geneva is the second biggest city of Switzerland and has a population of about 1 mio including suburbs. It is also a global city with a big financial center. And Geneva is certainly known for it’s famous reformer: John Calvin!

42% of the people living here weren’t born in Geneva! The mix of people and languages spoken in this city is certainly amazing and beautiful.

International Geneva 2018-06-18T15:55:42+00:00

Mont Soleil

2018-05-29T13:49:46+00:00

This mountain rises to a heights of 1289m. A cable car or also a rather narrow road leads up from the small city of St. Imier. This area is part of the French speaking bernese Jura. The rolling soft hills and the large meadows are characteristic for the Jura.

On Mont Soleil (in French „Sun Mountain“) is a center for research on wind and solar power. In the center are many different kinds and types of sun panels that convert sun rays into energy. And there are at least a dozen wind mills that generate additional power.

The larger windmills are quite spectacular with a heights of 150m. The rotor measures 112m! It weighs 410 tons and produces 3’300kW. The noise production of the rotor is less prominent than expected. When the sun shines the movement of the rotor blades can be a little distracting because of the moving shadow on the ground.

About 80 million Swiss Francs were invested into this project. The production of energy from Mount Soleil covers about 80% of the need of the 17’000 inhabitants in the area including industry.

In Switzerland about 35% of the electric power is generated by atomic plants and almost 65% by water hydraulic plants. The mountains are an ideal set up for the later.

There are guided tours at the information center of Mount Soleil, explaining how energy is produced through wind and direct sun power.

Mont Soleil 2018-05-29T13:49:46+00:00

Spring

2018-05-14T16:08:37+00:00

Only recently the forests were still bare and without leaves. Meanwhile all the trees are draped in many different shades of green, full of strength and bursting with life.

At the moment spring is in full swing. Many different kinds of fruit trees were all together in full bloom. It feels like an explosion of colours and fragrance swirling through the air.

At the same time the pollen of all the flowers have been especially heavy this year so that many people have been suffering under the effect of allergies or hay fever.

Spring officially starts around March 20 and finishes around June 20. However altitude makes a big difference to the unfolding of spring. Higher up in our mountain areas spring arrives later than down the midlands.

In Switzerland the four seasons are very distinct and beautiful. Each season has it’s individual character.

Spring 2018-05-14T16:08:37+00:00

Highways

2018-05-04T15:55:46+00:00

The highway system in our country is run by the government and not privately owned. In order to be able to use it, each vehicle has to pay a yearly fee of CHF 40.- and stick the yearly label that comes along with it on to the front window.

This fee isn’t small if you are just passing through the country. However it isn’t much if you use the road system the whole year round.

The state keeps the road infrastructure in a good state and works on extending the present system. Since Switzerland is a place of many mountains there are also many tunnels cutting right through the mountains.

In Switzerland the highway signs are all in green. Each section of the highway has its own number. Using a gps system the number is usually indicated for a change of direction along with the name of a destination.

Most of the highway runs just two lanes for each side. Only around bigger population centres there are three or sometimes even four lanes available.

The speed limit on the Swiss Highways is 120km / h.

During rush hour especially in the greater Zurich area there are quite some traffic jams. In comparison however with the world’s mega cities, even in Zürich and more so in Berne or many other Swiss cities the jams are quite moderate!

Highways 2018-05-04T15:55:46+00:00