The Gurten

2017-10-27T19:10:26+00:00

Berne is the capital of Switzerland surrounded by soft hills. The highest hill is called „Gurten“ and offers a wonderful get away from the city.

Within a few minutes a cable car takes guests 215m up to the top. On the Gurten there are many attractions such as a tower overlooking the city down below, a mini railway for kids to ride along, a kids park and two nice restaurants. Taking the scenic walk down to the station at the bottom takes just about an hour. For those who love mountain biking there are daring trails down the hill.

In July a big music festival takes place drawing thousands of young people to enjoy world famous groups. In November the Gurten Classic Race closes the jogging season.  In winter many families come up to for sledge riding or teaching their smaller kids how to ski.

The cable train is easily accessible either via tram number 9, stop at Gurtenbahn or leave your car in the parking at the foot of the cable car.

The Gurten 2017-10-27T19:10:26+00:00

Sommer Days

2017-06-22T14:49:39+00:00

End of June suddenly the summer has arrived in full strength. Temperatures during the day are up 32-33°C. In some areas there were even warnings issued for elderly people to be careful and not get too exposed to the heat. At the same time many people just enjoy the sun, the warmth and the cool water.

The lake of Thun is usually a cold lake. Meanwhile it has reached 21°C! What a thrill to swim in a cool like and look around at the beautiful mountains.

The Aare river flows also through Thun, Bern and many cities and villages later on joins the Rhein and crosses through Basel into Germany. All along this magnificent river people jump into the water and float along for a while. The second picture is a scene from Basel….

However swimming in a river takes quite some confidence in your swimming skills. It is dangerous because the river flows at quite a high speed and entering it as well as leaving it takes some skill. Every year some people drown since they underestimate the power of the river.

Many villages and cities run their public swimming pools. So young and old flock into these areas and enjoy a time out in the water or the green surroundings.

Yesterday we went to a local, small natural lake (Moossee). The water temperature was at 27°C! What a thrill at 8pm to swim towards the sunset and then back again. Also such places have a safe area for kids or people who are not safe swimmers.

Sommer Days 2017-06-22T14:49:39+00:00

Ice Skating

2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00

Ice skating is a popular sport in this country. In really cold winters some lakes freeze up and are great for ice skating. Every city or even village normally has an ice skating ring.

For a few years an ice skating ring has been set up in a very prominent location: right in front of the houses of parliament. The square in front of these federal buildings in Bern is very popular for all sorts of activities be it sports, art or even for protests etc.

The ice skating ring is set up just before Christmas and is taken down before the end of February. Opening times are 11am to 11pm. There is no entrance fee. People can rent equipment (CHF 10.- / adult or CHF 7.- / kids) to go skating or just bring their own along.

In this wonderful location it is really fun to go skating with some friends or families with their kids. After the activity many people then love to go to the restaurant that is part of the setup.

The menues served there are quite local foods such as sausages, cheese dishes, soup and fondue! This year 6’000 fondues were sold. Obviously a very popular dish!

Over 45’000 people came skating this season. 900 kids received training on special kids’ afternoon.

The local government has already granted permission for the same set up next year. So mark it in your agenda and book a table at the restaurant early in order to enjoy a great time together with your friends or family.

Ice Skating 2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00

Stockhorn

2017-01-25T11:45:48+00:00

These days there is a lot of fog hanging over the Swiss Midlands. However the sun is easily accessible. There are many peaks that stick out of the fog. One that is easily accessible with a great view is the Stockhorn. You make it to the top with a cable railway departing from Erlenbach, down below.

The Stockhorn reaches only 2190m. But it is the peak that stands high above the the Swiss Midlands. From the Stockhorn you can look across to the Niesen and further on to the famous three: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Down below is lake Thun, the city of Thun and in the other direction Berne is clearly seen too. On the horizon when the view is clear the Jura and even the Schwarzwald in Germany can be seen.

The Stockhorn is a great outing in summer and winter. It is not an international famous tourist destination. The Jungfrau and the Schilthorn are much more famous. However the Stockhorn, the Niesen and the Niederhorn are all wonderful kind of 2nd class outings, that can easily become first class experiences too.

What I really like about the Stockhorn is the new platform that is accessible through a tunnel from station at the top. The platform hangs over the abyss and gives and incredible view into the Midlands.

At the middle station (Chrindi, at 1642m) it is worth to interrupt your journey and stroll down to the mountain lake in the valley just below. During warmer times you are a little more sporty hike up to the top station. There are numerous paths leading up, some of them quite thrilling and all of them really rewarding!

Right now that mountain lake is frozen. An activity that is offered is ice fishing. You can rent the needed equipment, drill a hole and try to catch the largest fish.

Stockhorn 2017-01-25T11:45:48+00:00

The Schilthorn

2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00

The Schilthorn reaches almost 3000m (2970m exactly) and is one of the most beautiful outings into the alps of Switzerland.

The panoramic view is breathtaking. Right across are the famous three: Eiger (3970m), Mönch (4107m) and the Jungfrau (4158m). Turning around 180° you can still just see the end of lake Thun and then gaze right across Switzerland into the rolling hills of the Jura.

The 360° restaurant on top turns around a full circle within 48 minutes. So you can comfortably sit over a drink and take in the view. It is also worthwhile just walking around outside or exploring the James Bond exhibition. Many important scenes from the Bond movie „On Her Majesty’s Secret Service“ (1969) were shot right here.

In winter the skying trail starts with a very steep descent. When there is no snow a nice trail leads from the middle station Birg station up to the Schilthorn.

The outing starts in Stechelberg, that is just one hour’s car ride from Bern. From Stechelberg the aerial cableway only takes 20’ to climb more than 2000m. There are three stations in between: Gimmelwald, then the delightful village of Mürren, the middle station Birg and the the Schiltorn. Each station has special attractions and activities to do and see.

The Schilthorn 2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00

Paragliding over Mürren

2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00

In the Bernese Oberland (the alps in the canton of Berne) there are several companies offering tandem paragliding. One of the best flights is probably from the village of Mürren across the valley deep below towards the majestic „Wall of the Jungfrau“.

Airtime is a local company with professional pilots who have done a thousand and more flights. The flight from Mürren down to Stechelberg is called The Wall. It takes around 10’ and costs CHF 170.-. These guys are really fun to fly with. It might be best to reserve your flight a day or a few hours before take off.

The start is really quite easy. The pilot helps you get into the gear and then gives you instructions. These are rather simple. At his command run fast down a grassy slope (only about 3-4m) and then you are already airborne. As you sit comfortably you sail across the valley towards the towering wall of the Jungfrau only hearing the noise of the wind. The pilot will take you in circles high above the ground while you are gently loosing heights. The touch down is soft and easy too.

If you want the pilot to record scenes of your flight he will take his go pro along. The set of recording costs another CHF 40.-.

By car the drive from Berne to Stechelberg takes just one hour. From Stechelberg take the thrilling cableway (another 20’) to the very top, the Schilthorn at almost 3000m. On the way down get out in lovely mountain village of Mürren and enjoy and unforgettable flight down to the bottom of valley.

Paragliding over Mürren 2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00

The Lake of Thun

2016-11-19T20:05:58+00:00

Thun is a beautiful old and compact city at the lower side of the lake. At the other side, where the Aare river enters and mainly feeds the lake lies the village of Interlaken.

The lake of Thun is a mountain lake fed by water flowing down from the partly icy heights of the area. That is why it is also a rather cold lake. Even at the highest point of summer it reaches a maximum of about 22°C. However swimming out in this lake in the midst of a majestic mountain scenery is a most thrilling experience….

The lake is on an altitude of 558m. The Aare river meanders on flowing through Bern that lies another 20km down the river. In summer many people float down the river on rubber boats.

A great way to explore the lake is via boat. There are five different boats that crisscross the lake according to a set schedule stopping at the major villages on both sides of the lake.

In Interlaken it is easy to stroll across to the port for boarding a boat cruising the lake on the other side of Interlaken, called the lake of Brienz.

The Lake of Thun 2016-11-19T20:05:58+00:00

The Lake of Hallwil

2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00

Two beautiful natural lakes are part of the valley of the lake (Seetal): the lake of Hallwil and the smaller lake of Baldegg. Here in the picture is the lake of Hallwil (Hallwilersee). It is surrounded by soft green hills.

The lake of Hallwil is 8km long and very clean, like almost every lake in this country. The water has virtually drinking water quality.

In spring when the many fruit trees are in full bloom the area looks like in a picture book.

In summer the temperature of the lake reaches easily a comfortable 25°C. The lake offers a very popular and relaxing swimming experience and all sorts of water sports.

Usually in mid October a 21km jogging event takes place leading around the lake.

Occasionally in a very cold winter the whole lake can freeze up. The last time this happened in 1986.

Beinwil am See is the biggest village sitting on the lake and is part of the Canton of Aargau. Quite a few artists have made their home in this charming area.

Opposite of Beinwil am See is the village of Aesch (belonging to the Canton of Lucerne). On the sunny hills of Aesch a great vine is produced by friends of ours. This wine has won several prices for its outstanding quality.

The lake is about 1 1/2 hour away from Berne when taking the slightly longer and very beautiful scenic route via Huttwil.

The Lake of Hallwil 2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00

Enjoying a Skibock in Adelboden

2016-02-14T20:19:50+00:00

Switzerland is famous for winter sports. There are many areas in the alps dedicated to winter sports, some with hundreds of kilometres of ski slopes of various degrees of difficulties. Usually there is an amazing infrastructure built around those. Skiing and snowboarding are possible in a few high up areas on 365 days a year.

Mostly in February schools all over Switzerland have one week off, called the sports week. During this week most kids would join the school for a camp where they would continue to develop their skiing or snowboarding skills.

For a few years snow boarding was the big hype. In recent years however ski carving has gained a lot of popularity and most people on the slopes go down with their carving skis.

Last weekend with a group of friends we tried out something new called skibock. Especially in Adelboden, the skibock (a sawn-down ski with a simple seat) has become quite popular. It is a lot easier than skiing or snow boarding and quite some fun too. So even if people have no experience with skiing, why not try a skibock?

Enjoying a Skibock in Adelboden 2016-02-14T20:19:50+00:00

Heidi, A Heart Warming New Movie

2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00

The brand new movie “Heidi” is set in the middle of the 19th century. The story was written by the Swiss Johanna Spyri and published in 1879. The book became such a success that it was translated into more then 50 languages. The new movie follows very faithfully the original book. The film makers took tremendous shots of the scenery of mountains in Graubünden (southeastern part of Switzerland) and interesting perspectives of the 19th century German city of Frankfurt. Here is the trailer of the movie in the original languages (Swiss German and German).

Heidi is an orphan girl that gets placed with her loner grandfather called Alpöhi. Up on the mountains she leads a carefree and simple life. Her best friend is a shepherd boy (Geisspeter) who daily comes by to mind the few goats of Alpöhi.

One day Heidi’s aunt Dete snatches Heidi away and takes her to the far away city of Frankfurt. Here Heidi is placed in the house of a rich German family. Klara is the daughter of the house owner and just a little older than Heidi. Klara is bound to a wheelchair. The two quickly become best friends even though culturally they are from incredibly different backgrounds. As time goes on Heidi gets so homesick that she is allowed to return home to her Alpöhi living high up in the mountains.

Later on Klara comes to visit Heidi in her remote spot. The visit even has the effect of her learning to walk again.

Heidi, A Heart Warming New Movie 2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00