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

Olympic Winter Games 2018

2018-02-27T18:15:17+00:00

The Olympic winter games took place from February 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The tensions between North and South Korea were high leading up to the games. During the games both countries took part under the name of Korea! The North Korean cheerleaders really impressed the world with their powerful performances.

The games were truly international: 92 nations took part in 102 events. The games featured 15 different sports such as snowboarding, alpine skiing, curling, speed skating etc

The absolute winner was Norway with a total number of 38 medals (gold, silver or bronze), followed by Germany 28, Canada 29, USA 23, Holland 20, Sweden 12, and Switzerland along with Korea 15 each.

Switzerland has a new crew of excellent young sports athletes. The goal had been 11+ medals. Our young athletes brought home 15 medals: 5 gold (see picture), 6 silver and 4 bronze medals.

The next Olympic winter games will take place in Beijing in 2022. Watch out for the Swiss!

Olympic Winter Games 2018 2018-02-27T18:15:17+00:00

The Verzasca Valley

2017-11-25T16:55:50+00:00

The river Verzasca flows through a beautiful valley down into the lake Maggiore on the Ticino side (Italian speaking part) of Switzerland. Huge boulders are sitting in the middle of the river and many deep natural pools invite for a bath. During the warmer season it is wonderful to enjoy the pleasure of exploring the river. We suggest that you find a quiet spot for a couple of hours of „dolce fa niente“ (translation of the Italian: enjoying the sweetness of doing nothing).

Further down the Verzasca valley is one of the higher water dams of our country. The dam stows the lake Vogorno. The water that rushes through pipelines into 4 turbines at the bottom creates about 230 GWh per year. The dam was finished in 1965. It became famous through a scene of the James Bond movie „Goldeneye“ (1995) where Bond bungee jumped 220m down the wall of the dam. Even now visitors can follow in Bond’s tracks and bungee jump 220m down the same wall.

The Verzasca Valley 2017-11-25T16:55:50+00:00

Roger Federer

2017-08-09T17:31:40+00:00

The famous Swiss tennis star Roger Federer just won his historic 8th championship in Wimbledon. With this victory he officially becomes one the best sports stars of the world.

1981 Roger Federer was born in the city of Basel. Federer speaks Swiss German with an accent of Basel. His father is a Swiss while his mother is from South Africa. He holds both the Swiss and the South African citizenship. He grew up in the area of Basel, close to the French and German borders and speaks German, English and French fluently, while Swiss German is his native language.

Federer is married to Mirka, also a former tennis pro who had to retire from her sports career due to a foot injury. The Federers have two sets of identical twins: in 2009 two girls and in 2014 two boys.

Federer has quite some philanthropic side. The Roger Federer Foundation supports disadvantaged children to promote their access to education and sports.

Federer has won numerous titles be it in the US, UK, Davis Cup, Australia Open , Spain, China and many other countries. He has a great fan audience and is really liked for his excellence in sports and has a wonderful character.

Roger Federer 2017-08-09T17:31:40+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

Minigolf

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

Miniature golf, or mini golf is quite popular in Switzerland. It has been around since about the 60ies and is is a great  group activity.  Often the mini golf course is also set in a nice area, such as here! And there are lot’s of mini golf courses all over the country.

In comparison with regular golf the mini golf course is packed unto a very small surface. In Switzerland the courses are usually made of concrete. It also has a series of holes (18) but it’s length is only about 10 meters each. The mini golf courses up and down the country are usually the same. So if you are able to perform well on one you should be doing well on all others too.

As a rule each person just uses one club and one ball. For each hole six attempts are allowed. The goal is reached when the ball drops into the hole hopefully with less than 6 strokes. The player who at the end has the least points wins!

This inexpensive activity is just wonderful on a day off together with your friends. Some families also appreciate to take their kids out and away from all the electronic temptations. In the end it is not so much the score that counts but rather the fun of all playing together happily teasing each other!

Minigolf 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

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

Euro Soccer Cup 2016

2016-06-29T18:08:32+00:00

In Europe soccer (or football, as it’s called) is the biggest and most popular sport.

The UEFA men’s football European championship takes place only every four years.

This year it’s up again! The event unfolds in France from June 10 to July 10, 2016. 24 are  teams playing in 51 matches in 10 venues across France. After the recent terrorist attacks in France safety is a big issue.

On Saturday June 25, at 3pm the Swiss (in red) and the Polish (in white) football team met for the game in Saint Etienne. There were around 20’000 Swiss fans attending the game and a huge crowd of polish supporters as well.

In the first half the Polish team scored their first goal. The Swiss team got better and better and scored an excellent goal at the 82nd minute. The Polish team started wearing out as the Swiss kept pushing for more shots. As the game finished with a tie of 1:1, a penalty shootout had to break the tie and show who would go on to the quarter finals. The Swiss missed one shot and lost the game. Great disappointment hit the Swiss fans. The Swiss were definitely a better team but lost at the shootout. So the Swiss are out now and the games will go on without them.

However many Swiss at home or in one of the many public viewing platforms will happily continue watching the rest of the games. For many this one of the big events of 2016!

Euro Soccer Cup 2016 2016-06-29T18:08:32+00:00

The Grand Prix of Bern

2016-11-19T20:10:01+00:00

Jogging is quite popular in Switzerland. The Grand Prix of Bern (this year the 35th) is the biggest running event in the country with international competitors. It usually takes place mid May. This year 32’000 runners took part in it. It rained. But the atmosphere was still wonderful, with crowds cheering on the runners and bands playing in different spots throughout the city.

The organizers pride themselves that the longer distance run, the 16km Grand Prix, covers the 10 most beautiful miles of the world. That is a big claim – but indeed the track leads through the picturesque old city of Bern and along the Aare river. It is a uniquely beautiful race with quite some altitude (over 250m) to cover. From km14 to km15 is the worst part of the race with a steep ascent of 9% before reaching the finishing line.

There are three different categories:

The Grand Prix (16km) with about 16’000 participants, the Old City Prix (4.7km) for those building up their jogging skills and the Bear Grand Prix (1.6km) for smaller kids and whole families.

The sports event is very well organized and is great fun either as a participant or as part of the cheering crowd. There are usually around a 100’000 people watching the race and enjoying the atmosphere.

The winners in this years 10 miles GP of Bern were

  • men: Ghirmay Ghebresslassie from Eritrea: 47’00’’
  • ladies: Charity Kiprop from Kenya:  56’52’’
The Grand Prix of Bern 2016-11-19T20:10:01+00:00