Lavaux – World Class Vines


The area of Lavaux is located between Vevey and Lausanne above the lake of Geneva in the Canton de Vaud (french speaking). A variety of Chasselas grapes are the base for the Grand Cru of Lavaux vines produced in the villages of Lutry, Villette, Epesses, St. Saphorin, Chardonne, Dézaley, Calamin and Vevey. 80% of Lavaux’s vine production is white wine.

The vine production profits from a triple effect of the sun: direct sunlight, the sun reflected from the lake, and the warmth stored in the thousands of walls forming the terraces of Lavaux.

About 250 families are involved in the vine production where the vineyards have been handed down over generations. The oldest records go back to a vineyard in Lutry mentioned in 997.

Since 2007 the area of Lavaux has become a UNESCO World Heritage.

Explore the area between June and October with a guided tour on Sunday afternoon. Start your tour at 3pm in Cully. The tour takes 2 1/2 hours and finishes with tasting the wine! Round your tour off by taking the old „Swiss“ steam vessel that was lovingly renovated and cruise the lake. Going back to Bern just takes a good hour only.

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Swiss Cuisine


The Swiss cuisine is very much influenced by France, Germany and Italy where each country has it’s distinctive style of foods. So in Switzerland you will find the French „Haute Cuisine“, wonderful Italian food (not just only pizzas) and the solid German food. Beer and wine are also often part of a good meal.

Switzerland has also many local dishes. The local dishes are rather plain using simple ingredients such as potatoes, bread and cheese. Fondue and Raclette (both cheese dishes) as well as Rösti (grated and backed potatoes) are the most famous ones.

The picture here shows a carrot soup that was served in a local unspectacular restaurant on top of the Niederhorn. However it is not just simply the quality of the food but also how it is served which make a real difference.

Lunchtime under the week is the best deal for meals at restaurants. Every restaurant will have at least one or two set meals for the day between CHF 15 and 25 (depending on the kind of place) including a starter, the main meal and a dessert.

Switzerland is renowned for its international hospitality schools. The most famous one is the one in Lausanne but others are found in Lucerne, Zurich and Thun too.

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The Schilthorn


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.

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Attending A Wedding


In Switzerland for a marriage to be legally binding the couple has to go to the registry office where the two officially get married. There is normally a very small ceremony led by the clerk at the registry.

It could be a couple of days or even a few weeks after the legal marriage that the couple then invites family, friends and colleagues for their public wedding.

Often, quite some time before the event, the couple to be wed sends out rather creative invitations for their public wedding. Traditionally, the inner circle is not only invited to the ceremony, but also to the wedding banquet afterwards. These people usually also get a wish list from the couple where on a specified website they can pick a gift that the couple would like to have. These can be an iron, or a voucher at IKEA, or a contribution to their honeymoon etc.

Quite a few people still like their wedding ceremony to take place in a church setting as has been the tradition for centuries. However as the Swiss are increasingly secular some wedding ceremonies are held in rather exotic settings (in free fall or under water) without necessarily Christian elements. The bride and the bridegroom usually are quite free to organize a wedding the way the personally like to.

The wedding I attended took place on the grounds of a vinery. The Christian wedding ceremony included the entry of the the bridegroom followed by the bride led in by her father, songs of worshipping God, a down to earth sermon by the pastor, the bridegroom and the bride exchanging their personally formulated marriage vows and the exchange of their wedding rings, a kiss and then a prayer of blessing by the Christian parents for the newly wed couple. At the end the bride and bridegroom were cheered on as they made their way out (see picture above).

After the ceremony everyone was treated to a rich buffet served in the vinery. There were tables with many different kinds of cheese, meats, backed products, wonderful deserts along with great vine and beer. Later on a band played, there was some dancing along with some funny productions.

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