All Brothers

2016-11-28T19:32:33+00:00

Between mid October until the end of November the houses of parliament in Berne are turned into a huge screen. A free sound and light show draws ten thousands of visitors from all over the country to come and enjoy the powerful spectacle.

This years’ topic was „Tutti Fratelli“ (Italian) meaning „All Brothers“. It celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Swiss Red Cross. It was founded in 1866 in Berne by Henry Dunant.

Dunant was actually from Geneva and a devout Christian. In 1852 he founded the YMCA Switzerland with the aim to help neglected young men to study the Bible and to help the poor. He spent much of his free time engaged in prison visits and social work.

In 1859, Dunant as a Swiss businessman was on his way to to meet the  the emperor of France, Napoleon III. He happened to be in Solverino (Italy) where he witnessed a battle between the Italian and the Austrian Army. Once the firing stopped there were thousands of dead and wounded left back. The agony and suffering Dunant witnessed was terrible. Dunant rushed into the village nearby and enlisted the support of volunteers. Mainly women followed his call and came along to help out. When they arrived on the battle scene they kept saying „tutti fratelli“ – all brothers, regardless of nationality and attended to the wounded.

150 years ago Dunant founded the Red Cross in Berne. In 1901 Dunant was the first to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Today the organisation (along with the Red Crescent Movement) is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers worldwide.

All Brothers 2016-11-28T19:32:33+00:00

Rivers

2016-11-19T20:24:51+00:00

Switzerland has an abundance of springs, rivers and lakes. There are four main rivers that are all fed by countless smaller rivers mostly originating in the alps and hills of the country. In the end they all join the sea either in Germany, France or Italy, depending on which side of the alps they start.

Here in the picture is a small river, called the Sense (Canton of Fribourg). It is only about 35km long and at that point joins the Saane river. The Saane flows into the beautiful lake of Greyerz and past the pretty city of Fribourg until east of Berne it joins the Aare river.

The Aare is one of the main rivers of the country. It also leads more water than any other Swiss river and is fed by many other rivers and creeks such as those mentioned above. The Aare river reaches 288km until it joins the Rhein river (376km).

The Rhein is again fed from waters of the whole canton of Graubünden (southwestern part). Famous destinations are the cities of Basel, Schaffhausen (with the Rheinfall), lake of Constance and then finally the North Sea (in the very north of Germany).

The other big river system is the Rhone river, flowing through the Canton of Wallis, into lake Geneva, Lyon in France, Avignon, and finally into the Mediterranean sea near Arles (France).

The Ticino river is the name giver of the Canton of Ticino (Italian speaking). It flows through Italy and also ends in the Mediterranean sea in Italy.

Countless beautiful cities and villages with diverse language and cultures lie along those rivers spread across Switzerland, France, Germany and Italy.

Especially in Switzerland these rivers are still very natural and early on in their start rather wild yet very clean. People love to swim in them, boat down the rivers, bbq along them and just enjoy their special beauty.

Rivers 2016-11-19T20:24:51+00:00

Donald Trump: America’s New President!

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

In the morning of November 9, after a nerve wracking election night, Donald Trump clearly won the presidential race against Hillary Clinton. His victory was a bit similar to the Brexit – to most people quite unexpected. The polls tended to predict a victory of Hillary Clinton. But the people who voted for Trump seem to have mostly done so out of a deep frustration and disappointment with the policies of Washington DC. The number of Americans who are upset with present situation has clearly been underestimated!

In Europe, most people would have strongly preferred Hillary Clinton to be the new president. Hillary Clinton was often perceived as the lesser evil. Donald Trump has been very much disliked for his rough manners and his aggressive and rather selfish assertiveness.

But now the fact is: Mr Trump is going to be America’s next president!

The Swiss press voiced some fears, that President Trump could reverse many of the international treaties. The stock markets internationally did react and promptly dipped lower but quite a few indexes recovered within the day. The SMI briefly fell and then actually increased by over 1.5% (to 7862 points). It seems that the market over the past few weeks had already anticipated some shock waves.

Nobody knows at this stage where President Trump will be heading with his country.  What will be the impact on the US and rest of the world? Will there be more political and economic instability?

However most people would agree that what just happened in the US is history in the making!

Donald Trump: America’s New President! 2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00

Winter Time

2016-11-07T19:44:04+00:00

On the last Sunday of October at 3 am the clock is set back by one hour. That means people have one more hour to sleep!

This means also that it suddenly gets darker one hour later. Beginning of November the sun rises shortly after 7 am and sets already at 5 pm!

Beginning of November is also the time when the beautiful and colourful autumn is slowly changing into winter. Temperatures often drop and the first snow appears in the higher areas. People should again get their cars equipped with snow tires.

This time switch also is called Daylight Savings Time (DST). The switch should help to make better use of natural daylight.

Lass than 40% of the countries worldwide use this method. Some studies suggest that the switch could lead to fewer road accidents and injuries as people enjoy more daylight while on the roads. Others claim that some people find it hard to adjust and a few suffer even some sleep deprivation.

The DST was introduced by the European Union in 1996. Switzerland being in the heart of Europe also decided to follow suit.

The time gets switched back into ‚summer mode‘ on the last Sunday of March. That is when spring really starts spreading.

I took this picture on lake Thun.

Winter Time 2016-11-07T19:44:04+00:00