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Coronavirus and Switzerland

2020-02-19T12:23:26+01:00

While the coronavirus is still raging in certain areas in China, it has been very quiet here in Switzerland. We don’t have one known infection yet! But we are fully aware that the virus keeps spreading. The question is more, how much can it really be contained and controlled….

The impact of the virus in China is clearly felt on several fronts here too:
The media keep reporting, how the coronavirus is spreading. Facials masks are mostly sold out, even though no one is wearing them yet.
The economy is also clearly getting affected. Interlaken is one of the main tourist spots in Switzerland. There are no guests from China anymore. The Chinese restaurant in the picture was empty when I visited around 1pm!
The production of goods in China is affected. This has even an impact on global companies such as Apple and Co.

Our hearts go out to China, that is going through an extreme situation. We are looking forwards to the time, when guests from China are again able to enjoy the beauty of Switzerland strolling around leisurely without having to wear facial masks!

Coronavirus and Switzerland 2020-02-19T12:23:26+01:00

Fox Town Outlet

2020-01-23T19:46:48+01:00

Foxtown is the biggest outlet shopping center in Switzerland. It is located near Lugano (Ticino) and therefore also very close to Italy.

The shopping center is open daily from 11am to 7pm. Many name brands sell clothing, shoes, accessories etc on three floor levels. It is basically a fashion outlet and doesn’t have many electronic shops and only one watch shop with some middle class watches.

There are several restaurants catering to the taste of their customers be it Italian, Asian or Swiss folks.

The big discounts make shopping of name brands a seriously good bargain compared to China, especially when the 8% VAT also gets included!

Customers from China can claim the 8% VAT for purchases over CHF 300.- from the same shop. If paid by cash or a credit card issued in Europe the tax office returns the 8% in cash. For most credit cards issued in China the customer has to get the receipt chopped at the airport and then send it off in an envelope received at the shop. The money will be directly returned via the credit card.

It is best to go and inquire at the tax office on floor 1, store 120 before going into hunting mode! And then come back to the tax office allowing enough time to process your bargains to claim your VAT back before the center closes.

Fox Town Outlet 2020-01-23T19:46:48+01:00

Public Holidays

2019-12-25T17:10:58+01:00

In Switzerland starting with December 25 most people are off work until January 2. Kids enjoy a two weeks Christmas holiday. Everything is closed on the major dates of December 25 and 26 as well as December 31 and January 1. These dates are official public holidays.

People enjoy this festive season and often celebrate in their wider family. Quite a few people also travel abroad. The atmosphere is comparable to the Chinese Spring Festival! But in contrast to China here shops and businesses are all closed and hardly anybody is found walking the streets.

Public Holidays 2019-12-25T17:10:58+01:00

First Snow

2019-11-20T15:28:42+01:00

Sigriswil consists of a couple of villages just above lake Thun. It is a great destination for hikes and offers a wonderful view into the mountains and down the valley to lake Thun. A hanging bridge crosses a deep canyon. In summer there is a place offering to wash gold flakes out of a river.

But now in November as the village is on about 800m the snow limit clearly comes down the mountain peaks. During November the weather is growing colder and sunny days are interspersed with days without much sun.

First Snow 2019-11-20T15:28:42+01:00

The Beatus Cave

2019-10-21T17:43:19+01:00

High above lake Thun, near Interlaken, is the famous Beatus cave.

Beatus was an English Christian who travelled on pilgrimage to Rome in the first century AD. In Rome he met St. Peter and became a priest. He was sent to the area North of Switzerland, crossed the dangerous alps and arrived in the area of the lake of Thun in

According to legend St. Beatus discovered the cave around 112AD and lived there as a hermit. A terrible dragon was devastating the area. St. Beatus was able to defeat the dragon and the area turned to Christ.

Today the cave offers a lot for modern visitors: about one km of trail leads through the beautiful natural cave. A restaurant caters to the needs of its visitors. And also for the little guests there are interesting activities.

The Beatus Cave is a great outing when the weather during bad weather.

The Beatus Cave 2019-10-21T17:43:19+01:00

Gotthard Pass

2019-09-10T18:22:52+01:00

Since the middle ages the connection of the North of Europe with the South has gone right through the Swiss mountains across the Gotthard pass. It reaches 2107m and used to be a treacherous small road for traders and pilgrims often traveling in caravans past deep gorges. Due to bad weather every year a number of people didn’t make it.

Today a solid road leads across the pass. It’s great for motorbike rides or people wanting to enjoy the scenery rather than going through the fast tunnel beneath. The road is closed in winter with snow covering the top up to 10m. However the tunnel at the foot of the mountain stays open all year. During summer holidays sometimes the traffic from all over Europa causes traffic queues of several km of cars waiting to enter the tunnel…. A new railway tunnel through the mountain connects Bern to Milano by direct train in only 3h03’.

In the picture our friends look down into the valley on the Ticino side shortly before reaching the very top.

Gotthard Pass 2019-09-10T18:22:52+01:00

Swiss Miniature

2019-08-23T12:22:13+01:00

Swiss Miniature was set up in 1959. It is located in Melide, in the Italian speaking Canton of Ticino. Switzerland’s most important buildings and sites are represented with a scale of 1:25.

Many scenes also represent local customs offering deeper glimpses into the different cultures of our country

There are also model trains (3,5km rails) running between the different locations and cable cars leading up and down the big mountains. 1500 trees and thousands of plants are naturally part of the picture.

Every year about 200’000 visitors make their way to this park, that is also very suitable for families with children.

Swiss Miniature 2019-08-23T12:22:13+01:00

Top of Europe

2019-07-23T17:16:48+01:00

Top of Europe, or Jungfraujoch, is reached by a mountain train either from Grindelwald or from Lauterbrunnen. The journey takes a little more than one hour. A first stop is at the Kleine Scheidegg above 2000m. After changing the train the journey leads through a long tunnel and ends on an altitude of 3454m. At this altitude the mountains are covered by snow all year round. And the temperatures drop correspondingly!

The view from the Jungfraujoch is staggering. On the Spingx observation desk there is a 360° view around. There are three mountain peaks right next to it that are higher than 4000m. The Aletsch glacier below stretches over several km.

A suggested trail leads the stream of visitors from one attraction to another. The tour takes a good 2 1/2 hours. During peak season about 5000 visitors make it to the top. It is recommended to make reservations beforehand.

Top of Europe 2019-07-23T17:16:48+01:00

It’s hot!

2019-06-27T20:07:53+01:00

Finally summer has arrived with full strength. These days the temperature is around 34°-35°C, which for Switzerland is really hot! Most homes have wonderful central heating systems for winter, but no Airconditioning for such hot days!

At the moment people throng into the rivers and lakes and public swimming pools.

This picture focuses on the Aare river. It was taken above the Marzili area in the heart of the city of Berne. On the left people are just sunbathing, in the middle folks are walking up to one of many places where they can enter or jump into the Aare. And finally on the right you can see the people floating down the river.

Aare river swimming is an exhilarating experience. It flows fast, is quite cold (only 20°C at the moment) and also somewhat dangerous. Every year there are a couple of people drowning. So good swimming skills and some instructions are needed before taking a first jump into the clean water.

It’s hot! 2019-06-27T20:07:53+01:00

The Europa Park

2019-05-27T13:27:21+01:00

This fun destination is very popular: around 5.6 million visitors a year flock to one of the biggest theme parks of Europe. On a surface of 950’000m2 you will find a mini Europe: 15 different countries (Switzerland, Germany, France, England, Russia, Greece etc) are represented with their different building styles, foods and attractions. Three different hotels and many restaurants and food stalls cater to the needs of the European customers.

On of the main attractions is the Silver Star roller coaster. It is one of the fastest and highest of Europe. But there are a dozen other roller coasters each with different characteristics.

Also for the smaller kids and elderly folks there are nice areas to hang out, play and enjoy time out with the grand kids.

The Europa Park is only an hour away from Basel, or two hours from Bern. It is across the boarder in Germany and also very close to the border of France. A day card ticket costs €52 for an adult and 44.50 for kids and senior citizens.

The Europa Park 2019-05-27T13:27:21+01:00