The Rose Garden Park

2019-04-23T10:10:01+00:00

High above the old city of Berne, on the other side of the Aare river you will find a beautiful park called Rose Garden. The restaurant with the same name offers a magnificent view of the old city of Bern.

Over the Easter holidays the weather was great and the park was packed with people enjoying the warmth and the view.

The rose garden park is public and free. A big playground for kids is also on the grounds. At the moment spring is reflected in big garden beds of daffodils lighten up the park. In summer those beds will be full of roses.

The Rose Garden Park 2019-04-23T10:10:01+00:00

Lugano

2018-07-26T15:52:30+00:00

Lugano is the biggest city of the canton of Tessin. It borders on Italy and boats a beautiful mediterranean flair. Italian is the official language spoken in this part of Switzerland.

Lugano has it’s own university and also a bigger financial center. The Italian speaking Swiss TV and radio stations are also here in Lugano. The city itself is compact and romantic and has only about 65’000 inhabitants.

The relationship with Italy hasn’t always been easy and there were numerous battles between Como and Italy often carried out in the area of Lugano. The Identity of the local people is clearly Swiss and not Italian.

The view on this picture is from the top of Monte San Salvatore reaching an altitude of 912m. Lugano lies 600m below (on the left). This peak offers a splendid view of the city and the lake Lugano with its many branches. A cable car leads directly to the top.

On our recent visit the water of the lake was at least 24°C and it was such a pleasure to go for a swim in the clean water of the lake with a panoramic view of the picturesque environment.

Lugano 2018-07-26T15:52:30+00:00

International Geneva

2018-06-18T15:55:42+00:00

Geneva is a beautiful cosmopolitan city with a lot of charm. It is certainly known for its many international organisations such as the UN, the red cross, CERN, ISO and many others.

Here, in front of the UN headquarter is the famous broken chair. It is a symbol for refusal of armed violence against civilians. In the background is the UN. It has been a busy place sind 1946 with yearly around 8’000 meetings, of which 600 are bigger conferences.

Geneva is the second biggest city of Switzerland and has a population of about 1 mio including suburbs. It is also a global city with a big financial center. And Geneva is certainly known for it’s famous reformer: John Calvin!

42% of the people living here weren’t born in Geneva! The mix of people and languages spoken in this city is certainly amazing and beautiful.

International Geneva 2018-06-18T15:55:42+00:00

Lucerne in February

2018-02-10T21:11:09+00:00

Lucerne is one of the top tourist destinations in Switzerland. It is a beautiful compact old city on the shore of Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee in German), surrounded by mountains.

The famous wooden bridge (Kapellbrücke) dates back to the 14 century. It is covered and stretched a good 200m from the old city across the river to swampy area of the farmers and low level income folks. Today both sides are obviously very expensive in terms of real estate.

The wooden bridge almost totally burned down in 1993 and was quickly rebuilt. It looks again old today since around 5 million tourists make their way across yearly. The famous 111 pictures under it’s roof (visible when walking across) depict scenes from the history of Switzerland.

The tower in the middle of the bridge used to be a prison. In the old times prisoners were kept there and sometimes tortured so that their cries could be heard through the wooden panels all around, in order to deter others.

Lucerne is famous for the many watch shops and millions of tourists descending on the place. In summer it is really congested and even hard to make your way across the wooden bridge.

Other things that are really impressive are the monument of the dying lion and the Bourbaki panorama, the church of the Jesuits, the ramparts and many wonderful museums.

A good time to visit is actually when there are hardly any foreign tourists around: in February! That is also when the city is vibrant with colours and the thumping typical sounds of the yearly carnival. It is a lot of fun to mingle with the joyful and excited locals celebrating with their whole family.

Lucerne in February 2018-02-10T21:11:09+00:00

Ascona

2017-11-12T16:03:25+00:00

The Italian speaking canton of Switzerland is called Ticino. It borders on Italy and is in the very South of our country. The canton owns 20% of the Lago Maggiore (Lake of Maggiore), the rest belong to Italy.

Because of the Southern position of this beautiful lake the weather in the Ticino is generally milder and sunnier than in the North. While we are down in the Ticino for a few days of sun up North is is raining right now.

Bellinzona is the capital of the canton. Lugano however is the biggest city of the canton and after Zurich and Geneva the most important financial center. The canton Ticino has only a population of about 350’000 inhabitants.

Quite a few rivers flow from the high mountains through deep valleys into the lake. Up along the rivers into the mountains many charming old villages dot the wild countryside.

Ascona is a picturesque small city on the Lago Maggiore (Lake of Maggiore). It boasts a beautiful lake promenade along with many cafes and boutiques, selling expensive clothing and exclusive watches. Italian culture has a deep influence on the canton and gives it it’s special cultural flavour.

This small city is at the lowest point of Switzerland and only 196m above sea level.

Ascona 2017-11-12T16:03:25+00:00

Montreux

2017-08-23T20:56:55+00:00

This famous city lies on the shores of lake Geneva and belongs to the French speaking Canton of Vaud. Montreux is well known far beyond Switzerland and attracts many foreign visitors.

The city is famous for it’s yearly Jazz Festival. This wonderful event takes usually place in June / July and has many different groups playing in countless locations.

One highlight of the city is the promenade along the lake. It is a lively spot where people just walk along, or sit, chat and just take in the beautiful view. Along the promenade there is a display of art work that is eye catching. One sample is seen in the picture above.

Snow covered mountain peaks rising up to 2000m form the backdrop of the city. This natural protection is the reason for a climate that is exceptionally mild. Many Mediterranean plants such as pines, cypresses and palm trees grow there.

Close to Montreux lie the famous Castle of Chillon and the world heritage vineyards area of Lavaux.

Montreux 2017-08-23T20:56:55+00:00

Burgdorf and its Castle

2016-12-07T20:01:36+00:00

Burgdorf is called the door to the Emmental. The beautiful old city is quite compact and sits on a sandstone hill in the middle of the Emmen valley. The modern city is down at the foot of the hill.

The massive castle sits at the highest point of the hill and overlooks the city and the Emmen valley. From the towers even the Jura can be see on horizon. On a clear day the view is gorgeous.

The castle is mentioned for the first time in 1080 and at that stage was owned by the dukes of Zähringen. They built the city around the castle.

Today the castle hosts three museums that are included in the price of the ticket (CHF 7.- / Person). The castle museum exhibits a lot of articles through different time periods and authentic old documents. The other two museums are much smaller. The gold museum offers some insights into how gold was washed in the Emmen river. The museum of ethnology dates back to it’s founder Schiffman who died in 1904. He had donated all his exotic articles from his travels to Japan, China and Korea to the gymnasium (high school) of the city.

The museums are open daily, April to October in the afternoons. November to March they just open Saturday 11am to 5pm.

The beer brewed in the city is also quite a treat!

The population of the city of Burgdorf is around 16’000 people. It is just a 20’ train ride from Berne.

Burgdorf and its Castle 2016-12-07T20:01:36+00:00

Thun, the Main City of the Bernese Oberland

2016-11-19T20:05:03+00:00

This beautiful city is located at the lower end of lake Thun. The river Aare flows through the city and about 20km further down passes the city of Berne. On a clear day a massive range of mountains towers high up on the other side of lake Thun.

The city has only about 44’000 inhabitants and is quite compact with a charming old town overlooked by a castle. Just taking a stroll through the city and across some of its many bridges, enjoying a drink in one of the many restaurants is a wonderful activity on a day off.

The small harbour just opposite the train station is a great starting point for an excursion with one of the boats on to few other places on lake Thun. The trip offers a magnificent perspective of the alps and ends up in Interlaken.

The city goes back to the day of the Romans, who were driven out of Thun and Switzerland by the Burgundians around 400 AD. The Aare became the border between the Burgundians who were Christians and the non-Christians on the northern side of the river. The town is first mentioned in 1133. Around 1190 the Duke Berthold V of Zähringen built the castle of Thun.

A Military School was founded in 1819 which became the main military school in Switzerland. Ruag is a defence, space and aviation company with its seat in Thun.

Today Thun is a modern city with a somewhat laid-back atmosphere. It hasn’t really been discovered by mass tourism yet. To me this is a must see place.

Thun, the Main City of the Bernese Oberland 2016-11-19T20:05:03+00:00

Interlaken

2017-02-27T15:32:36+00:00

The village of Interlaken is situated between the lake of Thun and the lake of Brienz and has steep mountains on two sides. The village consists only of about 15’000 inhabitants. However especially over the winter and summer season there are many more people from all nations spending nights in the place. Many shops not only serve their customers in German, French, English, Italian and Japanese but also in Chinese and some also in Arabic. Especially the latter two languages these days are frequently spoken!

The village itself isn’t as beautiful as the much older Thun or Berne. However it is really a magnet for tourists. Why?

Interlaken is a good starting point for exploring the area. There are more than 45 mountain railways, cable cars and even boats and other means inviting to great excursions.

The nearby Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau are certainly the most famous mountain peaks that dominate the area with the famous Jungrau Joch. However many other less known destinations are certainly worth exploring too such as the Schilthorn, the Schynige Platte, the Niesen, the Stockhorn and the Niederhorn which offer spectacular views as well.

The city of Berne is just a mere 45 minutes car / train ride away.

Interlaken 2017-02-27T15:32:36+00:00

The City of Neuchâtel

2016-07-12T17:32:45+00:00

Neuchâtel is a delightful and noble city with the charm of the french speaking culture of Switzerland. It is sitting on the shore of the lake of Neuchâtel and goes up on Jura rising behind the lake. The typical yellow stone facades stand in stark contrast to the blue sky and the blue water of the lake. Along the shore of the lake many vineyards dot the countryside and add to the beauty of the area.

Neuchâtel is the capital of the canton of Neuchâtel and has a population including the agglomeration of less than 80’000 people.

The first written record dates back to 1011 where Rudolph III, king of Burgundy (F) made the Novum Castellum (or the new castle – Neuchâtel) a gift to his wife Irmengarde. The city kept slowly growing and expanding over the next centuries. Some of  the rich nobility started building houses outside of the city walls. Part of their money also was made with the flourishing slave trade.

Before the 19th century the river Seyon often flooded parts of the city. Between 1839 and 1843 the river got canalized and on top of it the Rue du Seyon came into being. 1859 the train station was built. Also the shore of the lake got reshaped land was regained and built on.

Since 1910 Neuchâtel has its own university. It has a good college of commerce (Ecole Superiore de Neuchâtel) where also quite a few of the better off families from the Swiss German part send their kids to college for higher education in French.

Culturally Neuchâtel has quite a few things to offer: Every September after the vine harvest „la Fête des Vendanges“ is celebrated and attracts 100’000 visitors. Beginning of June a four days open air festival (pop, rock, hiphop and electro) attracts quite a crowd.

Neuchâtel is only about a 40’ car drive or train ride from Berne.

The City of Neuchâtel 2016-07-12T17:32:45+00:00