The Europa Park

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

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+00:00

Christmas Market

2018-12-21T11:05:11+00:00

Christmas markets are hugely popular in Europe! Some are really famous but most have become commercialised and lost authenticity.

For years in Bern we have already had two Christmas markets. This year a third was opened that everybody raves about.

This new Christmas Market is also very central and in a park next to the houses of parliament. It is really beautiful and has a much more authentic feel. The stalls are set up for about three weeks before Christmas. But they are beautiful and lovingly designed. There are lot’s of food opportunities but also sweets and many possible Christmas gifts available. A lot of atmosphere pervades this newly created but temporary space well worth checking out.

Christmas Market 2018-12-21T11:05:11+00:00

Burgdorf’s Summer Festival

2018-06-26T14:21:53+00:00

On the last Monday of June the whole town of Burgdorf is celebrating. The festival is called Solennität – from the latin solemnis or solemnly. The beginning of the festival dates back 250 years. All the locals remember how they as kids in their school classes paraded through the streets along with an occasional marching band. I grew up in Burgdorf and love to flock back for the event.

The morning event starts at 9am. The girls are all dressed in white with flower wreaths in on their heads and holding a bouquet of flowers. The boys follow, also clad in white shirts. The morning event finishes with a service in the beautiful gothic church on top of the hill in the old town.

In the afternoon a topical parade leads through the whole town and ends down at the public meadows with dancing and a folk festival finishing in the early morning hours.

Burgdorf’s Summer Festival 2018-06-26T14:21:53+00:00

The Gurten

2017-10-27T19:10:26+00:00

Berne is the capital of Switzerland surrounded by soft hills. The highest hill is called „Gurten“ and offers a wonderful get away from the city.

Within a few minutes a cable car takes guests 215m up to the top. On the Gurten there are many attractions such as a tower overlooking the city down below, a mini railway for kids to ride along, a kids park and two nice restaurants. Taking the scenic walk down to the station at the bottom takes just about an hour. For those who love mountain biking there are daring trails down the hill.

In July a big music festival takes place drawing thousands of young people to enjoy world famous groups. In November the Gurten Classic Race closes the jogging season.  In winter many families come up to for sledge riding or teaching their smaller kids how to ski.

The cable train is easily accessible either via tram number 9, stop at Gurtenbahn or leave your car in the parking at the foot of the cable car.

The Gurten 2017-10-27T19:10:26+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

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

Ice Skating

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

Ice skating is a popular sport in this country. In really cold winters some lakes freeze up and are great for ice skating. Every city or even village normally has an ice skating ring.

For a few years an ice skating ring has been set up in a very prominent location: right in front of the houses of parliament. The square in front of these federal buildings in Bern is very popular for all sorts of activities be it sports, art or even for protests etc.

The ice skating ring is set up just before Christmas and is taken down before the end of February. Opening times are 11am to 11pm. There is no entrance fee. People can rent equipment (CHF 10.- / adult or CHF 7.- / kids) to go skating or just bring their own along.

In this wonderful location it is really fun to go skating with some friends or families with their kids. After the activity many people then love to go to the restaurant that is part of the setup.

The menues served there are quite local foods such as sausages, cheese dishes, soup and fondue! This year 6’000 fondues were sold. Obviously a very popular dish!

Over 45’000 people came skating this season. 900 kids received training on special kids’ afternoon.

The local government has already granted permission for the same set up next year. So mark it in your agenda and book a table at the restaurant early in order to enjoy a great time together with your friends or family.

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

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

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