Top of Europe

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

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+00:00

It’s hot!

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

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+00:00

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