Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A Little Bit of Switzerland in All of Us

So here's something most of you may not be aware of: you're all more than likely to  have a little bit of Switzerland with you. But what exactly do I mean by this? Well, I'm talking about the unsuspecting average person being unaware of how many Swiss-related products that they actually consume - and I'm here to spread awareness ^^


So let's start off with what I think is probably the most widely used Swiss invention in the world. For all of you using a computer to read this blog, you're all probably holding the modern computer mouse in your right hand. The old-school mouse without the wheel, was developed by Jean-Daniel Nicoud and André Guignard in Lausanne, before René Sommer later extended the intellignece system of the mouse.

Next up, we have something that I don't personally use a lot of, but is nonetheless another widely used product of Swiss ingunuity, aluminium foil. These thin sheets of metal used for many things, mostly for food related concerns, was the brainchild of Dr. Lauber and the Neher brothers in the early twentieth century, and the first plant opened in canton Thurgau.

Other important Swiss inventions that are still important to households to this day include the Rex Potato (Vegetable) peeler [Zürich] and velcro [Vaud].


OK. So let's move on to the products that you will all be aware of their general Swiss-ness. For all you keen-travellers out there, I personally never leave the country, pack boxes, move houses without my very handy Swiss Army Knife. The pocket knife of Victorinox and Wenger, originating from canton Schwyz is a symbol of Swiss precision and remains immensely popular to this day - I personally can't imagine life without mine. The newest models have digital clocks, blowtorches and even a USB memory stick.

But perhaps I'm missing the most obvious one right? What comes to mind when many of you think about Switzerland? A common answer is the cuckoo clock. Not quite what I was leading on to, but similar in concept are that of Swiss watches. Rolex, TAG Heuer, Ebel, Tissot, Swatch and Omega are just some of the many big-names in the watch industry - all of which come from Switzerland. I'm sure that most of you have, or at least know of someone that has owned a Swiss watch at some point in time.

But for all you food-lovers out there, Switzerland is home to some of the most delightful cullinary treats. Of course above all, we Swiss pride ourselves with our global status as chocolate producers. Such brands such as Lindt & Sprüngli, and Toblerone must provide some great memories for fact, I bet some of you are keenly awaiting your next fix :)

Moving on to the more gourmet side of things, Swiss cheese is also considered as one of our country's undeniable symbols. The famous Emmentaler cheese - commonly referred to as Swiss cheese due to their holes, has become identifiable with SO many across the world - mostly thanks to cartoons like 'Tom & Jerry'

Let us not forget the other types of cheese that make Switzerland famous, such as the Gruyère, Tête de moine, raclette, sbrienz and my personal favourite Appenzeller. Even the sitcom Frasier couldn't help but mention some other types of Swiss delights, with one of the principal characters, Dr. Niles Crane, a keen fan of "Swiss Prosciutto" or bündnerfleisch.

Of course, we musn't forget the world's largest food company in the world - Nestlé, and yes, you guessed it, they are Swiss - of canton Vaud. Though not everything listed under their brand is Swiss (such as the popular Kit-Kat and Cheerios), they are still many Swiss products included...anyone drink Nescafé?

So, after reading this article, take a moment to pause and reflect on just how Swiss your household is exactly. I'm sure that I would have surprised a lot of you, or at least made you realise something that you hadn't actually given much thought to before.

- Adrian

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Summer Holidays in Switzerland

I thought that it'd be great to kick off my first post-introductory article with a topic that's largely on a lot of your minds right now. Yes, summer is well and truly under way for us in the northern hemisphere, and many of you are counting down the days to the eagerly anticipated summer holidays.

I would also expect that many of you will know where you'll be spending the next few sizzling months, but for those of you undecided, or even for those of you who have decided, why not consider Switzerland as a possible summer retreat?

It's quite clear that Switzerland needs no introduction, but many people consider Switzerland a winter destination. But can I blame you? What comes to mind when one thinks of  Swiss holidays? The Alps? Skiing? St. Bernard dogs rescuing those happless to be trapped under the snow?

For the nature lovers:

Switzerland, however, has so much to offer in the warmer seasons as well. Imagine a scene where you're hiking along a beautiful valley. The flowers are in full bloom, the sun is warm, and the scenary...oh, the scenary.

Can you imagine riding your bikes through the valleys? Maybe taking long walks amongst the beautiful alpine flowers whilst you stop and watch the sunset behind the mountains, all the while reflecting your thoughts watching the still and beautiful lakes...

Some destinations offer such experiences for those nature lovers such as the Bernese Oberland, Zermatt and Engelberg to name a few

City-folk? Switzerland's there for you too!

Though a small country, Switzerland certainly caters to all kind of people. Maybe experiencing nature isn't rally your thing, and you're more into the city life. Say no more.

The cities of Zürich and Geneva certainly offer the luxuries that the world has to offer. The cafés, the shops, the night-life, oh so tempting. However, both can't help themselves but to offer nature's best as well, seeing as how both are located in the midst of their own lakes.

 So although you may not be keen to spend the entire summer hiking, Zürich and Geneva both make sure that you don't leave without at least taking a moment to see this beautiful side of Switzerland.

To conclude:

So, if I've done enough to make you consider a trip to Switzerland over the summer, the next step to do is to find out more about the summer wonders of the alpine nation.
MySwitzerland, the official Swiss tourism board is great, and has a website that can help you plan out your perfect holiday.

Hopefully, you'll fall in love with country and plan many more visits.

- Adrian

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The First Blog: An introduction of things to come

Hi everyone.

Firstly, I'd like to thank those of you that have stumbled upon my blog and took the time to read this. Thank you.

So, let's get our formal introductions sorted.

My name is Adrian and I'm from canton Lucerne (or Luzern in our native German, or better yet, Lozärn in our native schwiizer-dütsch). Some of you out there may have read some of my articles over at the Switzerland World Cup Blog during the 2010 FIFA World Cup last summer. If you're not familar with my previous work, feel free by all means to have a look at some of the posts I made about Swiss football if you're interested.

This brings me to why I created this blog.

As fun as it was to write articles about Swiss football, I felt a little constrained that I couldn't write more about the wonderful country of Switzerland.

So, the purpose of this blog is to put down my thoughts on the going-ons of the motherland, including Swiss culture, history, news, sports and all kinds of things Swiss.

I look forward to writng here, and I hope that you enjoy reading my future posts.

Please feel free to comment and subscribe!

- Adrian

Hopp Schweiz! Hop Suisse! Forza Svizzera!