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Showing posts from April, 2012


Alright. Fondue doesn't seem to be a warm weather dish. In winter it's nice and cozy to have the pot of cheese on your table heating up the room and filling everything with the smell of cheese. However, eating hot sticky cheese on bread may not seem very appealing if its hot outside. At least, that's what you probably think...

There is a small and friendly restaurant in Zurich that might be able to convince you otherwise. The Chäsalp is located on a hill outside of Zurich and its guests sit outside at large wooden tables with a great view of the surrounding hills (and the Mazoala hall of Zurich Zoo amongst other things). Pillows and woolen blankets assure comfort in this rustic Swiss atmospehere. With cowbells sounding in the background one generally has the impression of being near a cottage somewhere in the Alps rather than being 15 minutes outside of Zurich. :)

In consistence with the restaurants name, cheese is the main ingredient used in dishes at the Chäsalp (lit. c…

Advanced Swiss German

After writing a post about the basics of Swiss German a few months ago, I started realizing more and more how hard it must be for someone moving to Switzerland to pick up the local language. The few words I provided are hardly enough to get an expat or a tourist through a day in Switzerland. When I stumbled upon the twitter account of @swiss_german, who introduces a new Swiss German word every day, the idea of a Swiss German online dictionary started to develop.

A first version of more than 400 Swiss German words and expressions is online now and can be used for learning, consulting and information. I would appreciate feedback, suggestions for new words or any comment on it. I will continue adding words and expressions in Swiss German to the dictionary as possible.

Have a look now: Swiss German Dictionary

If you are looking for other free or partly free online resources for learning Swiss German I recommend you have a look at my list of resources for learners of Swiss German.

© 2012 …

Ice Saints

We have a saying that goes "April, April, macht was er will" (= April, April, does how he pleases) which more or less summarizes the sudden changes in weather conditions in Switzerland that can take place in April. Indeed, April has had its moods also this year. It's the Easter weekend and most everyone hoped for good weather. These hopes were not unjustified since this spring has been amazingly sunny with record hours of sunshine in March. However, the Easter weekend had its own mind. Instead of sun and warmth we got rain, fog, clouds and SNOW.

As a rule of thumb snow and frost in most parts of Switzerland are possible till the end of April or beginning of May. The so-called Eisheiligen (= Ice Saints or Frost Saints) are five saints days in the middle of May that according to popular belief have an increased likelihood of nightfrost falling. Several weather proverbs state that the weather is getting reliably mild only after the Ice Saints, especially "Cold Sophie&q…

April Fools Day

Every year on April Fools Day, the Swiss newspapers, radio stations and tv stations allow themselves a little April Fools prank. Much like the famous broadcast about spaghetti growing on trees in Switzerland and Italy by BBC in 1957, the Swiss insert little made up news stories every on April 1st into their regular programs.

Last year those fake news stories included e.g. a story about the canton of Appenzell distributing money to its citizens, one about communities in the canton of Thurgau suing the Circus Knie for not giving more performances in their canton, and a story about a chapel waggon for prayer that was added to each train of the Rhätische Bahn. Swiss Radio DRS let their listeners vote on the best pranks of 2011.

Now, I know I am not a newspaper and I cannot as easily hide an untruth in my blog. Instead, I thought of giving you a little April Fools Day riddle much in the style of Swiss newspapers. Three entries about Swiss politics of which one of them is (partly) false. C…