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Showing posts from 2018

Merry Christmas & Blessed 2019

The year is almost over and the holidays are just a few days away. As has become our custom we made a Gingerbread House for Christmas. I've been trying different recipes each year and the results have always turned out tasty but not always very stable. This year I found a great recipe over at Chefkoch.de that produced a tasty and very stable house. In fact, it was so tasty that the house didn't last very long and right now has almost disappeared in our bellies.

I hope you're enjoying this holiday season, celebrating the birth of Christ and spending time with your families and friends. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all!









© 2018 IRENE WYRSCH "A HUMOROUS GUIDE TO SWITZERLAND" ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Meet Cervelat, the typical Swiss Sausage

If there is one thing that can't be missing at a Swiss style cookout - also called Brötle - it's a few Cervelats. This typical Swiss sausage also called Chlöpfer ("banger" or "burster") stars at cookouts, school trips, barbecue evenings and even in salads. It is made of pork and beef and has a very unique pink color that sets it off against most other sausages available in Switzerland.

The most common way to prepare a Cervelat is to roast it with a stick over the fire. To prevent it from bursting open uncontrollably, most people cut the sausage before roasting it. Typically you cut a cross into both ends of the Cervelat which gives it it's famous appearance (see picture above).

Cervelat can also be eaten "raw" with bread or in a salad. It's a precooked sausage so no worries there!

Have you tried Cervelat? Did you like it? What's the best way to prepare it in your opinion? Please share in the comments!



© 2018 IRENE WYRSCH "A HUMO…

How to Build a Fruit Fly Trap

Who doesn't know them, the small but annoying fruit flies that seem to appear out of nowhere and take over your fruit plate?  Thanks to their ability to track down fermenting fruit and their super fast life cycle, they multiply quickly once they found your fruit supply.

The best way to get rid of these buggers would be to store all fruit (and vegetable) in the fridge but many people (including myself) think that fruit loses some of it's flavor when you keep it refrigerated. Another popular answer to the fruit fly problem are vinegar traps. A combination of water, vinegar and dishwasher soap is put in a small bowl and the fruit flies are supposed to land in there and drown. This has never really worked for me so I was looking for another way to get rid of fruit flies.


Building a Working Fruit Fly Trap I've always thought it strange that fruit flies would prefer vinegar over fruit (which they didn't!) so I decided to make a fruit fly trap with fruit in it. It's very…

A History of Rainy Days

Last week, I noticed a sudden increase of traffic on my blog. It wasn't huge but still noticeable. At first, I wondered what could have caused it. I didn't post any new material or was active on social networks so it wasn't anything that I did that caused the increase. After taking a closer look at what posts were particularly popular on the peak days, I came back with a strong suspect: Rain.
Two of the most popular posts on my blog are rainy day posts. The original one is called 10 Fun Things to do on a Rainy Day in Switzerland and its sequel Another 10 Fun Things to do on a Rainy Day in Switzerland
Now, most of my blogs traffic that comes through organic search goes to the Swiss German Dictionary but there is also a considerable amount going to my rainy day posts. When I filtered the landing pages of my organic search traffic I received this interesting graph:

You can clearly see the spikes on days and weeks with rain in Switzerland! In a way, it's my blogs log of…

Common Swiss First Names

On the website of the Federal Institute for Statistics of Switzerland you can access statistics for first names of the entire Swiss population. In a way, it is a Swiss hit parade of first names. At its top you'll find names which have been popular for a long time and were typically awarded to the baby boomer generation. (for example, Daniel, Peter or Anna). In fact, the top 10 of these names are so widespread that I know at least one Swiss representative for each of them in real life.
The 10 Most Common First Names in Switzerland As of 2016, these were the most common first names for people living permanently in Switzerland. Many of these names are popular in all regions of Switzerland: Peter (also Pierre), Anna, Daniel, Daniela or Anna appear amongst the top names in all four regions of Switzerland.  Most Common Names for Swiss Women:
MariaAnnaUrsulaRuthElisabethSandraMonikaClaudiaVerenaNicoleMost Common Names for Swiss Men:
DanielPeterHansThomasChristianMartinAndreasMichaelMarkusM…

Switzerland's Most Popular Baby Names of 2016

The Federal Agency for Statistics in Switzerland BFS collects the names of newborns in Switzerland and compiles a list of most popular baby names for each year on its website. I wrote about popular baby names You can look at popular names for the years 2011 to 2016 and there is also an option to filter according to region.

What becomes immediately obvious when looking at the lists is that the most popular names haven't changed over the last five years. For boys, Noah has been on top every year except 2012 when it came in second place. For girls, Emma and Mia are taking turns on the top spot.

These are the baby names that were most popular in Switzerland in 2016:
Most Popular Girls Names:
MiaEmmaElenaSofiaLenaEmiliaLaraAnnaLauraMilaMost Popular Boys Names:
NoahLiamGabrielLucaLeonEliasDavidSamuelLuisJulian Of course, these overall statistics are influenced by the ratio of native Swiss German speakers to native speakers of French, Italian and Rumantsch. Since there are more Swiss Germa…

On Air! My Interview on Swiss Radio

More than 760'000 Swiss citizens live outside of Switzerland. Many of them in different parts of the European Union and very few in exotic locations like Maui. About 3'100 of them are currently living in Peru and just one is living in the beautiful village of Cocachimba.

These Auslandschweizer ("Swiss Abroad") can be heard on the radio in Switzerland once in a while. There is a weekly show on Swiss radio SRF 1 called "Die 5. Schweiz- a name that translates to "The 5th Switzerland" and refers to all Swiss citizens who reside outside of Switzerland. This show introduces Swiss people living in different parts of the world and interviews them about their new life abroad.

A few months ago my mother told me about this program and I thought it interesting enough to write them an email and ask for more information. After a few emails and several failed phone calls (thanks to my very remote location and its terrible telephone connection), I went through…

Sechseläuten in Zurich

In a few weeks it's happening again. On Monday April 8th 2019, the inner city of Zurich will be closed off for any traffic for the annual Sechseläuten. What annoys car drivers is the joy of anyone working or going to school in Zurich or a neighboring town since an additional free day is always well received. But what is Sechseläuten and how do the people of Zurich celebrate it?

What is Sechseläuten? Sechseläuten is a spring holiday unique to the city of Zurich. The rest of Switzerland including most towns and places in the canton of Zurich do not celebrate this holiday and students and workers don't get a day off. 
Sechseläuten takes place in the middle of April and centers around an artificial snowman called the "Böögg" that symbolizes winter. After a procession of all guilds of Zurich (usually in traditional costumes) the parade reaches the Sechseläuten-Platz, located right at the shore of Lake Zurich. This is where the Böögg is burnt on a stake. 
While the horse r…

How to Save Money on Public Transportation in Switzerland

If you've ever been to Switzerland you probably know that Switzerland has one of the best public transportations networks. You can get almost anywhere - even a small mountain village - by bus, train, boat or cablecar. The most important components of this incredible network are the SBB (Swiss Federal Railway) and Postauto (Postal Busses) which cover a large part of Switzerland. There are also smaller bus and railway companies that mainly operate regional transportation but are fully incorporated into the network.

Swiss public transportation shines with punctuality, flexibility and security. This means, for example, that busses and trains almost always leave and arrive right on time. It also means that once you bought your train ticket you can freely choose what time you want to start and end your journey. In addition, there are very few accidents and injuries caused by public transportation in Switzerland.

However, the quality of public transportation comes at a cost. Traveling by…

How to Eat a Gipfeli

There is probably nothing I miss more about Switzerland than it's great selection of breads and pastries. I remember working in a small town near Zurich where everyday we were visited by a Znüni-Wägeli (lit. 9 o'clock break vehicle) that brought the local bakeries fresh products. Imagine the smell of fresh Weggli (rolls),  Maisbrötli (corn rolls) or - even better - Schoggigipfeli (chocolate croissants)! Combined with a hot cop of coffee these treats definitely made my morning break!

The most famous of of Swiss pastries is the Gipfeli (croissant). This flaky moon shaped pastry is very similar to its French relative but slightly less buttery. You can find Gipfeli in every bakery, café and supermarket. Many times you can choose between the classic Buttergipfeli (butter croissant) and it's variants such as Schoggigipfeli (chocolate croissant), Laugegipfeli (lye covered croissant) or Vollkorngipfeli (whole-grain croissant).

Most Gipfeli you can buy in stores and even at some b…