31 October 2008

Coco Bay

The many mountains surrounding Montreux have a tendency to shield the place from winds and weather. Therefore Montreux enjoys a micro-climate which is warmer than in Geneva. The palm trees are just a tad closer to each other and there are just more different flowers along the shores of the lake here. Despite this we do find it a bit on the optimistic side to call a residence here for Coco Bay - but we are all in favour of the port-hole equipped mailbox belonging to said property.

30 October 2008

Birthday Trip

On the day when it was actually Lisbeth's birthday we started out by eating omelette and opening presents. Afterwards we took the train to the other end of Lake Geneva to spend the day in and around the city Montreux.

The landscape around Montreux is a fair bit more impressive than around Geneva. Not least due to the way the mountains come much closer to the lake on either side. We walked along the lake from Montreux to Chillon, where we spent hours looking at the castle. The castle is picturesquely situated at lakeside and offers gloomy dungeons, windy paths, awesome halls and vineyards. We declined on the offer to bring home their wine, assuming that we'd be paying more for the name than the quality of the wine.

28 October 2008

Fall visit

By the end of September we had a visitor from Denmark. It was Lisbeth's mother, Tove, who had decided to spend a long and very sunny (but of course!) weekend with us on the occasion of Lisbeth's birthday. The day before the actual birthday we spent walking around Geneva and we finally got around to ascending the tower of the cathedral. From here we could enjoy nice views of the city - and we could work up some appetite going up and down the narrow stairwells (Tove counted at least 180 steps on the way down).

26 October 2008

Mail painting

The Swiss mailboxes that we have wanted to present here have been few and far between. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that we can now show you these Zürich mailboxes, on which the decoration is part of a larger artwork.

25 October 2008

Trams in Zürich

Like in Geneva, there's an extensive network of tram lines in Zürich. In the coaches we found these lovely pictograms: (1) Do not sit in other peoples' smoke to scrounge their hard earned nicotine (2) Do not be poor NB: Goes for all of Switzerland! (3) Do not be Jack Johnson (4) Do not cut the seat under yourself (5) Sit upright, it is not good for your back to lounge.

24 October 2008


Although it was nice to be back home, we were on the (rail)road again less than 2 weeks later - this time by train to Zürich for a long weekend. Zürich is similar to Geneva in these ways: It's located at the end of an oblong lake (a little smaller than Lake Geneva), there is a water jet in the lake (much smaller than here in Geneva), and the central part of town is located on a narrow strip of land between two rivers (though Limmat and Sihl instead of Arve and Rhône) which have a confluence in the middle of the city (possibly less spectacularly so than in Geneva). Zürich is different from Geneva primarily by the fact that everything is in (some sort of) German, and that the weather in mid-September was notably colder than in Geneva. Of more positive aspects to Zürich we can mention the train station Stadelhofen, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava - whom we like very much. Moreover we got the chance to meet up with Diego whom Tue knows from his years in Santa Barbara.

23 October 2008


Shortly after returning to Geneva, we received a lovely greeting from the international community here when Lisbeth's incredibly creative contribution - containing the picture below as well as a tribute to the Large Hadron Collider - in the Yamato competition won us tickets for the concert with the drumming Japanese. Definetely worth experiencing if you get a chance!

22 October 2008

Three Mailboxes

Our readers on this blog may not be familiar with the standard mailbox of the Danish mail service (on the left in the image above), shown for comparison next to the Italian (middle) and Swiss (right) counterparts. While one might recognize the yellow colour of the Swiss mail service, the Italian and Danish boxes have strikingly similar shades of red. In Denmark it's known as "mailbox red", but I have no idea if this holds for Italy. The finer print on the Danish mailbox reminds the customers that letters must not contain cash. In Italy the customer is asked to stop and think: Is the letter for someone in this city - or is it going out in the world beyond?

20 October 2008

Home again

When we came home from our summer vacation in Denmark, we heard that the weather hadn't been particularly nice in Geneva while we were away. Nevertheless, we had to face the fact that even if it had a rained quite a bit, it hadn't been enough to keep the herbs in the box on our balcony alive while we were away:

Besides, the weather was quite nice when we came back, something we exploited by biking a trip to the botanical gardens first chance we got.

18 October 2008

Danish Mailboxes

As a special feature for our non-Danish readers (who may well never have been to Denmark) we present typical Danish mailboxes (click on the picture for enlarged view - the one on the far right is particularly widespread). As you can see variation and uniqueness are not priorities. The picture was taken in a residential area in Varde, Denmark - but it really could have been taken literally anywhere in Denmark.

17 October 2008

Holiday in Denmark

View over the moor in mid-Jutland

After a sunny week in the Swiss mountains it was time for some weeks in the somewhat flatter Denmark. We spent the time visiting with friends and family around Denmark - mostly in Jutland, very briefly on Funen, and at last in the Capital region. Even though the weather wasn't as nice as we had hoped it was great to have time for seeing a lot of people at a relatively leisurely pace (as compared to Tue's quite hectic trips to Denmark in the previous years). Of course we still didn't manage to see everybody, but it was fabulous to see all those we did - our thankful thoughts for their hospitality.

Bækbygård Beach

View over the dunes towards inland Jutland

Even though Denmark was quite a bit more rainy than Switzerland we managed to swimming one time at 'Bækbygård' beach (in the North Sea). On the way home across the moorish landscape in Jutland we stopped at 'Tihøje' (Ten Hills) so we could collect lingonberries.

Erica (heath) on the moor at 'Tihøje' (Ten Hills)

Forest path at 'Tihøje' (Ten Hills)

Lingonberries and acorn

14 October 2008

Bergamask Cuisine

Despite our short visit to Bergamo there were a couple of interesting experiences food wise. For lunch we followed the steady flow of people to a place in the old town where sumptuous slices of pizza were cut, warmed and sold by weight:

We brought the beer and tomatoes ourselves. When Tue was getting ready to have his picture taken an Englishman passing by offered to take the photo so Lisbeth could also be in it (he appeared to think our lunch set-up looked absolutely fabulous).

At night we ate in the modern city, but at a restaurant with a traditional menu. When asked if Tue wanted his polenta (a thick corn porridge) with cheese and mushrooms he said yes, naively expecting a bit of grated parmesan. As it turned out, the polenta was well hidden under a thick fused lid of 5-6 different cheeses...

12 October 2008


After Lugano our trip continued into northern Italy (once more) - more specifically Bergamo from where we were to fly to Billund in Denmark. Before that we had the better part of a day to look at the city which was a positive surprise, to put it mildly. In fact, it was a fantastic experience for rounding off that part of our vacation. The modern city sprawls across the plain around the old city strategically located on a hill. Inside the relatively well-preserved walls of fortification one finds little shops and restaurants side by side in the narrow, winding alleys. The modern city, by contrast, is dominated by long, straight, broad boulevards.
If we ever happen to come that way again we are quite likely to plan more than a single night for it - and since Ryan Air has a hub here there are ample options for people in need of a time-out from the fall season of northern Europe.

10 October 2008

The Postal Bus

The Swiss mail service has turned out to be quite an enterprising company. By now both of us have a postal account with a debit card accepted in the majority of Swiss shops and on Swiss homepages. And on our vacation this summer we learned that the best option for public transportation in rural areas was often to take a postal bus.

06 October 2008

The Tamaro-Lema ridge

One of our important goals in Ticino was to hike along the ridge from Mt. Tamaro to Mt. Lema. We started early in the morning by taking the train from Lugano, then an aerial tramway almost to the top of Mt. Tamaro. Then followed 6-7 hours of hiking along the ridge before taking an other aerial tramway down from Mt. Lema and then a bus back towards Lugano. On Mt. Tamaro Botta put an incredibly beautiful and different church which impressed by being located halfway off of the side of the mountain:
After climbing to the top of Mt. Tamaro it was basically just a long and very hot (yes, that is Lisbeth you see wearing her shirt on her head in order to provide her forehead with a little shade) walk along a dusty path all the way to Mt. Lema (of which one catches a glimpse to the far right in this photo):
Along the way we were rewarded for our efforts with fabulous views of the pre-alps and Locarno on the right:
... and Lugano and Lake Lugano to the left:

04 October 2008


The towers of the aerial tramway up to Cardada turned out merely to be our first encounter with the Ticino-born architect Mario Botta. He happens to have also drawn at least two churches, a sports arena, a bus station, a casino, and of course a number of houses and office buildings in the region. One wonders if any of his 'brothers' are working in some of the decision-making bodies?? He is, after all, from the Italian speaking part of Switzerland.

We saw the perhaps most spectacularly located church of his (lower left corner in the picture), when we hiked along the ridge from Mt. Tamaro to Mt. Lema. All the other buildings shown here are in the city of Lugano. We caught a glimpse of the casino from across the Lake Lugano, but that didn't tempt us to take a closer look.

Outside of Ticino his most famous works are probably the the SFMoMa and the cathedral in Évry. And yes, the man is terribly fond of squares, right angles, and red bricks...