Russia 2018 – The Swiss team is there!

The football World Cup 2018 in Russia is just entering the hot phase with the best 16 teams playing to run after the most wanted cup.
Switzerland is still in and the football fever here between the Alps and the Rhine is still extremely high!
Also football, as almost everything in the Confederation, has its… three-lingual words:

Hopp Schwizz!
Allez la Suisse!
Forza Svizzera!

or, simply: Go Switzerland!

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Money, money, money



[Photo of ABBA’s “Money money money”: from hitparade.ch]

Even if the title is the same as the successful song by ABBA, this story is just a boring “black and white” matter of Swiss francs, bills and burocracy.
Due to the fact that Switzerland is the country of all welfare records, including the highest prices of the world, a lot of people living near the border prefer to buy stuff in Germany.
Some weeks ago we went to Germany to buy some tyres. Coming back, with the tyres proudly making themselves visible from the trunk, we were stopped by the severe customs officer.
Having bought these tyres in Amazon with delivery in Germany, we did not have any receipt. By the way, for some ununderstandable rules, the tyres shall always be declared and the relevant 7.7% Swiss VAT shall be paid! (Apparently, also tyres which are lying in the trunk shall be considered as a single piece with the car, and therefore their VAT shall be paid).
How did the custom officer calculate the VAT? Basing his figures just on my verbal declaration of the possible price of the tyres!
Strange, right?!
Price and rigorous VAT calculation starting from a verbal supposed price, but the relevant receipt given to me as bumptious bill with Swiss flag and four languages to say “Swiss Confederation”.

Very vague about the rules, but very precise when it goes to money!
Should the famous ABBA song eventually be proposed as new national anthem of the Confederation?

The power of Swiss nature


Last Wednesday I just arrived home when the fury of the sky fell on the Earth.
In Ehrendingen and surroundings a violent hailstorm started and went on for half an hour, followed by violent rain!
The main road crossing the village became an impetuous river with half metre water, and all the fields and streets became white as in winter!
The force of nature was impressive!
The buses and cars still on the road became like insects into the sea.
In some neighbouring villages they even remained without drinkable water for some days, because everything was contaminated with mud.
A lot of basements, houses, shops where flooded and invaded by water and mud.
A real scary scenery.
But thanks to the assiduous work of the fire brigade, in a couple of days all the main damages where fixed and the mud and water sent away and dried.

Unfortunately, as in this case, even the quiet Switzerland can sometimes become very… angry and upset!

World record restaurant

Last Saturday, as often when we go to Zurich, we had lunch in our favourite place in town: the famous vegetarian restaurant “Haus Hiltl”, just couple of steps from the central Bahnhofstrasse.
This time I just realised that they are a Guinness World Record holder! Haus Hiltl is the oldest vegetarian restaurant of the world!
And in 2018 they celebrate their 120th anniversary!

The vegetarian food is very unique, with many exotic influences, fresh and good! You typically choose the specialties and quantities you prefer from a buffet, paying for the relevant weight.

Congratulations Haus Hiltl!
And congratulations small Switzerland, another world record!

Unfair or fair… fair?


Some days ago I was waiting for my usual bus to go to work and suddenly I saw an unusual poster at the bus stop.
Among the various ads for concerts, discos, local markets and missing cats, I saw the unmistakable… green leaf symbol!

The International Hemp Fair!
And, as they proudly say on cannatrade.ch, the oldest hemp fair in Europe!
And all this just in the well known, top modern, economic centre of Zurich!

As a conservative man, I find this fair quite provocative.
OK, you can dispute on the possible medical properties of these substances…
In a world where drugs or soft drugs are still debated and often forbidden, Switzerland is (strangely) very permissive and open.
Think about: Zurich is the third city in Europe for cocaine consumption (as reported by “Ticino online” already in December 2016).

In Switzerland are the top priorities and worries perhaps focused on showing a clean city, rather than really fighting the drug consumption and addiction?
Smoke weed, take drugs… but please, hide yourself and do not show it to us!

The inelegant line…

In Switzerland, at the restaurant, you can order a bottle of wine, an open wine or a glass of wine.
When choosing a glass of wine you would expect that the host pours the wine, so that the glass looks filled in a proper and decent way.
But what about the precision? That’s why all the Swiss glasses for red, white, rose’, champagne, Prosecco are “cut” by a white horizontal line with the mathematical indication of 10 cl!
Precise and perfect, but for sure the wine tastes less good and magical in a “lined” glass!

Open air bookcase!

Last weekend I noticed this “pearl” in Baden.
An open bookcase! Just next to the nice Casino park in the city centre!
A sign on it explains everything: very simple “rules”!

The open bookcase in Baden: a gratis offer for your leisure time.
– Bring books, which you find good.
– The books shall be in good shape and clean.
– The bookcase will not accept: pornography, racism, promotion of violence, advertisement, newspapers.
– Undesired: magazines, specialised literature.
– Put books in the bookcase, only if there is space.
– Pick up a book (or two).
– Gratis, without registration or additional controls.
– You can keep the book, bring it back or exchange it with another one.

After some “research” I found out that the bookcase was even inaugurated on the 19th October 2016!
Good that I discovered it, at last!

I think it’s a great initiative! Always open, no need to rush to find a bookshop open in the late afternoon!
One of the best example of open culture… open innovation!