Bits and Bytes Ma vie en Suisse

What to write about?

Clock Tower, Neuchatel

We eventually got up on Saturday morning (or was it the afternoon?) and decided we’d take a day trip. We got out the map and looked at a few options.  I said: “What about Neuchatel?” I’d seen the signs on the highway. It seemed close enough to Lausanne for a day trip.

So away we went.

We had a sort of a wind-down day.  We just wanted to relax and enjoy ourselves.  We walked along the waterfront. We walked into the main town and window shopped. We walked up to the Chateau. We could have taken a tour of the Chateau, but, alas, the guided tours don’t start until April.

I took some pictures of the view instead.

We looked in the Guide de Routard for a place to get a drink and maybe something to eat. Ludo pointed out the  Café du Cerf.

“Ouvert de 9h à minuit, plus tard le week-end. Fermé le dimache. Décor retro rock’n’roll et sixties. Choix de 100 bières. Frequenté par les Canadiens du Junior College. Menu du jour à 20 Fs (13€). Spécialité de fondue cambodigienne. Café offert à nos lecteurs qui y prennent un repas.”

We looked on the map and determined the place is just up the street around a few corners. We found our way there. I was expecting: “Décor retro rock’n’roll et sixties.” However, it was a British pub. Brick walls. Wooden chairs and tables. Rugby and football on the TV screens. Flags (I’m sure if I knew about football and soccer, I’d recognize the flags of teams, but I didn’t). It was a standard British pub that you would find outside of Britain.

Regardless. It was full of people. Speaking English at every table. The only difference was–everybody had a different accent.  We ordered a Chimay Bleu each and sat at a table. (For the record, I didn’t notice any Canadians, specifically. But I’m not sure I was looking for them.)

I noticed the people next to us get up and go outside every once in awhile and I realized they were probably taking a smoke break. The non-smoking rule was just implemented in Switzerland last fall (I’m definitely glad of that!). I started chatting to them. They are watchmakers. I told them I’m investigating topics to write about and I think I should probably add Swiss watchmaking to the list.

I guess that’s the main topic of today’s post: things to write about. Here are a few ideas so far for the new category: Ma vie en Suisse.

  • What I like about Switzerland.
  • Fighting cows (les combats de reines).
  • Music festivals (there seem to be quite a few. Lucky us.).
  • I’ll write about food and wine (that I like of course). I’ll keep publishing the recipes. There is a friend who apparently makes amazing risotto. I’ll be looking forward to learning how to do that. And maybe, I’ll get an inside scoop on making viande seche. Nothing I can publish–I am told–as it is a secret, family recipe. There is also raclette. And fondue. I’m sure there is a chocolate factory or two to visit. This list is easily quite large. Hmmm…
  • Not that I know much about fashion and style, but there is a style here that is unique. Maybe it’s uniquely European. I don’t know. I do know that I like the scarves. Anybody who knows me, knows I like scarves. I have a few. I should probably give away the ones I rarely wear and make room for something new.
  • We have a few travel plans. Austria in April. Barcelona in May. Back to Canada this summer.  Maybe, if my friend from Smithers visits in the fall, we’ll plan a wine road trip (either in Burgundy or Valais)–that’s exciting.
  • I’ll learn a bit about the history of Switzerland I am sure. But I think an interesting topic to investigate and discover would be the fact that it is a multicultural and multilingual country and people don’t seem to argue about what language their dog or parrot speaks (a heavy topic sometimes in Canada). They did, however, want to nominate lawyers for animals–another topic entirely. I’m probably new and optimistic, but Switzerland has existed in various forms since the 13th century.  I am sure I will discover some parallels between Switzerland and Canada.
  • And now I’ve just added Swiss watchmaking to this list. How come Switzerland is the land of watches and watchmaking?

And now, I’ll just put the question out there: What would you like to me to write about? Is there anything in particular you want me to investigate and report back on?

Just let me know. Leave a comment. Or, if you’re shy, send an email.  I’m not much in Facebook or Twitter recently. But you can also find me there. I do pay attention.

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Comments (6)

  1. Ok. Bunkers. I’ll add that. Apparently, every Swiss citizen has a place in a bunker. I just read that in the Guide du Routard.

  2. Ha! That’s easy:
    1) Does Switzerland have a soft melting heart as the 1996 Lindt chocolate commerical indicates:

    Or, is it just marketing? That was a great ad by the way. I used to see it when I had cable. The ad was just so confusing and wonderful at the same time. So, i looked at it again tonight on Youtube. if I’ve got this straight.
    Europe’s heart=Switzerland
    Switzerland’s heart=Lindt chocolates
    Lindt’s chocolate heart centers=go straight to your heart, and your center
    Essential message: We are talking about your center – the big build up is about YOU – YOU are what is important. You great big money spending choco person you! Go out and spend, eat!

    2) What would surprise me about Switzerland? What are your culture shocks? Do you have to grocery shop every day, or can you have one big monthly blow-out at a Costco-like operation.

    3) Why doesn’t anyone know where Switzerland is, exactly, without pulling out a map? What’s the tourist trade like? Perhaps it is flooded with people, and it’s just me and a couple of other hosers in this position of ignorance?

    4) Is there really a Matterhorn? Do you see people wearing Lederhosen (sp?) on a daily basis, or did I just encounter this by chance in Germany? Why wear leather pants? What’s the history behind that, I wonder? We have a pair btw, given R’s heritage – they are red leather with a heart on them. Size 2 boys.

    5) What are the biggest industries in Switzerland outside of chocolate, bank accounts for rich people, and watches?

    6) Are people in Switzerland helpful? I’ve found that the litmus test for this is waltzing through a crowd with a stroller. In NYC, people fall over themselves to carry a stroller up 100s of stairs without even asking first! In contrast, in London, England, a group of otherwise well-mannered folk will tell you to get out of the bloody way!

    7) In a similar vein, how does the press differ in Switzerland? Is it friendlier, sexier, more prim than the US or Canada? Again, I found it wildly different reading a paper in the UK – loads of gore and plenty of sex. I practically had to read the paper between the covers of a Globe and Mail just to keep from blushing!

    8) Are developers continuing to build shockingly beautiful and intricately decorative cottages, and etc. or is this a thing of the past?

    That bunkers thing would be interesting. Does anyone rent their bunker, for example? Or, furnish it for when family comes to visit?

  3. I don’t have any ideas off the top of my head, but if you give away scarves, I’ve just started wearing them all the time. 😉 Happy to be sharing your new adventrues!

  4. Oooo….Thanks for your questions Rain. I’ll start investigating. And Fawn, if you send me your mailing address….

    I also thought of a few more things I could write about:

    What exactly is the “serum du lait” in Rivella? On that note, what is Rivella?

    Do other people name their Nespresso machines? (We’ve named ours George.) Maybe I’ll do a post on an afternoon in the Nespresso cafe (downtown Lausanne). Who goes? What do they talk about?

    I’ll –uh– have to go find a stroller to perform your litmus test on random Swiss people. 🙂