What’s On In and Around Zurich

There’s lots on in and around this coming week – so here are a few ideas:

1. Joanne Finnegan’s Mountain Paintings at the AWC – Vernissage 2nd February

British painter Joanne Finnegan is exhibiting her paintings at the  American Women’s Club Zurich from February 2nd to March 30th. Don’t miss the Vernissage is on Saturday February 2nd from 6:30 to 9pm. www.joannefinnegan.com
Joanne Finnegan
2. Laura Heselton, International psychic medium and motivational workshop leader is now in Zurich. Join her for her Workshop on Wednesday February 6th and learn to become your own guru. She is also conducting readings and more so why not  contact her now to arrange a consultation via email here.
Laura Heselton International Medium and psychic3.  There will be amazing ice skaters as well as Leona Lewis performing at Art On Ice at the Hallenstadion on 2nd and 3rd February. If you are lucky enough to be going check our previous post for information and photos.
Art On Ice 2013
4. Why not learn all about the “Giant Trees” at the a photo presentation lasting 110 minutes with Michael Brunner (in German) at the Volkhaus, Stauffacherstrasse 60 in Zurich on Sunday February 3rd at 4:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. It costs CHF 25 entrance and tickets can be bought (subject to availability) just before the event. For more information in German please read here.
5.  Comedy in English: Missing humour in English? Laugh along with American actress/comedienne Sylvia Day and her special guests in “50 Shades of DAY!” Don’t miss this unforgettable variety/sketch comedy show which runs March 15 and 16 in Zurich. “A hilarious and thought-provoking look at the crazy times we live in.” For details and to buy tickets go to the website.
6. Pure Beauty Spa in Seefeld is now open!  It’s conveniently located in Zollikerstrasse 82, 8008 Zurich and  Georgina and Alex have a Special Introductory Offer for NewInZurich readers offering 10% discount off your first treatment. Simply quote NewInZurich when booking. Appointments can be booked via our website or by sending an email to: info@purebeautyspa.ch  or by calling: 043 544 31 31 or 078 640 71 78.
Alex ad Georgina Georgiu, Pure Beauty Spa
7. **** FREE TICKETS **** for John Thade
There is still time to enter the free prize draw for 5 sets of double tickets to see the American tenor John Thade sing at the Jecklin Forum in Zurich. Please note the date of 9th February has been changed to 13th April (due to illness) but the second date remains 9th March. For more infromation read here.
John Thade Concert
8.. The 29th International Country Music Festival is coming to town and is being held at the Schutzenhaus in Albisguetli from 1st February – 24th March. Full details of the 38 day line up and the schedule can be viewed here.
International Country Music Festival Albisguetli
9. Fonds ’13 – the Funds Fair takes place in Zurich on 6th and 7th February at the Kongresshaus near Burkliplatz in Zurich. February 6th is the “Professional Investors Day” and 7th February is the Public Day. For more information and for tickets go to the website.
10. Valentines Masquerade Dinner and Ball at Schloss Sihlberg on Thursday February 14th for singles and couples. For more information go to the website.
Valentine's Ball at Schloss Sihlberg in Zurich
11. FESPO – travel and holiday fair continues and concludes on Sunday 3rd February at the Messe in Oerlikon in Zurich. It is open from 10am till 6pm and tickets cost CHF 14 but you can get  reduced entry of just CHF 8 by showing a valid public transport ticket. Children under 12 are free. For more information please visit the website.
12. Golfmesse.ch is part of the FESPO holiday fair and is geared at golf lovers. Just like the FESPO exhibition, it continues and concludes on Sunday 3rd February from 10am till 6pm. For more information read on.
13. Tauchmesse.ch is also part of the FESPO holiday fair,  concentrating on all things to do with diving.  For more information click here.
Whatever you do, have a great weekend and a fabulous week ahead!

35th Balloon Festival at Chateau-d’Oex

Chateau-d"Oex balloon festival

Chateau d’Oex is famous for it’s spectacular annual hot air balloon festival and this year it is celebrating its 35th birthday. It is definitely worth a trip out of town to go and visit. It’s on all week, finishing next Sunday 3rd February. As well as the usual colour and excitement of this famous “balloon week”, Saturday 2nd February will be particularly notable as they will be staging a unique show called “Night Glow”.
Chateau-d"Oex  balloon festival
The evening will start at 6.45pm and the theme very aptly, will be “Happy Birthday”. It promises to be an amazing evening with 300 performers and extras taking part, amongst them 20 complete balloon crews, the Swiss Ski School, skydivers, fireworks experts, sound engineers and many volunteers. The local atmospheric conditions play a crucial role in influencing the positioning of the balloons and the requirement for precision timing. The fireworks will be set to music, there will be a torch-lit ski descent and paragliders will take to the skies – all this against a backdrop of illuminated balloons.There’s a complete programme of entertainment organised for every day this week available to download from the website and even the opportunity to take a ride in a helicopter with Air Glaciers – simply book on the spot.  Rides cost CHF 60 for adults and CHF 40 for children.
Air Glaciers Helicopters
Entry to the Chateau-d’Oex Balloon Festival is free during the week. At the weekend it is  CHF 10 for adults and under 14’s are free. Included in the cost is the parking, a visit to the “Espace Ballon” museum and a visit to Etivaz’s cheese cellar at 10am or 3pm.

Enjoy the wonderful sights and sounds and do take your camera! For more information.

Chateau-d"Oex balloon festival
Photos: © Chateau-d’Oex Tourisme, Julie L and Fabrice Wagner

New Speeding Laws in Switzerland from 1st January 2013

Photo ©Ellie Libertine

Photo © Ellie Libertine

From 1st January 2013 strict new laws came into force against drivers who speed excessively. This follows an initiative by a Swiss pressure group called RoadCross who have been campaigning for some time against speeding on Swiss roads.

Speeding Excessively is defined as:

  • driving at 70 km or more in a 30 km zone
  • driving at 100km or more in a 50km zone
  • driving at 140km or more in a 80km zone
  • driving at 200km or more on the motorway

Excessive speeding or “Raserei” as it known is a criminal offence and drivers caught speeding will be sentenced to prison even if nobody has been seriously injured or killed.

  • The speeding driver if found guilty will lose their driving licence for at least two years
  • If the offence is repeated they lose their driving licence for life
  • Convicted drivers will face 1 to 4 years in jail
  • The convicted driver may also have their vehicle confiscated
  • It will be illegal to inform drivers about the presence of radars and speed controls
  • People found using radar detectors will be fined.

For more information (in German) please see this document. World Radio Switzerland conducted an excellent interview with a representative from RoadCross explaining the new law in more detail please click the link to hear it.

Photo ©Ellie Libertine

New Year … New Auto Vignette for motorway driving in Switzerland

Now that we’re into 2013 just a quick reminder that if you haven’t already got one, now is the time to make sure you have a new Auto Vignette for your car if you plan driving on the Swiss motorways.  This is the latest version for 2013:

Auto vignette 2013

You do have until the end of January as “grace” but if you’re caught driving on a motorway without a valid vignette from the 1st February it could result in a CHF 200 fine (this was increased a while ago, as it was previously a CHF 100 fine).

But did you know that where you place your Auto Vignette on the windscreen is also very important ?  Yes, seriously, if you display it incorrectly (i.e if you don’t take the backing off and stick it to the windscreen itself (even if you’re planning on selling the car soon, or it’s a temporary car that is also no excuse!), you would be in danger of getting a fine!  Similarly, if you place the vignette in an “inappropriate spot” on your windscreen (which may for restrict or impede your visibility, for example) you could also get in trouble.

To make sure that no NewInZurich driver gets caught – here is a little diagram from the EZV showing the three “approved” locations for the vignette on your windscreen:

Where to place your vignette on your windscreen in Switzerland

The Autovignette itself costs CHF 40 and the 2013 version is available now to purchase at the Post office, in service stations and at selected shops.

Please note that this diagram can also be found on our “Practical Info” page of NewInZurich for reference. it’s also worth noting that when you are driving over the border in Austria you also need to buy an “Auto Vignette” for their motorways too.  In Austria they are available for purchase for shorter periods of time, even for a few days,  and you can buy them at the border.  For the other countries bordering Switzerland, France, Germany and Italy there are no auto vignettes but you may pay tolls on certain motorways.  Happy driving!

Picture: Courtesy of EZV, Eidgenoessische Zollverwaltung

Fancy sleeping in an Igloo over the holidays?

Booked your accommodation for Christmas and New Year yet?  Ever thought of something a little different and close to the slopes? How about staying in an Igloo?  With all the snow falling outside at the moment it might feel that you’re already surrounded by snow – but there are some “igloo villages” in Switzerland located on a number of ski slopes.Igloos in Switzerland

I’m sure many of you are familiar with having a drink at one of the Igloo bars at some of the ski resorts, like the one pictured below in Davos, but did you know that you can sleep in them too?

Inside an Igloo in Switzerland

Certainly, for a unique and memorable experience in the mountains this is second to none. And don’t worry, you can even find some igloos that are heated too! The igloos are rebuilt every season from 3,000 tons of snow – but they are eco-friendly too – CO2 neutral and sustainable! The igloos themselves are beautifully designed, made up of glistening snow crystals and as well as a bar you can have a fondue dinner in some of them too!

Inside an Igloo in Switzerland















The Igloo-Villages open up their snow-doors from 25th December and they are located in four areas in Switzerland – Davos/Klosters, Engelberg, Gstaad and Zermatt. The offer a variety of different type of accommodation and you can book overnights stays and even buy vouchers to give as presents. For more information.

Inside an Igloo in Switzerland

Hidden Gems….

Where in the world is this?  This photo was taken yesterday, 20th November …. but where was it?  Spain, Egypt, the Caribbean?

Blausee, Switzerland, NewInZurich

In fact this was taken yesterday at Blausee, a beautiful, crystal clear aqua-coloured lake in the Bernese Oberland, not far from Interlaken.  A hidden gem lying in the Kander valley 900 m above sea level, it is has an enchanting fairy-grotto like appeal and is a great location from which to hike and explore this beautiful area. The statue of the girl was created in 1998 and the story is rather sad.

A plaque next to the staue states: “In memory of the legend of the Blausee the artist and sculptor Raphael Fuchs carved a statue of the beautiful young girl who was found dead in this lake many years ago. This was the place where she used to spend many romantic hours with her lover. After his sudden death, which she couldn’t come to terms with, she continued to return to the Blue Lake every night until she eventually died of grief herself. The blueness of the lake was apparently caused by her tears. She took sorrow and pain with her. But now it’s time to forget the past and to welcome a new day. It’s time to stand up!

The lake itself is filled with trout and the hotel at Blausee has a great restaurant featuring fabulous trout specialities and is also mentioned in the Gault Millaut, Guide Michellin and Gout Mieux. As well as great views over this lovely lake is also equipped with a spa. What better place to escape the hurly burly of city life and relax?  And as you can see from the following pictures, the restaurant is also quite a gem!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For some more information (in German) on the lake and the surrounding area read here.

Switzerland Winter Magic

Switzerland Winter Magic, www. NewInZurich.com

We all know how beautiful Switzerland can be in the WInter when it’s been snowing, but if you needed a reminder here is a great video from MySwitzerland.com just proving the point! Click here to view:

Photp and Video: MySwitzerland

A Winter Weekend Trip to Pizol, Bergün and Surava

Keeping to the theme of mountains and looking forward to the upcoming Winter snow season in Switzerland, how do you fancy a tobogganing trip to Bergün taking in Pizol and Surava?

One intrepid family with 3 young girls did just that last Season and here they tell us their experiences.  It sounds like a lot of fun and not too distant an excursion from Zurich.  To read more click here or go straight to out “Out and About” travel section

Toboganing in Berguen

Brockie Houses in Switzerland – Trash or Treasure?

It’s that time of year when many expats having arrived in Zurich a few weeks or months earlier, and having perhaps lived a few weeks in temporary accommodation are now installed in their new apartments and houses and trying hard to make the place “look like home”. We’re often asked how to furnish your house or apartment affordably in Switzerland without making it look like a replica of an Ikea show room.

Yes, it’s true that many of the beautiful furniture in the showrooms come with very long price tags (and sometimes very long lead times too).  But have you ever thought of adding a few “pre-loved” items to your home to create a unique style all of your own? With careful selection there are bargains to be had if you just know where to look.

#Brockies in Zurich, #Brockenhaus treasure

One of the key places to start searching is the “Brockenhaus” or “Brockie”.  Second hand items of all ages, quality and provenance abound in these magic caverns.  When you step inside you have no idea what you will find.  The key is “variability” – and this is what leads to the excitement of the the “Brockenhaus experience”! Every Brockie has different goods on offer and every day there are different wonders to discover.  You often find that it is exactly when you are NOT looking, that you find the perfect item you’ve been searching forever to find.

So where do you start?  Well, there is bound to be a Brockenhaus close to you and if you’re not sure you can always ask at your Gemeinde.  However, NewInZurich has prepared a NewInZurich Brockie List for you – so take a look and go on an adventure!  Have fun and you never know what you will find.  After, all one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  You may also want to check out the Market Place as alot of treasure makes it way there too!

Olma Festival in St Gallen 11th – 21st October

Have you ever visited St Gallen?  If you haven’t then maybe this coming week is the time to go as you could combine it with a visit to the “Olma Fest” which starts tomorrow. As well as being a very historic town, St.Gallen has long been the trading and economic centre of Eastern Switzerland. In fact  its trading history dates back to the 15th century to Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, who decreed in 1466 that nobody should put up any barriers to trade in St.Gallen.
The “OLMA” festival is one of the most popular fairs in the whole of Switzerland. Every year this Swiss agricultural fair show cases a variety of livestock, live “Schwingen” (Swiss wrestling) competitions, country music, arts, crafts, culinary delights and specialities, as well as special events such as an “aqua expo”. OLMA also features “Säulirennen”, or piglet racing for which it is famous!
Taste, try, learn, compare, buy: around 650 exhibitors will be offering a wide range of products, specialties, and attractions. And one thing you definitely won’t be able to escape at Olma is the legendary scent of bratwurst. After all, what could be more Swiss than a Bratwurst?
For more information click here.
Photos courtesy of Olma