Moving to Switzerland? Enjoy These Insider Tips

A while ago* I asked if local internationals/expats in Switzerland would be keen to answer a few questions on life in Confoederatio Helvetica (aka Switzerland).  Switzerland is an impressively quiet country that people often wish to visit/relocate to but it find it difficult to obtain information on. Thus, I present to you, Q&A with people already living in Switzerland. I tried not to edit the responses so some answers may be formatted or phrased differently than others but this is an honest glimpse inside the lives of those that have already made the jump to Switzerland.

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Amazing Lucerne/Luzern by photographer Dominik Gehl

Where are/were you located in Switzerland and, if you wish to share, for how long:
Morges(VD) – 3.5 years
Basel (BS)
Lausanne (VD) – 2 years
Zurich (ZH) – 9 months
Lausanne (VD) – 4 years
Morges(VD) – 2 years
Geneva (GE)

Where are you from originally:
Germany
England
France
Scotland
Canada
USA
Chile

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View of Lac Léman/Lake Geneva from Morges by Jennifer Hart

Have you lived in other foreign countries before moving to Switzerland:
Yes – 5 votes
No – 2 vote

 

What Swiss languages do you use for daily life:
Swiss German
French
Mix of French and Swiss German
Sometimes Italian when I travel to Lugano for work
English tends to be a working language most places, as well

 

What is your native language:
English – 4 votes
French – 2 vote
German – 1 vote
I’m bilingual
Spanish -1 vote
Italian – 1 vote

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Zermatt by photographer Dominik Gehl

Important things (s) people should know when they relocate to Switzerland:
-Cost of living is very high
Shops are closed on Sundays and there are a lot of laws surrounding quiet hours (e.g. no placing glass in recycling bins at noon, no mowing the lawn on a Sunday). Life will be much easier if you try to follow the rules and embrace whatever comes your way without comparing it (unfavourably) to back home.
-Cost. Switzerland is very expensive. Housing, insurances and and food will consume the majority of your budget
-Salaries are higher here than elsewhere in Europe
-Weekends in Switzerland are for enjoyment, not work. There are rules around what you can/can’t do on a Sunday
-It is just as beautiful as you imagine
-Language, cost of living, culture regarding respect towards others, commercial business hours, necessary documentation, legal requirements e.g. driving, permits, communal living regulations
-Public schools are excellent

Favourite place in Switzerland:
-Have not been here long enough to see everything but for now I’ll say Lucerne/Luzern area
-Anywhere along Lake Geneva/Lac Léman
-Gruyères
-Montreux
-Lausanne (awesome restaurants)
-THE ALPS
-Ticino/Lake Lugano Italian area
-Zermatt
-Morges
Lausanne for the street food festival 

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Tulip at the Morges Tulip Festival by an anonymous friend 🙂

Favourite Swiss food:
Raclette (5 votes)
Fondue (4 votes)
Rösti (2 votes)
Gruyères meringues with local cream (Swiss dairy in general)

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Crans-Montana, Swiss Alps photograph by Jennifer Hart

Are/were you happy in Switzerland (these are direct copy and paste answers – extra exclamation points and all):
Absolutely
Very
YES!!
Yes!
Oh yes!! Even with the cost and rules. Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!
Yes. I am homesick for English food sometimes but otherwise, Switzerland is now home.
YES. Geneva is a bit boring but the rest of Switzerland makes up for it.

Yes or No-you have gone to a Swiss mountain and sang The Hills Are Alive:
LOL not yet
Actually, yes I have. Even took a video
Not an Austrian nun so, no, I haven’t
Ummmm not yet but I kind of want to now
HAHA how’d you know?
No
Hadn’t occurred to me, but I now want to buy an edelweiss shirt and learn how to blow a swiss horn, while riding a cow…
Maybe…

Profession:
Software engineer
CMO
Translator
Writer
Software developer
Mom
Stay at home pet wrangler, occasional mother, professional eye roller and eccentric socially awkward recluse
Nanny
Thank you to all of my contributors. If you’d like to see more photography from Dominik Gehl, check out his Instagram account here You won’t be disappointed!!!

*This, and many other writing projects, were sidelined due to my computer crash swiftly followed by a fairly intense recovery from a brain trauma but here I am, back on track and ready to read, research and write!

Photo credits: Jennifer Hart, Dominik Gehl, anonymous (with permission) and banner image from Fotolia

Lausanne 2020 – Youth Olympic Games

We are so excited that the Youth Olympic Games 2020 will be happening in our neighbourhood!  Children are the future of sports and athletics. Some of them will  continue on to become the best in the world but many will take their experiences and grow to become informed sports scientists, doctors, engineers, etc.

Will you be here in 2020 to help cheer on the future of sports?

My own children are hoping to be part of the host nation ski team. Cross your fingers for them!!!

 

Photo and video credit: Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games

 

 

From Audrey Hepburn to Chocolate: A Tour Through Morges

I am, without a doubt, a very visual person. I need to see things to understand them and make stories I’ve been told make sense. So, when I came across this video that shows what life in Morges, Switzerland is like, I knew I had to share it.

With vivid imagery from the local market to remembering Audrey Hepburn, this little video demonstrates the richness of our new home. Morges may be little, but she is definitely mighty!! Enjoy…and don’t blame me if you crave chocolate by the end of it!! 😉

Video Credit: D3 Studio
Photo Credit: Jennifer Hart

Photo Journal: Day Tripping in Lausanne

It is the spring school holidays here in the canton of Vaud (where we live) and I am busy keeping the junior Harts from the dreaded effects of boredom! Unfortunately, this leaves me little time to write but I’ll be back next week. Until then, enjoy a photo tour of our day trips around the region!

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Strolling the streets of Lausanne

First up, Lausanne. The self-declared party and foodie capital of Switzerland, we feel very lucky to live 10 minutes down the road from this happening city. Lausanne is not as punchy or cosmopolitain as other cities like New York, London or Paris, but it does have a lot to offer both young hipsters and families. The food scene is worth a visit alone. It is relatively small population-wise but the area is rich in culture and history.

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Fontaine de la Justice, Place de la Palud. Famous fountain, once a means of supplying water to Lausanne residents

Lausanne at a Glance:
Population: 145,000
Greater area population: 420,000
Metro stations: 28 (smallest city in the world to have a metro system)
Known for: International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters and IOC Museum
Things to do: Museums, lake front activities, restaurants, shopping (from luxury to quirky boutiques), walk the countless hills of Lausanne, art galleries, wine tours, boat tours
Closest major airport: Geneva International Airport (trains direct to Lausanne 4 times an hour – running time 40mins)

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Don’t miss the incredible Olympic Museum in Lausanne (and bring some tissues if you get emotional over stuff like this, not that I would know or anything…)
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Musée Cantonal de Zoologie / Cantonal Museum of Zoology
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Finish your day with some wine-tasting at Globus

Photo credits: Jennifer Hart

Winter Wonderland in Morges

The Canadian in me cringes a bit to admit that a “snow day” has now become something I get excited over .  Growing up in Thunder Bay, we had more than snow days, we had snow months!  However, I’ve been away for so long that I will admit that I have now become someone that gets giddy when fresh snow falls!

It should come as no surprise then how excited I was when I looked outside and saw that it snowed today in Morges. It was so pretty that I decided to take a little walk around town to take pictures and soak it all in. I’ve learned that many people think it snows everywhere in Switzerland all the time but those of us living by the lake benefit from a more temperate climate than what happens a few short minutes away in the Alps. Enjoy this short and sweet post dedicated to a very pretty snow day in my new hometown!

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Casino Restaurant by the lake
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Centre ville
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Alleyway snow
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Centre ville Morges
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Snowy sailboats

Photos: Jennifer Hart

Fast-paced tour through Lausanne

I came across this today and immediately knew I had to share it. If you are not familiar with Lausanne, the fun hipster capital of French-speaking Switzerland, I encourage you to take a couple minutes and watch this exceptionally cool video by Sylvain Botter. Botter, a visual artist based in Lausanne, has created a fantastic way to tour the city from the comfort of your home. Give it a watch, I promise you won’t regret it!

What did you think?

Photo credit: Fotolia

“A Table!” Lessons in Expat Cooking – La Domaine de la Ville de Morges: Part I

Ever wonder why the classic Swiss Army Knives such as this Victorinox model have a wine corkscrew on them? You might think, “It’s Switzerland, right? A fondue fork or a cowbell make more sense than a corkscrew!!” Well my friends, before moving here I would have agreed with you. Then we became locals and learned: The Swiss Make Amazing Wine.

Read that again and let it sink in.

Swiss wine? Is that a joke? No, it isn’t and not only is it not a joke, it is one of their best-kept secrets! Swiss wines are ‘out of this world’ good. So good, in fact, that they have been trumping my other classic favourites from France, Italy and Spain as of late when choosing what to buy or drink with dinner. I have a newfound love and respect for what makes Swiss wines so great and why you should go straight to your local wine shop and ask if they have any Swiss wines for you to try, too. To be clear, this will not be a typical A Table! post where I recipe share for all of you. I have decided to celebrate the local award-winning wines and share what I have learned since moving here: never underestimate a Swiss wine!

First, I must admit that finding information on Swiss wines to share with an English audience has been difficult and somewhat limited. These local award-winning wines are promoted and celebrated locally, which means international press and articles are difficult to come by. Also, and let’s be honest, the Swiss are modest people. So modest, in fact, that we didn’t know that by moving to Morges we were relocating to one of the biggest powerhouses in Swiss wine production: the region known as La Côte. The area where we live has been producing wine since the 1200s and in 1547, the township of Morges became the proprietors of Domaine de la Ville de Morges. That’s right, our community owns a vineyard that it is seriously worth taking notice of!

With a space of over 50ha, the Domaine de la Ville produces 13 different wines including red, white and rosé varietals. Included on this list:
La Grand’Rue Chasselas Reserve
-2015 World Champion Chasselas
-Médaille D’Argent au Grand Prix du Vin Suisse 2015
-Lauriers d’Or Terravin 2015
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Also produced by the Domaine de la Ville: Les Guérites with the Millésime 2013 recently winning the Médaille D’Or au Grand Prix du Vin Suisse 2015. The Millésime 2013 will be available for sale in December this year and also received the distinction of being nominated in the category of meilleur vin d’assemblage rouge.

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A shout out of congratulations must also be given to Domaine de la Ville de Morges for recently winning 5 medals at the 2015 Swiss Wine Grand Prix (3 silver and two gold). Not bad for a local vineyard!

So it only stands to reason that I must now follow this post with a second one in the coming weeks including a visit to the vineyard, samplings and suggested food pairings. I suffer for my writing but it is worth it for the sake of education 😉 !
Any takers on paying a visit to the Domaine with me?

For now I will continue to enjoy my glass of Le Protagoniste at night!

To the winemakers at Domaine de la Ville, I hope to see you soon. Continue to strive for excellence and just know that your fan base is growing!

Photo credits: Fotolia, Domaine de la Ville de Morges