Samstag, 11. August 2012


I always keep lists of things I like (books, places, songs, movies), since my memory is getting worse with age...! Here's a list of movies I can never get tired of watching over and over again:

La belle histoire, by Claude Lelouch

Playtime, by Jacques Tati

Russian ark, by Aleksandr Sokurov

The life of David Gale, by Alan Parker

The kid, by Charlie Chaplin

The gift of love, by Don Chaffey

Blow, by Ted Demme

Footloose, by Herbert Ross

The breakfast club, by John Hughes

The artist, by Michel Hazanavicius

The party, by Blake Edwards

Love actually, by Richard Curtis

Mittwoch, 1. August 2012

Happy Swiss National Day!

My tribute to beautiful Switzerland on its National Day: a few pictures taken on my solo hiking tours across the country during summer 2010.

If you're visiting Switzerland in the summer, you should definitely try to do at least one of its 32 panoramic hiking routes. Some routes are easy, others a little exhausting... but they are all worth experiencing!

My favorite one of all 32 routes is the one that runs through the Lavaux terraced vineyards, a UNESCO World Heritage site. But I would start in Montreux (where Freddy Mercury lived), pass by Vevey (where Charlie Chaplin lived) and end in Lausanne (where the international Olympic Committee is headquartered). 

This actually happens to be my favorite route. As such, I've hiked this route six or seven times already and look forward to going back soon!

Staying in the Geneva Lake area, but heading the other way towards the Alps, lies the route from Vevey to Aigle, passing by Montreux. The route gets somewhat melancholic after leaving Montreux.

Going even further towards the Alps is the route from Aigle to St. Maurice - a very, very melancholic route, but also (or perhaps because of this) very charming. Make sure you carry along with you enough food and drinks, as you will not find many restaurants or shops on your way.

The "Toblerone Trail" starting in Nyon and ending in Gland follows a line of fortifications built during the 1939-45 mobilization. It is called so because the shape of the anti-tanks blocks recalls the Swiss chocolate brand Toblerone.

The hike from Monte San Salvatore to Morcote in the canton of Ticino is advertised by the Swiss National Tourist Office as a "classic for the entire family". But I actually found it quite demanding... though the views from the top of Monte San Salvatore are breath-taking and so much worth the exhaustion!

Other scenic routes I can definitely recommend:
- From Vandoeuvres to Hermance, by the Lake of Geneva.

- From Yverdon-les-Bains to Yvonand.

- From Wädenswil to Horgen.

- From Rapperswil to Stäfa, by the Lake of Zurich.

- From Küsnacht to Zumikon, also by the Lake of Zurich.

- From Pfäffikon to Einsiedeln:

- From Aarau to Brugg.

Montag, 23. Juli 2012

Vienna's coffee culture

Vienna is known for its café culture - and rightly so. Here are a few coffee specialties you can expect to find in any Viennese coffee house.

Kleiner Brauner: An espresso served with coffee cream. But not everywhere... If you order an espresso at Aida Café, you'll get an espresso topped with whipped cream.
"Kleiner Brauner" at Aida Café, Vienna.

What in most european countries is commonly known as "latte macchiato"is here in Vienna called Kaffee verkehrt, which literally means "reversed coffee", because it contains more milk than coffee. 
"Kaffee verkehrt" at Café Ansari, Praterstrasse 15, Vienna.

If it's summer and you don't feeling like drinking hot milk, you can ask for a cold latte macchiato: espresso, cold milk, milk froth and... ice cubes!
Cold latte macchiato at Museumsquartier, Vienna.

Salon Einspänner: An aromatic double espresso topped with whipped cream and served with a wafer stick. 
"Salon Einspänner" at Café Hofburg, Innerer Burghof, Vienna.

Franziskaner: Espresso, hot frothy milk, whipped cream.
"Franziskaner" at Café Hofburg, Innerer Burghof, Vienna.

My absolute favorite coffee specialty is Mozart Kaffee. But you shouldn't just order it anywhere. 
The way they prepare it at Mozart Café is unique: 
double espresso with whipped cream, Mozart liqueur and almonds. 
And, by the way, Café Mozart is where Graham Greene worked on the screenplay of "The third man" in 1947!
"Mozart Kaffee" at Mozart Café, Albertinaplatz 2, Vienna.