Latest Entries »

Take a look at some geography and landscapes: 

It is time to take in the beauty and landscapes of Switzerland.  Since it takes an enormous amount of money just to get overseas, the Internet provides a useful tool in at least allowing viewers to get a glimpse of some place without breaking the bank, hence the multiple videos.

This has some more geography/landscapes, but also includes buildings and some architecture. 

 The geography of Switzerland is mostly made up of terrain.  This means that almost half of Switzerland is constructed of mountains, hills, and plateaus; the Alps, obviously being a major reminder of how structured and mountainous this country is.  It’s size is roughly equivalent to the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined (which is about twice the size of New Jersey), which breaks up into approximately, 15,941 square miles.  (For more information regarding geography, people, history, and government, visit:  U.S. Department of State)

This one shows the “cool white Switzerland” and the activities that both tourists and locals participate in, such as skiing and hot air ballooning, and others. 

This country’s geographical boundaries are between France, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Germany.  Each of these boundaries share a feature with Switzerland.  Once again, for example, the Alps, stretch into some of these other countries, such as France and Germany.  Switzerland has three natural resources, which are hydropower potential, timber, and salt. 

However, like every other place around the world, there are several types of “natural disasters.”  For Switzerland, these consist of avalanches, landslides, and flash floods.  (For more information regarding geography, Environment (international agreements and current issues), Transnational issues, transportation, communication, and military, visit:  The Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook.)


Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook.  (2010, March 4).  The world factbook: switzerland.  Retrieved from

U.S. Department of State. (2009, August). Background note: switzerland. Retrieved from

To quote the famous Dr. Seuss “oh, the places you’ll go,” no trip would be complete without visiting some of the local attractions.  Some of the places that I visit whenever I go to Switzerland would be the Thermal Bad (which is a highly elaborate pool/spa(s)), my favorite spa was the one that simulated a river, complete with rapids; the Kaiserstuhl Bridge which crosses over the Rhein river; Flums (hiking), Europark (similar to Six Flags), and the shop till you drop stop:  Waldshut. 

Of course, whatever festivities, carnivals, street fairs, etc are always fun.  Because Switzerland is in the center of plenty of other countries, we would visit Germany, however France, Italy, and Austria never quite made it into the mix as much. 

Here are a couple of pictures of Waldshut (shop till you drop spot):


Flums, also known as Flumserberg is trademarked by its extensive hiking trails (which are themed) and views.  This location is actually what inspired Johanna Spyri to write Heidi.  There are also plenty of other places in Switzerland to visit.  For example, if you are going to Switzerland, you really should see the Alps.  What trip would be complete without one of the most famous places known all over the world?  This leads us to the Matterhorn, one of the most popular and famous mountain peaks.

The first picture is of the famous mountain peak, the Matterhorn.  The second is a snapshot of Flums (Flumserberg in the summer).  And the third is a picture of Heidi by Johanna Spyri. 


If you are catching a flight into Zürich, there is plenty to see.  The first three on the list of Swiss Attractions are discussed here, but there is tons and tons of interesting places to go. The Fraumunster Church is known for housing nobleman until the 13th century and is most noted for its thin blue spire, stained glass windows, Romanesque (remember that) choir, and elaborate and decorative organ. 

The second stop is the Swiss National Museum (not to mention the tons of other art museums that may be found in Zürich and in neighboring areas;  the Swiss National Museum (this is not the official website, but it does provide some interesting photographs about what some of the artifacts look like up close)).  This particular museum documents the national history of Switzerland from the Stone Age (complete with artifacts) to armory and weaponry to the Celestial globe of Jost Burgi, to modern times.  Experiencing true Swiss culture begins here. 

The third place of interest is Rhine Falls (Rheinfall).  The Rheinfall is considered to be one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe because of its breadth and volume.  An age-old castle turned modern-day, filled with restaurants and shopping alludes to a very unique and picturesque visit.

The first picture is of the Fraumunster Church.  The second is of the Swiss National museum; and the third is of the Rheinfall (one with the castle and one without). 



The Black Forest (located in Germany, but does stretch into Switzerland and France) is another common “must see” place to go.  It was named for the dark shadows that are cast upon it from its own resident trees and neighboring attributes.  But don’t let its name fool you, however, it is actually one of the most sunlit locations in Germany.  Ever famous for its elaborate cuckoo clocks and its valued timber (woodcutting is only allowed under forest ranger supervision), vineyards and castles can also be found in the Black Forest; which ties in the mythological themes that the Black Forest (because of its eerie connotation) possesses.  It would not be wise to venture out into at night. 


Switzerland Tourism and Attractions sorts sights by region.  This is a compiled list, given by region.  After all, there is so much more to see and learn about.  To break attraction areas down further, for example, by nature, culture, or experiences, Hiking in Switzerland provides the opportunity to do exactly that.


 Destination360.  (2010).  The Black Forest.  Retrieved from  

 Frysinger, Galen.  (Unknown).  Swiss museum.  Retrieved from    (2010).  Switzerland attractions.  Retrieved from  

 Schweizer Wanderwege.  (2006).  Hiking in Switzerland.  Retrieved from  (2010).  Switzerland tourism and attractions.  Retrieved from

 **All images were obtained through a Google search.

Let’s Talk About Art

Art in Switzerland consists of the actual art concepts, such as paintings, sculptures, and creations, but it also contains aspects of ARchiTecture.

There are four most common art types in the Swiss region.  They are the ever popular  Baroque (in German: barock, das Barock), the Rococo (rokoko, das Rokoko), the Gothic (gotisch, die Gotik), and the Romanesque (romanisch, die Romanik).  These types are more commonly found in architecture because of the unique styles and vision.  In history, most of these buildings are found to be at the center of the town or village.  As such, this provides valued historical perspectives and interest regarding these age old buildings.  For example, churches and/or castles would often be found as the ideal centerpieces for this region.  These types of buildings can also be termed as fortresses, cathedrals, or palaces and are often trademarked with interior or exterior walls and, of course, a moat. (Historic Art and Architecture). 

 Below are some video clips that portray the different qualities that are found in the architectural styles.  In the true fashion of art, one of the best ways to learn about art is to see it. 


The Rococo movement followed the Baroque period, however this was more common in France even though there was some popularity in Switzerland.  (This was soon replaced to be known as the Neoclassicism Movement.)  Some famous artists for this time period are Fragonard, Boucher, Watteau, and Tiepolo.  The Rococo period was trademarked with pastel colors with graceful curves and fanciful figures that are more charming than dramatic, which was commonly found in the Baroque style.  The style reflects much light, casual, and irregular design with much less religious connotation. 


The Romanesque period strongly relates back to the Roman Empire style of design.  They often included elements of realism and were very structured in composition and quality.  It is more common in Fresco style painting and art, however, it does provide a throwback to medieval art.  The wall coverings usually include detailed sculptures of Roman origin. 


Gothic art was during one of the earliest periods.  It had a short revival in the 18th century, which was due to the nostalgic and romantic quality that it presents as part of its unique style.  One of the most famous artists for this time period is Simon Martini.  This period is trademarked with vaulted ceilings, flying buttresses, and arches.  Paintings during this era were very religious and often included chivalric depictions that would have very minute detail and refined decor topped with flowing and curving lines. 


The baroque period was ­­created  by Carvaggio, Bernini and Carracci.  Some of the more famous artists would be Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Velazquez.  Some trademarked features include highly detailed, colorful, and ornamental.  It is famous for its ability to fill up and cover space.  It includes very spiritual and rational elements which provide viewers with both a sense of otherworldliness, yet is also grounded them firmly on earth. 


The art work that can be found in Switzerland also has a strong style and symbolism both within its own community and in later art styles/movements.  For example, one of the most popular art movements was known as the Dada or Dadaism, which protested the barbarism and cruelty found in war.  This stage came about during World War I and was found to be incorporating strong anti-war policies within its creation (Art in Switzerland).  This movement also inspired or migrated into some of the later movements, such as Surrealism.  Famous artists for this style include Jean Arp, Francis Picabia and Marcel Duchamp.  One of the most unique and “silly” art creations that has emerged from the Dada/Swiss influence are the Cows on Parade, found in Zuricn.  These colorful creatures can now been seen all over the world.

For more information on various art styles, both major, minor, common, and infrequent periods as well as the artists that created and developed the defining pieces of each technique, visit Artcyclopedia.


 Artcyclopedia.  2007.  Art by category.  Retrieved from

 Cow Parade.  2007.  World wide gallery-all cows, all cities.  Retrieved from

 TravelSwitzerland.  (2009).  Art in Switzerland.  Retrieved from

 Swartz, S.  (March 16, 2009). Historic art and architecture vocabulary in German.  Retrieved from

 *All pictures were obtained through a Google Search; the videos came from YouTube.  Special thanks to all creators.

As with any great trip or experience, the way we get there is probably one of the most crucial and exciting parts.  When going to Switzerland the flight itself is almost excruciating, especially if you suffer from air sickness like I do.  And let me tell you, there is nothing worse than flying sick to your stomach.

Here is a picture with some standard airplane terminology:

 As for devices to calm the queasy stomach I’ve been through them all, the motion bands that go around your wrist (which cut of my circulation), the patches behind the ear, and even some confounded contraption for your upper arm; there is nothing that seems to work, except one.  Dramamine works rather well, and if it did not, my next step would probably be to knock myself unconscious, which probably is not a good idea.  So the first thing for any trip is to make sure that you have something to calm your stomach, if you are not sure, get something anyway.  If you are not prone to getting sick, then I am very jealous.    

The overall flight can be a bit exhausting.  Can you believe this scenario?  My family and I arrive at our departing airport two-three hours before you are scheduled to leave, especially with all the new security measures in place.  The flight from Philadelphia (my departing airport) to an airport of your choice for a connecting flight (which is usually London for me and my family) is roughly about eight to eight and half hours long. 

Then once in London, we wait for about three, maybe four hours before we are able to board our connecting flight.  Our second flight usually takes about one to two hours and then…we land.  From there we have a twenty-minute drive from the Zürich airport to the quaint little town of Kaiserstuhl and Zurzach where we meet up with my father’s family.  Add a pinch of jet lag and you have yourself a quick-paced, head spinning journey that takes place in the span of twenty-four hours or less (with jet lag and time zones it is a bit confusing to calculate). 

Pictured below (in order):  London’s House of Parliament and Big Ben; Paris’s The Louvre Museum; Amsterdam’s Zuiderkerk Groenburgwal (Canal)

  Speaking of connecting flights, I also suggest that you plan your trip so that you have time to spend in the location of your choice.  When changing plans, from Philadelphia to the next little hop, skip, and jump to the Zurich airport, my family and I would often stop in London, Paris, or Amsterdam, but we usually where there for only a couple of hours.  There are considered to be“Top Ten” places of interest in London, England, in Paris, France there are six major attractions, and in Amsterdam, Holland there are also ten.  All that is needed for that is a map and itinerary. 

Also, between those ever frustrating layovers and procedures, be prepared to be at the airport for quite some time.  I would also recommend packing a bag with a change of clothes to carry on the plane with you.  I recall one time when I went over to Switzerland and the airlines lost my trunk of clothes in London, where we were jumped on a connecting flight.  All I had with me was my carry on bag filled with spare set of clothes and for the three weeks I was there, that was all I was able to wear (with some small exceptions because of shopping).  The airport kindly delivered my trunk two days before my departure home.

In addition, travelers should also look into maintaining a Swiss passport or any passport for that matter.  Especially since it can take several weeks to receive a new one.  Now available is the new biometric passport.  This document contains the  “latest embedded micro-chip…digital facial photograph, a digital signature, and two digital fingerprints…it will prohibit lost or stolen passports from being fraudulently used…reproduced…immediately detected…” (Embassy Washington).  Furthermore, two forms of identification are required to help identify citizens, oral declaration is no longer acceptable. 

Below is a link for all types of traveling tips that cover a range of Embassy/emergency contact information to insurance to custom regulations, etc:  U.S. Department of State

For more information about any and all trip ideas, planning, or quesitons, visit MySwitzerland to learn about all types of tourism excitement, brochures, destinations, and updates.

Museums are one of the most fascinating places of interest in Switzerland (truly anywhere for that matter).  For example, on the most unique would be the Teddy Bear Museum, which houses tons of bears and also has an antique carnival.  The video clip below gives a little taste of what it would be like.    


 References: (2010).  Amsterdam-attractions top 10.  Retrieved from

Carr, Kelby.  (2010).  Top 6 Paris attractions.  Retrieved from  

Embassy Washington.  (3.4.2010).  Launch of the new biometric passport.  Retrieved from

Homeland Security.  (1.28.2008).  DHS:  Important change in land and sea travel  documentation procedures.  Retrieved from  

London for Fun.  (2010).  Top 10 London attractions list.  Retrieved from

MySwitzerland.  (2010).  Retrieved from

U.S. Department of State.  (2009).  Tips for traveling abroad.  Retrieved from

All pictures were obtained through a Google picture search.

Some background knowledge, if you please:  Known as Helvetia in ancient times, Switzerland is located in central Europe and is fondly characterized as the Alps homeland and also has three distinct forest districts at its center.  In its early years, Switzerland was constructed of cantons that flourished under the rule of the Holy Roman Empire until 1648.  In 1847, Switzerland was granted its independence and established neutrality from the Congress of Vienna (InfoPlease).  In 2003, the capital, Bern, was established, with Switzerland’s largest cities being Zürich, Geneva, Basel, and Lausanne.  Currency is also another fluctuating form of independence that Switzerland holds dear. The Swiss franc is the most common monetary unit; however, the Euro has been gaining a foothold amongst residents and tourists (and is not nearly as interesting). 

 Below are some pictures of the different canton flags of Switzerland.  The cantons (kantons) are considered as states within a federal state.  Each  canton has sovereign rights within its own borders, an army and currency as a result of the Treaty of Westphalia 1648.  The newest addition to the canton family is the Canton of Jura, which separated from the Canton of Bern in 1979.  (Politics, The Cantons).  There are twenty-three cantons in total.

                               Canton of Aargau          Canton of Uri                Canton of Obwalden

                               Canton of Geneva          Canton of Zürich          Canton of Bern

Once Switzerland gained its independence, they did not stop there, their Constitution was established, which modeled the United States version and its banking system quickly became one of the most leading warehouses for internationally use.  Their neutrality has been strictly enforced and has not been compromised even through both world wars; as a result, “Geneva was the seat of the League of Nations (later the European headquarters of the United Nations) and of a number of other international organizations” (Infoplease).  The first Jewish-woman president, Ruth Dreifuss, took office in 1999, which continues to match Switzerland’s unique traits.

More than that:  As with any location around the globe, one of the most integral and unifying components is language.  Switzerland proves to be unique in this area because it has no written language of its own in the country.  Instead, it houses three major different languages, which are German, French, and Italian, and one smaller language, known as Romansch (0.5%) that ties the Swiss people together linguistically and culturally to their neighbors.

An interesting example that about the vastness of the Swiss languages can be seen in the example below from Swissworld:  What is Swissness?: “It’s easier for someone from Geneva to speak to a Parisian than to a fellow Swiss from Bern, or for a native of Ticino to read Milan’s Corriere della Sera than the Neue Zurcher Zeitung.”  What does pull the Swiss people together?  Their strongest ties and beliefs do not consist of a lack of a common language or the use of a similar passport, but instead, it is the fact that their general attitude consists of “unity, but not uniformity.”

Away from the homeland, yet not:  Throughout their history, the Swiss people have established their systems and communities from the bottom up, with the common base being the strong supporter or “glue” for the rest of the country/community.  By having this solid base, the people are able to explore multiple avenues of social, political, and behavioral standpoints that often find its way back into the fold and strength of the bottom.  A good example of this would be the Amish community; although they are not found in Switzerland as much, but rather in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Amish population gives their children the opportunity for a “trial run” period away from the community.  The young adults are able to explore all types of “modern conveniences” and interests, but in the end, the children have an astronomically high rate of return to both the community and the church, which provided their strong base of faith and growth, also known as the bottom or “glue”.

Do you think you know what Switzerland is all about?  I encourage you to try this “Did You Know?” Swiss Quiz 1.  There are also seven others available, which can be found directly on the left hand side of the site.  They are broken down by categories.  For the different categories, see Quiz List-List View.

For more information and “just the facts,” visit the CIA-World Fact Book on Switzerland


Central Intelligence Agency-The World Fact Book.  (Feb. 4 2010). Europe:  Switzerland.  Retrieved from

Fankhauser, Peter, Ed. What is Swissness?. Retrieved from          

 InfoPlease-Part of Family Education Network, Pearson Education. (2000-2009). Switzerland.      Retrieved from 

Politics, The Cantons.  Retrieved from

 Switzerland . (Designer). (2009). Swiss quiz. [Web]. Retrieved from

Other To see other canton flags and to learn about them, with a critical eye, regarding information, visit Wikipedia, it does provide very thorough details. 

Cultural Corner

 Across the Sea:  The best place to start, as they say, is at the beginning, and what better place to start, then at the name or ways to identify a Swiss citizen.  The most common name most certainly would be Swiss (after all, I have already used that several times and will use this term when referring to myself or others), but here are some others, some of which I did not know:  Schweiz (German), Suisse (French), Svizzera (Italian), Svizzra (Romansh).  These different identity markers are only some symbols of the Swiss culture.

This is an example of the popular Swiss Alphorns. 

They may be found playing in festivities or parades


This is of the Oktoberfest in Munich.  All of Switzerland participate in this colorful festivity.  I have not been to the one in Munich.


 Another symbol that every country has would be the flag.  For Switzerland, their flag is a reflection of the dome constructed of stained glass windows that is found in the House of Parliament.  The national flag of the country is surrounded with the common unifying motto of:  “One for all, all for one;” an inspirational piece that brings the citizens together regardless of their varying speech barriers and location.  The white cross represents Christ, while the vibrant red background promotes holy justice.  The theme originated from the desire to infuse fear in the neighboring cantons. (EveryCulture)

 The “traditional” clothing for the Swiss cantons was strongly influenced by engravers and artists.  These artists would combine the beautiful landscapes and paintings with individuals by creating bright, colorful traditional costumes, rather than the plain, wool, and linen outfits most seen.  This also was an effect of the developing tourism, but that does not mean the costumes created are not worn by the Swiss people; in fact older depictions and photographs of women show these outfits as the style during the late 19th century and early 20th century.  Some of the more common examples would be the “Heidi braids” (I even wore those as a child whenever I went overseas), bonnets, and short waist-cropped vests.  The first two pictures of women’s clothing and styles.  The second reflects the Swiss Guard outfit wore by men.

This first video clip shows some of the landscapes, hobbies, trademarks, food, and buildings which reflect the Swiss culture in the Fribourg area of Switzerland.  Of course, the landscapes, styles, and memorabilia are often found in other areas as well.


The second video clip from SwissRoots, lightly touches upon the Swiss and American bond.  It highlights some of the areas of Switzerland and also gives a brief description of how the Swiss made American their own.


Around the Corner:  August 1st, the national holiday for Switzerland can be found celebrated both in the homeland and in the good, old, United States of America.  Fondly known as the “October (‘Oktober’) Fest,” (in Munich in Switzerland; in Dover, New Jersey, USA) this celebration is filled with music using the traditional alphorns, food (bratwurst, knockwurst, “veiner” schnitzel, fondue, and roasted cinnamon pecans), festively made products (from Cuckoo Clocks, to dolls, to quilts, to cow bells), and a meeting of other Swiss people unite them all over the world. 


Although, there are many more activities and celebrations that can be found around the world, this was the one that I attend the most often.  Another meeting place for the Swiss people is through the Swiss Club, this is an organization that inspires members to come together, about twice a year, for a luncheon, sometimes with different activities.  For example, during Christmas–time, Santa Claus, Poinsettia prizes, etc.  Their location is in Toms River, New Jersey.





EveryCulture. (2010). Countries and their cultures-switzerland. Retrieved from

Fehrenback,  (2010, March 1st).  Original black forest cuckoo clocks, anri sculptures, nativities and sissi angels.  Retrieved from

Region , Fribourg. (Artist). (2007). Fribourg region (switzerland)-mountains. [Web]. Retrieved from

SwissRootsChannel. (Artist). (2009). Helvetica Americana. [Web].  Retrieved from

**The two pictures filled with cuckoo clocks and figurines belong to a store in Peddler’s Village, Pennsylvania, called the Fehrenbach, who specialize in authentic Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks and other Swiss memorabilia.  The other pictures were obtained through a google picture search.

Swiss My World, Why Not?

Gritzi!  My name is Monika, spelled with a “K” because it is the Swiss or German spelling of the name.  Switzerland is a huge part of my heritage, on my father’s side.  He was originally born and raised in Switzerland.  Throughout my life, I have been visiting, exploring, and seeing Switzerland.

It has been several years since I have been able to go abroad and see the home of my grandparents, which is a huge farm, fondly known as the Mulehof (Muule-e-hof).  Of course, living in the good old, United States of America has meant that my visits have been sorely infrequent and my practice with speaking and conversing in Swiss-German is limited to a few words, despite the in-residence translator, my father.  I have missed Switzerland very much, so for a project for Rowan University, I have decided to revisit my roots and share what I find and know about Switzerland.

Switzerland has many facets, from its beautiful landscape and colorful culture; it truly is a one of kind homestead.  Because I have been overseas so often, I believe that it would be useful to discuss not only the “meaty” elements of Switzerland, but also some of the more fun and terrifying aspects, such as traveling procedures, experiences, festivities, and places of interest.

Swiss my world, why not?  After all, if I cannot get to Switzerland, I will make it come to me.  This is my own Miss. Swiss area accessible anywhere around the world!  Oh, the glory of travel and no airplane sickness!

Featured below are some beginning aspects of Switzerland that should be readily identifiable.  From the Swiss map and flag, to some of the more picturesque mountain ranges and sites, this is Switzerland at its best.

The collage represents four common places of tourism to show the different places found in Switzerland, such as the famous Zürich, Geneva, and Luzerne.  Also shown is the Swiss flag, without it, the Swiss culture and blog would not be complete.  Last, but not least the mountain picture represents the beautiful and bountiful Swiss mountain ranges and the opportunities presented.  One of the most famous ranges being the Swiss Alps; and as for opportunities, no trip to Switzerland is complete without visiting the highly notorious hiking expenditure known as Flumes.

Now that you have a little taste for what it means to “Swiss my World”, I will say, for now: Chou, Juice, Auf Wiedersehen bis zum nächsten Mal meine lieber Freunde, goodbye until next time my dear friends.


The pictures were obtained through a Google Search.