Switzerland Travel Guide

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BREAKING: Ethiopian Plane Hijacked, Flown to Switzerland for Asylum

February 17, 2014 at 12:23 AM | by | Comments (0)

BREAKING NEWS. Scroll to bottom for latest updates.

Prior to midnight EST, an Ethiopian Airlines flight bound from Ethiopia to Italy declared an emergency—a hijacking—and flew instead to Geneva, Switzerland.

The aircraft landed safely in Geneva and there are no injuries or fatalities.

Here is what we know, owing to direct sources (live ATC conversations, live flight tracking, on-the-ground contacts at Geneva Airport):

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Road Tripping in Switzerland? Watch Out for the 'Sex Box'

August 28, 2013 at 3:43 PM | by | Comments (0)

While Americans debates whether their tax dollars should go to publically fund universal healthcare, the Swiss voted to saddle up and spend $2.6 million on a drive-in prostitution facility.

Legal in the country since 1942, the so-called “sex boxes” are the response to an on-going problem with the sex industry in certain neighborhoods throughout the city of Zurich. The facility is located away from the city center and serves as a bit of a safe haven for prostitutes and their clients.

The details are pretty incredible. The sex boxes, open “daily” from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., are adjoined to a facility that is staffed by city social workers to look after the women. According to the AP, the sex workers must register with the city and “obtain a special permit, at a cost of 40 Swiss francs ($43) a year, and pay 5 francs ($5.40) a night in taxes, which helps the city offset maintenance costs.”

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Video Interlude: The (Time-Lapse) Comings and Goings of Zurich Airport

August 6, 2013 at 10:01 AM | by | Comments (0)

Today's Tuesday and, since we've successfully started another week, it's time to celebrate with a cool video. We could come up with a cutesy series like Tilt-shift or Time-Lapse Tuesday, but whatever we call it, the result is the same: a vid with lots of planes! This time around, it's SWISS' time-lapse romp of happy planes taking off and landing on a sunny morning at Zurich International Airport.

As expected, the video is filled with "pluses," both literally and figuratively. The first plus is watching planes of all shapes and sizes zip by the camera lens on their way to a gate or a new destination. Filmed with tilt-shift capabilities, the aircraft look as if they're all part of a tiny, model airport and make us feel as though we're kids again.

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The Little Things: Mini Chocolate Bars on SWISS

January 22, 2013 at 4:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

In the midst of the bustle of travel, it's all too easy to overlook the details. We're talking about special touches others have stressed over just so you can enjoy a unique experience, whether you know it or not. Every so often we'll highlight The Little Things like this, so now you will know.

The Little Thing: SWISS' chocolate bars.

If you've been around the world a few times, you've probably been presented with a complimentary sweet treat on a flight or two. For instance, we know Cathay Pacific occasionally passes out truffles and macarons, LAN loves mini bags of M&Ms, and Lufthansa little gingerbread stars, but there's one airline known for this little touch and it's SWISS.

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Watch This Stunning Swiss Alps Time-Lapse, Then Visit the Summit Yourself

November 6, 2012 at 2:18 PM | by | Comments (0)

Helvetia's Dream from Alessandro Della Bella on Vimeo.

Ever flown into Switzerland's Zurich Airport? You step off the plane and the soaring windows fill only with the expanse of blue sky all around. Then you step into the terminal transfer train and, in the darkness, there's the sound of cows mooing, cow bells clanking and alpine horns tooting from the speakers.

The first bit of the video below instantly brought us back to that moment at Zurich Airport, as it also features that typical Swiss soundtrack...before jumping into a rhythm to compliment the stupendous vistas in the time-lapse.

This video. named "Helvetia's Dream," comes from Swiss photographer Alessandro Della Bella and is an ode to his homeland and the landscape in which he grew up. He obviously headed to the top of a few mountains for the shots, but we're here to tell you that you can as well, and easily.

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The Flagship Freitag Shop in Zurich, Switzerland: A Towering Mecca of Eco-Design

August 4, 2011 at 5:03 PM | by | Comments (0)

Down a street that's more like an alley along the railroad tracks to Zurich's Hauptbahnhof (main train station) sits a stack of colorful shipping containers. It's Geroldstrasse 17, the address of the flagship store for the homegrown Swiss brand Freitag and it's something of a shopper's mecca for those "in the know" in the design, fashion and eco communities.

Why so? Well, Freitag is a bag and accessories company begun by two brothers who were inspired by the tarps that cover semi-truck loads driving around Europe, delivering their goods. The boys would buy the used tarps, wash them and cut them to repurpose the durable material into messenger bags, backpacks, travel duffles, even wallets...until it caught on and became a proper business with a look desired the world over.

Freitag bags are easy to spot; just go to any college campus, design school or "cool" town (Portland and New York are great places for Freitag-spotting). Owners of Freitags have been known to nod at each other in passing, as if members of a secret club...yet all they did was invest a little money into a top quality accessory that originates here, in Zurich.

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Harley-Davidson Gets Its Motor Running for...Zurich Airport?!

August 3, 2011 at 9:35 AM | by | Comments (0)

If you’re spending your summer in Europe and are hungry for a little slice of Americana, you might want to plan a layover in Zurich. There’s now plenty of chrome and carburetors thanks to a Harley-Davidson motorcycle exhibit right at Zurich Airport, so grab a Big Mac from the airport’s McDonald’s and check it out.

The choppers thundered into the airport back at the end of June, and they’re scheduled to stick around through August 7. Things are set up in the middle of the Airport Center at the airport disobeying the no-parking signs. As is usual with the Harley Davidson brand, the display is definitely selling the lifestyle and attitude rather than just the bikes. So in addition to the ten different motorcycles on display there’s plenty of mannequins sporting the latest in logo shirt fashion and of course plenty of leather goods.

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Peeking into Wings Bar, the Zurich Pub That Thinks It's a Swiss Airplane

Where: Limmatquai 54, Zurich, Switzerland
July 12, 2011 at 4:40 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's a Swiss bar that looks like a plane! Or is it...a Swiss plane that looks like a bar? Oh c'mon you know it's the former, and you can step right into it yourself for a drink when you're next in Zurich, Switzerland. It's surprisingly easy to find, too; located on the main street along the River Limmat, Limmatquai, Wings Bar is a perfect spot for attracting regular folks and not just avgeeks.

Inside, the decor is proper Swiss Air red and white, which makes sense seeing as how the owners are former Swiss crew, who opened the place back in 2001 after Swiss Air went bankrupt and sold off some goodies at auction. You'll find those goodies tucked around the place; there's real airline seats here and there, fronted by cocktail tables for enjoying a drink from their rather large menu.

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Foreign Grocery Friday: The Brat to Order in Zurich is a St. Gallen

July 1, 2011 at 12:40 PM | by | Comments (0)

When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!

In Germanic Europe, every city, town and even individual restaurant is known for a special type of sausage. For example, the region of Bavaria is all about their weißwurst and the town of Nuremburg has its own smaller version, the Nürnberger Bratwurst. The trend continues further south in Austria and Switzerland, and in Zurich, you'll want to order up a St. Gallen Brat with a Gold Bürli roll. It's a traditional combination in the city, best served at a single heavily-touristed restaurant of course, but it's worth it.

The taste: A St. Gallen is about 6 inches of grilled, milky veal brat goodness. Be careful upon first bite, as the trapped hot juices could burn your tongue. Following this, the heat to beware is that of the mustard. This is a damned spicy mustard—though crazy tasty—and a comic drawing posted in the restaurant warns diner of it. A St. Gallen should be eaten by being dipped in the mustard, chased with a glug of good beer and a bite of the plain and crusty Bürli roll.

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Oh Wow: There is an H.R. Giger Bar in Switzerland

May 26, 2011 at 6:36 PM | by | Comments (0)

How did we not know about this place before now? OMG—there is a bar in Château St. Germain, Gruyères, Switzerland, that is officially modeled after the style of H.R. Giger, aka he of the sexual-skeletal-alien-futuristic illustrations. Apparently the H.R. Giger bar is next to the H.R. Giger Museum, which only makes sense. As if the photos weren't enough to whet our appetite for another trip to Switzerland, there's this description of the place:

It is a cavernous, skeletal structure covered by double arches of vertebrae that crisscross the vaulted ceiling of an ancient castle. The sensation of being in this extraordinary setting recalls the tale of Jonah and the whale, lending the feel of being literally in the belly of a fossilized, prehistoric beast, or that you have been transported into the remains of a mutated future civilization

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Inside Runway 34, a Vintage Airplane-Turned-Restaurant at Zurich Airport

Where: Rohrholzstrasse 67, Opfikon, Zurich, Switzerland, 8152
May 23, 2011 at 12:34 PM | by | Comments (0)

In 2005, an old Soviet Ilyushin IL-14 airplane made its final flight (pic here), landing for good at Zurich International Airport. Its fate was to become a very unique attraction, the centerpiece of a new restaurant just outside the airport at the very end of runway 34. In fact, the restaurant and bar is called Runway 34, and it's something of a special secret for international flight crew, aviation geeks and those who just enjoy seeing the quirky sights.

During a recent jaunt off to Switzerland, we made it a point to visit Runway 34, even if it involved a trek through deserted streets at 10pm the night before our early morning flight. There was an airplane trapped in a restaurant! Duh, we wanted to go and at least have drinks on its wing. Unfortunately our cutting it short cost us, and only the bar was open. Perfect, actually; a waiter took a shining to us and gave us a guided tour of the whole place, letting us run around and go camera-crazy.

And we have video...

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Foreign Grocery Friday: A Swiss Chocolate Bar Named 'Tourist'

April 29, 2011 at 4:07 PM | by | Comments (2)

When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!

To tell you the truth from the first, we've been tracking this chocolate bar for about a year. Ever since spotting it while randomly browsing Flickr photos of the contents of people's traveling bags, we've wondered what sort of candy could something named "Tourist" be? As it turns out, we located it recently in Switzerland because...[drumroll please]...it's Swiss chocolate! Specifically it's a chocolate bar containing raisins, hazelnuts and almonds. We believe the bar is named "Tourist" because the nuts kinda remind you of eating trail mix, but that's just our hypothesis.

The taste: There's so many nuts and raisins in this chocolate that it's pretty soft and easy to bite into. At first, you can be confused at the taste of the chocolate. It's good—very, very good and rich—but it begins with the lightness of milk chocolate. Start chewing and really tasting it on your tongue, and the strength of the dark chocolate comes through; it's 44% cocoa. Luckily the raisins don't play into the flavor as much as the hazelnuts, so raisin-haters don't be afraid to try this!

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