goodbye switzerland!

after almost 17 years living & working in switzerland i am traveling back to germany for the last time today.

it’s been a fantastic time. we learned a lot about us and about the swiss. we became friends with a number of people here, become even very good friends with quite a few folks!

we discovered the mountains and walking.

we lived in a suburb of zurich and we lived in the middle of the mountains.

we became members of the local churches.

i discovered singing in a choir and even had the honor of being part of the stiftschor of the abbey of einsiedeln!

we learned that swiss culture and german culture are two very different beasts. we learned to understand (not speak) swiss german. we became huge fans of the swiss transport system. we each had our own postfinance accounts.

we learned snow shoe hiking.

we were amazed by the strict rules on one hand and the flexibilities in applying those rules (or not).

we were welcomed by lots of folks. we learned what it feels like to be part of a nation that is slightly disliked by the swiss german media. we learned what it means to be foreigners. we learned how open and warm hearted the swiss people can be.

we shall miss switzerland, we shall miss einsiedeln, we shall miss the friends we made. we shall miss the benign mountains of the voralpen, we shall miss the awe inspiring mountains of the alpine regions. we shall miss the abundance of snow in winter, that first snow morning of each winter!

i will miss the stiftschor, the friends i made there, their kindness of taking me into their midst — most of all pater lukas with his kind humor. i shall miss our friends at the reformierte kirche einsiedeln who accepted us as we are and showed us new views on live as a christian. i shall miss the friends from the spedakel group of the chaernehus and the many shows we literally staged together.

@jmdhh and i have quite a lot of tours that we’d still like to do — it will be a bit more difficult now, but we’ll do them nevertheless! 🙂

we are looking forward to living together after almost 17 years of weekend commuting! we are looking forward to a less regimented, less planned life. we are looking forward to having more time with each other, to having a less complicated lifestyle. we are looking forward to living in our own house (eventually, hopefully, sometime in 2014). i’m very much looking forward to that exciting new job in erlangen! i’m looking forward to taking evening strolls with @jmdhh! i’m looking forward to being able to talk face-to-face with her instead of through a VoIP line. i’m looking forward to fall in frankonia, to winter together, to weekend hiking and walking excursions.

after almost 17 years living in switzerland, i’m on the train home tonight.

goodbye switzerland! take care until we meet again!

time to go…

for the last couple of months every morning at 8:00 a tweet like the following has been showing up in my twitter timeline:

no, i haven’t gone that insane: it’s a python script running on our server and calculating the difference to 13 september 2012. what’s so special about that date? well, it’s the date of my last day at work here in switzerland.

after almost 17 years in switzerland — i started working here back in 1996 – we have decided to call it a day for our “swiss adventure” and join forces again back in erlangen. i’ll start working for a very interesting and exciting high tech company in erlangen (more on that in the future). @jmdhh and i are very excited about this new chapter in our life and really are looking forward to living together again (we’ve been commuting over the weekends between germany and switzerland for the last 17 years). no longer 16 hours train travel on the weekend, just one apartment to support, much more time together!

and, yes, we’ll miss the mountains, the fantastic landscapes, the many walks we’ve been able to undertake, and we’ll miss those really good friends we’ve made. the stiftschor of the abbey of einsiedeln with its weekly choir practice followed by pizza and beer in the klostergarten will leave a gaping hole in my life.

there is an old german saying about moving on with a weeping eye and a laughing eye: in our case the laughing eye is, admittedly, larger than the weeping eye and we are looking forward to come october.

as you can above see i’ve started wrapping things up and packing the boxes. the movers will come and pick up our stuff on 19 september, deliver it at @jmdhh‘s place on the 20th, i’ll stay behind for two days to hand over the apartment and then leave switzerland on friday, 21 september by train — the same way we arrived back in 1996.

time to go.

a time trip to the 1950s

even though the place we live at here in switzerland has a rather rural character — there are several livestock markets throughout the year down at the station square, very few regions regularly vote more conservative than ours — einsiedeln has a surprising cultural live. one of the driving forces is the chaernehus, which several times a year hosts cabaret, an exhibition, and stages a play.

this year’s play is kino etzel — which @jmdhh and i went to see tonight. kino etzel is played in the old cinema, kino etzel and is a tribute to the old swiss rural cinema of the 1950s. until the of 2010 einsiedeln’s kino etzel was still operating and it had been lovingly kept in the style of the 1950s — i loved it. unfortunately, the end of 2010 was also the last curtain for kino etzel — until this year when the chaernehus theater group decided to make it the subject of their 2012 production.

we had made seat reservations and when we arrived at 20:00 were greeted by cloakroom attendants in 1950s outfit — the price to leave our coats was 1950s as well: CHF 0.20 (tickets were 2012-ish price-wise though 😉 we had not only reserved seats in the show but also in the pre-show restaurant: the gallery had been turned into a typical 1950s swiss restaurant complete with a 1950s swiss menu, lovingly decorated with furnishings from that era. due to running a bit late but still had time to have an einsiedler beer and something to eat before the show started.

the play itself is a mixture of cinematic, theatrical, and musical elements — sometimes intermixed (the initial showing of a piece from the 1950s schweizer wochenschau about the bad wolf in wallis1 was aborted by two 1950s policemen storming the cinema and reading out the regulations of the canton of schwyz regarding cabaret shows. all elements of the play work together to re-create the 1950s — and for most of the show it works quite well (the football piece was a bit drawn out and trying to imitate loriot but not quite achieving that really).

all in all: a very entertaining and interesting show, well worth a visit!

“kino etzel” is on until 11 february 2011

  1. nothing really new then. 

world’s first twitter wallfahrt!

9:10 — ms d and i arrive at einsiedeln railway station, all kitted out in our walking gear, ready to go. walking past the train we spot our fellow pilgrims. yep, pilgrims: we are on our way to the starting point of the world’s first twitter pilgrimage, the #twallfahrt1 from pfäffikon to einsiedeln. in the train we meet @decolores1, @konzertharfe, @sempreincorsaa also ready to go on the #twallfahrt. just before the train is about to depart at 9:13 we are joined at the last second by @abtmartin — good thing, too, as he is supposed to lead us on our pilgrimage 🙂

i’m looking forward to the first twitter pilgrimage which is at the same time my first pilgrimage on foot (last year’s pilgrimage was by bus, which somehow gives it a different twist, i think). @abtmartin is apparently still in the “geheimprojekt” stage of the #twallfahrt, as he is not really forthcoming with any information about what’s planned.

we get to pfäffikon on time, cross through the station tunnel and see the #twilgrims gathered — a bit short of the maximum number of 8000 mentioned on @pixelfreund‘s blog (about 7969 short, in fact) bit still a sizable group. as various #twilgrims let us know via twitter, that they are still on their way, it’s a bit past 10:00 that we start on our way from pfäffikon up to etzel pass (where we’ll have a lunch break) and then on to einsiedeln to the benedictine monastery there.

the weather, fortunately, is cool, a bit humid, but not too bad, and the hike up “1000 steps” to etzel pass is easy to walk. the clouds are just fantastic (as a subscribed member of the cloud appreciation society i find blue sky days boring) — just past the autobahn we stop for our first #twallfahrt station: @abtmartin tells us a bit about the area (and the history of the monastery of einsiedeln), but the main focus is on two short canons (both in twitter length) that we even manage to render in a half decent way (no trees falling down, no birds falling from the sky). up and up it goes with the next stations at restaurant luegeten and at the fork in the road where the road from schindeleggi-feusisberg joins. around noon we are (as planned) on the etzel pass where a #twallfahrt group pictures are taken, we have a our lunch break, the sf drs tv team does the interviews with @abtmartin and we relax in the sun.

at 13:00 the #twallfahrt re-commences and via teufelsbrück and galgenenhügel we get closer and closer to our destination: the monastery of einsiedeln (interrupted by a short break to give the sf drs tv team a better take on us walking down to einsiedeln). the last station on our pilgrimage is at the gangulf chapel where we meet up with those #twitterati that couldn’t make it for the whole #twallfahrt, practice our twitter-length canons once more and then fight our way through the chilbi crowds to the klosterplatz — where we are greeted by a flag bearer and a cross bearer who lead the way, with the bells of the monastery ringing for our #twallfahrt, through the main entrance into the monastery church!

as we are a bit behind schedule, we #enjoy an even more twitterish worship service than planned — the highlight certainly being the twitterific organ piece (which @boumi manage to capture)!

an apero in the southern court yard concludes this unique #twallfahrt pilgrimage!

all in all: a very interesting and stimulating experience, meeting very different folks and with a couple of good spiritual impulses.

would i participate again? yes, i guess, i would 🙂

if you are interested, here are some further links:

  1. from the german wallfahrt and twitter == twallfahrt 

swiss conservatives: annex regions surrounding switzerland!

yesterday’s tagesanzeiger report on a parliamentary motion of the swiss conservatives right-wing, nationalist party SVP to prepare the annexation of all regions surrounding switzerland — no, today’s not the first of april.

Map of the 'enlarged' switzerland according to the SVP motion (© tagesanzeiger/le temps)


as the tagesanzeiger rightly observes that would add about 10 million germans to the population (plus almost another million german speaking citizens of alsace, vorarlberg, & bolzano) — just a couple of months ago the SVP, never afraid of playing the lowest available instruments of fear, uncertainty, and doubt, staged a campaign claiming that the ETH was being overtaken by german professors (skillfully representing sliced statistics to “prove” their point).

according to the tagesanzeiger, the german embassy in bern when asked for comment, was just laughing out loud. probably the best reaction to any of the SVP motions…

…except, perhaps there’s more behind this, as der schweizer narr writes: right-wing politicians in switzerland and elsewhere in europe are voicing their opininon that the EU is doomed to fail and that we are currently seeing the beginning of the end of the EU — the SVP motion could be interpreted to play the separatist tune and try and solicit resonance from similarly minded circles in those surrounding regions.

is there method to the madness?

switzerland — behind the scenes…

ever wondered what happens behind the scenes of touristic switzerland? ever wanted to know how the swiss manage to present one of the most beautiful places on earth in such impeccable order? ever interested in the music that drives the swiss?1

wonder no more: here’s a rare behind the scenes look at switzerland:

now you know the true story… 😉

  1. well, some of them… 

felsenputzing, take 2

if you thought my post about [_felsenputzing_](/blog/2009/04/08/felsenputzing) was a joke, think again. courtesy of avid [_tagesanzeiger_]( reader, [mrs d](, the link for all of you who want to become expert felsenputzer: [register here](

16:00 back in einsiedeln

steamship galliaat _lucerne verkehrshaus_ i disembark one station earlier than planned, trying to catch the _voralpenexpress_ train back to biberbrugg. with a bit of, let’s say, fast-hobbling i manage to catch the train and am on my way back home.

at biberbrugg i meet up with mrs d who has just been dropped of by fredi and is tired but happy from a fantastic day out. together we hop on to the train to einsiedeln and walk/hobble home 🙂

picture links:

* [my pictures from today’s tour](
* [mrs d’s pictures from her tour today](

middle of lake lucerne, 14:00

interesting cumulus humilis cloud over oberibergthe post bus ride from ibergeregg pass down to schwyz was, well, exciting if not adventurous. in contrast to the more gentle norther approach from oberiberg, the southern approach really takes you into the alps with breathtaking views across lake lucerne, up to the huser stock and hengst mountains — all the way constantly going back and forth, left and right, most of the time with no space for two cars, let alone a car and post bus, to pass each other. the way down thus turns into an almost constant post bus horn concerto and i’m glad that it’s not me who is doing the driving 🙂 a fantastic ride!

12:35 brunnen, ship stationwe get to schwyz in time for the bus to brunnen, ship station and i get there with 20min to spare unitl the 12:50 steam ship to lucerne departs. from the south more and more _cumulus congestus_ and cumulus nimbus clouds make their way north and i wonder what the weather in the gotthard area is like and whether mrs d can enjoy the panorama or is stuck in the clouds.

steamship uri approaching brunnenthe steamship _uri_, an old paddle steamer, arrives right on time and departs right on time. i make my way up to first class and the restaurant, where i can share table with an elderly couple from nidwalden (as it later transpires). over lunch we chat a bit about living in switzerland, rüschlikon (he grew up there) and the beautiful lake lucerne area.

later i go outside and watch the scenery slowly go past. switzerland seems full of beautiful places.

This text will be replaced

_sound of the steamship “uri” on lake lucerne_

ibergeregg pass, 10:20

view from the bus to oberibergfirst stop on my tour through the swiss alps by public transport: ibergeregg pass.

the post bus from oberiberg wound its way up the pass road navigating lots of curves and bends each time sounding its characteristic swiss post bus horn: dah-dee-doh-dah!

this text will be replaced

_sound of the ibergeregg–schwyz post bus_

11:04 ibergeregg pass, view towards the alpsright at the summit of the ibergeregg pass is a pub-cum-hotel with a nice terrace providing a fantastic view of the alps! i’ve got until 11:40 for the bus to schwyz and settle down for a cup of coffee and some mountain and motorbike watching: the pass road is __very__ popular with both bikers and motor bikers and over the course of half an hour you get to see motorbikes of almost any shape and make: those tiny ones with barely enough power to make it up here — isn’t there a law against mistreating small mopeds — up to real monster bikes that threaten to eat the whole pass in one go, road, mountain, pub, the lot.

next stop: schwyzthen there are the racing cyclists: mostly men in their late 50s (the younger ones are probably already at home again), sometimes accompanied by a younger woman, always in what appears to be the latest racing outfit, almost all happy to reach the summit.

next stop: schwyz.