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Showing posts from April, 2011

Smoking outside, a problem for some

When smoking was banned in public spaces in Switzerland. Meanwhile, my smoker friends grumbled, predicting the end of pubs and restaurants. I was thrilled.

As they say, there's nothing worse than a reformed smoker! But I'm not as extreme as my friend Chantal. She can’t stand cigarette smoke, even outside.

Chantal is the author of One Big Yodel, one of my favorite expat blogs in Switzerland. Check out her informative and funny post "Lunch al fresco (if you can)" on the smoking topic. A Chicago native and current resident of Baden, Switzerland, Chantal received the Rosalie Fleming Memorial Humor Prize for her satire on the airline industry last year.

Chantal’s post reminded me of a New Yorker's experience following the smoking ban in his city. As he sat in a cab with an Italian visitor, they spotted a crowd of smokers gathered on the sidewalk in the financial district.

“You have a lot of beautiful and conservatively dressed street ladies here,” said the Italian.

“H…

Swiss rail is great and worth the money

Living in Switzerland, I often take our rail system for granted. It usually takes an outsider to remind me how lucky we are to be living in a country with functional public transportation.
During breakfast this morning, a visiting American friend voiced his amazement at the efficiency of Swiss rail. Not only did he laud Swiss rail's online timetable, he couldn't believe it actually indicated the arrival and departure platforms ahead of time.

During his trip from Basel to Gstaad, he had been worried about the short four-minute layover in Bern. When the time came to switch trains, he easily found his connecting train, thanks to presence of large platform numbers and destination signs.

For those of you who don't already use it, click here to access Swiss rail's super efficient timetable.

On a related note...

I read in the newspaper this past Friday that Switzerland's Transportation Minister Doris Leuthard had unveiled a proposal to increase the price of the annual hi…