Yearly Archives: 2010

Swiss elections

Switzerland – Democratic country with 7.78 million residents, of which 22% (1.71 million) are foreigners.
There are 5.02 million electors and the average participation in elections is 40-50%. Data from Federal Statistics Office (

Today a “majority” of 1.40 million (18% of Switzerland population) decide in favor – “Pour le renvoi des étrangers criminels” and 1.50 million againts “Pour des impôts équitables. Stop aux abus de la concurrence fiscale”.

Why I do not live in Portugal – reason whatever

This is the front web page from one of the “reference” newspapers in Portugal. The title says: “Obama kisses the daughter of Luis Amado [Portuguese Foreign Affairs Minister]”.
Living in Portugal would be, for me, like being in a TV reality show in permanence. Fortunately I got banned from the country long ago and now I go there just to enjoy what remains good: family, food and sun.

Seeing the americanization of the society (I believe it was in the US that all this lack of sensibility started, pushed by the capitalism and populism) makes me feel sad that there is no one with power to stop it. At least in the country where I was born.

And I do not want to comment about the ad-hoc “holiday” given by the Portuguese government for the people working in Lisbon due to the NATO meetings…

Modification des heures d’ouverture des magasins a Geneve

Encore une votation ou les plus impliques (cassieres, vendeurs, vendeuses) dans la pluspart ne peuvent pas voter car ils ont pas de nationalite suisse ou habitent depuis moins de huit ans dans la meme commune.

Une phrase que de plus en plus je pense: “no taxation without representation”. Ne devrait pas, tout le monde que paye des impots dans un canton, pouvoir voter?

Façam amor em vez de ir ver as lojas

No momento em que Genebra se prepara para votar sobre o alargamento dos horarios das lojas, a juventude socialista e verde juntaram-se para oferecer preservativos com este argumento.

Actualmente as lojas podem abrir ate as 19:00 de segunda a quarta, ate as 21h as quintas, ate as 19:30 as sextas e ate as 18h nos sabados.

A lei em votacao propoe que as lojas possam abrir ate as 20h de segunda a sexta, ate as 19h aos sabados e quatro domingos do ano ate as 17h.

Espero que o amor ganhe. 🙂

Pillow sizes 1

Few weeks ago in a hotel in Zurich the pillows were huge. Week after went to Graubünden/Grisons and at the hotel the pillows were also huge. I start calling them the “Swiss German pillows”. E parents also have semi-huge pillows, probably due the German mix of the family.

All my life the pillows had a certain size, unchanging. Of course not counting here the old-style portuguese “travesseiro” (which wikipedia describes as “body pillows”). “The” pillow size is, for me, (after seeing the links below I’m not sure anymore) 50x60cm.

Starts one going around Switzerland and you get another standard of pillows. You decide to buy pillow covers to your home and the standard size is 65x65cm… or 65x100cm. The semi-huge and huge pillows I described before. But the pillows you bought in IKEA the year before are 50x60cm.

Making a more deep study about standard pillow size across a few European countries, using as measure the following IKEA link: and changing the “fi/fi” by the country/language required, one gets:

Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, Finland, Russia, Hungary, Poland: 50x60cm
France: 65x65cm
Germany: 40x80cm
UK, Italy: 50x80cm
Switzerland: 50×60 ad 65×65 (but other shops, like Micasa you see: 40x60cm and 65x100cm mostly)

Train trips suggestions from Geneva

The Swiss Train system is quite big. For recent expatriates and tourist with more time it can be something very interesting to discover and not only to go to visit some specific place. There is even a page with information about all travel passes you can get in Switzerland if you want to spend some time into trains.

Having a new colleague or friend coming to Switzerland, I try to give him suggestions about nice train rides one can make while at the same time visit some places. Below I leave the first suggestions, based on the 2010 timetables (trains are usually every hour. To confirm the timetable, check The Swiss trains web page.

Sugestion 1 – French Alps, Mont Blanc and Lake geneva panorama

Possible stops (time just for one/two if you want to do the tour in one day): Lausanne, Montreux, Gruyères (with extension to top of Moléson).  


Montreux x+1:39 x+1:45
Montbovon x+2:31 x+2:40
(Gruyères) x+2:58 x+2:58
Palésieux x+3:55 x+3:59
Genève x+4:50

Sugestion 2 – Chamonix (Mont Blanc) and tour of Lake Geneva by train

Possible stops: Chamonix and go to the top of Aguille du Midi (3800m) 

Note: this tour departs from a small train station in the center of Geneva, trams 16 or 17 stop “Amandölier (gare SNCF)”.

Arrival Departure Arrival Departure
Annemasse 9:13 9:18
St-Gervais 9:25 9:32 10:25 10:32
Chamonix 10:12

x:16 (last at 17:16)
Vallorcine x:52 x:59

Martigny x+1:55 x:+2:20

Geneve x+4:04


Sugestion 3 – Interlaken, Swiss pre-Alps and Bern
Possible stops (necessary to sleep somewhere if we want to combine this tirp with visits): Montreux, Gsaad, Interlaken (extension to any montain around), Bern. 



Montreux 9:39 9:45
(Gstaad) 11:03 11:05
Zweisimmen 11:32 11:38
Interlaken Ost 12:50

Interlaken Ost
x:01 (last at 20:01)
Bern x:52 x+1:34
Genève x+3:15


Sugestion 4 – Milan, Bernina Express and Glacier Express (3 days tour)

This is a suberb long weekend trip. Leave Geneva to Milan on Friday. Visit Milan on Saturday morning and then head to Tirano. On Sunday seven different trains (and lots of trust on Swiss rail system) to do probably the two most amazing train trips in Switzerland. Any time of the year is good for this trip (I did the whole in Christmas and found very nice; I did parts of it over Summer, which is also nice).

Day 1(3:53) Day 2 (2:30) Day 3 (11:34)
Genève Milano Tirano (start 8:50)
Milano Tirano Pontresina






Genève (arrive 20:24)