I heard this the other day and I thought it was hilarious. I think the term exists in English, but I’ve never heard it used in everyday speech – usually it’s referred to in specific political discourse.
The English seaside gets a bad rep. And it’s true, you can’t guarantee the weather, but there’s something special about Cornwall that means that doesn’t really matter. It’s raining for a week? Grab your wellies or wetsuit and get stuck in anyway. Sun shining? Then the area really comes to life with surfers, kayaking, coastal walks and cream teas.
St Ives is a pretty seaside village on the northern coast towards the end of the peninsula. It’s one of the most popular holiday spots for a lot of Brits (and, weirdly, also a lot of Germans, Austrians and Swiss. Apparently a famous romance novelist sets a lot of stories here) but the atmosphere manages to remain laid-back, creative and authentically Cornish. Everyone from artists to surfers, gourmet travellers to action-adventurers rubs shoulders at ice cream parlours along the pretty harbour or in the water.
(Download the guide as a PDF here)
How important is your accent when you learn a new language? Obviously you want to be understood, but how essential is it to actually sound like a French-, German-, Italian-speaker? It’s been preying on my mind lately as I try to start using more and more German.
There are languages where it seems essential, such as Chinese where an inflection can change a meaning – but in European languages, it is heading further and further down my to-do list (right under doing my German verb drills).
It’s been hot this summer. Like, really hot. The kind of hot that you hope for on holiday, but which just makes everyday city life unbearable. Luckily, Basel has the solution (and this time it’s not ice cream).
As the mercury rises, Baselers sink. Into the cool waters of the Rhine. Sunny summer days see the river filled with bright, laughing dots as people gently float downstream.
Sometimes people say something and I just don’t understand. I technically know what the words mean, but they don’t make any sense.
How do you go hiking when you don’t really like hiking? I have become a little more outdoorsy since coming to Switzerland, but I’m not really a Gortex-clad, hiking-wunderkind just yet. (Or maybe not ever. Probably not ever). I’m still mostly bribed by cheese, and very definitely open to cheating.
Wasserfallen is perfect for hiking-lite because you get to go up in the cable car and come down on giant scooters. That’s right, scooters! For grown-ups!
I have been visiting / living in Basel for a while now, and although there is still a lot left undiscovered, I have definitely found a few favourite places. The list is far from exhaustive, but it’s tried and tested. So, without further ado, here are my ideas for what to see, eat and do in this border city…
(also available as a downloadable PDF here)
As the temperature gauge tickles the mid-thirties there’s only one thing to do in the city: ice cream. The summer has been hot and languid this year, heat bouncing off the buildings and stifling the breeze. Sure, there’s the Rhine to jump into and float along, but it’s not exactly an office-friendly quick fix to the sweltering conditions. So, ice cream.
I thought the mountains would be cold. That even in summer, the sun would shine across the snow drifts, and the people would be wearing puffy jackets and long trousers throughout the season. I was right – sort of. Yes, the actual tops of the mountains are a bit chill. But in the valleys the sun shines at full strength and outdoor activities are de rigeur.
Palm trees line a turquoise lake, the sun shines over the mountains and there’s the gentle lilt of Italian in the air. Welcome to Ticino, Switzerland’s Italian canton.