As Heidi might have told Icarus – 2000 metres is often enough

Another grey day in Zug.  

Much as I love Zug, the lack of wind and the topographical eccentricities here mean that often three or four days can pass before Sammy Sun deigns to bless the heads of the hedgies, multi-corporistas, their floosies and their kids, as they stroll beside the Zugersee.

I used to get a sun fix by driving through the Gotthard -a 1.5 hour drove  to the next climate. After the Gotthard the probability of sun increases but it was necessary sometimes to drive still for a further five or six hours to the Cote – particularly in winter.

Then I discovered what property developers have known for some years – the answer is to travel up, not across.

Today I left cloudy and misty Zug at 09.30 and returned at 17.00 to a still cloudy city – but with sun burn!

I did this by looking at webcams on the nearest peaks this morning until I found the nearest point where the cam was looking down on cloud cover. Today this was Brunni, up from Engelberg.

Together with Mrs B and our kids, we have walked 5 km, including barefoot around Härzlisee(1,860 metres), played on rafts on a lake, had lunch, been on two kinds of cable lift, ridden a rodelbahn, all of this in brilliant warm sunshine.

The Swiss truly have it all, and also explains why I rarely see them in Antibes, they already have the Cote at 2000 metres!

Snow, but not as Heidi know’s it

I have just returned from UK-lite, having got snowed in, in Kent on day two, then snowed out of the my eurostar return on day three, then snowed away from my London City airport escape flight the next day.

Finally arrived in Zug to find it had also been snowing,  the right kind of snow apparently – it was all cleared away and things were running normally.

My theory is its the cholesterol in the UK snow that causes it to be such a problem.

Heidi is more reliable than Elizabeth

In the UK the train was usually my last and reluctant choice, though the UK performance isn’t too bad, after all, 90% of British trains arrive on time.

In Switzerland the equivalent is 98% of trains.

But that 8% difference !

Considering a trip from Lindenpark, Zug, to Basel?

 The journey time by train is one hour and thirty-six minutes.  Although this is eighteen minutes longer than the average Zug/Basel journey by car, me and Heidi would always take the train.










Reise mit




Baar Lindenpark



Mo, 07.12.09


ab 10:17

an 10:19





S1 22141


S-Bahn Linie 1





ab 10:29

an 10:49





IR 2325


InterRegio ,  



Basel SBB


ab 10:54

an 11:53





IR 2170


InterRegio ,    R  


Check out the risky connection intervals.

There are only 10 minutes between the arrival of the Zug train at 10.19, and the departure of the Luzern connection 10.29.

…and  just 5 minutes between the arrival of the 10.49 Luzern train and the departure of the Basel train. Yikes!

But even gaps of 2 0r 3 minutes are comfy to the Swiss. You may not be able to set your watch to the trains in Heidiland anymore, but that’s only because the electronic watches are now more accurate than the traditional spring driven instruments 

In the UK this margin would rule out rail travel as an option compared with the car. You would have to build so much safety margin of into the schedule (at least 45 minutes between scheduled  arrivals and scheduled departures), that  the car would be a better bet.

Provided your journey didn’t include the M25, or the M1, or it was on a Sunday morning before 7 am perhaps…..

When Heidi met Aladdin in Menzigen

Menzigen, Kanton Zug,  has a population of 4289, and it surged by 8% for the afternoon,  as the matinée audience for the English Theatre Group’s version (very good indeed) of the trad panto, Aladdin, took their seats.

Most of us in the audience were the usual flotsam and jetsam of ex-pat career boosters, tax exiles, hedgies (the ‘adults’), and our delightfully behaved offspring, the majority of whom knew when to shout and shout loudly they did.

There was a minority of curious Swiss who distinguished themselves by dressing as if it were the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, exhibiting the air of a team of anthropologists visiting a pocket of darkest Africa to make a study of tribal life there. The Swiss children were impeccably behaved when they weren’t confused by the mayhem, but only began to join in the shouting towards the end.

You can take the pantomime out of England but you cannot take England out of the panto.  Patrons queued for 20 minutes during the 20 minute interval to be served a cuppa and a bun, but the buns ran out.

I loved it.