Zurich to vote on suicide tourism

suicideZurich is set to vote on whether to continue allowing foreigners to seek assisted suicide in the city.

Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, but the public has become increasingly concerned about the number of people coming to their country with the intention of killing themselves.

Two proposals are on the table: one to ban assisted suicide for everyone, the other to limit it to city residents.

While assisted suicide is banned in most nations, the Swiss emphasis on personal liberty has meant the practice has been legal in Switzerland for many years.

Opinion polls indicate that the majority of people want it to remain so, but are opposed to international travelers flying to their country to end it all.

What do you think about assisted suicide? Tell us what you think in the poll and comments section!

[Photo courtesy Vassil via Wikimedia Commons]

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Ecotourism’s next evolution: Rent a cow in Switzerland

Need to get away from it all? How about a month or season on a picturesque Swiss farm? Thanks to to enterprising Swiss farmers, professionals can now contribute to the local economy and “participate physically in the life of a medium-size mountain farm and to acquire at a preferential price genuine goods produced on the estate.

Sure… but what does that mean? According to bmi Voyager, the concept was launched by herder and farm owner Michael Izor, who allows people to rent his cows in western Switzerland, just outzide of Zurich. “The animals are very calming and we hope it gives people a little perspective,” said Izor.

For £180 (one month) to £380 (a four-month season), one gets their choice of a specific cow, a preferential rate on local cheese, and access to the farm itself. The landowner then agrees to offer a tour of the estate and a meet and greet with the staff and your cow.

You’re also promised a light welcome meat – we’re hoping one that isn’t beef based! You’ll also receive a certificate of sponsorship and a picture of your cow, as well as a preferential rate on mountain pasture cheese at the price of CHF 16 per kilo.

Seasonal sponsorships include the above, but also require a commitment of four hours of mountain work, According to the website, “this work will consist of looking after the pastures and enclosures, preparing the fire wood, participating actively in the raking of the hay, etc. There’s nothing like work to fit in and get a better understanding [of the land].” A season-long contract also requires a minimum purchase of at least 10 kilos of cheese.

This surely brings new meaning to the term working vacation!

Image via Flickr user Artnow314.



Daily Pampering: Soulful serenading in the Swiss Alps

What’s more romantic than a hot summer evening and the smooth sounds of Foreigner? (Cue the high school flashbacks) Outdoor music fans (and children of the 1980s and 1990s) prepare to flock to the Swiss Alps for the “Live at Sunset” concert.

If your summer travels involves a trip to Europe, you might want to stopover in Zurich for this music event.

Nestled amongst the Swiss Alps and Lake Zurich, the city comes alive at the “Live at Sunset” concert from July 14 – 25, hosted at the Dolder Sports ice rink. Tori Amos, Foreigner, John Fogarty, A-Ha, and many more, will be on hand to serenade you amid the stunning landscape.

No concert package is complete without a place to stay. The historic Dolder Grand resort is the host of the Live at Sunset festival, and is offering a special package including a three-course pre-concert dinner and tickets to the concert of your choice, along with one night accommodation and breakfast at the Garden Restaurant from 980 CHF (approximately $837 USD).

Want more? Get your dose of Daily Pampering right here.

The mystifying trail up the Uetliberg


It was a ludicrously foggy day when I rode the train up the Uetliberg and embarked on the trail to Uto Kulm. The Uetliberg is a Swiss mountain known as the “Top of Zürich,” crowned with a 236 foot tower which you can climb for panoramic views of Zürich and beyond — unless it’s half as foggy as the day I was there.

Uto Kulm, pictured hazily below, is a hotel and restaurant adjacent to the tower. Normally, it offers pretty fabulous views as well, or so I’m told. When I was there, it was so foggy it looked like the blinds were drawn. I had a fine feast of a dinner there; while the main courses were unremarkable, my companions and I were all wowed by the delicious and complex desserts — and certainly satisfied.

Not that I’m complaining about the fog. No. I was still enchanted by the trek due to the unusual and haunting statues by Bruno Weber, a Swiss fantastic realist, which were made all the more mesmerizing by the thick clouds surrounding them. If you go to Zürich, no matter what museums you plan to visit, you have to see these statues.
%Gallery-95687%Uto Kulm through the fog and a Bruno Weber at right
Bewtiching statues like the ones shown above towered over us, leading us up the final steps to Uto Kulm. Never before had I felt so like I was in an ancient land (or perhaps a Tolkien novel), despite the fact that the “sculpture way” was just completed in 2003. The strange creatures and majestic scale tickled my imagination, bringing to mind the ruins of various cities and civilizations past — perhaps this is similar to what those crumbling statues once looked like.

Bruno Weber is a living artist who, among other things, continues to expand and add sculptural elements to his house in his hometown of Dietikon to this day. The house of Bruno Weber is well-known by the Swiss as a magical place to visit. If you go there, you must also head to Skulpturenpark in the same town, which is said to be full of awe-inspiring sights.

His project on the Uetliberg took 12 years to complete. I hope it will be there for archaeologists to explore hundreds of years from now.

My trip to Switzerland was sponsored by Switzerland Tourism, but the ideas and opinions expressed in this article are 100 percent my own.

The top 50 cities for quality of life

If you don’t live in Vienna, you might consider moving there.

A new survey lists the top 50 cities for quality of life and Vienna comes out as number one. The survey, conducted by Mercer, a human resources consultancy firm, looked at criteria such as infrastructure, economy, housing, recreation, personal and press freedom, and education. Vienna certainly scores high in all that, plus it has historic neighborhoods and cool clocks. It’s just a shame the Toilet Bar had to change its decor.

The top ten cities are:

Vienna
Zurich
Geneva
Vancouver
Auckland
Dusseldorf
Frankfurt
Munich
Bern
Sydney

European cities dominate the top fifty. No U.S. city shows up until number 31 (Honolulu) followed by San Francisco (32), Boston (37), Chicago and Washington (tied at 45), New York City (49) and Seattle coming in surprisingly low at 50. Canada did much better with Vancouver at number 4, Ottawa at 14, Toronto at 16, Montreal at 21, and Calgary at 28.

Mercer actually surveyed 221 cities, with Baghdad scoring dead last. Go figure. They also listed the most eco-friendly cities, with Calgary taking the top spot.

Image of Cafe Central, Vienna courtesy Andreas Praefcke via Wikimedia Commons.