Book Launch and Reading in Nyon – “Slow Train to Switzerland” – November 25 – Reserve now!

Living in Nyon and OffThe Shelf English Book Shop  

are delighted to announce the book launch (the first in Switzerland!) and reading of 

Slow Train to Switzerland    – One Tour, Two Trips, 150 Years and a World of Change Apart

by Travel Writer Diccon Bewes  (Author of Swiss Watching/ Le Suissologue)

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On the occasion of the 150th anniversary Thomas Cook’s pioneering trip to Switzerland, Diccon will talk about how he embarked on a historical train ride following the first ever conducted tour taken by Thomas Cook in 1863, a three week trip from London to Lucerne. It’s a tale of trains and tourists, of the British and the Swiss, of a Victorian traveller and a modern-day Englishman abroad. It’s the story of a tour that changed both Switzerland and the world of travel forever.

 Come join us for an apéro, to hear stories and anecdotes about the book on 

Monday  November 25th   at 19:30  at the Ferme du Manoir,  Rue Maupertuis 1, 1260 Nyon (Off Place du Château) Nyon 

Reservations  Required  –   CHF 10 including apéro     

Email to reserve  

or via  OffTheShelf English Bookshop 

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The Swiss Honeymoon is over … now what?

Have you recently arrived in Switzerland as an expat?   Here is a short article written by Melina Hiralal on how to cope with this exciting and challenging time.  Melina is a cross cultural consultant and lives near Nyon. She works with companies, families and individuals offering training and assistance during both the expatriation and the repatriation process.  She will be writing a series of articles for this site on expatriate issues and says that sometimes, “living in an unfamiliar culture is like watching a foreign film without sub-titles”. If  you would like advice from Melina you can contact her at

Melina Hiralal for blog

The Swiss Honeymoon is over … now what?

If you arrived at some point in Switzerland during the summer, you were probably basking in the knowledge that you made a good call when you or your family decided to become expats for a while.  The country had all its finery on show, you may have spent lovely afternoons down at a lake, or been on beautiful walks up in the mountains or even participated in some of the many festivals that were going on during the summer break. Beautiful, clean, well-organised and safe, these things come to mind when we speak about Switzerland and they are the reasons that may have encouraged you to take the plunge.

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A few weeks down the line and real life has taken over. The children are possibly settling down in their new schools, the spouse is investing a lot of time and energy in the new job which brings its own challenges … and the accompanying spouse is left trying to build a life that feels “right” for everybody.

The way we go about tackling the challenges of every-day life in a new location will influence our experience of living abroad. It can be nerve-wracking to drive the car on the “wrong” side of the road and everyday tasks take so much longer and can be a source of much frustration when you don’t speak the language. What might have seemed quirky and fun, now feels strange and decidedly “un-fun” as we try to get a handle on creating a new life in a new location.

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Frustration, confusion, tension and embarrassment are all normal reactions to our cross-cultural encounters. We let ourselves be fooled into a false sense of security by the fact that the population around us looks and lives in a way similar to the one we left behind without realising that it is in fact very different.

The choices we make at this point will influence our expat experience. Is it helpful to withdraw from our host country’s society, criticising and rationalising what we see? Was it part of our plan to end up seeking comfort in the more familiar expatriate community? Probably not – so what can we do in order to avoid the downward spiral of loss of confidence and comfort and turn frustration into hope and resentment into trust along the way.

  • Observe: just for a moment, imagine you have moved to Outer Mongolia, or another culture very different from your own. How would you go about learning about this culture and the best way to fit in?
  • Be curious: try the new food, participate in the new customs and experience new ways of doing things.
  • Inquire: ask a local why they do things differently, ask a local to explain what the tradition and customs you are observing means.
  • Listen: Listen to the explanations you are given, they are the key to the code to understanding your environment.

Living in an unfamiliar culture is like watching a foreign film without sub-titles. These simple tools can hopefully increase your understanding of what is happening around you and help you to feel more connected to the place you have chosen as your temporary home. Melina Hiralal – Cross-cultural consultant


L’Elastique Citrique tours lakeside aboard ancient sailing boat next week- daily shows in ports.


“Famille de cirque” performing last year at Paléo

A year after performing at Paleo, L’Elastique Citrique, Nyon’s circus school will be going on tour next week down the Vaud lakeside. The circus troupe, made of about 20 artists who train at the circus school several times a week will be on tour for a week, but there’s a twist: they’ll be touring aboard a boat!

La Demoiselle is a replica of an old sailing ship that used to transport rocks from quarries on the lake during the 19th century. There are for ships of her kind sailing on Lake Leman, including the Neptune in Geneva. The boat is run by an association called “La barque des enfants”, and it is used for pedagogical outings and camps on the lake. La Demoiselle was built over 15 years in Montreux and Villeneuve by workers on the dole, and is now used by schools and groups. As the association has quite strong social values, the boat is offered to associations and groups for half the price it actually costs to sail her for a week (which is 10 000 francs!), and they make the missing money by also renting the ship out for private venues and corporate outings.

The ship itself is 30 meters long, weighs 75 tons, and has two large Latin sails. It is fully equipped with a kitchen, toilets and 24 beds.

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Courtesy- Samuel Schlapbach


You may have seen the artists from L’Elastique Citrique at Paléo last year, clad in red, or performing in the streets of Nyon for Vision du Réel. This is part of their new project, “Famille de Cirque”, which is a much lighter project than past shows, and involves a lot of improvising and street theatre. For the tour, they have created a 40 minute show which they will play in the ports they land in along the lake. Using very little material (a large red circle, some juggling balls and two unicycles), they will offer a 360° show to the people come to see them. In the spirit of street performances, the show will be free, and the audience will be able show their appreciation of the show by slipping a few notes in the hats passed round at the end of the show. The show, called “La Vie en Rouge” [life in red, a pun on “La vie en Rose”, by Edith Piaf] will be all about relationships and passion. Why red, might you ask? Well, it’s the colour often associated to circus, and to different passionate feelings like love, anger… It is a recurring colour for L’Elastique Citrique.

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Courtesy- Samuel Schlapbach


The tour will start on Sunday across the lake in France, in the private settlement of Port Ripaille, on the 14th of July. La Demoiselle will then slowly make her way down to Nyon via La Tour de Peilz, Morges, St-Prex, and Geneva. You can find all the informations about the tour (dates, locations and time of the shows) below. Nyon Région TV, Nyon’s local television chain has done a video on the tour, which you can watch here. (first five minutes)

You can come and see L’Elastique Citrique on the following dates:

15th July  – La Tour-de-Peilz – 20h30 at theBains-des-Dames
16th July – Morges – 20h30 at the Port du Petit-Bois
17th July – St-Prex – 17h et 20h30 at the  Place d’Armes
19th July – Genève – 20h30 near the Jet d’eau opposite the Pierres du Niton
20th July – Nyon – 17h and 20h30 near the crane (east side of Rive)

Calendar Girls come to Carouge. “Pick your Own” fruit and Flowers in Rolle and Nyon

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Calendar Girls. “Pick your Own” fruit and flowers

Calendar Girls by Tim Firth

The Geneva English Drama Society will be performing the play “Calendar Girls” from Tuesday June 18th to Saturday June 22.  The weekday performances are at 20:00 and the Saturday show is at 19:00. There will be a special gala performance on Friday June 21 in the presence of the original Miss February- Angela Baker! Proceeds from the evening will go to benefit two Geneva cancer charities.  Photo below: The “Calendar Girls” of GEDS in rehearsal.

Calendar girls in rehearsal

The play will be preformed at the  Théâtre Pitoëff, 52 rue de Carouge, Plainpalais. For more details of the production click here.  For tickets, click here

Synopsis of the play: When Annie’s husband John dies, the ladies of the Knapeley WI (Women’s Institute) decide to raise money for a new settee in the family waiting area of the hospital. They realize that they need a more compelling way to raise money than their traditional calendar with views of Yorkshire. As Annie’s friend Chris puts it, “a slight shift from a WI Calendar of Spectacular Views, to a calendar of Spectacular Views of the WI.” The ladies produce a calendar of them performing the standard occupations of the WI such as baking, playing music and knitting. The only catch is that they are all nude!  The amateur rights for the play have only been released for one year in order to have as many productions worldwide as possible for a Guinness World Record.

“Pick your Own” – Strawberries and Flowers.

The warm weather has finally arrived in Vaud and with it the seasonal fruits have now appeared. There are quite a few farms in the Nyon area that offer a “pick your own” service. The farm Pré-de-Vers just outside Rolle  on the lake road (details and map here) has lots of delicious, succulent strawberries to pick right now. You can pick them until the 20th June 00 on Monday to Friday from 14:00 to 19:00 and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00. Call 078 691 32 73.   You can either take your own container which will be weighed before you start picking the strawberries, punnets are also provided for those who arrive empty handed!

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There is also a small farm shop on the premises. There will be  sunflowers to pick from July to September and then tulips in March to April. Photo above – a family from Lausanne picking strawberries.

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Below: The friendly Madame Bonvin at the farm shop

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Above – Apple juice and home made jams for sale – Below – You can’t miss the sign for the farm shop on the Route Suisse! 

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If you like the idea of picking your own flowers, the farm called the Domaine de Bois-Bougy (on the outskirts of  Nyon just past the tennis club) is offering  a “pick  your own” service.  Flowers in bloom at the moment are beautiful white, pink and dark red peonies, there are some lettuces too. There are some lilies toowhich are almost ready (this post was written on Sunday 16 June). There is an honesty box next to the field to pay for the flowers collected. There are secateurs  provided.  This farm is also a bed and breakfast establishement.

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Photo below – Flowers and strawberries picked locally and back at home.

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More music this weekend. Photo opportunities at at the Bol d’Or.

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Although the Caribana festival finished last week, there is more music on the way as the first part of La Fete de la Musique will take part in Nyon on Saturday 15th June and on Sunday 16th in Prangins (part 2 will be next weekend).

Fete de la musique 2013

There’s a full programme of music on the agenda, bands and solo artists will be play in different venues around Nyon in the Place du Chateau, Place St Martin, Place de Savoie, Jardin du Conservatoire, Usine a Gaz, Rive Est and in the Temple. There will be music ranging from jazz to blues, rock , classical music, African music, funk and more. Something for everyone. Click here for the full programme and timings.  There’s a fantastic weather forecast for this week-end which is good news for those attending and for those playing in the festival!

Great photo opportunities at the Bol d’Or

The good weather is also good news for sailors who will be taking part in the 75th Bol d’Or. This famous sailing competition sets off at 10:00 from Geneva. Depending on the winds you can often see the boats sailing past Nyon around lunchtime on their way to Le Bouveret at the other end of the lake, it’s an impressive sight! There is a good overview here of the race, the trajectory the boats take on the water, and links to other information about the race itself. If you are really keen to capture more of the atmosphere of the race itself, it’s worth getting up very early and heading off to Geneva to be there at the start of it all (see photo below).

Start of Bol D'or

There are excellent views to be had of the early part of the race from the port of Corsier on the French side of the lake. This Living in Nyon photo in the header above was taken a few years ago from Corsier (and was used on the Bol d’ Or website).