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10 trivial facts about Switzerland

September 2, 2010, 14 Comments

Rot, Blau, Grün Rivella

Last month was trivia month but which was the most popular post? Cuckoo clocks or the Birdie Song? Nestlé or Rivella? Here is a fact about Switzerland from each of the top ten trivia posts (as judged by number of visitors) that you might not have known a month ago:

  1. Rivella, the popular Swiss fizzy drink, is made from 35% milk serum.
  2. Motorway signs in Switzerland are green.
  3. Swiss plugs are hexagonal with three pins.
  4. The most common Swiss surname is Müller.
  5. Switzerland has 63,577km of walking paths.
  6. The Matterhorn was first conquered on 14 July 1865.
  7. Seven billion chunks of Toblerone are made each year, all in Bern.
  8. Last year 78,286 babies were born in Switzerland.
  9. The Rhine Falls are Europe’s largest waterfalls.
  10. The first female Postbus driver was in 1971.

If you want to catch up on the other trivia you might have missed, here’s the index. Of course, all of those posts are mere foothills compared to the veritable Eiger of the most visited one overall since December. The chart for the Most Popular Posts has a runaway leader; with over 5800 individual visitors the clear winner is: Was Heidi’s father German? – apparently questioning the parentage of a national icon is a tad controversial. I must be careful what I say about King Roger.

At 18.17 today, Swiss time, the 30,000th visitor came to this blog. From the first post on 9 December 2009, it took over five months for reach 10,000; then two more months for 20,000, and six weeks for the thirty grand mark.

That’s mainly thanks to Swiss Watching (the book) being published, but last month’s daily trivia helped. The graph below shows the visits in August, and I rather like the fact that it looks like a cross-section of the Alps. So apt.

14 Comments on "10 trivial facts about Switzerland"

  1. Katharina Friday September 3rd, 2010 at 12:33 AM · Reply

    Congratulations on the 30’000 visitors in about a year. that is high, so a high five from me!

    Do you know that the Matterhorn is actually a chunk of Africa?

    You can find Toblerone in about every Walmart here – at a rather good price. So the folks in Bern seem to know how to build a decent supply chain.

    That does not help my urgent withdrawal symptoms from Gruyere and Appenzeller, which I hardly can find here. Even the lamer Emmentaler vanishes. Help…

    And dont’ tell me about american cheese, which allegedly is from happy cows:
    http://www.realcaliforniamilk.com/node/929

    more happy cows:

    http://www.realcaliforniamilk.com/happycowstv

  2. Janie Friday September 3rd, 2010 at 02:02 AM · Reply

    I wish you would go back to telling us more about Switzerland and its people. Who were the first people to settle in Switzerland? Where did the name Switzerland come from?
    Why do the Swiss speak 4 national languages? How many people speak English and when did Switzerland start learning to speak English? Why did it want to learn English?
    How old are the castles? How many castles are there and how many can be explored? Why is Switzerland so expensive? I mean the cost of a coffee at Starbucks is outrageous. I pay $4.43 for a vente frap. That’s America dollars. I get it at Barnes & Noble, which is a bookstore. At Starbucks it is $5.09 for the same frap. I just happen to have a Barnes and Noble membership card that gives me a discount.
    Back to Switzerland, please tell me the little quirky things that are Switzerland. I loved that. Why do the Swiss eat so much fondue and what do they eat it with. I mean it doesn’t sound like a very satisfying meal. It sounds like something you would have at a party, like crackers and cheese. I am very interested in this stuff you write but lately it has been a bit dull. Perhaps you could explore what is different in each section of the country: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Not sure of that last one. Is that right?
    Don’t get me wrong, I still love your post and read it everyday.

    • swisswatching Friday September 3rd, 2010 at 07:49 AM · Reply

      Hi Janie. Thanks for so many questions, but I must say that nearly all of them are answered in the book. If I put all that info here in the blog, no-one would ever buy my book! Why would they when they could read it here for free?!! Sorry you didn’t find the trivia so interesting, though most people did, but I wanted to give readers something different for a change; it can’t always be the same stuff. You’ll be pleased to hear that I’ll be back to the normal style of posts from now on. They just won’t cover everything you want, or I’d be writing myself out of a job!

  3. Swiss Simon (with English roots) Friday September 3rd, 2010 at 09:17 AM · Reply

    Trivia month was awesome. I came to Bern to buy your book but got stuck in traffic and the shop had closed.

    Now it is here in Zurich I bought one and can’t put it down. The cover alone gets me so many questions on the tram/train with folks wanting to know what it is.

    Two Swissy’s at work want to buy one and when I explained the german version could be coming next year they almost looked offended. They think the English will be much funnier just because of the beauty and expressiveness of the English language. Sold another copy last night to an expat and fellow blogger.

    Good luck tonight and Sunday in Zurich.

    • swisswatching Friday September 3rd, 2010 at 09:44 AM · Reply

      Thanks Simon. Very heartening to hear that you liked trivia month – and the book, of course! Sorry you missed getting one in Bern, but if you can make it tonight or Sunday, I’ll sign your copy. Failing that, you’ll just have to pop over to Bern again some time. It’s worth the trip 🙂

    • Fergus Miller Friday February 25th, 2011 at 08:40 PM · Reply

      I like the idea of Swiss Watching being in German, I have many friends that I would give to as a gift.

      I would also send it to Christoph Blocher & Tony Brunner, they may learn something about our beloved country.

  4. papalbina Friday September 3rd, 2010 at 11:54 AM · Reply

    The trivia month was fun and your blog is one of my favourite ones 🙂 It’s a pity I can’t go today to the Bookshop in Zurich v.v

    • swisswatching Friday September 3rd, 2010 at 11:57 AM · Reply

      Thanks. Maybe you can pop by the Expat Expo on Sunday?

  5. Jerome Monday September 6th, 2010 at 09:40 AM · Reply

    Hi Diccon,

    As I’ve already told you in person at Stauffacher, I’ve read your book and found it really interesting. I’m a regular of your blog too!

    I’ve told you I would come at your reading on Wednesday, but something (called J-O-B) went in the way. Sorry I won’t be able to come.

    See you soon at the English Bookshop!

    Jerome (a very faithfull Stauffacher-Customer)

    • swisswatching Monday September 6th, 2010 at 12:46 PM · Reply

      Hi Jerome. Thanks for the message. Sorry you won’t be there on Wednesday. I was hoping you’d be wearing your red shoes for the occasion. See you next time in Stauffacher.

  6. Ingrid Wednesday February 9th, 2011 at 10:35 PM · Reply

    Just stumbled across your website and love it! Being an Anglo-American but raised in Zurich following your blog makes me smile every time. Posta are spot-on, informative and fun.
    Congratulations on 30’000 visits. You have just set my benchmark 😉

    • swisswatching Thursday February 10th, 2011 at 11:20 AM · Reply

      Thanks Ingrid. Glad you like it; I really enjoy writing it. And now I’m up to 77,000 visits.

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