How to celebrate Swiss National Day during a pandemic
(Not a title we thought we'd ever write)
This Saturday - August 1st - is Swiss National Day, the national holiday celebrating the founding of the Swiss Confederacy in 1291.
On any normal year, we'd be telling you about the different fireworks displays happening around the country and the planned events that you could go to this Saturday.
However, with 2020 being so unprecedented (sorry), this Swiss National Day will be all about celebrating Switzerland whilst social distancing, wearing masks, and keeping gatherings to a small number. To help you come up with alternative National Day plans, we've put together this list of pandemic-friendly ideas.
Take a stroll in the mountains
What better way to celebrate Switzerland than by simply admiring it in its full glory. Whether you're nearer the Jura or the Alps, why not use Saturday to research a new hiking route or explore an area you haven't yet been to. Switzerland being as picturesque as it is, you don't even have to go to the mountains to enjoy the lanscape - take yourself, your friends or your family to any lake, forest or field and go for a walk whilst yodelling.
*NB - A heatwave is expected until Saturday evening. Wear sunscreen, drink lots of water, wear a hat, and avoid walking in the middle of the day.
Watch a Swiss cinema marathon
Famed for its beautiful landscapes, Switzerland has been used as the backdrop to a number of famous films. If you're a movie fan and want to avoid the heat by staying in all day with popcorn and slush-puppies, here are a few films to add to your marathon: Heidi (either the 1937 or 2015 version) obviously, Sound of Music (1965) although technically this was filmed in Austria and California, the von Trapps do escape to Switzerland in the plot, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) will take you around Switzerland with George Lazenby as 007, and The Divine Order (2017) about women's voting rights.
Buy a family-sized bar of Cailler chocolate and settle in for a day of film-watching.
Go wine tasting... at home
Organise a wine tasting in your own home. Grab a few bottles from your local winery or cave and explore the country via wine! You could also do the same with chocolate. Better yet, put yourself to the test and do it blindfolded. Let's see if you can tell one wine from another.
Celebrate Swiss Cheese...
...by eating a lot of it. We know, we know, it's very hot this week. But many people drink hot tea in order to cool down so perhaps eating raclette, fondue, or tartiflette would have the same effect? Let us know.
Paint the Swiss landscape
If you're a creative type, why not celebrate Swiss National Day by painting your favourite landscape, like Alexandre Calame ("the greatest 19th century painter of Swiss mountains"). You could even combine this with your stroll in the mountains - just take an easel with you.
Learn the alphorn
Like us, you've probably spent your whole time so far in Switzerland saying that at some point you'll get round to learning how to play the alphorn/yodel but just have not yet had time. Well, here is your excuse to make time. Grab an alphorn*, find a Youtube tutorial and off you go.
*NB - we have no idea where you can buy or rent an alphorn. Might be easier to just learn to yodel.
Bake cakes with the Swiss flag on them
This one is great for those with kids - you can let them decorate their own cakes and help them squeeze a Swiss flag out of the icing tube. Bonus is if you bake the cakes in time to eat them whilst watching Swiss films.