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If you want to keep track of Santa Claus/Father Christmas this month you must add this website (www.noradsanta.org) to your favorite’s list! On the 24th December check the website on a regular basis to see where Santa has been sighted. Your kids will bubble with excitement! Don't forget that there is still a lot to see on the website before Christmas.

Note: The website also has delightful stories about Santa, full explanations about how they do it (NORAD uses four high-tech systems to track Santa - radar, satellites, Santa Cams and jet fighter aircraft), a countdown from now until Christmas eve, videos, games, and songs.

Based on historical data and more than 50 years of NORAD tracking information, we believe that Santa Claus is alive and well in the hearts of children throughout the world.

Santa Claus is known by many names, including Saint Nick. Historians claim that the history of Santa starts with the tradition of Saint Nicholas, a 4th century Christian priest who lived in the Middle East in an area of present-day Turkey who became famous for his kindness. He was known for giving gifts to the less fortunate, sprinkling gifts of gold down people's chimneys and hiding surprises in their stockings.

Track Santa on the fly with mobile apps for Apple and Android telephones as well.

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As we approach the holiday season, many of you will be out and about, dining with friends, partying in town, or having a drink after work with colleagues.

If you’re planning to have a drink, be sure to plan ahead and make arrangements for your return home — if you’re driving, then you need to remain below the legal limit (Swiss limits and French limits) and if you’re not, then you need to make sure you have a sensible means of transport back home.

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If you can’t rely on friends to give you a lift home, and if public transport is not an option, think about putting some extra money in your purse for a Swiss taxi or French taxi home. At this time of year, fees can be extremely high, so be prepared.

When your plans change, and you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, having set out in your car but having drunk more than the legal limit, DO NOT be tempted to get into your car and drive home. Instead, call up Nez Rouge, a volunteer organization set up in 1990, which will arrange for a driver to come out and meet you, and drive your car home! In French, Nez Rouge translates as Red Nose... a double meaning for a drunken person's red tinted nose and the Christmas story of Rudolf, the red-nosed reindeer.

When you call up their free number, 0800 802 208, Nez Rouge will send two volunteers to drive your car home (one driving and one assisting at the back of the car), both of whom will be followed by another driver in a Nez Rouge car who will return all volunteers back to base.

vignette

Just our usual reminder at this time of the year, that the autoroute vignette, which is necessary for those who travel on any portion of the Swiss autoroute (highway/motorway), can now be purchased. These stickers are available at gas/petrol stations, shops, tabac/kiosks, border crossings, post offices, and other locations. The price is once again Fr. 40.- for the calendar year, and you have until 31 January 2023 to display it on your windscreen.

Drivers must remove expired stickers from the windshield to avoid obstructing visibility. Kits with a scraper are sold separately or with the vignette to help remove the old stickers. The best time to remove them is when the weather is cold so the glue doesn't stay on the windscreen. However, if some glue remains, just cover with the new vignette.

Introduction of the electronic vignette during 2023

The electronic vignette will be introduced during the year 2023, but certainly not before next 31 January 2023. The Federal Council is expected to decide on the exact date during the first quarter of the year. The electronic vignette will not replace the current sticker, says the Office fédéral de la douane et de la sécurité des frontières (OFDF). The two models will be used in parallel. The electronic sticker will be available through a link on the OFDF website.

Discounted vignette price

If you haven't already taken advantage of the first days of December to buy discounted vignettes at certain supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl, you can still take advantage of this one at Denner. If you buy Fr. 100.- worth of goods from Denner, you can purchase the vignette for only Fr. 35.-. instead of Fr. 40.-. This is NOT valid on purchases of hard alcohol, online wine purchases, Bordeaux 2018 and 2019, tobacco products, autoroute vignettes, taxed garbage bags, etc. However, wine counts! So stock up on a couple cases of wine for the holidays and take advantage of this deal (while stocks last)! 

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Read below more information supplied by the Swiss Customs Website about the vignette protocol and validity.

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It is another hot summer so we thought that a few local outdoor swimming pools will keep you cool over the holidays if you remain in the area. Remember to call ahead to check if these outdoor pools are open when the weather is threatening. If you are a resident of the commune where the pool is located you may be eligible for a special discount.

In order to avoid queues at the ticket counter, most places have set up an instantaneous attendance warning system on their website and/or online ticket sales. We strongly recommend that customers take note of this information before visiting pools.

©Excerpt from Know-it-all passport® so This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. us if you would like to replicate this list. All dates and prices are correct at the time of this article. Scroll down to see Geneva, Vaud, and neighboring France.


Outdoor Swimming Pools in Canton Geneva

La Plage Publique des Eaux-Vives
022 546 76 00
website
This free beach is twice as big as that of the Bains des Pâquis. This public beach was opened in 2020 and is beautifully located in the heart of Geneva and accessible to all. The swimming site, about 400m, goes right up to the Baby Plage and can accommodate 6,000 to 8,000 people on beautiful summer days! Take advantage of the excellent quality of Lake Geneva's waters following the many efforts made to clean it over recent years.
The beach is not made of sand but rather small pebbles so no need for shovels and pails. Shower stalls and toilets are onsite. A drink stand will be open all summer.

Bains des Paquis
30, quai du Mont-Blanc
1201 Genève
022 732 29 74 main
022 738 16 16 restaurant
website
Since 2021 this lake beach offers sunbathing platforms, a life guard, warm showers, changing rooms, toilets, and towel rentals. Hammams are open over the summer Fr. 10.- includes towel rental. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Usually open during summer daily 10h-18h30. However the beach is accessible 24h/7. There are 2 sandpits for toddlers and kids as well as 2 wading areas (50cm deep) and 2 cordoned-off areas for swimmers. Price: Fr. 2.-/adult, Fr. 1.-/child. The Restaurant Buvette des Bains is open year-round 7h-23h.

GrandsonCirieco

Being in Europe, we are spoiled by the amount of castles on every hilltop and town center. How lucky we can just have so many at our doorstep. We have added a few more castles from the last article such as Thun, Oberhofen, and Spiez (all on Lake Thun). Whether with guests or your own family, you will surely find a few on this small list that we have taken out of our latest ©Know-it-all passport®!

Abbaye de St Maurice
Av. d’Agane 15
1890 Saint-Maurice
website
Famous for its Mero­vingian treasure and 1,500 years of history. Augustine monks are still active as teachers here. Guided tours only (1.5 hours), at set times. You may request a tour in English. Price Fr. 15.-/adult, Fr. 9.-/children 6-16. Open Tuesday to Friday 10h-17h30, weekends 13h30-17h30. Check website before going.

Château d’Aigle and the Musée de la Vigne, du Vin et de l’Etiquette 
Place du Château 1 
1860 Aigle
024 466 21 30
website
Aigle Castle was built at the end of the 12th century and is situated in the middle of vineyards. It harbors a wine museum with old wine-making traditions and tools, as well as a terrific collection of wine labels. Note: It’s fun to go to Swiss Vapeur Parc (see below) in the morning through lunch (there is a mini Château d’Aigle there!), then drive over to the life-size Château d’Aigle in the afternoon. Price: Fr 11.-/adult, Fr. 5.-/age 6-16. Family and group packages available. Open daily during summer 10h-18h.