Animal protection road sign in Switzerland

"I prefer to eat grass instead of garbage!"

“I prefer to eat grass instead of garbage. Thank you”.

This road sign in Switzerland is there to let know drivers that even an apparently harmless action like throwing objects out of the window – like aluminum cans or food wraps – can do harm to cows, resulting even in death.

You can see cows on the road side everywhere in Switzerland.

Why trying to enter Italy illegally could cost you your life

Men on lifeboat with sinking ship in background

The recent shipwreck that occurred not far away from the Italian coast, involving an African boat with more than three hundred souls onboard, most of which drowned, triggered once again a heated debate on the Italian law regulating this matter.

Put simply, the bill on immigration approved on 2002 forbids the act of bringing people who don’t have a visa for Italy onto Italian territory in any case.

That means, if you are fishing and spot a boat filled with starving people which is going to sink under their weight, decide to save them, bring them to the nearest hospital, and that hospital is incidentally on Italian territory, then you’ve just committed a crime.
Not to mention the seizure of the boat, which is ordered even in the case of bringing dead bodies ashore.

Hypothetical? Not really.

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Loose firearms laws and gun circulation in the world: it’s not only the US

An aspect of expat life I never really thought about before switching countries is firearms control.

One reason for that is the fact that I was moving to a country which has never been at war in the last two-hundred years, plus it is well-known for its neutrality, it almost never experienced political unrest, and has a low crime rate.

However, I soon learnt that those factors don’t necessarily mean strict gun control.

This is what I saw when I boarded a tram downtown on a Saturday morning.

Just an ordinary Saturday morning

Just an ordinary Saturday morning

Friends of mine confirmed that it’s nothing unusual. However, I was shocked.

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Interpreting events overseas using one’s native culture

Oprah Winfrey luxury bag in Zurich

The recent incident involving Ms. Winfrey in Switzerland is, in my humble opinion, a striking case of a person who reads a situation from behind the lenses of her home culture, while she is 6,000 miles from home, in a place inhabited by people with a very different culture.

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Where to find ruins of war in Europe: the German hills of the dead and destruction (and rebirth)

During our last visit to Germany (Stuttgart, Baden Württemberg, Southern Germany) we learnt that also this city, as all major German cities, has an artificial hill made of debris removed from the bombed buildings.

Downtown Stuttgart on a cloudy day. The city is surrounded by hills. The high density of new buildings mixed with older ones is a war legacy

Downtown Stuttgart on a cloudy day. The city is surrounded by hills. The high density of new buildings mixed with older ones is a war legacy

Around Stuttgart lies a range of heights which give the city its beautiful look of an inhabited hollow surrounded by a crown of green hills.

One of those hills was chosen as the final resting place of Stuttgart’s postwar debris. The place’s name is Birkenkopf, and with its additional 120 ft of height due to piled rubble, has become the highest point in Stuttgart. Dirt has been added to allow tree growth.

The total amount of ruins piled on Birkenkopf is 15 million cubic meter.

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