switzerland people

Swiss national holiday today!

I’ve always had a soft spot for Switzerland, stuck there in the centre of Europe and somehow so very un-European. Europe today seems to stand for each-country-each region- each town-to-itself, whereas the Swiss have managed to come through history with a culture of national unity, consensus and people-power. Some say it’s a myth, but the dozen- odd yearly national referendums – forget counting the local ones – seem to support their claim to super-democracy.

What else is there to like? The pristine mountains are postcard perfect, and if you like walking and hiking and biking, a paradise. If you’re a green-minded skier, best place in the world, as you can get to any peak village by train with public transportation to the slopes.

Chocolate? Yes, specially since someone recently discovered chocolate doesn’t make you fat – or something to that effect.

Cheese? I pass,  The sound of the cowbells is relaxing, but I’m off dairy products and feeling much tonier. I’ll miss raclette and fondue next time I visit.

Watches?  Nice, elegant, functional. We had a cuckoo clock when I was a child, I don’t recommend them.

It’s a no-litter oasis of cleanliness, which used to drive a relative of mine up the wall: the recycling-garbage laws are so precise you have to put your stuff in 6 separate colored bins, with special days for different waste. Apparently foreigners have trouble with the 30 page instruction manual and often get hit with fines.

The Swiss people: books have been written about them, in a nutshell they’re supposed to be stand-offish with foreigners, but always so very polite, which I’d exchange any day for a lot of the rudeness one puts up with elsewhere.

So … every 1 August I remember the most stunning and longest choreographed fireworks one year on lake Geneva, and another in the mountains. So hi all you Swiss out there, enjoy and be grateful, the world beyond your borders is quite another matter…

UPDATE: I just heard that fireworks have been banned in a number of Cantons, due to the abnormal (read “climate warming”) recent heatwave. No bombfires, barbecues or other types of fire-hazard celebrations… World events catching up on Swissland after all!

photos  : (people)

(mountain train) my.vanderbilt.edutrain_new.351184652 Swiss

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6 Responses to Swissland

  1. zipfslaw1 says:

    I was way too proud when a taxi driver in Paris with whom I was speaking French last month asked me if I were Swiss.

  2. Would love to visit this magical place…especially now that fireworks have been banned. I really dislike things that go BOOM! in the night. 🙂

  3. Ellen Hawley says:

    Switzerland was the first country that I understood had more than one official language–and somehow survived without killing each other over it. It was a revelation. I’ve never been there, but I’ve been fond of it for that ever since.

    • Bea dM says:

      The background geography and social foundations explain a lot of it. It’s a great example for all squabbling nations. if interested, I suggest “Swiss Watching….” by Diccon Bewes

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