Surprising Switzerland

30Aug07

So I’ve just returned from a very relaxing 4 and a half-day trip to the Lake Geneva area of Switzerland. My first post-trip reaction was how little I actually knew about Switzerland pre-trip. In a very basic understanding, I previously associated Switzerland with off-shore bank accounts, that wonder-knife, alpine skiing and really expensive watches. What I didn’t realize, and it makes a huge impact, is that Switzerland is essentially a ‘co-op’ (very crudely) agreed upon by people of German, French, Italian and smaller percentages of a number of other ethnicities. When you are in French speaking Switzerland (which I was for the majority of my trip), you can immediately see the similarities in the two cultures, or is that really just one? In German-speaking Switzerland, the atmosphere is, you guessed it, decidedly more Germanic. It was enlightening to read about Switzerland’s history and how these various people speaking different languages got together to form what is a very unique country.

I really enjoyed the alpine summits and the mini-hikes around the region that filled up parts of my visit. All-in-all, a fantastic country, with distinct similarities to the countries they border. Oh, and I’ve now got a restored fondness for quality cheese.

swissalps.jpg

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