Category Archives: Switzerland


The spoils of neutrality

At the National Museum in Zürich is a display of Swiss cultural icons. The obvious are included: Swiss cheese, Swiss chocolate, and Swiss watches. Also cowbells, alphorns, and a model of the Matterhorn. Surprisingly, there are no Swiss army knives. Heidi, … Continue reading

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Thin air

Only fourteen percent of the Alps are within Switzerland, yet sixty-five percent of Switzerland is within the Alps. And nowhere but Switzerland are a nation’s culture and the Alps so intertwined. By Alpine standards, a mountain is high if it … Continue reading

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Four countries in one

While traveling in Italy, I stayed in three towns with names beginning with the letter V—Varenna, Vernazza, and Volterra. I was constantly referring to one as the other. Now, in Switzerland, I confuse the L cities—Luzern (pronounced loot SAIRN), Lugano … Continue reading

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More cowbell!

“People make fun of us,” said Madeleine, owner of the lodge where I was staying in northeastern Switzerland. “Why?” I asked. “Because we hold on to our traditions, our costumes, our celebrations.” She thought for a minute. “Because we are … Continue reading

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