World Travels: Switzerland
So here we are in my home of Switzerland. It’s been a lot of travel lately and it’s good to be home and relaxing for a little bit. I figured I would tell you a little bit about Switzerland to round off the world travel theme. I came to Switzerland when I was young with my parents and basically grew up here on the German speaking side.
Where do I start with Switzerland? First off, it’s such a beautiful country. Everywhere you turn you’re faced with scenery that can only be described as ‘postcard perfect’. It’s a really clean, tidy, efficient, multi-lingual country filled with the alps, great chocolate, and food that will have you dreaming about it for years to come.
The capital of Switzerland is Bern and the population of the country sits at around 7.9 million people. The country is situated in western Europe where it is bordered by Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east.
It also comprises of 26 cantons (Each canton has its own constitution, and its own parliament, government and courts) and 4 different languages (German, French, Italian, and Romansh) though the country predominantly speaks German (or Swiss German).
The economic centers of Switzerland are Geneva and Zürich. “In nominal terms, Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world by per capita gross domestic product, with a nominal per capita GDP of $75,835. In 2010, Switzerland had the highest wealth per adult of any country in the world (with $372,692 for each person). Switzerland also has one of the world’s largest account balances as a percentage of GDP. Zurich and Geneva have respectively been ranked as the cities with the second and third highest quality of life in the world. In 2010 the World Economic Forum ranked Switzerland as the most competitive country in the world, while ranked by the European Union as Europe’s most innovative country by far.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Most people know that the Alps are a big attraction for people when they come to Switzerland but most don’t know that the Alps take up 60% of the area of the country!
There are so many things to do here from walking in the Alps to skiing, shopping in the major cities and, of course, trying all the great food that you can find here from the traditional, cheesy fondue and raclette or rosti (crispy, fried shredded potatoes) to the wonderful, decadent desserts and cakes. We are also known for our outstanding chocolate. Switzerland also has a great wine region and the most common alcoholic drink here is wine.
Other things to see and do here are see the Matterhorn; check out Europe’s largest glacier, the Aletsch, that sticks out for 23km; witness Lauterbrunnen’s fairy-tale Staubbach Falls that are so beautiful that the poets Goethe and Lord Byron immortalized it in their works; or check out the medieval chateau-village of Gruyeres and it’s working cheese dairy.
Of course there’s skiing, snowboarding, snow-trekking or snow-shoeing in Zermatt too!
If you want to hear the music and sights of Switzerland at home you can check out the folk band Sonalp as well as watch the James Bond movie ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ to see shots of Bern, Grindelwald and Saas Fee.
You can also check out the music video below which is a 50 year old Swiss song that was remastered and re-recorded by one of Switzerland’s most famous rappers named BLIGG. I think it shows that although the Swiss are generally thought of as stiff and serious we’re not always that way. Check it out!
We are also known for Heidi, Swiss Family Robinson, yodeling, Swiss precision watches and clocks, our cows with their bells, private banks, Swiss Army knives and Sigg water bottles. Also, most might not know that the Red Cross was founded here and that’s why their symbol is the opposite colors of the Swiss flag.
Well, that about does it for now with our traveling for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey with us. We’ll be hanging out here for a bit and then heading back to Victoria, B.C. later this summer.