Download Swiss Watching: Inside Europe's Landlocked Island by Diccon Bewes PDF

By Diccon Bewes

Swiss looking at is a light-hearted but revealing trip round Europe's such a lot person kingdom. From looking Heidi and discovering the easiest chocolate to reliving a bloody prior and exploring an doubtful destiny, Swiss looking at proves that there is extra to Switzerland than banks, skis, francs and cheese. One state, 4 languages, 26 cantons, and 7.5 million humans (only eighty% of whom are Swiss): there is nowhere else in Europe love it. Switzerland will be surrounded by way of land, however it is an island on the heart of Europe. Welcome to the landlocked island.

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Sample text

If both hands are full, there’d be no handshakes and Swiss society would collapse. Not much pressure, then. Maybe multiple greetings aren’t so bad after all. Nineteen handshakes, nineteen hellos and nineteen name exchanges may sound exhausting, but to help speed things along there is a method in the madness. Just as there are various words for hello – Grüezi is the Swiss norm – there are different levels of hello. The most basic is with complete strangers: a handshake, a name exchange, with optional smile, before moving on.

The cobbled streets and squares 32 STEPPING BACK THROUGH TIME seethe with camera-clicking groups, all peering up at the muralled buildings. It’s just as bad around the city’s most famous landmark, the Chapel Bridge, a covered wooden affair originally built in the fourteenth century. It’s a fair bet that few of the massed photo takers realise that this bridge is a replica of the original, most of which burnt down in 1993. New it may be but it is very photogenic, with the imposing stone Water Tower to one side and the not-so-distant hulk of Mount Pilatus brooding in the background.

Going up to people with an open hand and your name at the ready feels so forward, so American. And so un-Swiss. But it’s not a question of being pushy, rather a question of politeness. How rude it would be to stand in a room with someone whose name you did not know. You may never speak to Stefan or Frau Weber again for the rest of the evening, but at least you did the right thing and introduced yourself. This custom is possibly the real reason most Swiss people are punctual. It’s much easier to stand around chatting or drinking and so 26 THE LANDLOCKED ISLAND make all the newcomers come to you for the introductions.

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