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Switzerland


Welcome to beautiful Switzerland! A country of superb mountainous ranges, cities decorated with flags, flowers, and small shops, churches, museums, and historical sites.

I toured Switzerland in 1981, the same year as the famous figure skater,
Denise Biellmann, from Switzerland, won her world title.


STATISTICS

  • Population, 1996: 7,207,060
  • Languages: German 65%, French 18%, Italian 12%, Romansch 1%, other 4%
  • For Swiss nationals only: German 74%, French 20%, Italian 4%, Romansch 1%, other 1%
  • Capital: Bern

ZURICH


In Zurich, I stayed with a family for a week. They could speak German, Swiss, Swedish, Italian, French, and Norwegian. I could just speak English and German. One day, we drove for about a half hour north of Zurich to a place called Furkapass; pass meaning a passageway up the mountain:


A bike race was going on. We took our bikes along and I tried to bike down the mountain:



Big mistake...went a little ways (braking all the way), stopped at the side of the road, got off my bike as fast as I could and...found a nice relaxing spot in the woods instead.


The father and brother of the family actually raced down the entire mountain. Unreal!


JUNGFRAU JOCH

After my stay in Zurich, I went on a tour throughout Switzerland for another week. One of the highlights of the tour was the Jungfrau Joch. Jungfrau, meaning virgin (probably because the snow is so "white") and Joch, meaning yoke (because it's yoke-shaped and situated between 2 mountains):


To get to the top of the mountain, you start off by bus for about 2 hours:



Then, it's by train for about an hour and a half with nice scenery along the way:



Close to the top, you can go on a dog sled ride with huskies:



It's a lot of fun, and not cold at all, unless you have a snowball fight. When the sun shines, you can get a tan. You can also visit an ice palace...full of ice sculptures. To get to the top of the Jungfrau, you travel by elevator for a few minutes. You are then at the top at 11,333 ft; there's just you, the tour members, and the clouds!


It's simply breathtaking! At the bottom of the jungfrau, lies the region of Interlaken. You can go to a restaurant and view the jungfrau from just about anywhere in Interlaken. Or, if you like, you can go with friends to a Swiss folklore night, with entertainment, such as folk dancing (I tried, but the poor Swiss fellow I was dancing with had his feet stepped on), folk singing, and trying to blow the Alpenhorn:

Interlaken, which means "between the lakes" offers access to the lakes of Thun (Thunersee) and Brienz (Breinzersee) and is subdivided into East and West. The township is very picturesque:

Twenty minutes west of Interlaken is a place called Spietz situated right on the lake with cottages and vineyards:


Switzerland is superb! Hope you had a nice visit!