Swiss Watching: Inside Europe's Landlocked Island by Diccon Bewes
One country, four languages, 26 cantons, and 7.5 million people (but only 80 per cent of them Swiss): there's nowhere else in Europe like it. Switzerland may be almost 400 km from the nearest drop of seawater, but it is an island at the centre of Europe. Welcome to the landlocked island. Switzerland is the country that not only gave us triangular chocolate and holey cheese, but also the world's first Toilet Duck (1980) and the Swiss Army Knife (1897). The country is famous for its punctual trains and strict neutrality. This is the country that has yodelling festivals on national television. But what lies behind these stereotypes? "Swiss Watching" is a revealing journey around Europe's most individual country. From seeking Heidi and finding the best chocolate to reliving a bloody past and exploring an uncertain future, "Swiss Watching" proves that there's more to Switzerland than banks and skis, francs and cheese. This is a picture of the real Switzerland, a place where the breathtaking scenery shaped a nation not just a tour itinerary, and where tradition is as important as technology. It's also the story of its people, who have more power than their politicians, but can't speak to one another in the same language - and who own more guns per head than the people of Iraq. As for those national stereotypes, well, not all the cheese has holes, cuckoo clocks aren't Swiss and the trains don't always run exactly on time.