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SWITZERLAND

Bordered by Austria, Italy, France, Germany and Liechtenstein, Switzerland is a small country nestled in the heart of Europe. With its centralized location, you might be tempted to simply
pass through it on the way to somewhere else, but its snow-capped mountains, majestic lakes and village towns brimming with culture make the country a great destination.

My Switzerland claims that though Swiss people are “somewhat reserved,” they are “friendly and hospitable,” and the country prides itself on a respect for tradition, history and culture. Festivals and celebrations take place throughout the year, including Witches’ Magic on the Aletsch, where skiers take the slopes in full costumes and wigs, and the Festival of the Future, which honors the art of orchestral music.

More than 60 percent of Switzerland is covered with mountains, with another quarter marked by dense forests. With such an overwhelming natural backdrop, many visitors are lured there to simply experience the untouched outdoors. Like many other countries, Switzerland exhibits a strong sense of regionalism that makes it hard to truly define a singular Swiss experience. Switzerland has been influenced in many ways by the German, Italian, and French cultures, but it retains aspects that are uniquely Swiss.

Switzerland is incredibly picturesque, and the country is home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites that encompass sweeping natural landscapes and quaint, historic mountain towns. Switzerland is unique in many ways – the country is isolated,
politically neutral, and retains a large amount of financial power. It is also a popular location for international conferences and conventions; most notably, the city of Geneva is home to the United Nations.

Some people imagine that Switzerland is as cold as Alaska, but this is far from the truth. In the plain, temperatures can rise to 30ºC (86ºF) in the summer, and even in the mountains the sun is hot. In the winter, temperatures rarely drop below minus 5ºC (41ºF) in the entire country, save the mountaintops.

The mountainous character of Switzerland is responsible for spectacular differences in the weather among different regions. It is very common to move from a cold, cloudy and rainy landscape to a beautiful clear blue sky with hot sun in just a few minutes.

Food, ingredients and the way to prepare it varies greatly all over the country. Generally speaking, basic food items include a huge selection of bread (white, whole wheat etc.), dairy products such as milk, yogurt, butter and – of course – a great variety of the world famous Swiss cheese. Also important are vegetables including beans, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, spinach etc. Sausages and meat – mainly veal, beef, chicken or turkey – are served in many different ways: grilled, cooked, sliced or cut. Side dishes include French fries, rice, potatoes and different types of pasta. Fruits are available from all over the world, locally grown fruits include apples, pears, grapes and different types of berries, such as black berries, blueberries, raspberries, red currants and strawberries. Finally, there are a lot of sweets, including the second type of food that Switzerland is world famous for: Swiss chocolate.

There are many different places to go out to eat in Switzerland. Common menus include a great variety of pasta, potatoes prepared in many different ways, vegetables, meat (veal, beef, chicken and even horse), fish (mainly fresh water fish), but also sea food. Vegetarian menus have become more popular during the last few years, most restaurants provide at least one vegetarian menu as a main course. In addition, salad is very popular as well. The most important part of course is desert. This includes cheese, but even more important any flavor of cakes or cookies.

Because of the influence of various European cultures on Switzerland, you can experience a variety of international dishes depending on your location in the country.

  • Since Switzerland has no natural resources, education and knowledge have become very important resources. Therefore Switzerland claims to have one of the world’s best education systems.
  • A large percentage of the student population is comprised of foreign students, giving students a very global outlook and politically neutral understanding of life.
  • The classrooms have few students in order to give individual attention to all. There are excellent facilities and the environment is safe.
  • Switzerland is a great choice for students that love being active outdoors, whether through hiking or playing sports. There are plenty of athletic diversions, including some you may not have ever tried before.
  • Switzerland has not one, not two, not three, but four official languages – German, French, Rumantsch and Italian. Practice your language skills or begin learning a new language while immersed in European culture.
  • Switzerland is so centrally located, you’ll be hard pressed to visit without traveling to at least one or two other countries. Traveling between countries in Europe can be very economical.
  • The most popular of the educational facilities for foreign students, are the Swiss Hospitality Schools, renowned worldwide for their high standards and are almost a pre-requisite for hospitality students looking for a first class education.
Lucerne

Lucerne lies on the shores of the Lake of Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee) and is the capital of Central Switzerland. The nearby Alpine foothills offer an impressive view of the ice-capped peaks of the Alps and the well-preserved medieval town centre of Lucerne.

Lucerne boasts world-famous landmarks such as the Chapel Bridge (Kappelbrücke) and the Water Tower (Wasserturm). Apart from tourist attractions, the town also offers a modern infrastructure with a wide range of cinemas, museums, theatres, restaurants, clubs and an extensive and well-run public transport system.

Lucerne is conveniently located and well-connected to many other places of interest and major cities such as Zürich, Bern, Basel, and Geneva. Several skiing and hiking areas are close, and the Lake of Lucerne offers a variety of water sports (sailing, rowing, surfing,swimming).

Complete with gable paintings, the covered, medieval Chapel Bridge forms the centrepiece of Lucerne’s townscape and is considered to be one of the oldest, covered wooden bridges in Europe. A further landmark of the town is the Museggmauer, a wall which, with the exception only of one of its towers, has been preserved in its original, well-fortified state. Tradition and modernity stand side-by- side with ease in Lucerne, as the town has also earned a reputation for itself with innovative design.

The futuristic Culture and Convention Centre (KKL), designed by leading French architect Jean Nouvel, is one the architectural highlights of the town. The KKL is also a landmark of «Lucerne: Festival City» and venue for a wide variety of cultural events throughout the year.

Climate

Situated in the very heart of Switzerland, the weather in Lucerne is typically Swiss, with few climate extremes and plenty of fine days to suit lovers of the great outdoors. In general, the winter climate in Lucerne can feel quite cold, although the city’s proximity to the Alps does offer some protection.

However, mild weather soon returns in the spring, from the end of March onwards, when temperatures begin to once again rise above 10°C / 50°F. By May, daytime temperatures in Lucerne are soon touching 20°C / 68°F, rising even higher during the hottest months of July and August.

  • Albert Einstein – Famous Scientist
  • Jean Jaques Rousseau – 18 th Century Philospher
  • Ursula Andress – The first “Bond Girl”
  • Claude Nicollier – the only Swiss Astronaut
  • Louis Chevrolet – Founder of Chevrolet Car Company
  • Johann Bernoulli – Mathematician, invented Calculus
  • Daniel Bovet – Nobel Prize Winner, discovered Antihistamines
  • James Joyce – Author (Ulysses)
  • Johanna Spyri – Author (Heidi Children’s Book)
  • Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris (Le Corbusier) – Architect, Painter, Writer
  • Milk Chocolate
  • The typeface “Helvetica”
  • Aluminium Foil
  • Computer Mouse (Logitech)
  • Velcro
  • X Ray Machines
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Cellophane
  • Zipper for clothes
  • Potato Peeler
  • Switzerland has more than 1,500 lakes. You are never more than 10 miles from a lake!
  • Nestlé, founded by Swiss Henri Nestle, is the biggest food company in the world.
  • Switzerland is one of the world’s largest watch manufacturers.
  • Albert Einstein published his Theory of Relativity in 1905, when he was working as a patent
    clerk in Bern.
  • The Swiss are world-wide leaders in private banking or asset management for individuals. UBS and Credit Suisse are among the leading banks. Switzerland has more banks than dentists!
  • 60% of Switzerland’s electricity is produced by hydroelectric power. The Swiss rail system
    extends some 3,100 miles. Swiss rank second behind Japan in relying on trains.
  • Switzerland has the second highest life expectancy, after Sweden and women are expected to live 6 yrs longer than men. Switzerland also has the most hospital beds per 1000 people. 5.8 beds.
  • Switzerland leads the world in chocolate consumption. The average Swiss eats 23lbs of chocolate per year compared to the 11.7lbs consumed by Americans. Switzerland also has the highest consumption of soft drinks in the world!
  • Swiss army knives are red so they can be seen in the snow.

Please get in touch with the PTC Team!

Capital: Berne

Currency: Swiss Franc – CHF

Language: German, French, Italian & Romansh

Country Dialing Code: +41

Neighbouring Countries: Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein