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Switzerland is usually not on the radar for Americans, and if it is, it is often mistaken for Sweden. I just want to clarify a few things before my journey.

For starters, Swiss is not a language. It never was a language, never will be a language, it is not a language. No one speaks Swiss–no one.

Switzerland, or “Suisse” in French, borders countries that have tried to take over the world many times. France and Germany lock Switzerland in on the east and west and  to the south lies Italy. Switzerland is in the heart of Western Europe.  Lets look at a map:

Switzerland is divided into four official languages. They speak French on the west side (the side that borders France, the side that I’m on), Italian in the south, and Swiss German in the east, which is the same as German except with a different accent. The last language, Romansch, is an endangered language and only spoken by about 2% of the country, mainly in the Graubunden canton in the south. It is considered a Rhaeto-Romance language which means it stems from Latin and was spoken by the occupiers of the area during the Roman era.

This photo is not mine

photo courtesy peteswickedtravels.com

With snow peaked Alps and huge, clear lakes, Switzerland is a destination for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts. It’s hard not to be in love with the geography of the country when all natural beauties are your backyard!

Politically, Switzerland is neutral. They are not part of the European Union, although they are Shnengen–which is an agreement between most of the European countries to travel freely between them.

Last, the websites that are Swiss based are always “.ch” just like in Spain it’s “.es” and France, “.fr.” So why “ch” and not “sw”? The Latin name for Switzerland is Confoederatio Helvetica. Special points to anyone who can tell what it means…

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