Switzerland: The Lord of the Hearts
Friday, 14 December 2007

YOGESH AMBEKAR 

Switzerland become a self-governing Nation in the year 1648.Switzerland is the first choice of tourist, directors of Hollywood and Bollywood. Switzerland is a country gifted with natural beauty located in the heart of Europe. "Confoederatio Helvetica" is another name for it. It is extended over 41'285 square kilometers of land.

Geographically Switzerland is separated in three major areas Alps ("Alpen") occupy 60%, Middle land ("Mittelland") 30% and Jura 10%.

It is situated in the Central European Time zone (CET). It runs one hour ahead of Greenwich Time. Swiss land heights are popular for climbing, skiing, snowboarding, biking, hiking and other recreational activities.

Rapid development in mountain areas includes trains, cog railways, aerial cable cars and other means of transportation.

Well known mountains include Monte Rosa, Dom, Weisshorn and Matterhorn.

Cultural life in this country is rich and varied like its countryside. There are basically four official languages and cultures which include German, French, Italian and Romansh.

It has unique mixture of traditional and contemporary elements and manages to keep a happy balance between preserving its cultural heritage and allowing new impulses to bring about change.

In spite of being a small territory Switzerland offers an amazing variety of special exhibitions of international importance. It has world class museums.

It is an ideal destination for family holidays. All the places can be reached quickly and easily, and even the journey to final destination is never long and exhausting.

The duration of journey doesn't last for more than 4 to 5 hours and you can enjoy the gentle landscape, discover what it means to be free in a natural setting and really enjoy the thrill of a family holiday together.

Defense Systems:

In many hill tops cave shaped buildings have been built to serve military purposes. They have arms and all necessary utilities required during crises. Each individual has to do military service which starts at the age of 20 and ends when we become 42.

At war time, soldiers keep their arms at house, an automatic gun for simple soldiers, a pistol for officers, plus a couple of bullets in a sealed box. The gun is returned at the age of 42.

Lakes:

This country hosts many lakes, from the large Lake Geneva to hundreds of small lakes in the mountains. Many lakes have been dammed-up, mainly to drive water turbines of power plants. Large size lakes include Lac Leman (Lake Geneva), Bodensee Neuenburgersee.

Rivers:

The rivers of this country lead to three different seas: The Rhein with its branches Aare and Thur drain 68% of the water into the North Sea. The Rhone and the Ticino pour 18% into the Mediterranean Sea. The Inn pours 4% into the Black Sea. The major rivers: Rhein, Aare, Rhonev, Inn, Thur, Ticino.

Glaciers:

Almost 3000 km² of glaciers and fern are found in Switzerland. The number is decreasing. Some the largest glaciers include Aletschgletscherv, Gornergletscher.

Climate:

Switzerland is situated in a transition zone. The west part is under strong influence of the Atlantic Ocean. The blowing winds bring moisture into Switzerland and cause rainfall.

As compared to west in the east, there is an almost continental climate, with lower temperatures and less precipitation. The mountains which run from east to west - act as a climatic divide. Towards south of these alps there is an almost Mediterranean climate, with significantly higher temperatures but also a lot of precipitation.

Spring is generally wet and cool. In the month of April there are fast and often changing weather conditions. Generally summer is warm and dry with maximum temperature up to 35°C.

The temperature depends basically on the height; the zero line may rise as high as 4000 meters above sea level. The temperature will drop rapidly in September or October, with the zero line around 2000 meter above sea level. It is cold and dry in winter. The temperature drops below Zero Degree Celsius everywhere in Switzerland, especially at night.

Major highways:

The highways in this country used to be named Nx, where N stood for "Nationalstrasse" i.e. national road and x a number, but they have recently be renamed to follow the common European naming schema.

These names begin with the letter "A" for "Autobahn" in German tone. Highways of international worth have names opening with the letter "E", therefore some highways have two names. Names of the towns are used for guiding on the roads, rather than highway numbers.

To use the highways over here, a toll has to be paid. Although no toll booths are present a special sticker - known as the "Autobahn Vignette" is required.

The sticker is applicable for one year, there is nothing like a one day or one week pass. It worth's around CHF 40.00 and is available at the customs at the borders and at all gas stations and post offices throughout the country.

The sticker must be attached to the windshield on cars and trucks. The rules for where it has to be placed on motorbikes are different.

Euro is rejected at most of the places. It must therefore be exchanged with Swiss Francs (CHF) which is its official currency. Switzerland is a place every person wants to visit at least once in his lifetime. It is really a heaven place on this earth.

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