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Swiss Watching: Inside the Land of Milk and Money by Diccon Bewes

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ELEVENSEEKING HEIDI

Driving south-westwards from Bern on the A12 motorway, one moment the exit signs are all Ausfahrt to Düdingen and St Wolfgang, then it’s Sortie to Granges-Paccot and Givisiez. It’s the same on the local trains, where the nice lady switches her announcements from Nächster Halt to Prochain arrêt without warning. The countryside outside the window still has the same, lumpy-under-the-eiderdown quality, and red-and-white Swiss flags still flutter in people’s gardens, but it feels different once you read the signs and billboards. They are proof that you have crossed a linguistic Grand Canyon, known locally as the Röstigraben, literally the ‘fried-potato trench’ (see the map of Romandie on page 184). The odd name refers to the fact ...

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