Switzerland is not a small country / by mrm

It's a small town. At least if you live there. On a glorious excursion conducted entirely via public transit with my relatives Gottfried and Rosemarie, we encountered someone they knew everywhere we went. The bus, the train. A town an hour away. Hands were shaken, greetings exchanged. I was introduced as the Californian. This elicited smiles. Everyone inquired after everyone else's relatives. On our roughly 12-hour journey, through Lucerne, Interlaken, into the foothills of the Alps, this continued with astounding regularity. I suppose it's practically a pun to talk about anything occurring like clockwork in Switzerland. Nonetheless. What would it be like, I wonder, to live in a place that is so small. The tops of the mountains are regularly obscured by the clouds. The lanscape dips and soars, as does the dialect.

Having spent only about four days there, I still feel certain that it's almost impossible that Switzerland will ever join the EU. Not, as is widely supposed, because their are loath to give up their independence, their isolation, their neutrality. Nor out of snobbishness. No, I think it is partly due to a strong sense of tradition - 700 years of continuous civilization and general prosperity are enough to make anyone wary of something as newfangled as the EU. But perhaps even more than that, I think they wouldn't want to give up their close-knitness. They've seen Paree, and they'd like to stay down on the farm. It's not provincial. But it's at times pastoral, and decidedly cosy.