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April 16, 2013updated Dec 20, 2023

Text Messaging The Swiss Way

By Chris Boyle

By Doug Gollan

The Swiss Alps in Summer

The Swiss Alps in Summer

Andrew Evans is Digital Nomad for National Geographic Traveler, and in this role he takes a deep dive into various destinations for a month at a time, tweeting from the Galapagos to South Africa to Texas. You can check his blog on the site.

Last night, the Swiss National Tourist Office brought Evans to the TriBeCa Cinema to talk about his adventures. He was joined by some Swiss entertainment, plus of course Swiss wine (more on that in a bit) and, yes, Swiss cheese.

While elite travelers may think about Switzerland more for mechanical watches, haute skiing and private banking, Evans suggested that the country “about twice as big as New Jersey” has lots more to offer.

Calling it “the most different place in all of Europe,” Evans recounted some of his month in the Swiss Alps. Even with four national languages, he noted, “every valley has a different dialect.”

While he said perception is the Swiss are “uptight,” his month of wandering brought plenty of fun interactions, including a guide who yodeled the American national anthem for him to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Elite travelers are probably used to the modern side of Switzerland; however, Evans talked about how the country bridges “past and future.” For example, in Zermatt, every night between 5 and 6 p.m., goat herders bring their herds down from the pastures through the main street as they have for centuries. Afterwards, today’s young shepherds go home to play Nintendo.

Evans compares yodeling to “an earlier form of text messaging” that farmers used to communicate from one mountain to another about weather or just local gossip. They still yodel today, perhaps to avoid running up their telephone bills.

Soft adventure is big with elite travelers, with one in five of you taking some type of related trip each year. Evans said Switzerland is popular for biking and walking, and noted that signs along walking paths don’t have distances, but list “how long it takes to walk.” He warns, however, that timings are based on the brisk pace of the locals. There is adventure for every level including glacier walking (you need a guide so you don’t fall into a crevice) to full-on mountain climbing.

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Elite traveler Teddy Roosevelt, for example, climbed the Matterhorn on his honeymoon. His wife stayed back at the hotel.

At the end of a day of climbing or walking, it’s worth sampling Swiss wines, according to Evans. He says they compare favorably to Europe’s best. Unfortunately, because of limited production, only three percent gets exported.

If your private jet doesn’t have the range to make it to Switzerland, Tourism Director Alex Herrmann said home carrier Swiss International Air Lines, renowned for its luxurious SWISS First service, has over 60 flights a week from North America to Switzerland during the summer.

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