I am currently laying amongst the cloud-like pillows of the Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, Switzerland. Along with journalists and members of the media I will be spending the next 4 days exploring Switzerland, learning about the country, and even how it will be represented at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Our flight was long (and held-over in London) so we arrived at night and haven’t been able to see much of our surroundings. Luckily we were greeted by Dr. Sibylle AmbÃ¼hl, from Presence Switzerland (the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) who gave us a crash-course in everything Swiss. She amazingly managed to explain all the basics of the geography, political system, military, electoral process, education, and health care infrastructure during the ride from the airport. She said that many other countries have lakes, mountains, snow, agriculture, and metropolitan cities however Switzerland has all of that packed into 41,000 square kilometers (which is about 25 times smaller than British Columbia).
Tomorrow will kick off our expedition as we say goodbye to the Beau-Rivage and head to IOC Headquarters and the Olympic Museum. From there, we’ll take trains and buses across the entire country — exploring and uncovering all that makes Switzerland tick.
This will be my first night in a 19th century hotel (where the Treaty of Lausanne was signed) so sleep is the first part of my adventure.
When the sun rises I’ll be able to look out the window and truly get a grasp on my surroundings. Over the next few days, I hope to share all of the elements of Switzerland that make it much more than a nation of cheese, chocolate, and finely crafted watches.