Smart Swiss

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Plaque on display at Poschiavo train station showing the UNESCO World Heritage Site status for the Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscape

Getting the UNESCO World Heritage Site status is a sure way of getting an endless stream of profit. The Swiss are quick to capitalize on this, getting their first 3 in 1983 and having a total of 10 as of 2009, which is amazing, given the small area of land that is Switzerland. One of them, which i visited, was the Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscape.

With the award of the World Heritage Site status, the Bernina Express, developed and marketed by the Rhaetian Railway, gains a lot of credit as being the ride to go for. Actually, the only difference between the Bernina Express and the normal trains that travel the same route is that the Bernina Express has a panoramic roof. For this, the fare premium (for travelling the full length of the Bernina line) is a whopping 168%! A lot of travellers probably get the wrong impression that it is the Bernina Express that was awarded the World Heritage Site status when in actual fact it is the route and the landscape.

Quite unfortunately, the day i took the train turned out to be a rainy day, and visibility was very low. My only consolation was that i took the cheaper train. Anyway, somehow, the scenery outside while crossing the Bernina Pass didn’t look as good as i thought it would be. I imagine it would look better in winter, when everything is covered with snow (as shown in their publicity photos).

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Passengers of the Bernina Express on a rainy day. Notice that the normal train window is already quite big and can be lowered (good for photo taking) but the Panoramic window of the Bernina Express cannot be lowered!

Just about everyone knows Switzerland has a high standard of living. I think this is attributed to the many good characteristics Swiss people have. They are said to be thrifty, industrious, planning ahead, serious, sincere, fair, social, optimistic. I would like to add – integrity, the basis of any progress. For maintaining such wonderful virtues and thereby achieving the success they have today, I’d say the Swiss are pretty smart people.

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Billboard giving directions to 2 different restaurants: co-benefit rather than compete only

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