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Bill Thayer

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Pit Stop in Switzerland

A country in central Europe. Population in 2005: 7,450,000. Capital: Bern.

[image ALT: A rectangular church on the side of a snow-covered hill, with a prominent square baroque-steepled belfry. It is a church in Mendrisio (Ticino canton, Switzerland). I have not been able to identify it.]

A little church over­looking Mendrisio.

Though Switzerland is where I was born, my parents and I left the country when I was not quite two years old, and despite many years of travel, I've returned only twice so far, and at that, just barely: stepping across the Franco-Swiss border at Ferney-Voltaire for five minutes to make a phone call, back in 1971; and a three-hour excursion in 1996, tagging along with a Milanese pal who needed to check on something at the Swiss branch of his business.

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If then you're looking for a grand site on Switzerland, this won't be it; you'll be tagging along with me on an 80‑minute walk in the snow, in and around Mendrisio in the canton of Ticino.

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Site updated: 19 Feb 07