Above: View of the Lower Engadine valley from my room at Schlosshotel Chastè

For centuries,Switzerlandhas striven to remain aloof from the troubles of the world. Even surrounded by Nazi-occupied Europe, the country managed — narrowly — to preserve its neutrality. Today, the Swiss often maintain, somewhat defensively, that they are not immune to the continent’s problems. But stroll through the tranquil and prosperous streets of Geneva or Zurich, and it is hard to detect even a hint of disharmony. For those wearied by the onslaught of world events, Switzerland still provides a refuge. Everything is clean; everything works; and the people are invariably well dressed, dazzlingly multilingual and conscientiously hospitable to strangers.

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