SWITZERLAND, February 6, 2016 – As a tiny landlocked nation surrounded by mountains, the Swiss are a model for the world at what hard work, creativity and ingenuity can accomplish. The new year will be a showcase example as Switzerland unveils three major venues.
Gotthard Base Tunnel – In June, the long awaited Gotthard Base Tunnel will officially become the longest and deepest train tunnel in the world at 35 miles. At a depth of more than a mile, 6560 feet to be precise, travelers will comfortably burrow through the St. Gotthard Pass at 155 mph without ever again encountering the snows that often made the major connecting point between northern and southern Switzerland and Europe impossible to traverse.
Construction began in 1996. Now twenty years later, the tunnel will debut in June and, by December, it will open to the public, reducing north/south travel time by more than an hour.
Fear not, the other serpentine routes for motor vehicles and scenic trains will continue to be viable, picturesque alternatives, but when the inevitable snows of winter arrive, the Gotthard Base Tunnel will make access greater than ever before.
For the Swiss, it’s just another phase in improving and modifying the clockwork precision of their country.
State of the Art in Basel – No city its size has more, or better, museums than Basel, Switzerland. It has been an evolutionary process, but it did not happen in a vacuum.
Perhaps the Louvre or the Prado or the Ufizzi Gallery are better known to travelers, but Basel’s Kuntsmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts) is one of the best of its kind in the world, and quite possibly, and comparatively one of the art world’s best kept secrets.
In April, Basel will open a new addition to their Fine Arts Museum featuring exhibitions intended to bridge the gap between the 15th century to Modern Times. Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, or for Americans just call it the “New Building,” will focus on collections from the late 20th and, of course, the 21st centuries.
Basel has a long and rich tradition in the world of art. Ask any Baseler and they will proudly let you know that, for its size, Basel has more quality museums per capita than any other city in the world.
Switzerland has been a democracy for more than 7 centuries and, as such, art has always been a public proposition. Without a royal family, the Swiss have cultivated the concept that art should be “shared” and they are passionate in that belief.
Pablo Picasso personally donated several of his major works to Basel’s Kunstmuseum in appreciation for the city’s recognition of art.
Among its exhibitions Basel was home to Jean Tinguely and honors his contributions with a museum. There is also a Contemporary Art Museum, a Doll Museum, a working Paper Mill Museum and a superb collection of modern art at the Beyeler Foundation, a private collection that was valued at $1.85 billion at the time of his death in 2010.
Just outside Basel there are Roman ruins at Augusta Raurica and there is even an art hotel name Der Teufelhauf, or Devil’s House.
Thrill Walk on the Schilthorn – Travelers love to visit the Schilthorn and its revolving restaurant which was built as the set for the James Bond spy thriller On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
In July, there will be a new attraction for “thrill seekers” when the Thrill Walk on Mount Schilthorn will provide an adrenaline-boosting highlight in the Jungfrau Region not far from Interlaken.
The new walkway will begin at the sun terrace and head directly into the perpendicular rock facing of the Birg massif. Featuring steel grating and reinforced glass, the passage will hug the cliff beneath the observation deck and cable car line before re-emerging just below the cable car station.
Weather can be tricky when visiting the Schilthorn or the Jungfraujoch but when the clouds disappear the scenery is beyond belief. As the old broadway show once said, “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.”
Bring your best James Bond impersonation and see Switzerland as only 007 did.
It’s a trio of treats in a variety of disciplines and it is all part of what continues to make Switzerland a country with mountains of ideas.
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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
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