I first traveled to Switzerland in 1991 for a very short trip though Zurich. I returned in 2011 for a longer stay in Zurich, visiting Lucerne and Sargans. My second trip was during the holiday season and the places I visited were quite festive. Switzerland is a stunningly beautiful country, but it is also very expensive, with a high standard of living for most of its citizens. I would like to return to visit the Geneva area in the future and of course would never object to a return trip to Zurich or Lucerne.

Switzerland was colonized by Celtic peoples sometime between 1000BCE and 500BCE. The area became part of the Roman Empire around 60BCE. The Roman's departed around 400CE. By 600CE, the Franks conquered the region, which became part of Charlemagne's Empire in the late 700's, early 800's. In 1291CE, the area started coming together as a confederation of small states opposed to the Habsburg family in Central Europe. Between 1315CE and 1513CE more small states joined, forming the territory that is Switzerland today. The Swiss Guard was formed by the Vatican in 1506CE due to the fierceness and dedication of it's Catholic solders. The state, now part Catholic and part Protestant, as a result of the Reformation,  started its policy of neutrality during the 30 Years War in the early 1600's. In 1798, Napoleon overran the country and the French controlled Switzerland until 1815. Switzerland had a short civil war between 1845 and 1847. The country declared its neutrality during both World Wars. However, Swiss banks did collaborate with the Nazi's during the Second World War. Switzerland didn't join the UN until 2002.

City of Zurich (December 2011)

Zurich and it's surrounding area (December 2011)

Images of Lucerne (December 2011)