Day 1

Well, in just over 24 from when I left Knoxville, I made it to Weisstannen (White Christmas Tree), Switzerland. In between flew to Atlanta, then to Zurich, then took a train to Sargans and started walking. It was a relatively short walk — about 9 miles — but verrry steep in some places.

The scenery here is not the typical high jagged peaks that often typify the Alps. It alternated between evergreen forests and green meadows and pastureland.

Near the end of today’s walk I met a Suisse schoolteacher, Marion, and her dog, Haley. They were going to the next little hamlet past Weisstannen but we walked the last couple of miles to Weisstannen together. Marion teaches economics to high schoolers. All Suisse high school students are required to take a year and a half of economics!

Something similar should be required in the US. If you don’t understand economics you won’t understand history. And, nowadays at least some knowledge of economics is basic to casting an intelligent vote. Come to think of it, a similar requirement, retroactively applied, would be a good requirement for all our politicians, since most of ’em give no indication that they have a clue about basic economic principles.

Here is a pic of the side of a barn near here I thought the posters were interesting. Note how well aligned they are. What else would you expect from a Swiss farmer?

This is a German speaking area of Switzerland, which is a challenge for me. My hotel proprietress (only one small hotel in this town) doesn’t speak a bit of English. But, she does speak a bit of French, do we make do.

More later.

7 thoughts on “Day 1

  1. We’re on the island of Skopelos trying providing a small bit of stimulus to the Greek economy, and happy to be following your exploits. Bravo to BravoBlue!

    Ray and Marianne

  2. I returned last year from Geneva, where I had a 10 month computer project. Being my first time in Europe, I took every free weekend I had hiking and traveling around Switzerland (not to mention France and Italy). The area is beautiful and amazing to see. Wish I were hiking it with you!

  3. Hi John, You see those “posters” (actually they’re metal, so more like plaques) mounted on barns all over Switzerland. They are a type of pedigree certification or “county fair”-type recognition of the quality of the livestock. The one in the lower right, for example, is for the 2012 “show” in which the farmer entered his “Braunvieh” (Swiss brown cows, the breed that liked your foot in the photo above). Cow number 13, named Lilola (whatever Lilola wants, Lilola gets…) won the award. Safina, Cheyenne, and Berna are other cows he owns that also got awards at other shows.
    Good luck on your trek!
    Helveticus

  4. While I agree with your sentiment about economics courses, the execution worries me a bit. I recall in one semester of high school and three of college econ, I never once heard about von Mises or Hayek and only passingly about Friedman. I think I got maybe 5 times the total instruction hours in Keynes versus Adam Smith. Considering the way econ gets taught in most American schools, perhaps giving the kids credit cards and letting them sink or swim is truly the better education.

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