1) The flowers! The Swiss are very good at their window boxes and other containers with flowers. If I have a tiny criticism, it's that they seem to think that scarlet and pink go together, which I don't. However, there was such general floriferous whoofing that it hardly mattered. This is Murten. Hint for future wealth: take out shares in Swiss geranium farms.
2) The roofs. I do like red roofs in beautifully random shapes. (Daughter 2 points out my inconsistency in that I'm not very keen on red bricks. Which is true. But I might, if they were in such lovely cluttered patterns. And it's a mellow red.) This is also Murten.
3) The turquoise water. It's really that colour. Something to do with minerals dissolved in them. My brother will no doubt give me the scientific explanation but it's very pretty, whatever the reason. This is Bern. We in Edinburgh tend to pride ourselves on our beautiful town centre but I have to admit that Bern's is - well - pinker and bluer and greener. We tend to go for grey, stern and lowering. (Lowering as in threatening, overcast, rather than bringing down.)
4) Mountains. We too have mountains, but not quite so everywhere and not with pretty pink and white towns so close by. Our mountains are magnificent but you wouldn't go there to increase your social life. We go more for isolated derelict cottages and occasional villages with grey roofs. And sheep.
5) Cute little churches - mainly at the highest points of already quite high villages. As one of our party remarked, you'd need to be really keen to pant up the hill to these churches.
6) Smooth hillsides. These fascinated me. Though the chalets on the hillsides usually didn't have fenced-off gardens, it looked from the trains as if the grass in between them was smoothly mown. Which didn't seem very likely: rather hard work. The landscape looked like a painting, with the flat grass, the shadowed trees and the musical-box houses. As we travelled around, however, we often saw people cutting the grass (which wasn't actually quite as short as it looked from a distance) and then raking it up, presumably to use as animal feed. Is this right? Does anyone know?
7) Red. They are very fond of red, on their flags, tourist souvenirs and yes, more flowers. These are begonias. Our growing season isn't long enough to achieve this effect.
8) More mountains. This is the early morning view from our balcony in Thun. Rather impressive.
9) The lots and lots of views, such as this one from a rack railway up to the...
... Reichenbach Falls, where Sherlock Holmes fell to his death (or didn't). They were a bit unimpressive, actually. Mr L thinks that they've been somewhat diverted for the sake of hydroelectricity. Niagara they're not.
Look what Daughter 2 did while we were away. It's the first time she's had short hair since - well, since she was 1.