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Switzerland's fusion of German, French and Italian ingredients has formed a robust national culture, and the country's alpine landscapes have enough zing to reinvigorate the most jaded traveller. Goethe summed up Switzerland succinctly as a combination of 'the colossal and the well-ordered'. The tidy precision of Swiss towns is tempered by the lofty splendor of the landscapes that surround them. Switzerland conjures up a fair swag of clichés: irresistible chocolates, yodelling Heidis, humorless bankers, international bureaucracies and an orderly, anally-retentive and rather bland national persona.