I had always pictured Switzerland as the land of mountains. High snow-capped peaks with shepherds yodelling to each other across canyons. After Lucerne
I'll now think of Switzerland as the land of lakes. In retrospect it makes perfect sense for the tiny villages to be settled on the fertile edges of the glacial lakes of Switzerland - unlimited water, more mild climate and natural defences against any invaders. Lucerne is a magnificent (and achingly beautiful) example of the benefits of living on the shores of the lake. Bounded by Lake Lucerne, the Reuss River and the mountains, the only way into Lucerne was across the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge). At any sign of invaders the citizens could burn the 204 metre bridge, cutting them off from the outside. This was obviously a sufficient deterrent, as the bridge hasn't been taken down since 1333, making it the oldest wooden bridge in Europe.