One of the loveliest things about Switzerland isn’t the fondue, or its proximity to the rest of Europe, or even the view from the balcony, nope, it is actually the Blumen fields. The whaty fields I hear you ask? The Blumen fields. Now let me explain.
Many of the local farmers dedicate a corner (actually sometimes more than a corner) of their land to flowers. Tulips, dahlias, lilies, sunflowers, and many more besides. Between April and October these fields allow members of the public to select a segment of the rainbow to take home with them. As with everything in Switzerland these multicoloured delights don’t come for free with each stem costing anything from 80 rappen to 3 francs. The joy comes from the fact that you pull over from the road, grab a knife that the farmer has kindly left for your convenience(!), you wander along the rows choosing the blooms that catch your eye before you leave your payment in the honesty box. Yep, you read right, not only are there half a dozen knives left out (health and safety clearly not an issue here) but there is also an HONESTY BOX!!!
For me the humble honesty box sums up the difference between Switzerland and the UK. In England (or Scotland, or Wales or Northern Ireland for that matter) honesty boxes are as rare as hens teeth. I guess that in a society where local newspapers report thefts of charity collection tins then honesty boxes are laughable. If you do happen across the odd small holding where eggs are for sale the honesty box is practically cemented to the ground, gloriously contradicting its title and leaving you to wonder whether even the owner can access it.
The Blumen fields are more than just a pretty patch of land that generates a few extra francs for the landowner, they illustrate a society that still has faith. Faith in each other to do the right thing.