|The Swiss path|
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The historically resonant Rütli meadow below Seelisberg is the starting-point for the long-distance Weg der Schweiz (Swiss Path) walking route, inaugurated in 1991 as part of the celebrations for the 700th anniversary of the founding of the Swiss Confederation. The scenic path, which circumnavigates the Urnersee ending up in Brunnen, is almost 35km long, walkable in two days of roughly six hours each (with a mid-way overnight stop in Flüelen or Altdorf), or easily dividable into smaller chunks. Sections are: Rütli to Bauen (11km up and down; 3hr 30min); Bauen to Flüelen (a flat 10km; 2hr 45min); Flüelen to Sisikon (reasonably flat 8km; 2hr); and Sisikon to Brunnen (climbing and dropping 8km; 3hr). Distinctive yellow route markers – a Swiss cross incorporating an arrow – point the way. Boats shuttle between Rütli, Bauen, Isleten, Flüelen, Sisikon and Brunnen, and trains run between Flüelen, Sisikon and Brunnen, enabling you to pick and choose which sections you fancy. Tourist offices around the region have English guides to the route.
The idea behind the path is to provide a lasting reminder of the state of the nation in 1991. Each of the 26 cantons is represented by a length of the path proportionate to its population: impossibly meticulous attention to detail has calculated that every 5mm of the route represents a single Swiss citizen. So it takes 6.1km to cover populous Zürich, while sparser Luzern has 1.6km, and you can dispatch tiny Appenzell Inner-Rhodes in just 71m. Marked stones along the route identify the cantons in the order in which they joined the Confederation – the climb from the Rütli takes care of Uri, Schwyz, Nidwalden and Obwalden (all 1291), the section around Flüelen is labelled for Schaffhausen (1501), while the final walk into Brunnen covers Geneva (1815) and Jura (1979).
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