Our slow-travel expert discovers a dash of revolutionary spirit and a head for heights on the Jura’s little red train

The man on the slow train through the Swiss Jura is keen to connect. When I mention that I have just travelled from Scotland, he leans forward and confides: “I can understand how they feel up there. We had to fight for our independence from Bern.”

The Jura region’s vote to secede from the canton of Bern in 1978 may not seem like a great upheaval in the broader sweep of European affairs, but issues of identity and autonomy run deep in the folded hills of the Swiss Jura. More than four decades on, the largely French-speaking République et Canton du Jura is still the newest in the Swiss Confederation. But that chance encounter on the train reminds me that there was a time when the question jurassienne provoked heated debates and even riots. There’s not a lot of talk of Jura libre in the hills these days, but there’s still a palpable sense of the this region being a place apart, a semi-detached portion of Switzerland with its own distinctive identity.

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Source: Gaurdian

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