Following the 1 percent to Davos

The World Economic Forum is an annual meeting of the best connected, richest men and women in the world. They meet in Davos. I’m intrigued by their choice of meeting destination.

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Davos is an unlikely, beautiful, real small Alpine town where the world’s richest, most powerful, best connected flock every year to discuss world issue.

Intrigued because Davos, other than when the WEF meets, isn’t a world capital.

dscn7526Davos is a beautiful, alpine community in the Swiss Alps. Population wise, it’s about the size of my hometown of Kentville, Nova Scotia. When I visited there were about four conference-type hotels and some other smaller inns. A new 300-room InterContinental was being built when I was there.

The food is good, fresh and hearty. The type of stick-to-the-ribs cuisine popular with and needed by mountaineers, sportsmen and women, and mountain farmers, but not what you’d think would be served to the dainty. This isn’t a community awash in Michelin-starred chefs. But it has great food! One of the charming local traditions is at the end of your meal to be presented with a Ricola. It could be on a side dish or selected from a mahogany box like a sweet treat.

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Davos offers lots of mountain top dining choices.

Another oddity is that there’s no local airport. The WEF delegates aren’t the type you expect to arrive anywhere via anything but their own jet. To reach Davos, the unwashed fly into Zurich, catch a train at the lower level of the international airport, travel two hours to Klosters and transfer to a Postbus for the rest of the trip. It’s clean, fast, efficient. I suspect the WEF attendees might have their own cars, but then when you’re in Davos don’t expect a lot of parking. There are a few parking lots, but a few dozen limos would fill them. Davos is an attractive walking and cycling community.

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Citizens are fitness mad. Even if it’s just walking, they keep moving. In summer, cyclists replace skiers racing down mountain trails.

The Swiss public transportation system is truly amazing. It is so precise I see no reason to carry a watch. If a train is to arrive at 2:08, it arrives at 2:08, not 2:10 or 2-ish.

If you’re looking for a wellness holiday, Davos is the place to go. The scenery will feed your soul. The air will detox your lungs. There are all kinds and all levels of activities from which to choose. I like that it’s a walkable community. You can casually, safely stroll the streets which are lined by neat little local shops, ride cable cars to mountain tops to have a top-of-the-world meal, linger over the view, hike, bike, walk or sail on the lake. If you’re brave enough there are amazing cycling courses down the mountains. And all of the cable cars are large enough to accommodate cyclists.

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One of the elegant mountain hotels overlooking Davos.

This is a place to go for a D-I-Y wellness holiday. You could take treatments or just engage in healthy living, living like a local.

There can’t be a more real place to meet. Davos must be the total opposite to what passes for normal for those who qualify to attend the World Economic Forum. There are farms and flocks of sheep and cattle grazing within sight of where these people meet.

So after the presidents and prime ministers, the kings, queens, various potentates, billionaires and celebrities leave, treat yourself to a trip to Davos.

Davos is a really pleasant place. You don’t have to be rich or a world leader to visit. And the chocolate is killer!

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