Travel: Swiss cuckoos

HAVE the Swiss suddenly got it in for vegetarians? The country that gave us muesli (harvested on the slopes of the Matterhorn judging by the picture on the Alpen box) seems to be adopting a most uncharitable attitude towards non-meat eaters.

In the new Swiss Travel Service ski brochure, the small print on the inside back page reads: 'Vegetarians should bear in mind that Half Board prices are based on the hotel providing a table d'hote menu and whilst every effort will be made to satisfy vegetarians many hotels are not experts in this type of menu. Consequently the choice available could of necessity be limited unless you are willing to pay a supplement at the hotel.'

'It does seem a bit steep, doesn't it?' said a person at Swiss Travel Service when I questioned her on this vegetarian tax. 'Some hotels may not charge, we just have to fax them and they tell us whether they do or not.'

She could not tell me what vegetarian delicacy would be served up to justify the extra charge. Having forked out pounds 1,954 per person for a Christmas week at Davos, it would indeed be galling to be handed a surcharge for an asparagus omelette or a cheese salad.