March 27, 2012

Millie's Switzerland Snapshots

Lake Lucerne

With our tour buddies Mora, Kal and John

I'm the youngest in this tour group she only comes second at 24 :)

Our super awesome hotel, Renaissance

Soooooo foggy!!

train station. cool eh?

in front of the hotel.. super cold

Lion of Lucerne, is a sculpture in LucerneSwitzerland, designed by Bertel Thorvaldsenand hewn in 1820–21 by Lukas Ahorn. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in ParisFrance. The American writer Mark Twain (1835–1910) praised the sculpture of a mortally-wounded lion as "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world."

So we went up Mt. Pilatus

Thanks Ate Poie for the photo!

Surprisingly, it's not that cold on top of Mt. Pilatus

Had the best home made chili for lunch!!! Yummy!

With my beloved Lola!

 Switzerland is cold, scenic and peaceful. For some odd reason, I was able to shop more in this country than anywhere else in Europe. I got my Longchamp LM bag, some swiss watches and chocolates here for reasonable prices. We stayed in one of our best hotels so far, Renaissance. We shopped in Bucherer, toured around the city, Lake Lucerne, the Lion Monument then went up to Mt. Pilatus.

Trivia Overload: 
  • In Switzerland...
    • almost everyone has the same type of mailbox (two part: top has a slot for letters, bottom section has a door for packages) with an engraved nameplate.
    • when you leave (quit a job, move away) it is customary that you, yourself, organize a going away party (une verree or apero). In the US, your friends/coworkers do this.
    • it is virtually impossible to lock yourself out (of an office, of your apartment). This is because almost all doors only lock with a key.
    • a child's name must be on an approved list. Swiss parents do not have the freedom to name a kid "Moonunit". Resident foreigners can be exempted from this rule, but you must obtain an official statement from an embassy that attests that the name is acceptable in the other country.
    • all stores are usually closed by 7 pm.
    • if you want to buy groceries on Sunday (or after working hours), go to a gas station. Many stations (especially Migrol which is owned by Migros) are mini supermarkets. Another place to shop is at larger train stations, or airports, where mini-markets are almost always open from 6 am to 10 pm.
    • pharmacies sell maple syrup.
    • gas stations sell good bread.
    • vinegar compresses on the lower legs/ankles are recommended for reducing fever.
    • you can buy UHT milk, which keeps for months unrefrigerated.
    • almost all milk comes in 1 liter Tetra-Pak boxes.
    • you cannot turn right on red.
    • there are no smoke detectors in apartments.
    • talk shows almost always have a panel of 4 or more. After all, how can you possibly have a meaningful discussion without at least 4 people?!
    • many stores are closed for long lunch (sometimes from noon to 3pm).
    • banks do not charge ATM fees.
    • on many buses, you buy tickets and get change from the driver (yes, the driver does carry change!!!)
    • sometimes there are small birds (swallows?) flying around *inside* large grocery stores (Migros Crissier), cafeterias (EPFL Coupole), and even restaurants (Movenpick Ouchy).
    • mosquitos are slow moving, do not bite (usually), and dumb. This is probably why there are no window screens in Switzerland.
    • there are some American chains: McDonald's, Wendy's, Domino's Pizza, Toys 'R Us. However, only McDonald's has a drive through (at Crissier).
    • there are stores (mostly in Geneva) that carry all those American and British products and "comfort foods" not sold in Swiss groceries: Marmite, Cadbury's Flake, Lucozade, Velveeta, Hersey bars, Cheeze-Its.
    • everything shuts down in August. Most people in Switzerland have 4 to 5 weeks of vacation per year and take a few of these in August.
    • many day care centers are closed many days because of school holidays (1 week "winter sports" in Feb/Mar, 1 week spring break in April, 3 to 5 weeks during July/Aug, 1 week in Sep/Oct, 1 to 2 weeks for Christmas/New Year's).
    • movies have intermissions.
    • lingerie is advertised on sidewalk billboards so as to easily catch the eye of pedestrians and drivers.
    • there seem to be lingerie stores everywhere.
    • nudity (and more) on network TV is not unusual.
    • most toilets don't flush very well (low flow to conserve water). Thus, there is almost always a brush next to the toilet for "cleaning" the bowl when needed.
    • people smoke indoors, even if an area is clearly marked no smoking.
    • grocery shopping is very cheap, but eating out is very expensive.
    • few people eat out often (not really surprising since it's expensive to eat out), except for those who live downtown in large cities.
    • you can ride on many public transit systems (bus, light rail) without buying a ticket (i.e., ticket inspections are rare).
    • most grocery stores do not accept credit cards.many streets (even busy ones) are pitch black by 11pm.
    • you can make a hotel reservation without giving a credit card.
    • you often pay for rental things (e.g., ski equipment) when you return it.
    • when you check in at most hotels, you have to leave your passport for a few hours (this is also true throughout the rest of Western Europe).
    • almost all houses and apartment buildings have bomb shelters, which often cannot be used (because most people use them as storage spaces). If you build a new house, you are required by law to include a bomb shelter. It is possible to get an exemption, but in this case you will have to pay a fee (i.e., a "contribution" to a communal shelter, even if one does not currently exist).
    • SMS Text messaging in Switzerland (and most of Europe) is free for received texts, only the sender pays.

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Listening to : Good Intent Live at Sing Sing Studios by Kimbra 
              <3: Switzerland
             =( : arguments

1 comment:

  1. Is that Switzerland? It really looks great! Can someone tell me which is the best place to visit the country and we also want to go skiing- can you recommend a place for a fair price?

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