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Switzerland: The Basics

 

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The View from the Bürgenstock in Lucerne, Switzerland

Switzerland. The land of banks, watches, and the Alps. It’s definitely worth a trip, particularly if you are in love with hiking or have grown up watching the Sound of Music.

 

 

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Railroad Tracks from The Tram

 

The Prices:

The exchange rate from Swiss Franc to USD is about 1:1. That being said, Switzerland has a high standard of living, and the people who are waiters, waitresses and bartenders make a livable wage. While this is great news for Swiss people, it does make going out to eat very expensive. I passed one restaurant where it was $70 for a steak! Additionally, everything else is very expensive too: a ride one-way on the tram is about $4.40. When you come to Switzerland, expect to pay for it.

Currency:

The Swiss use the Swiss Franc. They don’t have as many cent pieces: I saw a 1/2 franc and then a ten cent piece. Other than that, I did not see anything.

 

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View of the opposite bank of the Linnat River in Zurich.

 

Overall Vibe:

 

While there are places to go out in Switzerland, it is more of a charming and idyllic place for outdoor recreation and relaxation than anything else. There are many places to shop and, the Swiss Alps are in the distance wherever you go. Additionally, a lack of open container laws means an outdoor picnic with wine alongside the Linnat River.

 

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Tram ride in Zurch

Transit:

 

The Public Transit system in Switzerland is easy to navigate, although expensive. I was lucky in that I was visiting my friends and they had a car for part of the trip. Although the transit is expensive, we tended to use that more often then the car. The trams and buses are effective, and relatively quick.

Language:

I was in Zurich, so most of the people I encountered spoke either German or Swiss German. Almost everyone could speak English and was very polite and accommodating. However, other parts of Switzerland speak completely different languages. Other regions of Switzerland speak French and Italian.

 

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The riverwalk in Zurich

Accommodations:

In Switzerland I was very lucky in that I had absolutely free accommodations and was able to save money in that way. I also had the advantage of hanging out with locals (mostly, students and twenty-somethings), and so I got to experience a very authentic version of what Switzerland has to offer.

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Traditional Swiss Fondue
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Traditional Swiss Fondue

Foods you Need to Try:

While in Switzerland, enjoy the bread, chocolate and cheese. Truly I have eaten more of these delectable morsels here than anywhere else. Additionally, I was lucky enough to have authentic Swiss fondue and it was incredible.

Fun Fact:

If you see little bars coming off of a house, it means that the owners are seeking to do renovations. They must mark what they are doing before beginning any new (exterior) projects so their neighbors can let them know if the new renovations will ruin their view.

Intro to Switzerland Switzerland

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