Life is really getting intense these days but I’ll try to find time to write stuff in here.
Switzerland, arguably one of the most expensive country in Europe, has 4 official languages – German, French, Italian and Romansh. Coming from Spain, I was shocked at the prices in Switzerland. A half an hour journey costs 26 francs in Switzerland while an hour and a half journey in Spain only costs 10 euros. Food is expensive as well – the price of a cup of coffee is ~2.50 francs in Switzerland while it is ~1 euro in Spain. Unlike Singapore where you find announcements in 4 languages (English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil), the signages, announcements and language used vary according to regions. I was in Switzerland for 4-5 days and for the most part, I was in the French speaking southwest region. It’s interesting even though the language used in different areas varies, the culture is still very characteristic.
For instance, Switzerland is a very safe place. We witnessed how one customer in an eatery in Lausanne (French-speaking) accidentally left his belongings behind and how no one touched his things even though there were many people moving in the eatery. Half an hour later, he came back, took his things from where he left it without checking if anything was missing. On another instance, a man on the train between Thun and Bern (German-speaking) asked us to take care of his laptop when he visited the restroom. It was nice to feel safe and relaxed in Europe. 🙂
Another thing that is rather characteristic of Switzerland is that the public transport is really on time – the trains are really punctual. Not surprisingly, there are many clocks near the train stations telling the time accurately. Even so, for tourists like us, we were not used to it and missed several trains consequently.
According to Jennifer, the Swiss are rather environmentally conscious as they sort their rubbish diligently. That is a pretty nice culture to have but again, it makes it harder to fit in.
In general, Switzerland is an expensive, scenic place – there are many beautiful lakes, waterfalls, rivers and mountains. It’s a really nice getaway from city life as the beautiful nature really does calm the soul. Beyond the wonderful spread of nature, the towns of Switzerland are very small as one can easily see the city in a few hours. It is common to find vineyard terraces and a castle or two in a town. Furthermore, the houses are cute and colourful. If I ever become rich, I would want to own a Swiss house. But at the rate I’m spending my money on air tickets, I don’t think I’ll ever become rich. Actually the more I travel, the more I feel that travelling is an individual adventure – what I see and what I experience there. It’s really difficult and grossly inadequate to communicate and share the experiences in words, photos or souvenirs with people back home. Seeing Switzerland in 5 days may or may not have changed me but I am certain that the more I travel, the more I believe that whatever changes I want to make to this part of the world I am living in is possible. Travelling makes me see that people have different behavioural habits and cultures and live so differently around the world. Change is possible.