Published: October 15th 2011September 15th 2011
“See you in 8 hours”
I forgot how many friends I have made from Switzerland and because of that I thought why not? I will never have this many Swiss friends ever again so lets take this opportunity.
I have gained a lot of friends over the past 8 years of travel but rarely do I end up in a place where those friends live. I was in Trier in Germany’s SE and left with the option of just going back to Berlin or do something off the cuff and set up meeting some friends in Zurich on the day. ‘Oh yeah you can come and visit, great! When are you coming” “Ummm, today see you in 8 hours.” Was basically how it went.
For most backpackers the only way to come to Switzerland apart from being a novice on a tour, is if you are guaranteed free accommodation. So a close friend of thedribbleman Aninna the one who put up with me in JP4 for two weeks in Syria allowed me to fill that void.
I also managed to catch up with Christina the girl I managed to encourage to come to that boob-fest festival in
Swaziland a year earlier at the beginning of JP5. What I was really looking for was some familiar faces and get out of the whole backpacker scene and Zurich provides that with bells on.
Switzerland is a unique part of Europe because it is Switzerland and nothing else. It is so expensive you only get the local experience because no tourist in their right mind would come here when just next door its so much cheaper. Rarely do you see the cliché major chain stores of Europe. Instead its mostly Swiss owned. Even the keys are different!
Plenty of banks are around and generally they are without a face, just an ATM. I tried to exchange money whilst here and that was an ordeal that eventually didn’t eventuate at the banks. Banks seem only interested in the corrupt African politicians money and not really interested in exchanging my lazy 100 or 200 euro bills. So after walking around trying to find a bank with a human being in it I was told I am better off going to a supermarket and they’ll give me change after my purchase. Otherwise it was a 5 Swiss Franc fee.
was informed at a bank that provided Swiss Chocolate whilst waiting in the queue. Packaged with care I was tempted to just act dumb and grab myself free chocolate all day at different banks. So within the first hour of walking the streets of Zurich I got one of Switzerland’s clichés.
I had friends elsewhere in the country but Switzerland’s problem is that to go from A-B it costs a small fortune and because of the last minute decision it didn’t eventuate so no meeting up with Jo the guy that was with me (accept that valuable 20secs) when I got kidnapped and beaten up by the police in Kyrgyzstan.
So instead I just hung around Zurich and hiked up Uetilberg, which provides panoramic views of Zurich and the surrounding area. It was great to be in and around a forest. Really have missed trees throughout this trip and clean air, which Switzerland is full of. In fact a certain someone said to me that when you drop food on the floor, here in Switzerland it is a 30 second rule. That is how clean it is here - In Sydney its 5 seconds.
Winter jackets are
cheap here (one of the only things really) and as I was looking for a jacket in a shop my ears had the unfortunate pleasure to listen to crap music again. I have to say, traveling continental Europe hurts at times. The popular music have such simple lyrics to stupid songs and they do it to capture the non-native English speaking audience. It’s killing the beautiful language.
I was going to go rock climbing in the mountains of Italian Switzerland but the weather was shit so instead I drank my $3 bottle of Belarusian vodka to farewell Europe and welcome a new adventure that lay ahead. Thanks again Annina for allowing me to get a bit of domestication for a day or two even if the cleaning of the house was a half arsed effort.
There are more photos below