Wednesday, 22 October 2008

In the land of Chocolates and snow-capped Alps - Switzerland!

I went to a memorable 4 day vacation to Switzerland (October 11 - 14). No visa was needed, my UK Work Permit was all that's needed to gain entry to the gorgeous country. I had to do the trip this month because I can no longer avail of the privelege after this month ends. Switzerland is joining the Schengen and starting on Nov 1, 2008 it will require a Schengen visa for its visitors.
And I'm glad I went there. I had the time of my life! It was a dream come true. Snow! Snow! Finally I saw real snow! (Well I don't really consider snow here in London as real because it doesn't stay on the ground for long - it just teases me - it's so puny, I can never create a snow angel here, hayyy)
We took some tours in Switzerland - tours I just found in the internet. It was a risk really because I just relied on the reviews in the website. But it turned out well - thank God! Me and my friend were both happy with the tours. Both had very great tour guides, very informative and both tours quenched my thirst for Switzerland (at least for now). These were a the tours we booked - worth every pound, I tell you!
I found the Swiss surprisingly hospitable. We had no problem familiarizing the tram system and finding our way to the hostel the day we arrived because there was always someone willing to help. Even if they had a hard time conversing in English they would still try their best to explain everything. And Swiss always have an easy smile - everywhere I looked I could always find someone offering a ready smile - especially the elderly. 

Having Swiss banks in mind I had thought that Swiss are meticulous in security - you know security checks everywhere. But no - I experienced in Swiss airport the fastest immigration processing I ever had. The guy just asked me how many days I was planning to stay, after that he smiled and let me through - just like that! Even on the train nobody checked our tickets. And even on the trams, which we were using for 4 days, we never had our tickets checked. Maybe this means that all Swiss are so law-abiding that the polizei doesn't have to bother employing regular security checks? Or maybe the punishment for every crime (even minor ones) is so severe that the Swiss just don't consider breaking a law?

Switzerland is an expensive city, but because we came from UK, it wasn't such a shock. (UK is still more expensive, I think). And since exchange rate is like 1 £ = 2 CHF (Swiss Francs) I had the illusion of being richer there, hehe. McDonalds typically costs 8 CHF, meals in a typical restaurant costs 15 CHF to 20 CHF per person. What not to miss is buying the Swiss products for souvenirs because they're sold there in 30% to 40% less than in the Philippines. What products? Well Swiss knives and Swiss watches of course! If you're feeling a bit extravagant you can buy the high-end watches like Breitling, Rolex or Omega. But if you're on a tight budget (like I was), you can just buy a simple Swatch as keepsake. I also bought a PINK Swiss knife for myself - couldn't resist it :p 

Chocolates are everywhere in Switzerland. If in Phil or in UK what we can find in street stalls are bags of crisps (chips), there it's chocolates... chocolates of brands I didn't recognize - Toblerone and Lindt parang Goya lang yata dun :p There were also chocolates of different flavours - flavours that I wouldn't fancy in a chocolate - examples are Rum-flavoured and Whiskey-flavoured chocolates. I bought some Absinth-flavoured chocs for my pretty girl friends hehehe.

Swiss public transport is of top quality - the impeccable punctuality to timetables is impressive. Lots of the places can be reached through trams, trains, busses, boats and cable cars. If you're planning of travelling throughout Switzerland, it is recommended that you get a . But for us since we were on bus tours already, we just had to buy 24 hour unlimited ride ticket on trams in Zurich (costs 7.80 CHF).

You can view my pictures here.

4 comments:

deveykus said...

Nice pix in multiply, I'm happy for you :). Enjoy the rest of Europe, hope to see those countries in the near future.

Georgia said...

sa blogspot ka pala mas active! inaabangan ko pa naman pics mo sa multiply >:( add ko nga sa iGoogle yung blogspot mo para malaman ko agad pag may updates :)

deveykus said...

Sa blogspot ako active for blogs, sa multiply pix lang :) kulit noh.

Georgia said...

oo nga.. gagayahin din kita hehehe. idol kita e :)