Top 10 Reasons Why Switzerland is “Not Our Favourite”
Disclaimer: This blog entry is a collection of our frustrations over the last few days which we feel the need to get off our chests. We won't hold it against you if you skip on to the happier blog entries which follow.
Reason 1a: The roads. After crossing the German border we were met by a not entirely friendly border control man. We were about to pay him 14 Euro as a 6 month pass to use the Swiss highways until he said that it was 40 Euro! Umm, no thanks. There was no option for a shorter pass and we elected to use the alternate route.
Reason 1b: The alternate route. These roads take you mostly at 50km/h for your entire journey. The roads are narrow and windy and go through every minor town. They also contain a ridiculous amount of road works and together with the weather (see reason 2 below) it resulted in a cracked skirt of the car which may upset my friends at Hertz back in Germany (mums: don't panic, we're ok and we're well insured).
Reason 2: The weather. At 31 degrees, Bern was a tad hot when we arrived, but we didn't complain about that :) That night the heavens opened and didn't stop for 36 hours. The Swiss alps don't look all that impressive when at peak rainfall you have ten metres of visibility and cloud covering the mountains at other times.
Reason 3: Disappointing Einstein museum. Einstein's theory of special relativitiy, developed in Bern, has some fascinating consequences, such as time dilation. The Einstein museum, which is at the house where he lived, has not a drop of science in it, just some boring story about how he got divorced and then married his cousin. Ewww! I'm sure even those who I bore regularly with my science diatribe would rather hear about relativity than that rubbish!
Reason 4: Non-existant ogre fountain. We were promised a fountain of a giant ogre eating wriggling children, but all we got was road works. We were most disappointed, but redemption was near, when we spotted a Swiss woman watering her garden with a hose, and took a photo of her instead. Meh, close enough :)
Reason 5: Non-existant modesty and decorum. It was Sunday, and 31 degrees, however, speedos on old men are still nasty. Mate, labelled undies are still undies, yes, even when they are white and you think you're hot. Please put something else on. However, white undies are preferred to bare bottoms. Madam and sir, please change in the change rooms next time. Lady, no, those tights don't make you look fat, your enormous bum does that, feel free to wear something else tomorrow, but you may keep your socks and sandals if you must.
Reason 6: Working hours. You lazy bums, who else has a lunch break from 11am to 2pm? And in a tourist place where tourists can arrive any time? The registration and check in at the one campsite was at 4pm. Oh wait, maybe you think we're all driving from over 10kms away on the alternative roads (see above).
Reason 7: Rude service people. Despite the sign on the door saying you can pay in Euro, the snooty woman at the Einstein museum nearly had a cow when I presented her with the superior currency (see reason 9). She actually had a cow, a cute wee heifer, when the people after us also wanted to pay in Euro but needed change. If you don't want to accept Euro, don't put it on the sign!! The people at McDonalds weren't any better (see reason 8)
Reason 8: McDonalds. They proudly displayed a poster, declaring free wireless internet to customers. Perhaps they should actually make sure that a staff member knows how it works? Just sayin. I want a refund for my CHF 4.30 drink.
Reason 9: Money. Why be different from everyone else in Western Europe? Ok we know the Brits are "special" too. Camping grounds are twice as expensive as in Germany. Want a shower? .5 francs. Use the internet? 5 francs. Want to wipe? 59 francs. Oh, I see you're paying by card. Sorry, minimum charge is CHF 1348763.28, can I upgrade you on that? While ranting about money, food is insanely expensive here. We saw steak for fifty francs a kg!
Reason 10: Privacy in Bern's camping ground. The toilet block was walled with wooden slats with as much space between them as wood. Every winkle could be heard from outside the women's toilet by those playing table tennis right outside. The men's urinals could only be used by the above mentioned who are keen on chilling in their undies or changing in public.
Now that we have that off our chest, we do have a couple of positive things to tell you about Switzerland. Firstly, we brought German beer with us, and even Rebecca thinks it's yum. Secondly, we leave soon. Nah, secondly, it's green and picturesque as expected. Thirdly, there's more English translations on public signs than in Germany. As a foreigner, I only think it's polite for a European native to speak English :) Finally, Bern was a nice place to visit and quite pretty too.
Here's hoping things get better tomorrow.
- Brent and Rachel (our evil twins)