Switzerland! Wow! When we first flew into Zurich, I was so excited. We saw snow in the forests, finely maintained fields, straight roads, and everything looked so nice! After landing and overcoming some temporary confusion at the train site, we headed off to Baden to see my college roommate, Ali, and his family!
We had about 4 hours before dinner with the Sarrafan family and we were a bit “peckish” so we decided to look for a small bite to eat. This is when we first noticed that things were a bit different in Switzerland. Lets start at the nice, but not super nice, restaurant we passed by. I looked at the menu and saw that a hamburger cost 28 Swiss Francs, which is the equivalent of 28 U.S. dollars! Granted, it came with cheese and fries, but what the heck! $28 for a burger?!?!? To feed the four of us would cost over $100 and that doesn’t even include drinks.
We noticed most restaurants we walked by were easily $20 minimum for a basic dish. We were running out of time, didn’t have time for a typical 2-hour European lunch, and just needed a snack to tie us over really, so we stepped out of our comfort zone and stopped at McDonalds. The prices were less, but a Big Mac was $11! There is no dollar menu in Switzerland either; it’s a $5 dollar menu if you want a cheeseburger. I began to feel like to live here you must be a Lannister!
So after a $40 McMeal that was super tiny (two happy meals and two cheeseburgers) we headed back to our hotel. There I did some research and found that Switzerland is an expensive place to visit. You can keep costs down by doing a few things. Stop at the COOP (local grocery store) to pick up ready-made lunches for $3-$5 and take advantage of the many fountains that spring up all over town where you can fill up your water bottles for free instead of paying a small fortune for that same water at a restaurant.
The next day we ate our “free” breakfast (I was thinking of pocketing some bread for later, but did not) and then met up with Ali and he took us to the Stein Tower overlooking Baden. We had great weather and got some great pictures. Then we wandered through Baden and walked by the river. It was very nice. Ali is a great guide, even if he has only been here for a short while. We stopped and had a nice lunch just as the weather changed and it began to snow.
We had some great visits and great dinners, but most of the Sarrafan Clan was sick or recovering from some sort of flu so we said our goodbyes and took our leave. We hope to come back when they are healthier and when the weather is a little less winter.
Back in Zurich we tried not to go bankrupt as we window-shopped the Bahnhofstrasse and hit the National Museum (kids under 16 are free!). We saw works of art from the Dada movement, which I totally did not get. We also saw some rather strange pieces as well as some amazingly interactive pieces.
On our final night in Zurich we dined on Swiss fondue, which was delicious! Zurich was amazing clean but I’ll need to retire again to be able to afford the $28 hamburgers!
Dr. Blueray filling in for an ailing Lisa.