Over the past year or so I have learned a tad more. Just like their famous watches the country runs accurately. Sometimes Himself goes all Swiss on us, all anoraky about things. Especially punctuality.
Aesthetically, the Swiss get it right, every time. They look well, act appropriately and are partial to formalities. On the surface it would appear that way. There is correct attire for specific social occasions. I’ve been over and back quite a few times with the kids and sometimes we don’t have the right accouterments with us. Like gear bags. There’s something about a middle-aged man wearing runners with jeans, lugging a blue IKEA bag filled with towels and sandwiches that screams refugee. Such was the state of us at a Swiss waterpark last mid-term trip. Any wonder we were getting dirty looks. Furthermore, an anniversary dinner in a posh restaurant the night before with far too much vin rouge (just couldn’t leave it at the wan bottle, ah no, sure that’d be pure Swiss) resulted in morning after ropeyness. A trip to a waterpark had been promised, so no getting out of that one. Suffice to say red wine sweats are nasty at the best of times especially queuing on a Baltic waterslide stairs. Having said that flinging oneself from a height and skimming at GForce down a slide works does the same job as a rasher and brown sauce sandwich. A sauna seemed like a better idea but we forgot to bring our towels. Now it has to be said, we were wearing togs as were the other people in the sauna. But there are rules. An elderly couple took great pleasure in ratting on us and we were asked politely to leave. Towels were requisite, we didn’t have same. Knuckles rapped.
Here are some more of their rules…
No shops open on a Sunday. Everybody does their family-leisure-walking with those stupid poles-thing on a Sunday. Or if you’re a middle-aged man you cycle (same as here, that bit).
You cannot mow your lawn on a Sunday in some cantons (sort of like our counties). Only if you’re minted enough to rent a house with a lawn.
If it’s not your scheduled day and you’re bold enough to do your washing off timetable, in the apartment building communal machine - even if it’s empty and there are no other loads waiting - you may find your clothes removed and scattered in the Alps by the Lady Who Guards The Washing Machine (usually late 50s, single, rotund, speaks no English and smells of stew and cheese).
The country has a navy though it is landlocked.
It’s true, everything is expensive over there, except public transport and electronic equipment.
Everybody likes cheese, especially fondue which smells rank.
Whilst a hub for cancer and medical research, they like to smoke. Voters rejected a nationwide smoking ban in all enclosed public places in 2012. Many cantons have fumoirs, special smoking rooms that are sometimes staffed. Phillip Morris employs 3,000 people with a manufacturing and large R&D facility in Neuchâtel and Lausanne.
Yes, the chocolate is only massive. If you’re invited to a Swiss dinner wo-betide the numptee who brings a box of Milktray, even if it’s all because the lady loves them. It’s rude to bring anything other than Swiss chocolate.
And now for something completely different…
The country is unique for having enough nuclear fallout shelters to accommodate its entire human population. Great for storing wine and unruly children.
Often praised as a model for direct democracy, the country did not grant women the right to vote in any of the elections until 1990. Sure they were flat out protecting the washing machines.
Amongst industrialized nations, Switzerland has one of the highest rates of gun ownership, but has nearly half the rate of gun-related deaths that the US has. Men in are required to keep the firearms they are issued during their military service at home even after they leave the military. That’s mad Ted!
All those little Nespresso pods that you spend a small fortune on are all manufactured in Switzerland. Nespresso an operating unit of the Nestlé Group is based in Lausanne.
The scenery is breathtaking, the Alps spectacular. The towns on Lake Geneva are cosmopolitan and vibrant compared to the archaic rural villages.
Finally, bear in mind your cat or dog when you tucking into your Christmas dinner and think of Switzerland. The moonshine folk in the Alpine hills are partial to les animaux domestiques especially at Christmas time. All is not what it seems.