10 Cultural Experiences in Switzerland
1. No Free Restrooms known as “toiletines”
There are no “free” restrooms in Switzerland. The price depends on which gender you are. Males can piss in the toilet for 1.5 CH ($1.50). Females cannot perform this technique very well. They are charged 2CH ($2). Some places charge up to $3. This is not a place to rush. You pay to go. Stay as long as you can. The Starbucks near the Zurich main train station across from the tour buses has a code. I paid $7 for a cappuccino in order to get the code. I later found out they don’t change the code. Skip the $7 coffee and type in 5555 to get into the restroom. Hopefully, they don’t change it. It worked for four days.
The door of the restroom in Starbucks at the Zurich main train station.
There is more than one way to flush the toilet. There is one side to flush for poop and another side to flush for pee. One is bigger than the other. I couldn’t figure out which one to flush. I chose the bigger size. Do they go down a different pipe? There is plenty of toilet paper. The toilets are very clean. There is an attendant who cleans the bathroom after each use.
The bathroom in Murren. Just flip the switch here. It all goes to the same place.
2. The laundromats
I used a laundromat in Murren near our hotel. The cost for washing was $5 and the cost of drying $5. My roommate and I shared both the washer and dryer. It costs a total of $10 for the dryer. It took longer for the clothes to dry.
3. No tipping
There is no need to tip in Switzerland. Most waiters and waitresses will refuse the tip. There is not a line to add a tip when you use your credit card. Service people in Switzerland start at $50,000. They are paid very well. They stay at their jobs longer and are appreciated by their employers.
4. No AC
There is no AC in Switzerland. A fan did the job at my hotel in Zurich. It was muggy and warm. We left the windows open when possible in Murren. The windows of the hotels in Zurich have windows that can be opened.
5. Free water
Switzerland has water flowing out of fountains everywhere. People fill their water bottles with fresh cool water. The water is safe to drink.
6.The Swiss diet
The Swiss eat a lot of bread, cheese, dried meats, and yogurt. Pretzel sandwiches were the best. You have a choice of Pretzels with cheese, ham, cream cheese, tuna (I don’t think it was tuna). I had a “tuna”. Commuters stop in front of a pretzel shop on the street and order their sandwiches. Some of them stand around and eat before boarding the train. Others carry their order on board. There is no eating or drinking allowed on commuter trains. Street food is everywhere and very safe to eat.
The best pretzel stand in Zurich.
7. Public Transportation
The Swiss make good use of public transportation. Roads are very narrow, it’s expensive to have a car in the city, there is no parking, and many of the narrow streets restrict car traffic during the day. Transportation is very clean and safe. I never worried about someone grabbing me, taking my purse, or being rude. As an American, I blended in very well. Until I opened my mouth. The people are very friendly. When I was lost, they pointed me in the right direction. When I couldn’t understand, they translated for me. The trains are sometimes confusing. The only list the last station where the train stops. I became confused because I could never find the station I wanted to end up at. Everything was explained to me by a very kind young man who wanted to practice his English.
The Zurich train station is a two-floor shopping mall. It has everything. It is the only place to shop on Sunday. All shops outside of the station are closed on Sundays.
8. The Swiss are very active
The Swiss bike, swim, and hike. They have access to clean air, water, mountains, uncountable trails for hiking and biking. There are so many lakes, creeks, and streams. The trains have designated cars for bicycles and strollers. Hikers carry backpacks with camping equipment. Switzerland is one wide open camping spot.
Swiss campsite. So clean!
Lake Zurich flows through the city. People swim and boat in it.
9. Swiss dress informally
They don’t wear t-shirts. The people on their way to work dress in appropriate wear. On the weekends they dress down.
Swiss on weekends
10. There are many outdoor cafes
The Swiss like other Europeans eat outside of the restaurants. Most restaurants are very small. They accommodate between 20–30 people. Some more. Some less. The tables spill out onto the closed streets. There are many Swiss who smoke. Smoking is prohibited inside restaurants, some bars, train stations, and places where children hang out. They are allowed to smoke anywhere outside. The butts are disposed of in a special dispenser found all around the city and right before boarding a train.
Switzerland is a clean and safe place to visit. The people are kind and always there to help out.
Good-bye Switzerland. I will miss you!