Monday, April 04, 2016

Two Days in Switzerland: A Taste of Perfection

Last weekend, I jetted off to Switzerland to visit Sean,  as a much needed break from the chaotic inefficiencies of the beautiful, yet sometimes much too frustrating, country in which I live. I'm lucky to have such amazing friends- Sean treated me to an all-country train pass for the weekend, which meant we could go on any bus, train, boat, tram and funicular in the country! If you're a resident, you can get this for 300 euros per month (58 euros more and your dog can come, too!)  While this may seem ridiculously high, this is pocket change for the Swiss, whose  average salary is 5979€ per month, and average salary for professionals ranges more like between 8000 and 9000 per month.

Lucerne view
 Yes, yes, it is more expensive to live there - but not that much more; the Swiss have the highest disposable income in the world!
So, Sean lives in Fribourg at the moment. On Friday we checked out his small, historically (and currently) religious town and had dinner with his roommate, who was an interesting, kind man to have dinner with. He's not a priest- but he's part of the church and has "robes", so he works there. We had raclette!!! Mmm!!  I can finally speak French fluently again, so I was so, so, happy to practice it!  

We also went over to Neuchatel so that I could get a feel for their campus - I didn't have a chance to talk to anyone, but I got a flyer for their Language Sciences Research Group. Visualize it!!!!

Neutchatel View
Then, we tried to catch the Funicular in Neuchatel to see the view from the top, but it was closed!! We took the bus instead though, and the view was worth it.  We missed the funicular in Fribourg too, which was closed for repairs. We also tried to go to Rigi on the scenic cog-wheel trains, but they hadn't started summer hours yet so we just missed the last one! We took a boat tour in Lucerne instead.
Saturday morning we headed off to Bern, 20 minutes away, to check out the German part of the town. We went watch shopping (totally unintentionally). My seven year old watch needed replacing anyway - so I splurged on a Mathey-Tissot  watch, which you can see below. I'm super picky with watches and Sean (who has a great fashion sense) said "how about this one?" - and it was perfect.  Only 150 euros and the sales guy knew the meaning of customer service. Bliss!!!

Fribourg street sign: "The street of loyal wives and perfect husbands" Yup, I like it!

My airport macaroon splurge...
This post  would be remiss without mentioning the food - GOOD bread, GREAT cheese (raclette), spatzle, chocolate, macaroons - mmmm!

Also, I've made a pros/cons list comparing Barcelona and Switzerland. **Disclaimer: this is partially based on experience and partially on educated guesses from what I've heard from others...

Barcelona Pros
  (Cons for Switzerland)
Switzerland Pros 
(Cons for Barcelona)

The weather!!!
The beach and the ocean!!!
The people
Mediterranean food
The culture – loud, but fun!
Fairly big city with lots to do

The money
The job opportunities
LESS stress (because things work!)
Great bread!!! (think: Germany)
Too quiet
Teeny little “cities”
Organized (instead of complete chaos)

Here's the slideshow! Check out the beautiful views (I did my best in the rain!). If peaceful, idyllic scenery, harder-to-get-to-know people and "too perfect" are the cons I must put up with for an amazing salary, efficiency, research funding, and a society that "works" and is an hour flight away from all of its cons, I'm in! 

Next time I'm in the country I'll definitely look up the Swiss family I was an au-pair for in Morges in 2004. Oh, the memories!  Let the Switzerland research stay (and eventual post-doc) search begin!  A bientôt! 

Note: If you are on a mobile device that does not support Flash, please click here to view my Flickr album, click on the first photo and flip through!

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