Zurich: It costs HOW MUCH?!?

Trip Start Feb 06, 2011
Trip End Sep 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
A's Flat

Flag of Switzerland  , Zürich,
Friday, July 15, 2011

I felt ok in the morning but I didn't want to take any chances so I just had a slice of toast and some water for breakfast.  I stuck around the hostel until it was time to take the 8 hour train to Zurich.  Thank God I had gotten everything out of my system the previous night so I had a fairly smooth journey into Switzerland.  The quality and comfort of the trains in this part of Europe are far superior to the rickety old locomotives in the eastern part of Central Europe (Poland and Czech Republic).  Each carriage has a few monitors which show the speed of the train, the next stop, and even the number of minutes until the next stop.  Of course you get what you pay for as the train tickets are significantly more expensive.  Farewell to the 10 euro trains rides across the country!  As the train continued westward, the weather changed from sunny to cold, gray, and rainy.  I arrived at the Zurich Hauptbanhof in the late evening and A was there to greet me.  It was awesome to see a familiar face I had just said farewell to three months ago.  We walked back to her flat and she offered some sushi and wraps to me.  I curiously asked how much the sushi cost (3 salmon maki, 3 tuna maki, 3 kappa maki).  9.50 Swiss francs.  HOW MUCH?!?  That's equivalent to $11 CAD.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  You could get the exact same thing in Vancouver for less than $2 CAD.  She told me that she hardly ever eats out for that reason. 

She had to work in the morning so I roamed around the city on my own.  I quickly came to the conclusion that EVERYTHING in Switzerland is expensive.  McDonald's value meal?  Not much value at $11.50 CDN.  One dish at a Chinese restaurant?  $30 CDN.  Even the postcards and magnets are 2-3x the price of anywhere else I've visited.  Even with the high prices, I can see why Zurich is always ranked highly in the top cities to live in the world.  It's clean, comfortable, very walkable, and the city is very functional and aesthetically pleasing to the eye  There is a lake right in the heart of Zurich (I had no idea there was a lake at all!) with multiple bridges to connect the 2 sides.  I met up with A in the afternoon and we just sat by the lake watching the ducks and swans swim by.  The lake is definitely one of the most popular places for Zurich residents to have a picnic, people watch, or even take a nap!  After a great homecooked meal (Switzerland on a budget!), A convinced me that it would be a great idea to go for a swim in the lake.  It had rained heavily the day before so the water was expected to be quite a bit cooler.  At 11:45pm, we jumped in and enjoyed a great view of the city and the lights... that is, until they turned off precisely at midnight.  Oh well, at least I got to see it for a few minutes!

I crashed A's friend's 30th birthday party the next evening.  They rented a community centre and had a huge bbq for at least 70-80 people.  There was even a live band!  Unfortunately, most of her friends could only speak Swiss-German so I was limited to conversing with the few who could speak even any English.  Off to the Swiss Alps tomorrow!
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