Today’s post is an educational one. It’s about ways to avoid being bankrupted by a stay in Switzerland.
I discovered most of the tips retrospectively.
Switzerland is a very beautiful country, but also a VERY expensive one. Very, very, very expensive.
You know how your local pub has a $10 schnitty special on Tuesdays? The schnitty at our hotel last night was about $75.
The taxi to our hotel was another heart-starter: about $35 for less than 2km.
We later discovered our hotel had a free shuttle service.
That’s tip no.1: check if your hotel has a free shuttle service.
Tip no.2, if you’re coming from a reasonably priced country such as Italy buy lots of wine and snacks before you cross the border or be prepared to pay $8 for a small bottle of Diet Coke.
Let’s not talk about how expensive the wine is.
Also make sure to spend all your euro coins on those snacks before you cross the border, as Switzerland only accepts euro notes. I still have handfuls of 1 and 2 euro coins.
If you can possibly avoid it, don’t eat at your hotel. Our accommodation was a little out of town and we were weary, so we coughed up around $35 each for two plates of salty pasta that we couldn’t finished – while boggling that the lobster pasta was $70 a plate. We decided to stick with the vegetarian options.
I can’t even imagine the bill the couple with two children at the next table were given – they tucked into steaks and tiramisu!
If you’re staying in the Davos-Klosters area ask at hotel reception if you’re eligible for a visitor card that entitles you to free rides on local transport, including buses, trains and chairlifts.
Fortunately we scored two of these and used them to catch a bus to one of the local funicular stations for a trip way up high into the mountains.
I lost interest a bit after we passed the tree line. You might as well have been on the moon: just lots of rocks. I’m sure it’s gorgeous there in winter though.
Below the tree line is stunning. The scenery in Switzerland is so green and tidy and breathtaking.
Even the train ride from Davos to Zurich had us oooohing and aaaaahing the whole way.
There were lakes and mountains and rolling green hills and veggie gardens and Swiss chalets with flower-filled window boxes and grazing cows, at one point a herd of horses and foals even ran beside our carriage.
Speaking of the train ride. We paid double because we bought our tickets at the station – around $80 from Davos to Zurich airport rather than $40 if we’d bought them on-line in advance.
I’m thinking that’s why the ticket collector smiled when he checked our tickets and switched to English … Ha! Tricked another tourist!
We also felt a bit tricked by breakfast – it was $75 each for the buffet (fark me drunk) at the hotel so we headed into town and came across a cafe offering what we thought was a bread/croissant/pastry buffet with drink (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, orange juice) for the bargain price of around $13.
Then we got the bill and discovered our cappucinos were $8 extra .. AND they forgot to put any coffee in DD’s, just milk froth, so he paid $8 for a babycino.
Time and the language barrier were against us so we gobbled our outrageously overpriced bread rolls – that we were forced to butter with our coffee spoons because we couldn’t find any knives – and hit the road … Cursing the Swiss slightly.
Those outrageously overpriced bread rolls didn’t sustain us for long, so before our train headed off to Zurich airport, DD took our last 18 Swiss francs (around $22 Aussie dollars) and went to a supermarket in search of affordable sustenance.
He did SO well. Wine, water, dreadful sandwiches and nuts with 10 Swiss cents to spare. Go him!
And that was how our European sojourn ended.
DD reckons the laundry stop in Bellagio was his highlight … it’s funny the mundane moments that end up grabbing you.
Meanwhile I remain enchanted by Lucca.
And now for a really long plane trip …
Here awe some snaps from our day:
The main thing I remember about Zurich is that the sparrows were enormous from eating the crumbs off those outrageously overpriced bread rolls!
The seagulls were GIANT in Rome too