Five things you notice when you first arrive in Switzerland
It has been around 10 days since I moved Switzerland as a Agile consultant and Node.JS developer. After arriving I was curious about the first “only in Switzerland” things that I would discover. Here are a few things, if you have been there, this will surely serve as a reminder:
1.- Trains departing on second precision
Seriously, never underestimate Swiss punctuality! Especially at the metro station. Other services, like shops may open a bit late (meaning 2 or 3 minutes late) but trains seem to always, always depart at the right second and arrive at the right minute or earlier. Trains are so precise that you see people using them as clocks:
- What time is it?
- Hm, I don’t know, I don’t have a watch… Ohh wait, that train is passing by, it is 15:33…
Picture of me -coming from a Latin Américan country- during my first days in CH:
2.- Really really good chocolate
Swiss chocolate is really good. Even chocolate bars like Toblerone, chocolate that you can find almost anywhere, seem to taste a little bit different. Maybe it is just the psycholgolical effect of being in a country that is known for its chocolate. Or Perhaps transporting chocolate so many kilometers actually has an effect on it.
By the way did you know that there is a bear in its logo? It has always been right there.
Tip: Want to taste the best Swiss chocolate? Try the local-made, ugly-boxed chocolate bars. You won’t regret it.
3. Church bells sounds all the time
This one is quite strange given that Swiss culture praises and admires low-noise environments. For example, cutting the grass on Sundays may result in a visit from the police. Speaking loudly is quite disapproved here. This is always an issue for some loud speaking americans, who find themselves being scolded by the waitresses inside the restaurants.
Everyone is expected be serene tranquil and peaceful. Except for the church bells. Seriously, they will sound everywhere, at any time for completely unexpected reasons. Also, they will wake you up like this:
I initially thought I was the only one who noted this. But no, apparently there are, many reports of people -mainly tourists- being annoyed by the church bells. Which led to a Swiss rule prohibing churchs to ring their bells every 15 minutes. But at the end, the Swiss court finally decided that church bells can chime at night.
4. People obeying traffic lights in the middle of the night
Everyone waits for the traffic lights, even birds.
Beware if you come -like me- from an American country where ignoring pedestrian lights is “not a bad thing”. In Confoederatio Helvetica everyone will will happily wait for the green light even in the middle of the night.
5. Big and fat cats!
Quite strange, funny, weird, peculiar and simply unusual. Swiss cats are big, really big. Cats are so big that, at distance, I once mistaked one for a dog, until I came close to it and I realized it was a big, meaty, obese and slow fat cat.
Switzerland is an amazing country. I will keep adding more and more items as time goes by.
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