So, what’s Switzerland like? Here are a couple of quotes from the trip:

I feel like I’m driving through one of those little toy villages at Yankee candle. – Charlie

Yay!  Let’s all go to the castle. Running ensues. – Ian

I hated all the castles. The first one was too cold. The second I got a splinter. The third I fell down. – Ian

I feel like Charlie is getting mad because she’s hungry and Ian is teasing people because he’s hungry and I’m blaming everyone of being hungry because I’m hungry. – Max

Those mountains look fake. It looks like someone painted them and then hung up the painting there. – Ian

Now it feels like Christmas! – Charlie

These woods feel like New England. – Christine

Bellinzona was great fun (castles always are). Zurich (well technically Bassersdorf) was great. We played video games and musical instruments (well I didn’t actually play any musical instruments). We played games and played with the cats.

Our big adventures involved cooking or grocery shopping, walking the dog, and visiting a comic book store to play magic.

Great company, great environment, great times.

Other thoughts on Switzerland:

  • Roads – Italian roads are… fine. Like any highway in New England. Fairly well maintained. Construction every so often. Swiss roads seem like they’ve all been repaved in the past year, but oddly enough they seemed to have less construction going on than Italy. It seems like they build them better somehow OR maybe they fix them all summer and because it’s already snowing there they’ve finished up their road projects for the year?
  • Cars – There were more cars parked on the street in Switzerland than I expected. I figured they’d all have garages, but not so. Instead they put blankets (not tarps?) over their 2 or 3-year-old cars. Apparently once a car is 3-4 years old it’s replaced and sent to Africa to be sold as a used car. People just don’t buy or sell used cars in Switzerland and there are so many used cars in Italy it’s not worth selling them there.
  • Bomb Shelters and Radiation Tablets – So yeah, up till fairly recently every house must have a nuclear bomb shelter built in. They’ve loosened those rules, but if you don’t have one in your house there has to be one for each housing complex. And every resident gets a package of radiation tablets, just in case…
  • Expensive – It seemed like everything was twice as expensive. It probably wasn’t *quite* that high, but it was close. IKEA was about 20% more. Avocados were around $3 each, as opposed to Italy where they’re well under $1. Other Veggies were similarly marked up. As an aside Switzerland has the 9th highest GDP/per Capita (at $58,000 per resident) and Italy is 32nd at $35,000 per resident. I read an article recently that said that when you take the top 1% out of that a typical Italian lives on $22,000 a year. We live in the north so that can probably be rounded up to $24,000, while the south is probably closer to $20,000… but keep in mind that’s like $10-$12 per hour.
  • Nice people – Christine was amazed that people would say “Ciao” (hi) or “Bongiorno” (good morning) to her. Very different from where we’re living in Siena where people ONLY say hi or make eye contact with people they already know and look at you VERY strongly if you smile and say “hi” to them. The geeks at the Magic game were also very friendly. Sure there was the typical anal guy who kept all of his cards and things in very straight lines and complained that I played my cards too hard and might have bent them (well it’s too late now, nobody wants them if you don’t play in sleeves)… but even he was happy to give me tips and friendly.
  • Talk Talk. Max thought the company I bought a phone SIM from had a VERY funny name that would never fly in an English Speaking country. “Talk Talk”

I asked Charlie why she wanted to go back so much. Was it the company, or the fact that we were around people who spoke English, or the Alps, or the Castles. She said “It was EVERYTHING, why didn’t we move *there*.”