Travel: Switzerland {observations}

{feeding the birds}
I cherish a morning walk when traveling.

While staying in Vevey we had bread, jam, and fresh fruit delivered to our room daily.  I would save the uneaten bread and every few days walk to the pier to feed the birds.

The pier is home to a hundred year old carousel, and right behind me is a castle that's being renovated. Rumor says the castle was purchased for one Swiss Franc, and the owner is funding the renovation.

I can't wait to see the transformation.

Below are a few observations I would love to share, to give you a feel for life here.

Water: Showering with glacier water makes your hair baby soft.  When dining, water is not served unless requested.  Fizzy water costs the same as soda, it's cheap to buy at the grocery store.  A liter of San Pellegrino will cost one Swiss Franc (less than half the price in America).

Christmas: There is nothing commercial about Christmas in Switzerland.  Look around and you will see old world Santa's and natural decorations made of natural materials and ribbons.  A good reminder that Christmas is not about gifts or blow up lawn decorations.

- Santa is a rope climber! Did you know the Elf is mostly an American fascination?
- Christmas trees are real, standing from one to five feet in height.
- Igloo's are everywhere.  They are pop up businesses, a place to warm up with a drink or shop.

- Noel Villages: gatherings for the locals and travelers, with outdoor shops to buy gifts, sample food, drink. We attended at least four of them, each unique.  Vevey is a small corner shop with trees, Montreux host the main Noel Village for the area (this year's theme was wintergreen smurf's), Evian's village was made from driftwood, Zermatt's has more a winter feel to it.

Yarn: I wasn't able to find a yarn shop in any of the towns we visited.  I was hoping to buy some for a friend who enjoy's knitting.  Strange, right?

Language: I'm learning French but most of Switzerland speaks German.

Grocery Shopping: Keeping waste to a minimum, there isn't much outer packaging for items (ie: toothpaste in America can come in a box, you will not see this here),  you either bring bags or pay for them.  I shopped at two different stores (Manor and COOP) - the cashiers do not weight your produce.  A mistake I made, causing the line to be delayed at dinner time.  I felt like Meg Ryan's character in 'You've got Mail', the grocery store scene (her apologizing over and over).  I'm used to filling my market basket as I shop, unloading it and the cashier weighing it for me before packing up my basket.

I also wonder why the large food markets are in the basement...

NO one eats or drinks 'to-go' - there is no litter - it's very, very quiet other than church bells - most travel via ferries, metro, buses, trains, or on foot.

Quality!  You will not find Target or Walmart here, in fact I believe most buy a few high quality items that will last a long time vs a summer trend.  I don't know this, just a gut feel.

I have one last post to share with you, our time in Zermatt!