Trip Start Jan 15, 2007
17Trip End Dec 24, 2009
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Population: 7.5 Million
Languages Spoken: German 63.7%, French 30.4%, Italian 6.4%, Raeto-Romance 0.5%
Land Area: 41,293 sq km or 15,943 sq miles
Land mass compared to a US state: a bit bigger than Maryland or exactly half the size of South Carolina
Cantons (equivalent of states): 26
Shares borders with: Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein
Currency: Swiss Francs - abbreviated CHF
(CH is from the German abreviation for Switzerland - Schweiz)
Exchange rate: US $1 = 1.20 CHF or Australian $1 = 1.04 CHF
Cost of a Big Mac: 6.30 CHF or US $5.05
(Third most expensive after Iceland - $7.44 - and Norway - $6.63)
Price of a glass of wine in a restaurant: 3 to 5 CHF
Price of a mixed alcoholic drink in a bar: 15 to 20 CHF
Price of a Coke in a vending machine: 3 CHF
Price of cheese fondue in a restaurant (the most typical Swiss meal): 20 CHF
Price of a croissant from a bakery: 3 CHF
Price of a low end pair of Adidas running shoes: 150 CHF
Price of a high end pair of Adidas running shoes: 250 CHF
- Monday to Friday - 9 to 6:30 closed at lunch from 12 to 1:30 (but the post office takes 2 hours)
- Saturday - 9 to 5:30 - some close at 12 and stay closed
- Sunday - EVERYTHING IS CLOSED
There is seriously not one large grocery store open on Sundays. No clothing stores and scarcely any pharmacies are open. This doesn't sound bad until you realize it is impossible to do shopping if you work a regular office job!
Random shocking facts:
- Women didn't get the right to vote here until 1971 - on a federal level!! On a cantonal level it took between 1958 to 1990!
- Families with two incomes (ie Mom and Dad working) are taxed more. Sometimes it is so much that it makes more sense for the mom to not work and stay home...someone has to do the shopping before 6:30. Plus schools have one afternoon off a week and kids go home for 2 hours at lunch.
- All apartment buildings in Geneva have to have a nuclear bomb shelter - no joke!
- Men have mandatory service
As a concluding note: The Economist ranks cities on the quality of life index incorporating 39 factors from recreation to political stability. #1 and #2 are Geneva and Zurich with a ranking of 108.0 and 108.1 (That being said see the attached photos of the peaceful protest in the streets.)