Ten things I learned in Die Schweiz!

Back when I used to take a lot of trips– that is, before this COVID-19 bullshit began– I often summed up my blog series with a “ten things I learned” post. Basically, they served as summaries of my trips and reminders of new things I learned. I haven’t written one of those “ten things I learned” posts in awhile. There are a few reasons for that.

I used to have a larger readership than I have now. When I moved the blog to WordPress, I lost a lot of readers. A lot of former readers simply never found out where the new blog was, and some lost interest for any number of reasons ranging from leaving Europe to finding me an insufferable bitch. Then, COVID struck, I quit going places. I haven’t completely quit, mind you, but I haven’t been enjoying the travel perks of living in Europe like I used to. And the places we’ve been going are places we’ve been before– at least the same countries, anyway.

But I think I would like to revive my habit of writing “ten things I learned posts”, to keep this blog updated, and also to give people who don’t want to wade through the whole series a condensed version. So here goes… ten things I learned on our latest trip to Switzerland. Hope someone enjoys it.

10. Carl G. Jung was an amazing person… but he had lots of help.

Bill and I visited Jung’s home and museum during our trip to Zürich. We learned a little bit about the accomplished man he was. Last night, Bill was telling his Jungian therapist about how amazing he thought Jung’s accomplishments were. He read so many books, spoke so many languages, dabbled in art, practiced as an analyst, wrote books, smoked, and developed theories. He did this while raising a family and carrying on with his mistress. Bill’s therapist pointed out, “Yeah, he did all those things, and those things require energy. But he had lots of women around to help him.” It’s true. He had a wife, a mistress, and colleagues who worked with him. That freed up some of his time.

9. Jung’s family still live in the house he built on the shore of Lake Zürich.

When Bill and I were outside in the backyard, I looked up at the house and noticed people on the third floor. Later, when I read the official Web site for the museum, I read that some of Jung’s descendants still live in the house. No wonder it has such limited operating hours.

8. Swiss mac n’ cheese is pretty good. Ditto to Swiss wines!

Up here in Germany, particularly down in Swabia, a lot of people like to eat Spätzle, which is a type of pasta often served with cheese. I never really got into Spätzle myself, so I was a little skeptical when I spotted Älplermagronen on the menu at a restaurant. But as I didn’t really want a Schnitzel or a pork knuckle, I decided to order it. It was absolutely delicious, and even included potatoes! That did my Celtic heart proud!

I also really enjoyed the wines. I don’t know why they surprised me, given that Germany and Italy produce wines. Why wouldn’t Switzerland?

7. Zürich is a very lovely city… not boring at all.

One of the reasons it took so long to visit Zürich is that we lived close for several years. And I had heard from a lot of people that it was kind of a boring city that was mostly dedicated to banks. I should have known better, since I heard the same thing about Luxembourg (both the country and Luxembourg City), which I found to be untrue. The person who mainly passed on these opinions to me is an Italian friend I don’t get to talk to so much anymore… I guess compared to Italy, Zürich may seem kind of bland and dull. But I didn’t find it that way at all… of course, my Italian friend would also frown on the fact that I ate Swiss style mac n’ cheese. 😉

6. I finally know the names of the little towns near all those beautiful lakes we always pass on the way to Italy!

I think the reason I didn’t know them before is because I was always so busy looking at the scenery that I forgot to look at the signs. Now that I know some names, maybe we’ll plan a trip to stay somewhere really gorgeous next time! I am dying to rent a lakeside apartment or hotel room with a lake view where I can drink wine and enjoy peace and quiet.

5. The Swiss dialect renders my German skills useless.

I’m not saying I have great German skills to begin with… Luckily, many people speak English… and several other languages. Switzerland has four official ones. I also didn’t know William Tell was a legendary Swiss folk hero.

I’ll never think of the William Tell Overture in the same way… Here’s Bill’s distant relative playing it on the guitar. 😉 My own guitar skills aren’t this advanced yet. Incidentally, this was piece was composed by Gioachino Rossini, who was Italian.

And that was so good I have to add this video from 1974, which features Glen Campbell playing an acoustic guitar. I’ll keep practicing.

4. Watch where you park in Switzerland…

It’s best to choose a city garage rather than one affiliated with a fancy department store. Yes, we should have realized… now we know for certain! 49 CHF for a day’s parking! Whew!

3. The Swiss apparently don’t “do” naked spas…

In Germany, it’s not uncommon to find textile free spas, or at least textile free areas of spas. That means everything is “textile free”– not just the saunas. Evidently, Switzerland doesn’t do that, which is okay with me. But it’s good to know what to do, just in case. You don’t want to bare it and share it unless invited to do so…

2. Switzerland has a soul after all…

I’m finding that the more I visit Switzerland, the more I like it. I had the same reactions to New York City and Paris. Switzerland has always seemed kind of sterile to me… but now that I’ve been to a few places, I’m finding myself liking it more and more.

And finally, 1. but it’ll drain your wallet!

I actually knew this before our most recent visit. We have yet to enjoy a budget holiday in Switzerland, although I’ll bet we could arrange something cheap if we put our minds to it. Frankly, though, I tend to want to go to Switzerland for rest and relaxation… pampering, if you will. So I’m prepared to drop some money on those trips. I’m never sorry I did so… although that’s probably because I’m not the one briefing generals and spending weeks working in Bavaria to pay for these trips.

So that about does it for my “ten things I learned” post. I hope I can write another one soon. I think our next trip will be to Stuttgart, and I’ve already written a shitload about that city.