I get to travel, sometimes, to places like Switzerland for business. For a lad from Fife, this is quite the thing. For most others, it’s not really a big deal. Earlier this year we headed over to Bienne for what would be a crunch meeting regarding production and some operational issues. The meeting arrived after a nice jolly up to the Jura mountains for some pre-crunch food and drink action, and it was as lovely as lunch in the Jura mountains sounds.
The meeting was difficult and challenging and tiring, but we got through it and out the other side intact. The journey home was long and arduous and fraught with options upon options on what to do. It was an early start; up at 4am is always going to be a stinker but this was even more stinky being the depths of cold damp February. Plane flew out of the beloved Heathrow at 6am and we didn’t get back home till 11pm, due to a technical issue related to a stretcher being fitted on board for some poor sod. As always I was up again the following day very early to fly back home again, so come the evening of the day after Switzerland, I was feeling very much like a burst baw.
I love Switzerland, or rather I love Bienne. It’s the home of peace. Clean. Things done right. Expense. Efficiency. Language. Architecture. The people seem nice, for as much as I’ve had a chat with one or two, it’s always been amicable. The pretzels from Zurich Airport/train station are absolute belters. Brezelkönig; that’s the boys.
The clocks all over the Swiss railways have a quirk that allows the time over Switzerland to synchronise. As the seconds hand hits 12 o’clock, it stops for 2 seconds before continuing on. It’s quite the spectacle. From wiki:
The station clocks in Switzerland are synchronized by receiving an electrical impulse from a central master clock at each full minute, advancing the minute hand by one minute. The second hand is driven by an electrical motor independent of the master clock. It requires only about 58.5 seconds to circle the face, then the hand pauses briefly at the top of the clock. It starts a new rotation as soon as it receives the next minute impulse from the master clock.
Quite amazing really. Switzerland is expensive, holey moley. We had dinner at the airport once more, and guffawed at the cost of small dishes of food; two heads and no alcohol later comes to around £80. I guess it’s all relative with salaries or whatever, but coming into the country from the UK, where things are quite reasonable, it’s a shocker. Two return tickets from Zurich to Bienne is £200. But the scenery makes up for it. Little tip for y’all though, if you are ever getting the train in Switzerland, sit in the catering section – we sat at a table for two within a large carriage for what could have been 90% of the journey, alone. Whereas on the way out, we sat in our designated seats amongst the bustling Swiss throng. I think we needed the isolation on the way home, mind you!
It would be nice to head out there more; we get little snippets of daily life from our Swiss friends; allocated skiing for each residential district; an overwhelming abundance of trees so much that they now have district heating for pennies; respect and admiration of their fellow countrypeoples. It’s great to be there, but maybe we are seeing more of the outsiders view of what might be a horrible place to live! Who knows. Great chocolate. Lots of watches. Abundance of jewellery and high-fashion. You feel special just walking through the airport. A very small part of my soul wishes we’d move there and experience it as residents. I bet it would be far from what I’ve experienced so far, but I also bet it would be a great experience nonetheless.