All of the good pictures in this post were probably taken by Hansen Qian. Thanks Hansen.
Sledging is sledding. One catch: it’s sledding down the mountain. I’ve never heard of this in the US, but there are sledding slopes just like ski slopes that go down the Alps. Sometimes you are just sledding with the skiers and they get really annoyed that you’re taking up the space. It felt a lot like my favorite sport to play FootGolf (soccer golf on a golf course) where those people would get annoyed with us too.
It was so fun, in the longest parts you could sled for about a full kilometer before the ground would level out enough to lose speed. Apparently, sledding injuries are just as common as skiing injuries because people don’t expect to go so fast and lose control.
I am carrying a bag in the pictures because we purchased giant chocolate bars at the top of the Alps and this was the way to get them down the mountain.
I had Swiss chocolate every day. We went to the famous Sprungli chocolate shop in downtown Zurich, where I learned that macarons and macaroons are not the same thing and I’ve been wrong all my life.
Matt took the top half of a macaron off just like you would an Oreo and ate it. Michael jokingly expressed his discontent at the scene of the crime. And then this lady moves out of the shadows and points straight to Matt and shakes her head with a bit of a scowl. Matt had obviously overstepped his boundaries. So if you ever go to Switzerland and get a macaron, for the life of you don’t split it in half.
Raifeissen Super League
Hansen, Matt, Michael, and I went to a Swiss soccer game – 1st place and perennial champion FC Basel at last place FC Luzern. It was a raucous crowd with flares from the home fans and an inward facing fence around the away section to prevent inter-club fights.
Liechtenstein is a country almost exactly the size of Washington DC. The entire country is built at the base and on the side of the Ratikon range the Eastern Alps. I made it all the way to the top of the country with excellent views into Switzerland.
- Switzerland is the most expensive country in the world. I used miles for flights and Couchsurfing and the magnanimous generosity of Michael Chang to help mitigate the costs of housing. Some prices seen in Switzerland: $54,000 for a watch, every salad was over $10, $2 for whipped cream add-on for ice cream, $20-30 for a standard meal, $10-20 for appetizers. My strategy to save money was just not to eat, which I guess worked well in the short term.
- Somehow, there is an emergency-type simulcast in Switzerland where the car radio starts playing traffic announcements even if the radio was off.
- Basically, everyone spoke German in that third of Switzerland. Everyone in service or tourism industries spoke fluent English. Everyone else spoke high school-class level English at the level I speak Spanish.
- Basically the only hole in my trip is that I didn’t have Swiss cheese.
- In the airport train that takes you between terminals, on the loudspeaker they would play really weird sounds. First, I don’t even know how to describe it other than to post a video – it’s the angelic, “see the light” sound. Then, this would abruptly shut off and you would hear cows moo-ing over the sound system. It was so weird.
- 13, 328 – Words written on this blog so far
- 12 – UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Westminster, Tower of London, Kew Gardens, Sintra, Tower of Belem, Stonehenge, Bath, Serra de Tramuntana, Sevilla Cathedral and Alcazar, Toledo, Brú na Bóinne, Swiss Alps Jungfrau)
- 8 – Personal phone numbers that I’ve used as my primary number on study abroad (+44 7598736659 [UK], +44 7404245455 [UK old], +1 310-809-2668 [USA], a +1 (661) number on Skype, +351 915-406-195 [Portugal], +34 602-695-139 [Spain old], +34 611-291-985 [Spain new], + 41 76-735-8909 [Switzerland])
- 7 – Football matches (Crystal Palace x2, West Ham, Tottenham, Sporting Lisbon, Arsenal, FC Luzern)
- 6 – Airlines flown (United, British Airways x4, Ryan Air x3, Air New Zealand x2, airberlin, Easy Jet)
- 4 – Essential items forgotten at least once on trip (Earplugs, Razor, Eye mask, Flip flops, headache pills)
- 7 – Countries (UK, Portugal, USA [it counts], Spain, Ireland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein)