24 hours in Zurich

Switzerland is home to a lot of wonderful things: Lindt chocolate, Toblerone, great watches, Roger Federer, and, as I found out, the $6 cup of tea from Starbucks. I hadn’t expected Zurich to be cheap, but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how expensive it is.

Our time in Zurich is simply a stopover after finishing the Bernina Express on our way to Prague. We’re on the night train to Prague so we had a day to fill and little motivation to do anything that cost money, for good reasons.

We arrived on Sunday night and after asking the girl at reception for a recommendation for a cheap place for dinner, she warned us “there’s nothing cheap in Zurich”. Damn straight. The restaurant we ended up at advertised “two pieces of toast with a fried egg, ham and cheese” for 18 Swiss Francs – that’s more than $20 Australian. Prices at the supermarket the next morning weren’t too extreme but a visit to some chain stores revealed a lot. I ducked into the Body Shop and found one make up item to be double the price it is in Australia (after conversion). We spent a few hours hiding from the rain in the shops before visiting Starbucks for a coffee. 30CHF later (about $33AUD) we’d enjoyed three drinks and a muffin. I regularly got a cup of tea from Starbucks in Canada that cost about $2.50. Here it was 5.20CHF, which is roughly $6AUD. For a teabag and some hot water??? The Swiss may enjoy a good economy compared to the rest of Europe, but that’s not welcome news to budget travellers like me. Remind me to go to Greece next.

In looking up some things to do in the city, the Zurich Toy Museum came up. Since the Lindt Factory is closed on Mondays, toys seemed like the next best thing. We walked to the museum building, then up about eight flights of stairs to the actual museum. It’s a pokey little place. The toys on display are from a time well before batteries were included. There were doll houses with teeny tiny furnishings – even fake wool for knitting. Toy planes, soldiers, bears and dolls. Upstairs was a special exhibit on transport toys. There were 11 little Smurf toys hidden in the display as a treasure hunt for kids. I found all of them.

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