Monday, January 19, 2009

Things you probably did not know about Switzerland...

1. The Swiss mint a 1,000 CHF note...
I know, because the other day in line at the grocery store, an obviously rich woman tried to pay for 12,45 CHF worth of groceries with a 1,000 CHF bill - and guess what, they WERE able to make change. Unbelievable. Such wealth, not even on Bahnhofstrasse.

2. Public displays of affection are few and far between in Switzerland...
I know, because the other day on the train I felt flush and ashamed watching a couple of teenagers sharing a harmless kiss - when I thought about why I was reacting so unusually, I realized it was because I have only seen people kissing in public just once in 10 months...

3. The Swiss do NOT know what chocolate fondue is.
Hard to believe this, but I know it is true because when I asked for a kit, like the cheese fondue kits, at the supermarket a few weeks ago, the lady took me to the chocolate pudding. She could not understand what on earth I wanted to do with the world's best chocolate ("Ich moechte Fondue machen, schokolade Fondue, nicht Kaese, Schokolade!"... no understanding, whatsoever...). I politely smiled and said thanks and put the pudding back. Within minutes the woman had hunted me down again in the store, apologizing, realizing only too late what I was intending to do, pleading with me that the pudding was not the right thing and that they did not carry any kits. Lesson learned. Make it yourself.

(Note: BTW-This is a tricky one, as I do recall seeing fondue pots for chocolate, with strawberries and chocolate bars graphically printed on the pot... but it is not a typically Swiss thing...after checking with some colleagues, they also know what it is, but have never tried it... pity.)

4. The Swiss have a rivalry with the Austrians...
I know that the Swiss and the Germans have a "thing," but now I know that the Swiss and the Austrians have a "thing" too. Paramount to the relationship between, for example, the US and Canada, and Australia and New Zealand - it is endlessly fascinting to me that rivalries exist between friendly, neighboring countries.

Interesting stuff, eh? :)
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11 comments:

Carla said...

Now I see why I couldn't get any chocolate fondue at a fondue restaurant while I was there! I thought the waiter could not understand my English :-)

Bluefish said...

NZ and Australia are too far for Canada to compete with.

Btw, I'm going private on my blog. If you wish to continue reading it please give me your e-mail address.

Thank you.

Swiss Miss said...

Ha ha, one of my Swiss colleagues got paid for a DJ gig he did with a 1000 note. I think he used it to buy his lunch. No problems. Amazing.

Jessica said...

Bluefish, my email is jessica(at)swisstoryblog.com

casey said...

Jessica,
in the regions round southern germany, switzerland and austria chocolate fondue is known - but it is normally a kids meal for e.g. birthdayparties.
And I don't think it is very common to eat as it is a very sweet one.
I think swiss people eat their chocolate in a much better way than to melt it ;)
http://schoggiversand.ch/Schokolade_Fondue_Rezept.htm

Amanda said...

I can't get over how easily they break "large" bills here. When I first got here, I was so nervous about handing over a 100 CHF note to pay for a 12 CHF bill. I'm just used to the fuss I get from supermarket cashiers in the U.S. who make me feel like I am not paying with real money if I pay for a small bill with a $50 or $100 note...

juanitatortilla said...

Hmm, as for Point #2 on P.D.A., I seem to witness too much of couples having their faces stuck to each other. Well, it's either that, or they can't keep their hands to themselves. Strange.
And, what do I mean "witnessing too much" -- that's every day!
(Could these PDA-ers be non-Swiss then?!)
Don't tell me I'm a magnet for weird people and weird behaviour?

rösti said...

We paid the deposit on our first apartment in cash. 4000chf is less impressive when you are only holding 4 bills in your hand... and, we got them from an ATM!!! :-P

Michelle said...

Very interesting stuff! Thanks for your post! Actually I was in Zermatt the other day and saw a tonne of chocolate fondue sets in a shop - obviously catering for tourists! Yeah, and I always apologise for paying for something small with a $100 or $200 bill - but I never have anything to worry about, no one flinches at large amounts of cash here (they struggle in New Zealand when you give them $20!)

Zhu said...

I´m not surprised about the chocolate fondue thing. I have never heard of such a thing before I came to North America - and I worship chocolate!

Jackie said...

Agreeing with juanitatortilla here...there is a ton of PDA here. Particularly in train stations and on trains, it seems, come to think of it. I'm always spending my time waiting on the tracks dodging smokers and maker-outers both.

 

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