[This is a series of articles from the author on her experiences in Switzerland.]
Conservative Yet Casual–that is Switzerland for you!
“Sprechen Sie Englisch?” (Do you speak English?)
This one sentence can get you the much needed warm reception in this otherwise cool place. Most Swiss people speak English but an attempt to respect their culture and show some interest can make you feel at home.
Europe, by all standards, undoubtedly has the best dresses population on this earth. People are fit, well groomed and best dressed. It might be difficult to compete with the locals in Switzerland in getting that perfect look to match the picture perfect scenic places. However, you would surely come back with some more sense of dressing and grooming.
While we are not heading westwards to douse in their demeanor, it will not hurt to do as Romans when in Rome. Oops, we mean doing it the Swiss way.
So, all set? Tickets, check, visa check, travel insurance, check, hotel bookings check…what else would you need for a Swiss holiday? Let us give you a sneak peek into how people in Switzerland are, what kind of things are acceptable, and more importantly, what is not.
You can call Switzerland a city with “Fashion freedom”, but as in most of Europe, dressing up elegantly, neatly and in a presentable fashion might get you more smiles. If we may say, your hygiene levels and dressing sense might even buy what only money might not achieve–entry to top restaurants and bars.
Even in summers, the weather does not get very warm, so leave those shorts behind. Dark colours work well for the country. We would advise that you pack clothes in the same colour scheme to avoid packing multiple accessories.
Afterall, holidaying is about clothes!
Hate to call them accessories, but you must have a good pair of walking shoes if you plan to head to Europe. You will end up walking a lot and you might want to save some money instead of paying cabs (very expensive). And, trust us, if you do not get comfortable walking shoes, you will end up buying a pair.
A scarf is like “must-have”accessory for the whole of Europe. Once you land in any part of the zone, you will realise how important. Given the weather in Switzerland, you will not might carrying a scarf apart from a hat perhaps. Do pack a rain poncho because in Switzerland, your umbrella will be quite useless given the velocity of wind. You can rent hiking and skiing equipment if you intend to indulge.
Do get a day backpack or a smart sling bag to store your daily essentials while out in the cities. Shops close quite early, so you might not want to waste time going back to the hotel.
Switzerland has its own J-shaped electrical plug which is not found anywhere else in the world. However, you can use a travel adapter and the C-type plugs that work in most of Europe can be used in Switzerland too. The plugs must be rated to handle 230 V, else, you might need a converter.
One tip, most hotels do not appreciate it if you plan to cook inside the hotel. You might have to pay a fine if caught.
The weather can be quite unpredictable, so keep a jacket handy with you, specially if you wish to go to the top of Europe and experience the Alps.
Up Next after Switzerland Diaries: Travel Checklist: What to do when in Swiss. Stay Tuned.