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Old 07.04.2007, 06:46
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A few tips for first time visitors

This is mainly for first time visitors from the US who have never been to Switzerland.
Your experiences may vary widely depending on what part of the country you visit.

The train system is very good and not too hard to figure out. Better than renting a car. The trains seem to go to almost every major town. See www.sbb.ch for info.

Up to you about renting a car. Jet lag and winding roads in a strange land don't make a good combo. Radar camera speed traps are a major source of revenue, and drunk driving will get everyone in the car arrested. Study the local driving laws before you rent.

Most people speak some English and try to be helpful, even if their English is limited. Learning a few words in the local language will help even if they are just greetings and thanks.

Restaurant menus are fun to translate (even for Europeans) because they are sometimes a mix of German, French and Swiss-German words all describing one dish. Prices are similar to restarants in major US cities. Small places may be cash only. Wine is the accepted drink with dinner, but beer is not frowned upon. Usually only one beer on tap in small towns (Feldischlösschen) making it easy to order (Ein Bier bitte!). 0.3 liter glass is standard 0.5 liter mug optional.

It's always fun to watch the expression on a US first-timer's face when they get a room temperature Coke with no ice.

Pizza is good, but remember pepperoni is sliced peppers and salami is the closest to US pepperoni. Ground sausage on pizza may not be an option.

While many aspects of hotels in Switzerland are similar to the US, many are not. Find out ahead of time what credit cards they take. Don't demand a room with a king size bed when such an option doesn't exist. No such thing as an ice machine on every floor. Non-smoking rooms are best booked ahead of time. It seems the hotels like to keep a quiet and peaceful atmosphere.

Swiss electrical plugs are not the same as Euro plugs. Some web sites selling adapters fail to point this out. The adapters for recessed sockets will work for both flat and recessed. Most sockets I saw were 3-prong.

Remember a few things are different. Don't demand that things be like they are in the US. Go with the flow. Learn to accept new things and your trip will be more enjoyable.

Last edited by Biersüffeler; 08.04.2007 at 19:49.
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Old 07.04.2007, 17:18
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Re: A few tips for first time visitors

Some great advice in there B, but the title is a little misleading - you are really referring to Switzerland and its languages/customs etc and certainly not the whole of Europe.
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Old 08.04.2007, 19:50
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Re: A few tips for first time visitors

Corrected! Yes this refers just to Switzerland.
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