The first thing I noticed about Switzerland was the cash. Fantastically vibrant and…quick to disappear. No sooner has a wad of technicolour Swiss francs safely nestled themselves into my cowhide, then, like a bad Penn and Teller trick, va-moosh! Gone. Public toilet, coffee, train ticket, another train ticket, a tasty cervelat, Swiss tea-towel – hang on where’s all the money gone to pay for this. At first I thought Mod was skimming the supply but she was quick to point out up to a third of our meagre Aussie dollar was lost in exchange and the rest was due to healthy commercial instincts. Well that’s capitalism, charge what people are willing to pay, even if I were a begrudging participant.
The Swiss ability to turn a dollar or more appropriately a franc is illustrated by the countries absolutely, phenomenal, transport infrastructure. As an Australian it’s well worth the time to take a long train ride into the Alps or hire a car and have someone else drive so you’re free to ogle at the sheer scale of dramatic engineering that peppers the landscape in the form of bridges, dam walls, tunnels, gondoliers and train tracks. This single observation is enough to motivate us for a return trip with a ticket on the Glacier Express. Lonely Planet summarises this experience; “It’s among the world’s most mythical train rides, linking two of Switzerland’s glitziest Alpine resorts…floor to ceiling windows…traverses 91-tunnels and 291 bridges.” Right where do we go to sign-up and how do I remortgage the house?