Friday, February 29, 2008

Swiss Ms. 1, Zürich 0

As I very well may have mentioned before, I have recently had something of a Zurich complex. Ever since paying nearly 20 CHF for two bretzels and a coke in the train station there this fall, the mere idea of visiting the city has brought me waves of panic (not to mention phantom pains in my wallet). It was a low-grade trauma which is, along with the cost of milk, one of the few things we can't stop talking about – catch us during waking hours and chances are we'll be talking about American TV or that damn 20 CHF snack in Zurich.

As the dollar continues its free-fall, I suppose the list of cities that makes me feel like hyperventilating will grow longer and longer until it includes the likes of Toronto, but for now this mental list is short with locales such as London, Oslo, and Tokyo. (All these cities have two O's, I feel compelled to point out, pointlessly.) And after visiting Zurich this week, I officially report that it is no longer on this list.  

It's not on the list because it doesn't deserve to be – oh, it does – but rather because LorkBK and I defeated it. It's something of a feat to get a good deal anywhere around here, so I won't be shy in claiming our victory. The fight was fair and square -- the city put up an impressive effort -- but in the end, we manhandled that sucker like it was Kalamazoo, MI.

We won the accommodations battle handily, finding a clean and stylish shabby-chic pension/coffee-bar complete with Swiss hipsters for about 45 CHF each, including a respectable breakfast. The food war was a bit trickier, but I think the expensive bierhalle dinner was pretty much blown out of the water by the 10 CHF red curry meal, the bigger-than-a-large-head 7 CHF bretzel, and the 15 CHF lunch in the very cafe where Lenin, Mussolini, Einstein, and Mata Hari once sat (but not together). We lost some ground in the chocolate shops, but that was inevitable. Lose the battle, win the war.

I am trying not to gloat.  It was a close fight and it's possible that it was luck not cunning which pushed us over the edge to victory. Also, I really did like the city and don't want any hard feeling between us. I look forward to our next encounter, but I have to say, I have a feeling the real war between us is over.


fi said...

Now, for foreigners, South Africa is ridiculously cheap (I will never forget a visit from my Scottish uncle, recording on video, the size of the steak he was eating and repeating over and over the pathetic amount it cost in Pounds - he was shocked!)....for us going the other way it's a different story and you end up eating Mac Donalds or equivalent rubbish and still wince when you do the conversion. And I have been to Switzerland, if someone else hadn't been paying I would have lived on dry cereal...okay, and maybe chocolate! So well done on overcoming Zurich.

Swiss Ms. said...

That's funny. We are instead taking pictures of expensive things! The best one so far is the 100 CHF bag of cat food. (The equivalent bag at home is probably 30% of that price.) I guess one couldn't even live here on cat food affordably....