Before the initial "wow effect" wears off, we wanted to share some of the most surprising things we have learned about Switzerland. After a while, things tend to become normal and you start to forget that you ever had a fridge twice the size of the current one or used to buy milk in half-gallons at a time... We hope that you enjoy this read, and please contribute your own observations in the comments below!
1. Switzerland has more than 1,500 lakes.
2. This explains why you are never more than 10 miles from a lake...
3. And why 60% of Switzerland’s electricity is produced by hydroelectric power.
4. Not surprisingly, 70% of Switzerland is covered in mountains.
5. More surprisingly, the landscape ranges from 643 feet above sea level in Ascona to 15,199 feet above sea level in The Dufour Peak.
6. Most surprisingly, these spots are only 43 miles apart!
7. Switzerland's rail system extends some 3,100 miles.
8. Thus, it makes sense that the Swiss rank only second behind Japan in relying on trains.
9. However, you can’t turn right at a red light. But who cares? Everyone rides trains anyway...
10. If you still want to drive a car, you would be surprised to find out that fuel economy is measures in "quantity per distance" (liters per 100 km). In the US, it is measured in "distance per quantity" (miles per gallon).
11. By law, you need to buy a liability insurance sticker for riding a bicycle on public roads.
12. On public busses, you can buy a ticket from the driver.
13. Drivers have to stop for pedestrians to cross the road.
14. There are more banks than dentists.
15. There are now more Starbucks coffee shops than banks!
16. Most grocery stores close by 8 PM, and only the airport locations stay open on weekends.
17. Employee rights are sometimes more important than customer service, which is reflected in the fact that many stores are closed for lunch from noon through 2 PM.
18. Teaching is one of the highest paid occupation with the most vacation time: 12 weeks!
19. Switzerland has the most hospital beds per 1000 people: 5.8 beds.
20. Very much unlike the US, bank tellers are protected by bullet-proof glass.