How to tell that you are in Switzerland

For an Australian, there are a number of differences that one notices when spending time here in Switzerland.

Some are obvious (different power sockets, driving on the other side of the road, different native language…). I expected those – and I’ve been here before (albeit some years ago now).

However, here are some differences that I didn’t expect:

  • The sheer number and popularity of bikes, bike riding, and bike roads (and all very well signposted and road-marked)

    Bikes in Lucerne

  • Dogs are seen as members of the family in public. It is routine to bring your dog with you when shopping, or to a restaurant, or on the cable car to a mountaintop [1]
  • The roads and road signs look just like a Lego City construction set

    Road signs that look like a Lego City set

  • Bakeries use a big model croissant mounted outside of the shop as a visual indication that they are a bakery

    Bakery featuring the universal bakery symbol

  • One unusual thing that crosses public roads in Switzerland is… turboprop aircraft

    PC-12 Crossing The Road

  • Another unusual thing that crosses public roads in Switzerland is… bullets[2]
  • The local fish caught in Lake Lucerne is named after a global router vendor

    These are Cisco fillets. Its a locally caught fish. Really.

  • The cows have bells. Always. It sounds like a percussion act at a world music concert (in a nice way)

    Swiss Cow

  • Swiss people sunbathe on mountaintops

    Swiss sunbathers on top of a mountain

  • A surprisingly number of private homes use cable cars to deliver supplies

    Private House Cable Car

  • There is a very strong skeleton motif in sculptures and religious paintings

    Skeleton getting up close and personal with a lady

  • Not A Beaver

  • Some buildings are incredibly, surprisingly, old (and beautiful for it)

    Seriously old covered bridge in Lucerne

  • Frei is not Free! When you see the word ‘Frei’ at the entrance to a parking area, it means there are spaces left, not that the parking is free of charge 🙂
  • Quad bikes are road legal here (unlike Australia), and some of them are pretty tricked out 🙂

Its a wonderful country, and I have loved being here. I’ll be back.


Footnote [1]: The ticket fare table for the cog-wheel train up to Mt Pilatus has prices separately listed for adults, children, and dogs.

Footnote [2]: There is a firing range near the factory. The range building is on one side, the range targets are on a hillside on the other side of the road. One had best hope the aiming point used by their customers is sufficiently high…!  (I am not making this up, I have driven between the two of them and seen it).