Summer finally decided to make an appearance at the end of our stay in the capital. Chris even got his first sunburn! Bless. In the heat of the day I couldn’t help comparing the swiss summer experience to its NZ equivalent. The climates are actually relatively similar, but there are some significant differences.
In NZ you can’t stay outside in summer for more than 7 minutes without sun protection during midday. The burn-time in NZ is so fast, you see people hiding under the eaves of tall buildings while waiting for the lights to change. In Switzerland on the other hand, you can stay out for a good half-hour to an hour without a care. It’s not that you don’t get hot though, which leads me to something Switzerland sorely lacks:
Being a landlocked country, Switzerland doesn’t exactly do very well on the beachfront. The Marzili Freibad in Bern has some lovely pools, and you can swim in the river if you want to – but there is no sand. You can find sand at some of the lake sides, but it’s cramped and kind of unpleasant. Don’t get me wrong, the water can be lovely, but there is nothing quite like the ocean when you need a cool dip.
Luckily, getting to and from said lakes and rivers is super easy. Most swiss people bike around because there are safe and accessible cycle ways, even in the rural areas! This is something NZ sorely lacks. I often see cycle tourists on NZ roads in the summer, and I weep a little inside as they struggle up our hills next to logging trucks.
Switzerland has these horrific horseflies they call Bräme. Oh my life they are annoying. They are large and aggressive, and they will hunt you down. I almost crashed my bike after one chased me and latched onto my leg. Luckily I managed to swat it away before it did any significant damage. Had I not been so quick, I may now have a boil on my leg. Switzerland also has fire ants (as my butt found out the hard way) and disease carrying ticks. NZ’s sandflies are looking pretty good right now.
This one makes me feel super uncomfortable and also very prudish. In NZ most urban and metropolitan areas have liquor bans that restrict drinking in open or public areas. In Switzerland, it turns out, it is not only legal to drink in public, it’s also totally normal. Mind-blown. I felt like a total bad-ass grabbing a beer and cracking it open in the middle of the street on my way to the park. Move over James Dean!
Time has flown by, and it’s actually my last night in Switzerland! I feel shouldn’t really be complaining about any part of my swiss summer experience, knowing that back home it’s going to be 14°C and raining. The next post on the blog will hopefully be a guest-post by my partner-in-crime on his experience of Switzerland as a full-on foreigner.