Friday, April 8, 2011

Zurich, Switzerland: Broke after Dinner

View of the river Limmat in Old Town

My mom inspired this blog after I told her, "When I asked for water at the restaurant, I'd just asked to pay 8 bucks for a bottle--no tap...Got two chicken breasts at the market that were 12 bucks. No kidding. And I went to the movies, spent $45 on two which Chris added, 'Can I get a Sprite and some gummies?'--there goes another $12."
My mom said in response, "What are you eating then?"
"Cookies. Cookies are cheap. And there's chocolate everywhere."
"OMG. You should blog about it! Tell people that they can't afford to live there."

So here's me telling you, you can't afford to live here. Hell, I can't afford to live here. And I'm the queen of Frugality--your stretch every dime, friend; who eyeballs price-tags like they're the devil, and plays the luxury vs. need name game with every purchase.

For those of you who saw the video tour of my apt, this precious 700 sq feet of space I'm sitting on costs as much as my mortgage back home that's at a none-too-shabby 1700 sq feet in the sweet spot of San Jose. When I told my mom about the rent here, she said, "That's how they live there? But what if you have kids? It's so small." Well...the solution is that you get a bigger apartment, with an even bigger rent.

My co-worker Meagan loves the miniature--everything--of the apartment. Mini apartment for a mini vacay with a not so mini price-tag. Even the cups and glasses in the apt. are mini. I feel like I'm playing tea-party at every sit-down meal.

One of the hardest things is definitely grocery shopping. I spend a lot of time playing cryptographer; trying to uncover the clues on a package that will reveal it's contents, hoping that I haven't just bought a slab of liver or turkey links when I prefer good ol' pork and chicken.

The currency in Switzerland is Swiss Franks, aka CHF. Converted to U.S. dollars it's about 20% more expensive. I'm not the best at explaining this, but to give you a real life example, an average McDonald's meal costs 15 swiss franks...tack on another 20% and that's how much your MickyD's cost you in USD's--approx $18. Did you choke a little? Me too. {Update: Chris told me not to get my panties in a wad about the exchange rate. He says it's closer to 10% rather than 20%...maybe I'm just being extra cautious. LOL}

But cost aside, (which is not easy for most travelers to do) the landscape is gorgeous in Zurich. I laugh a lot at the street names. My street for example, is Mutschellenstrasse--which, if I've counted correctly is an astounding 18 letters long.

The weather's been sublime, and I'm catching myself wearing dresses like I' ve suddenly discovered that I'm a girl. Everything is easily accessible by bus, tram, and train, so you certainly don't need a car to get around. I'll be visiting Basel or perhaps Lucern tomorrow; only a quick train ride away. But it's not all play and no work. I'll be heading to Salzburg, Austria on Sunday for the Eurosys2011, a 3 day PhD conference. I recently found out that the local University in Zurich, known as ETH Zurich is considered to be Europe's equivalent to M.I.T. (a note-worthy alumni, Albert Einstein, attended ETH).

I'm definitely enjoying my time here. Thanks to the cost of food, and the need to walk to get anywhere, my waistline is making a come-back! S'okay that I'm addicted to coffee, practically vibrating all day from the caffeine intake. But I could definitely get used to this...

Beautiful day out and it's lunch time. I'm starting in on my edits...yeah that's a lot of edits to incorporate and I'm only 2 chapters in. Oh, and don't get too excited, that's sparkling apple juice :)


  1. It's so gorgeous!! :) Can't wait for more photos! Enjoy!! Miss you!!

  2. Thank you Chanelle!! I'll try and post more photos after this weekend. I should've invested in a better camera :/ and maybe a haircut, before I left home. LOL
    Miss you too!! <3 xoxo


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