Switzerland Nein ‘Free’

Heading through Zurich’s western suburbs a work call came in that I had to take and knew would be lengthy. The only place in sight to park and let my wife do something more interesting than look at a gas pump was a hulking IKEA.

I rolled into the underground parking, realizing too late that it looked like pay parking. I took the ticket, brought my wife up to the cafe for the jet-lag combating, free IKEA Family coffee & tea, and that may be the only free thing in a country where scenery and prices compete to pop visitors’ eyes.

Swiss Parking Meter

Me versus Swiss parking meters

I finished the call and naturally headed to customer service, thinking maybe a small purchase would waive the parking fee. The clerk spoke limited English, though when she ascertained my point, she announced, “Ah! Switzerland nein ‘free’!” with a broad, slightly understanding smile.

No wonder my wife, a frequent business visitor to Switzerland, had made me promise to behave when I arrived. Even getting soaked every moment, Switzerland is indeed one of the most beautiful countries on earth.

This series will follow our May ‘spousal harmony trips,’ where my wife picked Austria and Switzerland, and was considerate enough to acquiesce to quick stops in Slovakia and Liechtenstein for me.

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  • The Weekly Flyer

    Look forward to reading these. We almost did the exact trip a year ago, without Slovakia and Liechtenstein of course:)

    Switzerland does have beautiful countryside

  • guera

    Yes, looking forward to your comments (detailed I hope) on Slovakia.

  • Andrew C

    That parking machine is the DEVIL. I’ve encountered that thing here in the U.S. and it almost drove me crazy.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @guera – I was only give a 1-day pass for Bratislava so did not see other areas. For me it was the most enjoyable day.

    @Andrew C – I will devote a post to my battles machinations with Swiss parking. I didn’t realize those machines were in the US, too. I did recently have a business trip to Silicon Valley, had to go up to San Francisco for a lunch meeting, could not figure out the meters, I forget if I found ones taking coins but didn’t have coins with either, eventually parked in an underground ramp that was so tight I barely avoided scratching up the car and was 15 minutes late for the meeting.

  • john

    Bratislava the most enjoyable day? I am interested to hear more!