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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.
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.