An inside look: graduate school at EPFL. Part 4.1: everyday life

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When visiting any country, it is important not to confuse tourism with emigration.
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In past articles ( part 1 , part 2 , part 3 ), we touched on the professional topic, which awaits a young and still green graduate of the university upon admission, as well as during studies in Switzerland. The next part, which logically follows from the three previous ones, is to show and tell about everyday life, about tales and myths that have proliferated on the Internet (most of which are nonsense), about Switzerland, and also about the balance of expenses and income.

Disclaimer: Why did I even start writing this article? There is actually a lot of “success story” on Habré about how to leave, but very little about the reality that the emigrant will have to face upon arrival. Oneof the few examples that I liked, even if the author looks at the world through pinkish glasses, IMHO. Yes, you can find something similar on the vast Google documents, which is occasionally updated, with scattered tips, but this does not give a complete picture. So let's try to outline it!

All that is described below is an attempt to reflect on the surrounding reality, that is, in this article I would like to focus on my own feelings from the path traveled and share my observations. I hope that this will encourage someone to move to Switzerland, and to make someone at least in a separate yard their little Switzerland.

So, let's talk about everything in order, get comfortable, there will be a longrid.

It’s safe, there’s a lot of traffic under the cut (~ 20 MB)!

Well-known facts about little-known Switzerland

Fact # 1: Switzerland is primarily a confederation

In other words, the degree of independence of individual cantons is quite high. It’s like in the USA, where each state has its own taxes, its own judicial systems and so on, which are united by some general rules.

"Political" map of Switzerland. Source

Of course, there are fat cantons - Geneva (banks), Vaud (EPFL + tourism), Zurich (large IT companies), Basel (Roche and Novartis), Berne (this is generally the largest and most developed), and there is some kind of Appenzell- Innerroden , which is hard to find on the map, or Valais, whose inhabitants are often disdainful (there are a lot of rednecks, politically correct "children from close ties" and generally they entered the confederation after the defeat of Napoleon's army in 1815 ).

Fact No. 2: Switzerland - the country of the Soviets

Switzerland is essentially governed by councils, which I wrote about on the 100th anniversary of the Revolution. Yes, you heard right, the French word Conseil (advice) and the German Beratung (this advice, instruction) are essentially the very councils of the people's deputies of the dawn of “October, Socialist, Yours!”.

NB for nerds: yes, I understand perfectly well that this may be pulling an owl on the globe and afterlife, however, the Council and Conseil coincide in their goals and objectives, namely, to allow ordinary citizens to the basics of managing their region, city, country and ensure a change of power .

These tips are of several levels: the council of the district or “village” - Conseil de Commune or Gemeinde, as they call it Röstigraben, City Council - Conseil de Ville, Canton Council - Conseil d'Etat), Canton Council - Conseil des Etats, Federal Council - Conseil Federal Suisse . The latter is actually the federal government. In general, there are only tips around. This state of affairs was enshrined in the Constitution already in 1848 (that's right, Lenin at that time was small and with a curly head!).

L'Union soviétique or L'Union des Conseils?
For me it was like a bolt from the blue of November after 5 years in Switzerland. Somehow unexpectedly the year 1848 came to mind, the first visit of the “nobleman” Ulyanov aka Lenin in Switzerland in 1895, i.e. half a century after the formation of the system of Soviets, and the "Soviets" aka Conseils. But Lenin lived in Switzerland for another 5 years from 1905 to 1907 (after the creation of the first Council of Workers' Deputies in Alapaevsk ) and from 1916 to 1917. Thus, Ilyich had enough time (and then it was 5 years term!) not only for revolutionary activity, but also for the study of the local political system.

Commemorative plaque to the “Führer" in Zurich.

We will not speculate on whether Lenin or some other revolutionary “Soviets” brought to Russia or they originated distinctively, but this system of councils turned out to be quite effective and after the October Revolution was deployed on an unplowed field of “fragments of autocracy”, including ordinary people: peasants, sailors, workers and soldiers.

A couple of years after the country of the Soviets in 1922, the state of the USSR appeared on the map, which, oddly enough, was also the Con Federation, and the Union republics so willingly used the article about leaving it in the 90s. So the next time you see the mention of L'Union soviétique (after all, French is the language of international diplomacy even today) or the Soviet Union, think about whether it was Soviet, or maybe L'Union des Conceils ?!

The meaning of all these tips is to provide the entire population of the Confederation with the right to participate in the political life of the country and, in fact, direct democracy. Thus, often politicians have to combine ordinary work with a role in local government, that is, in some Council.

Here is one example of a candidate: a cook (cusinier), a driver, a dentist and an electrician are available. The source

I am impressed that the Swiss are responsible not only for their “yard”, but also consciously participate in the life of the village and the city, have some kind of innate and / or educated sense of responsibility.

Fact # 3: Switzerland's political system is unique

From fact 2 it follows that Switzerland is one of the very few countries in the world where direct democracy is possible and effective. Yes, the Swiss are very fond of expressing their will for any reason - from whether to use artillery to launch avalanches to build houses from concrete or from a more ecological tree (in Switzerland there are a lot of raw materials, but this pier kills the natural beauty, and indeed: it looks ugly, but with a "beautiful" tree, strained).

The main thing here - in the heat of advocating for a universal and universal vote - to remember that a little more than 8 million people live in Switzerland and to organize a vote on any issue is a relatively troublesome task. And it’s easy to collect statistics - I sent an email with a login password to enter and it's ready.

This is what the statistics collection system looks like. So far, you have to go to the polls yourself to vote, but only citizens have the right to vote.

By the way, it is very convenient and allows you to generate convenient statistics every year. For example, demographic data for the last 150 years of Swiss history in one file .

Fact # 4: compulsory military service in Switzerland

However, the service itself is not to pull the strap, continuously repaying the debt to the Motherland from the fence to sunset, but rather a mandatory health camp for men up to 45 years old inclusive. Indeed, the first 40 years of childhood are the most difficult in a man’s life! Even the employer does not have the right to refuse if the employee is called for fees, and the time spent (1-2 weeks usually) will be paid in full.

Why a health camp? Soldiers go home for the weekend, work strictly by the hour. For example, when an airplane was hijacked in neighboring Italy one morning in the early morning and sent to Geneva, by coincidence (a working day from 8 am to 6 pm and a break from 12 to 13), the Swiss army did not escort him .

There is a rather persistent myth that all Swiss are given weapons home after serving in the army. Not everyone, but only those who want, are not given (that is, for free), but they buy it at the lowest prices, while there are storage requirements, and not just under the bed. By the way, then from this weapon you can shoot in the dash, if there are familiar servicemen.

UPD from Graphite: Somewhere since 2008, they ceased to issue weapons to everyone. Special storage requirements (shutter separately) apply only to automatic weapons, which only those in active service have. After the army, the rifle is converted into a semi-automatic and can be stored as the rest of the weapon ("not available to third parties"). As a result, for active soldiers, the machine is in the umbrella stand at the entrance, and the shutter is lying in the drawer of the table.

The latest referendum (see fact No. 3) will oblige the federal government to introduce European standards for the use of weapons, that is, it will actually tighten its possession.

Left: Swiss Army rifle SIG Sturmgewehr 57 (slaughter power), right: contentment from firing from B-1-4 (if you know what I mean) aka Desert Eagle

Fact No. 5: Switzerland - not only cheese, chocolate, knives and watches

Many people at the word Switzerland recall cheese (Gruyere, Ementaller or Tilsiter), chocolate (usually Tobleron, because it is sold in every duty free), an army knife and a fabulously expensive watch.
If you are thinking of buying a Swatch group watch (brands such as Tissot, Balmain, Hamilton and others are also included), then up to 1,000 francs, almost all watches are made at the same manufactories and the filling for all watches is approximately the same. Only starting from the upper range (Rado, Longines) do at least some “chips” appear.

In fact, Switzerland adopted such a world order that technologies are created and developed inside the country that are then exported from the country, because the country is poor in resources. The most famous examples are Nestlé milk powder and Oerlikon rifled barrels , which were used by the Wehrmacht and Kriegsmarine during World War II. At the same time, the country has its own production of microelectronics (ABB - power, EM Microelectronic - RFID, smart cards, filling smart watches and so on according to the list of goods), its own production of complex components and assemblies, its own assembly of trains (two-story Bombardier, for example, collected under Villeneuve) and further on the list. And about the fact that a good half of farm is sitting in Switzerland - I tactfully keep silent (Lonza in the new cluster in the Sierre, Roche and Novartis in Basel and the district, DeBioPharm in Lausanne (Lausanne) and Martin and (Martigny) and a lot of startups and smaller companies).

Fact # 6: Switzerland - a kaleidoscope of climates

Switzerland has its own Siberia with temperatures up to -30 C, there are its own Sochi (Montreux, Montreux), where rickety palm trees grow and herds of swans graze, there are its own “deserts” (Valais), where the air humidity lasts from 10 to 30 all year round %, and the number of sunny days per year exceeds 320, and there are also St. Petersburg, like Geneva (with freezing rain and a "water" metro ) or Zurich.

In anticipation of the new year: Montreux is still relatively warm, and the snow is already in the mountains.

Funny, Switzerland is famous for its ski resorts, but there is not much snow in most cities, respectively, often they don’t clear the snow, and they clear the way for cars and pedestrians - waiting for it to melt. Autobahns, of course, have to be cleaned first of all, but only at the beginning of the working day. Now imagine some half-millionth, like Zurich, during such apocalypse ...

An example - the snowfall in Zion in December 2017 is a complete collapse. Even the platform at the station was cleaned for several days. Zion was not lucky twice for 2017-2018 - at first he was covered with snow in the winter , and then drowned in the summer. We even have a lab damaged. And I’ll ask you to note no Sobyanin.
In Switzerland, everything works like an exact clock, but when it falls to the snow, it turns into Italy. (c) - my boss.

And according to this, in every house there is a person who is responsible for cleaning the house, usually it is a concierge, there is a simple cleaning technique (for example, like this ). In villages with large cars, residents have a special dump for this. Everything is cleaned to asphalt or tile, otherwise it will melt during the day and freeze at night. What prevents Russia from gathering and putting its own yards in order, or buying a small combine (~ 30k rubles) for these purposes, remains a mystery to me.

The history of one parking in Russia
It so happened that about 8 years ago I had a car, I loved it and drove a shovel in it, with which I dug out my parking lots. So for 1 day in my far from poor yard (SUVs from Mazda and Tuaregs - the norm), I dug up 4 parking spaces in one daylight.

Just as in a relationship, everything is determined not by who, whom and what should, but by what you yourself have done for convenience and general prosperity. You need to start with yourself! And the Tuaregs are rolling their ruts in the yard and in the parking lot ...

Fact No. 7: “Politeness”

Tell me honestly, when did you last say “good afternoon” and “thank you” to the service staff? And in Switzerland it’s the same habit as inhaling and exhaling, intensifying in small villages. For example, here almost everyone will have to say bonjour / guten Tag / buongiorno (good afternoon) at the beginning of the conversation, merci / Danke / gracie (thank you) after some service and bonne journée / Tschüss / ciao (good day) saying goodbye. And in hikes, everyone you meet will greet you - amazing!

And this is not the American “Hawaii”, when a person somewhere in his bosom holds an ax in order to chop, as soon as you turn your back. In Switzerland, since the country is small and, until recently, with a significant “rural” population, everyone greets them albeit on automatism, but more sincerely than in the USA.

However, do not be fooled by the hospitality and kindness of the Swiss. Let me remind you that some of the toughest laws on naturalization apply in the country, which includes working life, knowledge of the language, and exams. Kind outside, a little nationalists inside.

Fact # 8: The Swiss village is more alive than all living

Surprisingly, it is a fact: in Switzerland, a village not only does not die out, but also quite well develops and expands. The point here is not ecology and green lawns, on which goats and cows are jumping, but purely economic. Since Switzerland is a confederation, taxes (in particular, personal income tax) are paid at 3 levels here: communal (village / city), cantonal (“region”) and federal. Federal is one for all, but “manipulations” - in the good sense of the word - with the other two can significantly reduce taxes if the family lives in a “village”.

We will talk about taxes in detail in the next part, but for now I’ll note that if for Lausanne, that is, a person lives in a city, the conditional tax burden is ~ 25% per person, then for a godforsaken village in the same canton of Vaud, for example, Mollie-Margot, she will be ~ 15-17%. It is clear that not all this difference can be put in your pocket, since you have to maintain the house yourself, mow the lawn, pay for the car and the way to work in the city, however, housing prices are lower, the food is farm, and children run around in the expanse of meadow.

And yes, it is very strange about marriage. Sometimes taxes on a family without children can significantly exceed the tax on one individual, so the Swiss are not in such a hurry to flee to the local registry office. For the economy must be economical. Even a referendum was held on this subject. But about taxes in the next part.

Transport system

In general, it is convenient to travel around Switzerland both by car and by public transport. Often travel time is comparable.

Trains and public transport

Oddly enough, but for such a small country like Switzerland (its area is almost 2 times smaller than the Tver region and comparable to Moscow), the railway network is developed tremendously. Add to this the PostAuto buses, which not only make it possible to move between remote villages, but also deliver the mail itself. Thus, you can get from almost anywhere in the country to any other.
Swiss trains are the most train trains in the world, especially double-decker

To plan your route, just specify the departure and destination stations in the SBB application . A couple of years ago it was significantly updated, the functionality was expanded, and it became just a great assistant in traveling around the country.

A few words about the history of SBB
Once upon a time in Switzerland there were many private companies that built, operated and controlled the movement of passengers and goods between cities. However, the bacchanalia of capitalism (somewhere they couldn’t agree among themselves, somewhere they overstated tariffs and so on) ended in the beginning of the 19th century with the creation of a common state coordinating center - SBB, which quickly saved the “effective owners” from a lot of problems and headaches by nationalizing all railway carriers.

Now the remnants of the former "luxury" can be observed in the abundance of "subsidiary" companies that are engaged in transportation (MOB, BLS, etc.) and which even paint trains in different colors from each other. However, they are engaged only in local transportation, and globally everyone still steers SBB.

I immediately want to draw a parallel: SBB is an analogue of the Russian Railways, but this is not entirely true. SBB is a “brain” created to curb and control individual regional carriers, while Russian Railways has a very complex structure, where cars operate alone, contact networks are different, and the track is generally third. Hence, in my opinion, the problems of our railway communication.

Transportation in Switzerland is fabulously expensive. If you buy tickets simply in the machine without special tricks, then you can stay without pants in the truest sense of the word! For example, a ticket from Lausanne to Zurich will cost ~ 75 francs in the second class one way in 2 hours, so almost the entire Swiss population has subscriptions (AG, regional passes, demi-tariff, and so on). Acquaintances working on SBB say that the number of different types of tickets goes up to a thousand! Along with the SBB application, a universal RFID card was introduced - Swisspass , which is not only an electronic form of travel cards, but you can also drop a regular ticket or a ticket for the ski lift on it. All in all, very comfortable!

Hypothesis about the cost of tickets or what does demi-tariff have to do with it
IMHO, SBB makes a knight's move: calculates the break-even price of tickets, adds his 10%, and then multiplies by 2 so that people buy this demi-tariff card for 180 francs a year. Let 1 million of these cards be sold per year (population ~ 8 million), because someone goes to regional passes, someone goes to AG. Total we have 180 million francs out of the blue.

This scenario is also supported by the fact that in 2017 SBB earned 400 million francs more than the plan , which they distributed to the owners of various SBB cards in the form of bonuses, and also allowed them to reduce the cost of tickets outside rush hours.

Various discount programs are provided for teenagers and youth, for example, Voie 7 or Gleis 7 - up to 25 years (renewal must be submitted 1 day before the date of birth); you can order this card for ~ 150-170 in addition to the half price card (demi-tariff ) It gives the right to travel on all trains (buses, ships and public city transport are not included) after 7 pm (yes, 19- zero-zero , Karl! 18-59 - does not count!). An ideal way for a student to travel around the country.

However, while the article was being written, they managed to cancel this card and introduce another, Seven25, the cost of which increased significantly.

In addition, SBB distributes aka among the communes. городам и весям так называемые дневные билеты (carte journaliere). Каждый житель той или иной коммуны имеет право на несколько таких билетов в течение года. Стоимость, количество и возможность покупки для каждой коммуны свои и зависят от количества жителей.

UPD от Graphite: зависят только от количества жителей (доступны публично на сайте SBB), а жители коммуны уже сами решают на общем собрании — участвовать или нет, и если участвовать, то почем продавать билет своим жителям.

Примеры carte journaliere и как получить
In the commune Geneve (large city) 20-30 tickets will be available every day, but their cost is 45 CHF, which is quite expensive.

In the commune Préverenges (hamlet) such tickets will be 1-2 per day, but they will cost 30-35 francs.

Also, from the commune to the commune, the requirements for documents for the purchase of these also change: somewhere, just enough ID, and somewhere you need to confirm the fact of residence at the address, for example, bring an invoice from the energy company or by phone.

The Belle époque train on the Golden Pass line between Montreux and Lucerne

And yes, it is worth mentioning that all SBB passes, with rare exceptions, apply to water transport, which is abundant on every Swiss lake. So, for example, for a couple of years we have been skating along Lake Geneva with cheese and wine on the luxurious Belle époque ships.

Note for fans of conspiracy theories (about Huawei)
Of course, to check tickets, you need a reader. The most universal reader is NFC in the smartphone. A couple of years ago, all the conductors on the train went with Samsung smartphones, they said that they were wildly braked and sometimes just hung, but for a “car driver” it’s like death — neither to look at the schedule, nor help those in need with transfers. As a result, they changed to Huawei - everything works fine, it does not slow down, if you understand what I mean ...

And even without 5G networks ...

Ship Belle époque between Montreux and Lausanne

Inside some ships, a steam engine has been preserved!

Although the SBB is developing at an incredible pace (new infrastructure, digitalization, including a scoreboard - soon there will be practically no old turning over, a new double-decker train in Vala and so on), a noticeable anachronism remains, and the ultra-old may well be adjacent to the ultramodern. For example, special trains for fans, fans hailing from the 70s with “gravity-type toilets” (c). Even some of the Zurich - Chur (IC3) trains are exactly the same as talking about the train to Davos, where some of the cars are old and some are ultramodern.

SBB Tricks and Lifehacks for Attentive Readers
  1. If you are traveling in Switzerland in the second class and you need to work hard or just have a lot of people and want to “take a break”, we just sit in the restaurant car, order beer or coffee for 6 francs and enjoy the comfort. Unfortunately, only on IC lines, and not all of them. Actually, part of this article was written in such restaurants.
  2. SBB has a Snow & Rail program where you can buy both a ticket and a skipass at a reduced price. In principle, until recently, it worked with various travel cards, for example, AG. In fact, -10-15% of the price of the ski pass.
  3. There are three types of wagons on the GoldenPass (MOB) road: regular, panoramic and Belle époque. It’s best to choose the last two or just Belle époque.
  4. It’s very convenient to buy tickets through the SBB app. Sometimes during rush hours at the stations there is a queue to the ticket machine, and the presence of such an application is very helpful. By the way, in it you can buy a ticket to any person who travels with you.

Car vs public transport

The question is relevant and there is probably no simple answer to it. In value terms, owning a car is slightly more expensive than 3,500 francs per year for a second-class AG, and traffic jams often happen (for example, in winter everyone goes with skis from Valais to Lausanne and Geneva, traffic jams stretch for 20-30 km) or some cataclysms, as in Zermatt in the winter of 2017/2018 (due to avalanches, the movement was completely paralyzed for a week).

With the car: pay insurance (analogue of CTP, CASCO, TUV insurance, for which technical assistance comes, etc.), throw some money on gasoline, any minor breakdown turns into a quest and a waste of budget.

And yes, advice for travelers: when entering Switzerland, you need to purchase the so-called vignette (~ 40 francs), which gives you the right to travel on expressways during the calendar year - such a kind of road tax. If you enter through such a highway, then be prepared that they will force you to buy a vignette right at the point of entry. Therefore, if you rented a car in France and decided to call Geneva for a day, it is better to find a smaller road to cross the border.

However, I would single out three categories where the answer is unequivocal:
  • Students and students up to 25 years old who for ~ 350 francs have two cards (demi-tariff and voie7) and can easily move between major cities.
  • Lonely people who live and work in large cities. That is, they do not need to go to work and from work every single day from some remote village where the bus gets a couple of times in the morning and a couple of times in the evening.
  • Married / married with children - at least one car per family is needed.

On the other hand, my girlfriend in Geneva got a car, because it is time-consuming to travel around the city center by public transport, and it’s easier to get to work in 15 minutes by the ring road.

And lately, more and more on the roads become cyclists, scooters and bikers. This is due to the fact that parking for scooters / motorbikes is usually free and there are really a lot of them scattered around the city.

Leisure and entertainment

How to entertain yourself in such a hectic, but free from work time? What is the situation with leisure in general?

Cultural program: theaters, museums, concerts and cinema

Let's start with the main thing - the dialectics of the cultural life of Switzerland. On the one hand, the country is located in the physical center of Europe at the crossroads from Italy to Germany and from France to Austria, that is, artists of all stripes and nationalities can call in. In addition, the Swiss are solvent: 50-100 francs per ticket for an event - the standard price, how to go to a restaurant. On the other hand, the market itself is small - only 8 million people (~ 2-3 million potential customers). Therefore, in general, there are many cultural events, but often it is 1-2 concerts or performances in large cities (Geneva, Bern, Zurich, Basel) throughout Switzerland.

It follows that the Swiss love their "crafts", such as the student concert Balelecheld in the EPFL, or all kinds of festivals (spring festival, St. Patrick's Day, etc.), in which small-town amateur performances take part (sometimes even quite masterly).

Unfortunately, local cultural crafts such as, for example, theater, of a very specific quality and quality are for the amateur and connoisseur of the language.

Sometimes there are events with Swiss characteristics, such as organ music in the Lausanne Cathedral with thousands of candles lit. Events of this kind are either free, or an entrance ticket costs about 10-15 francs.

3,700 candles, however. Source

Since Swiss culture is the culture of peasants (farmers, shepherds) and various artisans, the activities here are appropriate. For example, the descent and raising of cattle into the mountains, caves ouvertes (days of open cellars of winemakers) or the grandiose feast of winemaking - Fête des Vignerons (the latter was somewhere in the early 90's, and now will be in July 2019).

Autumn descent of cows from the mountains in the canton of Neuchatel

Sometimes such events end in the dead of night.

There are museums, but the quality of these again leaves much to be desired. For example, a puppet museum in Basel can be leisurely walked around in a couple of hours, while a ticket costs about 10 francs.

Класс юных алхимиков в музее кукол в Базеле

А если захочется сходить в Рюмин палас и посетить минералогический и зоологический музеи, музей денег, музей истории кантона, а ещё и полюбоваться на произведения музея искусств, то тут придётся отдать уже 35 франков. UPD от Virtu-Ghazi: раз в месяц различные музеи можно посетить бесплатно (по крайней мере в Лозанне).

Кроме того, в здании находится библиотека Лозаннского университета, так что можете прикинуть какой «Эрмитаж» вас ждёт. Поэтому если это музей в замке – не стоит ждать гобеленов 14ого века, если музей монет – не стоит ждать коллекции Оружейной палаты или Алмазного Фонда, лучше ориентироваться на уровень местечкового музея.

The Palace of Ryumin in Ripon Square in Lausanne. Source

Yes, Lausanne is officially called the Olympic capital, the IOC, various international federations, and so on are located here, and accordingly, there is an Olympic museum where you can see how the torch changed, for example, over the past century or nostalgic for Bear-80.

The world of the Olympics in Lausanne

Briefly about the movie. It's nice that the movies are often shown with the original voice acting and subtitles in one of the official languages ​​of Switzerland.

Russian community and events

By the way, recently Russian artists and Russian films began to be massively transported (at one time they brought "Leviathan" and "Fool" with Russian voice acting). If my memory serves me right, then the Russian ballet was definitely brought to Geneva.

In addition, the vast Russian community often organizes some of its events: these are games in "What?" Where? When? ”, The Mafia, and lectures (for example, Lemanika ), and events such as the“ Immortal Regiment ”, organized by volunteers with the support of the consular department,“ Total Dictation ”and“ Soldier Halt ”by Russian Nights .

Plus, there are a lot of groups in FB and VK (sometimes with an audience of 10,000 people) that have the principle of self-organization: I wanted to meet, meet, organize an event - I set a date and time. Whoever wants to come. In general, for every taste and color.

Seasonal outdoor activities

Well, let's now see how in Switzerland you can entertain yourself seasonally in addition to cultural raids.

The beginning of the year is winter. As I mentioned above, Switzerland is famous for its ski resorts, which are scattered throughout the Alps. There are quite small runs of 20-30 km, which is equivalent to one or two lifts, and there are giants for several hundred kilometers with dozens of lifts, such as 4 valleys (including the untwisted Verbier ), Saas Valley (the most famous among them is Saas Fee ), Arosa or some Zermatt .

Typically, ski resorts open at the end of December, beginning of January, depending on the amount of snow falling, so almost every weekend from January to the end of February they are given for skiing, hiking on glaciers (snow shoeing), skiing on cheesecakes ( aka tubing) and other mountain and winter joys.

Villars-sur-Gryon immediately after a two-day snowfall

By the way, no one canceled ordinary cross-country skiing (there is a free or almost free track in almost every mountain village), as well as ice-skating (there are in the mountains, and there are in ice palaces in the cities themselves) .

The price tag for one day of skiing varies from 30 (small or hard-to-reach resorts) to almost a hundred francs (98, to be precise, for Zermatt with the opportunity to move to Italy). However, you can significantly save if you buy passes in advance - two or three months, or even six months. Similarly with hotels (if the plan is to stay in the same valley for several days), which often need to be booked several months in advance.

View of the Saas Fee from the side of Saas Grunda

As for equipment rental, the set: for alpine skiing - usually 50-70 francs per day, cross-country skiing - about 20-30. Which in itself is not so cheap, for example, in neighboring France, a set of ski equipment costs about 25-30 euros (~ 40 francs). Thus, a day of skiing, taking into account travel and food, can cost 100-150 francs. Therefore, having tried, skiers or bordists either rent equipment for the season (200-300 francs), or buy their own set (about 1000 francs).

Spring is a time of uncertainty. On the one hand, in March, in the mountains, mountain skiing turns into water skiing, it gets too hot, and it’s somehow not to get high. Drink beer under a palm high - yes.

In April there is a wonderful Easter (4 days off), which many use to go somewhere on a trip. Often at the end of April it becomes already so warm that the first marathons are held. UPD from Stiver : for lovers of walking has its activities .

Yes, if you think that 10 or 20 km is nothing, the soul requires scope, then you can try Glacier3000 run . During this race, it is necessary not only to overcome a path of 26 km, but also to climb 3,000 meters above sea level. In 2018, the record for women was 2 hours 46 minutes, for men - 2 hours 26 minutes.

Sometimes we run Lausanne 10 km.

In May, the so-called caves ouvertes or open cellar days begin, when, after paying 10-15-20 francs for a beautiful glass, you can walk between the wine producers (who keep it in those same “caves”) and taste it. The most famous region is the Lavaux vineyards (Lavaux) , which are under the protection of UNESCO. By the way, some distilleries are located at a respectable distance, so you can take a good walk between them.

Those same Lavaux vineyards

in Ticino (the only Italian canton), they say, even bike tours are available. I don’t know what about the bike, but at the end of the day it’s already hard to stand on my feet.

During such tastings, you can buy wine for the future, by placing an appropriate order, right on the spot at the winemaker.

Video is strictly 18+, and in some countries even 21+

Back in May, you can begin to go hiking in aka hikes, but usually no more than 1000-1500 meters. Any hike route with elevation differences, approximate hiking time, difficulty, and public transport schedules can be viewed on a special site - Swiss Mobility . For example, near Montreux there is an excellent route that L.N. Tolstoy loved, and along which daffodils bloom.

Blooming in the mountains, white daffodils - a stunning sight!

Summer: hike-hike-hike and some lake fun. All summer months are mountain hikes of various lengths, complexity and elevation. It is almost like meditation: you can wander for a long time along a narrow mountain path and in mountain silence. Physical activity, oxygen starvation, stress, coupled with divine species - a great opportunity to reload the brain.

Transition from Zermatt to a half-kilometer suspension bridge

By the way, one should not think that a hike is an extremely difficult ascent and descent, sometimes the route runs through lakes, in which it is quite possible to swim.

Lake. 2000 meters above sea level. Mid July.

Since Russian-speaking people have a special reverence for kebab-mashlyk, about once a month on the lake we arrange a day of protein and fat. Well, when someone else brings a guitar, then an emotional evening cannot be avoided.

Two aspects are worth noting here: on the one hand, the city organizes containers near the barbecue clearing, on the other hand, the city authorities themselves establish and equip such places. As an example, polygrill in the EPFL itself .

Two other purely summer entertainments are rafting on a boat / mattress along the "mountain" rivers (the most famous of Thun to Bern), as well as summer pleasure boats on numerous lakes in Switzerland.

On a mountain river at a speed of 10-15 km per hour from Tuna, you can sail to Bern in 4 hours.

On August 1, Switzerland marks the day of the founding of the state with numerous fireworks and bonfires around the lake. On the second weekend of August, Geneva moneybags sponsor Grand Feu de Geneve, during which thousands of fireworks burst to the accompaniment of music for 1 hour.

Full 4K video from last year

Autumn is an off-season melancholy in summer and winter. The most incomprehensible season in Switzerland, because it seems like you already want to ski after a hot summer, but there will be no snow until December.
September is still a small summer. You can continue the summer program and participate in marathons. But already in mid-October, the weather begins to deteriorate to such an extent that it is difficult to plan anything. And in November begins the second season of open cellars, that is, to drink from longing for summer.

Food is traditional and zhrali international

It is also worth saying a few words about local food and cuisine. If the shops are described in Part 2 , then here I would like to describe the local cuisine in a nutshell.

In general, the food is quality and tasty, if you do not buy the cheapest in Dener. However, like any Russian person, I do not have enough Russian products - buckwheat, normal oatmeal (a la monastic, coarse, since everything is designed for boiling with boiling water at best), cottage cheese (either DIY, or you need to prepare a mixture of cottage cheese and Serac from Migros), marshmallows and so on

The history of one buckwheat
One Swiss once saw that a Russian girl was eating buckwheat and said that he was very surprised, and in general they feed her horses with buckwheat and not with a girl. Usually green. Ogh, a wicked Swiss ...

The traditional dishes of Swiss ( aka Alpine) cuisine are based for some reason on cheese and local edible supplies (sausages, potatoes and other vegetables) - fondue, raclette and rösti.

Fondue - a pan of molten cheese where everything is dipped.

Raclette is a cheese that is melted in layers. Just recently I wrote about him .

Free Racquet program performed by the indigenous Swiss during the summer Olympic Games of our laboratory. August 2016.

Rösti is a dish of “discord” between the German and French parts of Switzerland, which gave the name to the informal border between the two parts of the country - the already mentioned Röstigraben .

The rest of the kitchen is not much different from its neighbors: burgers, pizza, pasta, sausages, grilled meat - from all over Europe crumbs. But what is most interesting and funny - I don’t even know why - Asian restaurants (Chinese, Japanese and Thai) are extremely popular in Switzerland.

Secret list of the best restaurants in Lausanne (suddenly it will come in handy for someone)
Petit beef
Wok Royal
Eat me
La crêperie la chandeleur
Trois rois
Chez xu
Bleu lézard
Le cinq
Éléphant blanc
Buble tea
Café du grancy
Ichi ban
Grappe d'or
Taco taco
Chalet suisse
Pinte bessoin

Ограниченный контингент “советских” войск в Швейцарской Конфедерации

And finally, it is necessary to describe the contingent that one way or another will have to face in the mountain meadow expanses of the Swiss Confederation.

A great plus, of course, here can be considered cultural and national diversity: the Tatars, Kazakhs, Caucasians, Ukrainians, Belarusians and the Baltic states - everyone here was picked up with a string. Accordingly, the holidays of borscht, dumplings or pilaf, seasoned with Georgian wine - this is a multinational given.

We list the main groups (so to speak in bold strokes) of a limited contingent of Soviet troops (95% were born in this country) in the Swiss Confederation in descending order of strength. Among my friends there are almost all of the groups listed below.

At first, the vast majority of online active population belongs to the group of “mothers”. Women who moved to Switzerland, having had a marriage with a Swiss citizen, actively discuss their “childhood” problems, share where to find a beautician and makeup artist, and throw provocative questions a la “Is a Russian man better / worse than a Swiss?”. There are even professional housewives who lead entire groups on FB and VK. They live in these groups and forums, are friends, take offense, and even fight. Unfortunately, without them these groups would not exist at all, there would be no suitable content to attract new members. Nothing personal - just a statement of fact.

Secondly, students, graduate students and other persons temporarily displaced into Switzerland. They come to study, sometimes they remain to work in their specialty, if they are lucky (see part 3 about employment). Students have student parties and events, which often have an international from all the nations of the world. It seems to me that this is the happiest group, because they have the opportunity and time not only to work, but also to have a good rest. But it is not exactly!

Thirdly , expats who arrived in the country as well-established specialists. They often do not see anything other than work, are busy with careers and rarely appear at general events. Unfortunately, they are a vanishingly small number compared to the previous two groups.

Fourth, eternal seekers of a better life, who are able to give out one post about finding a job with a lot of grammatical errors and wait for someone to employ them. Let me remind you again: the Swiss are a little nationalists in this matter, right and left do not give out work permits to everyone.

Fifth , new and not very Russian, aka “oligarchs” who have a reserve airfield in Switzerland.

It is difficult to collect such diverse personalities, but up to 50-60 people can take part in holidays that are common for all of us and interesting events - Victory Day, New Year's Eve or barbecue-mashlyk on the lake.

Visit to the mines where salt is mined in the town of Bex.

Video sketches about life in Switzerland can be found here:

To be continued on the financial side of the issue ...

PS: For proofreading the material, valuable comments and discussions, my very, very grateful thanks to Anna, Albert ( qbertych ), Jura and Sasha.

PPS: A minute of advertising. In connection with the latest trends of “fashion”, I would like to mention that this year Moscow State University opens a permanent campus (and has been teaching for 2 years!) Of a joint university with the Beijing Polytechnic in Shenzhen. There is an opportunity to learn Chinese, as well as get 2 diplomas at once (IT specialties from VMK MSU available). More information about the university, directions and opportunities for students can be found here .

Video for clarity about the ongoing lawlessness:

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