Zurich is an extremely wealthy city in the heart of Switzerland. Traveling there is not for those on a shoe-string budget... So I'm not sure why I was there! Even basic goods often cost twice what they might in the United States. 1.12 Swiss Francs equals 1.00 US Dollar and 40 CHF is not uncommon for an simple entrée at dinner. But, as with many things in life, you get what you pay for!
Being in Switzerland made me think about how things are so cheap in the US and how we are always concerned with cost - something that I didn't observe in my short time in Zurich. It made me think of cultural values and I now have a running theory that in the United States we value cheapness. Its important to Americans that goods and services be cheap. Contrarily, Swiss value efficiency, speed, perhaps quality. But cheapness is not important to them... anyway just my two cents. All I know is Zurich was a lot of fun and money!
The city sprawls along the North East shore of Lake Zurich with views of snow capped peaks in every direction. These vistas combined with narrow streets, and an outdoorsy population, make the city feel more like a quaint village than the home of millions of urbanites.
Zurich also boasts an excellent mass-transit system that allows one to take direct trains across the city in just a few minutes. Additionally, the old part of Zurich has a large network of trolley rails that cart visitors around the scenic areas for free. (See what I mean by speed and efficiency?) So you never have to walk too far or wait to long! Which is good because there's a lot to see!
Our time in Switzerland was made wonderful by two things in particular. The people and the weather. Both were extraordinarily nice. For being December you might think the mountainous country of Switzerland would be a winter wonder land but you'd be dead wrong about this year anyway.
The people were great as well, the streets were packed with people shopping and celebrating the holidays, and every interaction we had was pleasant. We ended up staying with a couple who had an extra bedroom in their down town apartment. It was only a five minute walk to the lake shore and right in the city center so it was an awesome place to be located for tourists like my wife and I.