Home Videos Switzerland Travel Tips: 10 Things to Know Before You Go to Switzerland

Switzerland Travel Tips: 10 Things to Know Before You Go to Switzerland

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Transcript

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– Yellow Productions presents 10 things to know
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before you go to Switzerland.
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I’m Chris, this is my traveling panda, Topher.
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We do travel guides that are fun, informative,
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and entertaining, and in this video
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we’ll tell you some things you’ll wanna know
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before you come to Switzerland.
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And we’ll start with number one which is,
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Switzerland has four different languages.
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Yes, in Switzerland they speak
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German, French, Italian, and Romansh.
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And in different parts of the country
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they speak different languages.
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So, in Zurich and Lucerne you’ll find people speak German.
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In Geneva they speak French.
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The south speaks Italian, but almost everybody speaks
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English too, so if you’re an English-speaker,
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chances are you’ll be able to get along
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just fine in Switzerland.
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And the other thing to know about languages
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is there’s really no need for small talk in Switzerland.
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In a lot of places you have to chat up
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the store clerks, the waiters and waitresses.
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Here they’re pretty good about being efficient;
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they just want to finish the transaction
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and so you’ll find you don’t need to make
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that small talk that maybe you do back home.
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If your home is the States or places
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where small talk is popular.
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Alright.
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Thing to know number two: hours.
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Switzerland is an early country.
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Cafes open early, stores close early,
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so when you’re here you will want to start,
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and likely end, your days early.
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Most stores open between eight and 10 in the morning
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and they close between six and 8 p.m. in the evening.
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On Saturday most shops close around four or 5 p.m.,
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and on Sunday almost everything is closed.
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Switzerland has pretty strict laws
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to have a good quality life so things aren’t
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too noisy or too busy, but that means that,
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when it becomes night time, there’s not much to do.
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So just kinda plan your days that way.
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There are some cities that have a thing
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called evening shopping and they’ll have
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one day a week where the shops will be open ’til later.
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In Zurich this happens on Thursdays,
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and on Thursdays the shops are often open until 9 p.m.
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Alright, number three: transportation.
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Switzerland has really good public transportation.
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It’s pretty similar to Japan in that context.
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Public transportation here is always on time.
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If your train leaves at 12:02, by gosh,
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it’s gonna leave at 12:02.
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If you see another one that’s leaving at 11:58,
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that is a different train.
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Something to know if you’re coming to Switzerland
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and you’ll be traveling a lot on the train,
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there’s this thing called the Swiss Travel Pass
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and you can get unlimited transportation
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on trains, buses, trams, everything like that.
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And so that’s a pretty good deal
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if you’re gonna be doing a lot of train travel.
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Alright.
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Also, if you are doing a lot of train travel,
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make sure on your mobile device
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that you download the SBB app.
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SBB is the Swiss Railways and their app
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tells you lots of great stuff about where you’re coming,
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where you’re going, platforms it goes on,
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so that’s a handy thing to have with you.
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And also there’s two main classes
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of train travel in Switzerland.
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First class and second class.
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Now the second class is actually pretty good.
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I think second class in Switzerland
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is almost as good as first class
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in a lot of other countries, so don’t feel bad
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if you’re taking a second class train.
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Okay, the fourth thing to know is money.
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In Switzerland they don’t use the euro
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and they’re not part of the European Union either.
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They are part of the Schengen Agreement
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that allows visa-free entry
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so the money they use here is the Swiss franc,
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abbreviated CHF, but you can exchange euros
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at any bank, many hotels, a lot of stores will accept euro,
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but then you’ll get change back in francs.
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And if you’re looking for an ATM
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you will see those called Bancomats.
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Bancomats is the term.
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Alright thing to know number five:
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Switzerland is expensive.
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You’ve heard Switzerland is expensive and it is.
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Pizza probably cost you about 20 Swiss francs at Vapiano’s,
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which is a pizza chain that I like quite a bit,
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but that was a bit of sticker shock
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when it was 20 francs for a pizza.
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A Big Mac meal at McDonald’s will cost 12 francs.
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Starbucks coffee, five Swiss francs.
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Nothing here is cheap.
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By the way I don’t know that if I said this
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of where I’m doing this.
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I am doing this video in Zurich right over the river.
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There’s a river boat going underneath right now.
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So if you haven’t checked out my Switzerland travel guide,
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you can find a link to that in the description below.
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Alright, so thing to know number six: food.
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When you are in Switzerland, the things to eat
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are chocolate and cheese.
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You will find chocolate shops almost on every block
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in major cities in Switzerland.
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The cheese, there’s over 400 varieties
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of cheese in Switzerland, and those are
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two of the things they’re most famous for.
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They have a lot of cows so drink the milk too,
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dairy is a big thing here.
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Something to also know about food,
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and I just talked about things being expensive,
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food is expensive.
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If you’re trying to get some cheaper eats,
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go to restaurants that have lunch specials,
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you might find those to be about 20 francs,
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go to some of the cafeteria restaurants
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that are in department stores,
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or, if you want the cheapest eats,
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check out the ethnic restaurants.
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Kabobs are always cheap so you can find
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a kabob maybe for 10 francs.
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Last thing to know about food is
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if you have a reservation, don’t be late.
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If your reservation is at 7 p.m. and you get there at 7:15,
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well you might as well forget you had that reservation.
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Things here are much like Germany or Japan
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where they’re very strict on time,
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so make sure you don’t get too late
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and still expect them to seat you.
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Okay, number seven thing to know
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about Switzerland is it is small.
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Switzerland has a total population of eight million.
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It is one tenth the size of the state of California,
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or about three times the size of Los Angeles County,
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but Switzerland has many mountains
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which makes travel fairly slow throughout the country.
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But if you’re driving on the freeways
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where it’s been developed pretty good,
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you can go from Zurich to Geneva in three hours,
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and that’s pretty much the length of the country.
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Okay, the eighth thing to know: the weather.
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The weather in Switzerland can be quite varied
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because of the Alps, the mountain range
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that runs through the middle of Switzerland.
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On the west side it can be windy,
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on the south it’s significantly warmer,
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but the thing to know is that in the summer time,
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here in Zurich, it can be quite warm.
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When we were here the daytime highs
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in Fahrenheit were about 80, 85 degrees.
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They can get up to 95 degrees and 35 degrees Celsius
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for the highs, so Switzerland can be quite warm,
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which is something that we didn’t really take into account
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when we came here, so make sure you bring,
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if you’re coming in the summer,
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definitely short sleeves and shorts.
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You will want it.
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It’s also humid here cos there’s
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so much water out and about and around.
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Another thing to know if you are going
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up to the mountains, the mountains are cold.
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Each mountain will typically have its own website,
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so check the weather on the mountains.
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Even though it’s 85 Fahrenheit here,
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up on top of the Jungfrau it’s nearly freezing today.
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So do pay pay attention to the weather.
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And when you’re up on the mountains at a high elevation
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make sure to wear sunscreen because the elevation
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is high and so the sun is stronger up there.
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Okay, number nine, we’re getting to the end,
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and Topher I need to set you down so I can do a visual aid,
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number nine is about water.
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So skip the bottled water.
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Bottled water is really expensive.
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They have a tax on these plastic bottles
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which makes these plastic bottles
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2, 3 francs to purchase them.
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Pick up one or bring one with you
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from maybe the airport you’re flying from
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and refill it as you get here.
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Switzerland cities are full of public fountains
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that the water is cold, delicious,
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and good for you, too.
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Zero calories in the Marriott.
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Zero calories, no sugar, no fat, so check out the water.
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Fill it up from the tap or from those public fountains,
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that’ll save you some money.
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Okay, the last thing to know
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when you come to Switzerland is recycling.
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The Swiss are really big on recycling.
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So when you see trash cans in supermarkets
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there will often be four or five different trash cans
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for plastic bottles, for metal, for glass,
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so make sure you’re putting your trash
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in the right areas otherwise you might get a nasty sneer.
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Few more bonus tips I wanted to add related
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to things to know, and this is after
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I just finished dinner at Zeughauskeller in Zurich.
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And if you wanna know more about what food is in there,
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check out my Zurich travel guide,
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but here’s three things to know about eating at restaurants.
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One, if you want air conditioning,
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make sure they have air conditioning.
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This is one restaurant that doesn’t,
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and Zurich and Switzerland can be warmer
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than you might expect in the summer,
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and eating there at eight o’clock at night
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I felt like I was inside a sauna.
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Two, a lot of restaurants add a service charge,
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they add an 8% service charge here,
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so you don’t need to add a tip to the extra service charge.
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And Switzerland in general is probably
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warmer than you thought.
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I know that I had a section about weather,
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and I know that I said it was warm,
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but in the summer, however warm you think it is,
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if you’re in Fahrenheit add about 10 more degrees,
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if you’re in Celsius add five more degrees
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cos it can be hot and humid.
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Did I mention that?
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Like Asia is usually hot and humid,
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but Switzerland you have this perspective
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of snow and cold, but in the summer, throw that all away.
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Hot and sticky.
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That brings us to the end of this video,
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and so Topher and I we hope you enjoyed it.
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Or you might enjoy watching some more
10:39
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Alright, bye bye.
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– [Child] Bye bye