Punctuality? Welcome to Switzerland


Last Friday we had the first snow here!
Some centimetres of course, no storm, no avalanches, no walls of ice…
The temperature outside was quite cold, as you can imagine.

Nevertheless, surprisingly and irritatingly, the usual bus to go to work arrived with a “planned” delay of 19 minutes! (See the red numbers on the photo)
19 minutes? Is this a delay or a new schedule?
When I did not see the bus arriving, I thought either that it might have been Sunday and I did not realise it, or that they cancelled the bus.
Then I checked the punctual App with the bus schedule and I discovered the 19 minutes!

Punctuality in Switzerland: mythology or reality?

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Nussbaumen… Carnival at the roundabout

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Yesterday I was driving through Nussbaumen (Gemeinde – community of – Obersiggenthal) and I noticed again its main roundabout.
We can define it as a “seasonal” or “multi-purpose” roundabout.

Thanks to the various poles, depending on the season or on some particular event, the roundabout can be “made up” with suitable flags or decoration.
Now we are approaching the Carnival time… or, as they say here, “Fasnacht”.
And that’s why the area is now full of flags showing a funny character with fake nose, laughable hat and pretending to dance.

Welcome in Nussbaumen, a town with more than 30% foreigners, where you immediately see when it’s Carnival time!

One of the Swiss “tops”: the highway sticker!

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Switzerland has a great system to pay highways. You just buy a 40 CHF sticker every year and that’s it!
Great, isn’t it? No toll on the highways, just one “standard” payment by the end of January every year.

That’s it?

Not at all!
There are two details which make this sticker (the so-called “Vignette”) a prime example of Swissinity!
1) You have to use absolutely one sticker per car. Therefore, of course, you cannot transfer your sticker from one car to another, in case you own two cars.
To be sure that no one could ever think of cheating, the sticker is made of various parts with very weak connections to each other. In this way, once attached, the sticker is unremovable without completely tearing it apart!
2) As a consequence of 1) above, at the beginning of the year, when you have to remove the old sticker and “install” the new one, you would be glad to have a terminator to take out the used “Vignette”.
Otherwise you would need, at least, the following set of tools: a small razor blade or a knife, eventually your sharpest nails, possibly some chemical spray to remove the hardest glue of the world. And, last but not least: a lot of patience and self-control!

Easy, but complicate, or… complicate, but easy?
You can judge by yourself. But remember: this is Switzerland! Things which might be simple and normal in any other country sometimes become “Swissinities” here!

Sometimes it happens, even in Switzerland!

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Living in the countryside and working in the countryside, my very short trip home-office by bus is my window on Swiss daily routine.
On Swiss buses, when you get a seat, you will never let it go! Why? I do not know.
Even if you see an old person standing next to you, even if carrying heavy bags, or a pregnant woman clearly tired, or a mother with three small kids trying to run the hell away from her… you will continue to sit trying to pretend you do not see anything around you.

That’s why what happened to me last week was really…something.
As soon as I got on the bus after work, a small boy looked at me and politely asked me whether I wanted to sit at his place. I denied, but I was very positively astonished by his behaviour!

Since then I am going on asking myself whether I was looking so terrible after a working day (a Swiss working day!) to evoke the “mercy” of that kid!
By the way, the boy looked exactly as Macaulay Culkin in the movie “Home Alone”!
… or was it all maybe just a fairy tale?

Picture taken from www.975river.com

Where the hell is my bus going?

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Last Tuesday, as usual, I took the bus 354 to go to work: just 7 minutes and 4 stops from home to the office.
So, why this post? Just to tell you about my morning bus ride to the office? It is not necessarily so amazing, isn’t it?

OK, let’s make it a little more exciting.
After the third stop, in Tiefenwaag, the bus should turn right and drive a 80 km/h road up to my office stop: Murzlen.

Guess what! The woman driver, after Tiefenwaag, turned left instead! And she was driving towards another totally unexpected direction.
I immediately thought: am I in some kind of movie like “Speed” or “The taking of Pelham 1 2 3”?
Of course in Switzerland not! I stood up and on the unstable catwalk of the bus floor, I run to the driver and asked her what was going on.
She just candidly replied: “Sorry, I was used to take this way, because normally I drive this route with another bus line! I will U-turn at the next roundabout and go back”.

Then I could just astonishingly go back to my seat, waiting for the driver’s blow of fate to go back to my…office bus stop.
This Confederation is very strange: the only country where the bus schedules are precise like chemical formulas, but the drivers are sometimes reliable like… you choose what!