East Switzerland – 5. Zurich, the more liberal Switzerland

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I kind of think that Switzerland, as being a rich, famously neutral and cast iron political stability, is very fair and conservative.

But I think all countries might have one city that’s a bit different, just like Tel Aviv is very different from Jerusalem or other parts of Israel.   This might be Zurich.

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A specialist condom shop?

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I heard rumours that Switzerland was to legalise Cannabis, but this came close but was overthrown.   I did catch a whiff of it in one street like any other city, but there is a 100 CHF fine if you are caught with a joint, but bizarrely, Switzerland’s police fine you several day’s salary if with more than a handful of soft drugs. Wikipedia.

I don’t do any type of drugs, mostly because I’ve seen weed produce mental health issues on friends I care about.

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This boat which was an Asian restaurant was pretty cool to see.    Like the rest of Switzerland, eating out is outrageously expensive here.

Zurich has licenced prostitution I’ve been told, on the outskirts of the city with official DSCF0849 1024bus shelter type places.   No, I didn’t venture to find out.

The Swiss Jesus impersonator can be booked for your function according to this random poster.

I’ve seen plenty of crazies and cult groups in both London and Israel, but didn’t expect to see it here.

Zurich needs a simple genuine message of the gospel to the public like every other place.

DSCF0931 1024I think this must be the only place in the western world today that still allows a limited amount of indoor smoking, with this specialist lounge.   This lounge in Zurich airport does this.   Could it because Philip Morris European headquarters is in Zurich, no surely not….

When I was in Basel in 2012, my Swiss friend told me there isn’t much crime, but folks don’t like the police as are overly strict, don’t have any sense of humour, and don’t do much PR work to make them approachable like in other countries.

GERMANY 1. Dachau concentration camp – 2. BMW museum – 3. BMW World futuristic showroom – 4. Neuschwanstein Castle – 5. 1972 Munich Olympics village – 6. Tourism and going out in Munich – 7. Deutsches Museum – 8. Business in the UK, Germany and Israel – 9. Friedrichshafen, a pleasant German town on a lake

SWITZERLAND 1. Trying to do ‘cheap’ Switzerland – 2. The town of Grusch – 3. Clever Swiss made things – 4. Train from Grusch to Zurich – 5. Zurich, the more liberal Switzerland – 6. Swiss dinosaurs

LIECHTENSTEIN 1. Plans – 2. Getting into this tiny nation – 3. Motorbikes, cars and kebab shops in Vaduz, Liechtenstein – 4. Small country topography – 5. Road up to the castle – 6. The Prince’s castle and vineyard – 7. bars, shops, Olympics – 8. Tiny country, big output – 9. Vaduz church – 10. Government buildings and museums

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The fragrance of Christ

In February I was back to my flat in Harrow, north west London with a lot of things on my mind, about to move house, worries at work and concerns over lots of future plans.

I walked past this street and could smell flowers, like roses on a hot but slightly windy day.   I look around and I don’t see any.  I look around for the second time.   I’m walking in bewilderment.

I then walk on.   After 3 or 4 houses later I can still smell flowers.  It is mid-February and people’s front gardens are not in bloom yet.

Today I’m reading this passage and remembering how the Lord can remind us of his love through experiences that don’t have any tangible reason why.

2 Corinthians 2 : 14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 

East Switzerland – 4. Train from Grusch to Zurich

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The Swiss trains and railways system is undoubtedly the best in the world.

You would be hard pressed to find something this neat and efficient that covers all the country, with amazing scenery on every journey.

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DSCF0809 1024AS you can see, the pretty town of Grusch I think is quite typical of many of the idyllic looking villages in Switzerland.

There several characteristics of trains here.    There are several classes of trains with different stock and track like the funicular trains that go up impossibly steep hills.

The platforms are not high.  Often you can walk across flatter parts of the track.   The trains don’t actually go very fast, and the barriers, lights and sirens come on well in advance.   Some of the modern trains have a small motorised platform that appears to help you get up.

SBB is the Swiss railway operator, and it is also easy to buy your ticket using your smart phone and therefore know exactly where you are going and where to change and the right platform.   I didn’t get any pictures of Zurich’s station, but it is huge and has 45 platforms.

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There is a lot of freight I see going past.

GERMANY 1. Dachau concentration camp – 2. BMW museum – 3. BMW World futuristic showroom – 4. Neuschwanstein Castle – 5. 1972 Munich Olympics village – 6. Tourism and going out in Munich – 7. Deutsches Museum – 8. Business in the UK, Germany and Israel – 9. Friedrichshafen, a pleasant German town on a lake

SWITZERLAND 1. Trying to do ‘cheap’ Switzerland – 2. The town of Grusch – 3. Clever Swiss made things – 4. Train from Grusch to Zurich – 5. Zurich, the more liberal Switzerland – 6. Swiss dinosaurs

LIECHTENSTEIN 1. Plans – 2. Getting into this tiny nation – 3. Motorbikes, cars and kebab shops in Vaduz, Liechtenstein – 4. Small country topography – 5. Road up to the castle – 6. The Prince’s castle and vineyard – 7. bars, shops, Olympics – 8. Tiny country, big output – 9. Vaduz church – 10. Government buildings and museums

Liechtenstein 7. bars, shops, Olympics

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Where as Liecht (I can’t actually spell this place without checking) comes across as just as conservative, prim and proper as Switzerland, as well as the biker place I mentioned, there are signs that this little country is a bit rebellious.

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Kind of a bit like your parents are Switzerland and Austria, and they are vicar and lawyer and you are trying to shed your nice boy image, there is a tattoo place and several bars like this one which is aimed at a clientele which a bit different from you expect from somebody who grew up in a cute mountain village.

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This place Micros and the Coop are your go-to places when visiting here.  The main supermarket chains in Switzerland, but also in Leicht.   Eating out is so hideously expensive, it’s simply better to cook yourself as I did later in Zurich.

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Antique shop, actually it’s more like a government surplus place.  There is no army in Liechtenstein.

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These flags were interesting, it mentions “Liechtenstein Olympic committee.”

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GERMANY 1. Dachau concentration camp – 2. BMW museum – 3. BMW World futuristic showroom – 4. Neuschwanstein Castle – 5. 1972 Munich Olympics village – 6. Tourism and going out in Munich – 7. Deutsches Museum – 8. Business in the UK, Germany and Israel – 9. Friedrichshafen, a pleasant German town on a lake

SWITZERLAND 1. Trying to do ‘cheap’ Switzerland – 2. The town of Grusch – 3. Clever Swiss made things – 4. Train from Grusch to Zurich – 5. Zurich, the more liberal Switzerland – 6. Swiss dinosaurs

LIECHTENSTEIN 1. Plans – 2. Getting into this tiny nation – 3. Motorbikes, cars and kebab shops in Vaduz, Liechtenstein – 4. Small country topography – 5. Road up to the castle – 6. The Prince’s castle and vineyard – 7. bars, shops, Olympics – 8. Tiny country, big output – 9. Vaduz church – 10. Government buildings and museums

Liechtenstein 6. The Prince’s castle and vineyard

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This is the Prince’s castle.  Hans-Adam II is the current reigning monarch of Liechtenstein who is 74 and has been in power since 1989.  Like Monaco, there is no ‘king’ just a prince as a leader, as this asymmetrical building is on a shelf on the side of this mountain.

Interesting enough, he is the richest monarch in Europe with an estimated wealth of US$4B and owns Liechtenstein’s LGT bank.

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You can’t visit here.   As this is his actual house.  Can’t remember and can’t read this sign said.  I can’t see any other entrance, but there is this garden, with some security guards who seemed quite laid back for me to take pictures.    On the other side of the road is a big house which I think is where his servants live.

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Apparently, the prince has a garden party here each year, and locals can join in.

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Families and children are enjoying this park with the castle and the mountain overlooking.   There is one other castle here in this little country but I didn’t get to it.

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Meanwhile back in Vaduz, I saw this vineyard by the main road.   I am not completely certain, but I think this is owned by the Prince, as they do their own exclusive wine in this country, obviously in small quantities.

GERMANY 1. Dachau concentration camp – 2. BMW museum – 3. BMW World futuristic showroom – 4. Neuschwanstein Castle – 5. 1972 Munich Olympics village – 6. Tourism and going out in Munich – 7. Deutsches Museum – 8. Business in the UK, Germany and Israel – 9. Friedrichshafen, a pleasant German town on a lake

SWITZERLAND 1. Trying to do ‘cheap’ Switzerland – 2. The town of Grusch – 3. Clever Swiss made things – 4. Train from Grusch to Zurich – 5. Zurich, the more liberal Switzerland – 6. Swiss dinosaurs

LIECHTENSTEIN 1. Plans – 2. Getting into this tiny nation – 3. Motorbikes, cars and kebab shops in Vaduz, Liechtenstein – 4. Small country topography – 5. Road up to the castle – 6. The Prince’s castle and vineyard – 7. bars, shops, Olympics – 8. Tiny country, big output – 9. Vaduz church – 10. Government buildings and museums