We crossed the border into Switzerland for the first time, and immediately noticed a huge increase in costs. Everything comes at least double the price—literally. While so much of Europe has switched to the Euro, Switzerland has refused to give up his high-value currency—and I don’t blame them.
If you want to see a comparison of US costs vs the Swiss Franc exchange rate, check out this website. We were forewarned of the price increases, at least, and had even stocked up on groceries before crossing the border!
Our first Swiss stop was in Stein am Rhein-a beautifully preserved medieval town on the Rhine River. It’s a small town with a population of less than 3,000 people.
As we pulled into town and prepared to pay for parking at the kiosk in the tourist parking lot, a woman driving out of the lot offered us the remaining time on her parking ticket, allowing us to skip the parking expense. How nice!
We started our walk toward the center of town. Of course we came across more cute signs…I just can’t stop myself from photographing them!
The kids were being goofy…
Maiya at age 5 (almost):
Now here’s the kicker…the downtown pedestrian area of Stein am Rhein is GORGEOUS.
I mean…simply stunning!
If you walk towards the town hall (“Rathausplatz” is in center below) you’ll find every building adorned with painted facades. The oldest paintings are on the Weißer Adler next to the town hall—with paintings dating back to 1520. Other sections are “only” about 100 years old (most likely the ones I was taking photos of).
Candy for the eyes, no?!!
The pedestrian street is full of cute little shops and boutiques, and yes, the classic Swiss Army Knife.
I took a photo of the below sign in a shop window and posted it to Facebook, only to be told quite quickly that this is a direct quote from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Nevertheless, our stop in Stein am Rhein was exactly for this reason:
After leaving this city, we then drove through the fourth most expensive city in the world—Zurich, Switzerland. It’s infamous for being one of the banking capitals of the world for those who want to hide away some money, however, with the US-required reporting from foreign banks who hold American’s money, I’ve read it’s not quite what it used to be.
We did not stop in Zurich (much too big-city for us), and so a single photo out the window will have to suffice as proof we saw it.
We continued on our way to our real destination, about 2 hours away in the center of Switzerland. If you haven’t seen our post about our amazing Airbnb.com farmstay there, you should read it now!