Over winter break, I had a 4 hour layover in Zurich. I've been to Switzerland before, and have spent a couple of days in Geneva, especially its airport, a few summers ago. I don’t know how many of you judge a city by its airport, but if we are going to use that standard, I can assure you that Zurich is a beautiful modern city with high levels of sanitation.
I always think it is very interesting to go through airport stores to see how a country perceives itself through products. With Zurich, there were lots of chocolate and cheese products. I’m proud to say that I purchased a Toblerone from its source, and I was very tempted to purchase a raclette device, which is used to melt cheese. I wanted to just get a simple sandwich from the vending machine, but who really carries Swiss Francs around?
So what I actually ate in the Zurich Airport was a sandwich at the Montreux Jazz Café. I’m still very French-challenged and the lunch rush was a bit overwhelming, so I just pointed to the most appetizing looking sandwich in the glass case. I forgot what the exchange rate was from Swiss Francs to Euros to US dollars, but I didn’t think about it much when I paid 10.80 Swiss Francs for my meal. When my sandwich was finally toasted and served, I must admit I was a bit disappointed. It was two thick slices of French bread with a few slices of Swiss cheese, a few slices of egg (emphasis on slices of a portion of a single egg), and a few sprigs of arugula. The exchange rate? About $11.80 USD. Is this real? Am I paying more than $10 for the most deprived sandwich ever? Is this a normal amount of filling in a sandwich in Switzerland? Am I too used to New York City delis and/or America? Needless to say, it was a bit of a culture shock, but after some reflection, it made sense. There was enough protein in this sandwich just from the cheese and egg and maybe a little carbohydrate overload. It’s all about quality, not quantity, and I must admit that it was good cheese. I just don’t think I would be able to afford a few more of these, so good thing it was a layover.