Every day on our daily walks I'm reminded how lucky I am to be living in such a beautiful place. But with beauty, there's always a price. Take our walk to St. Prex a few weeks ago.
St. Prex is a beautiful town.
Like many of the small villages in Switzerland, St. Prex is basically a three-lane town. Since it's right on the water, the views are spectacular. We ran into some scuba divers (huh?) and Loki, having never seen them before had a few words for them.
Loki keeps his eyes on the divers while I set up the shot. Check out the water. Notice the clarity of it. You can see straight down to the bottom for several feet. The lake is so clean.
Behind the pier are homes in St. Prex. But there are a few artists galleries and one restaurant--but here's the price: they're all usually closed.
The village is quiet. You can hear a pin drop.
I love the chair in this gallery, which of course, is closed. Shocking.
The entrance to the town of St. Prex. This must be where all the bustling happens. When that bustling happens is anyone's guess.
Before we decided to leave, a woman and her Swiss doggie came by. Oh my dog, there's life in St. Prex!
Nothing bugs me more than the store hours here. It's not like I'm even a huge shopper. In fact, I hate shopping. But take the opportunity away and its now become an obsession. Shopping is something I have to schedule because of the lack of decent store hours. We think about shopping all the time in terms of how we live the rest of our lives. I find myself embracing the female stereotype. And that ticks me off.
I walk to Morges several times per week where there are beautiful small boutiques, perfect for toiling away time. I have not yet been in them. I'm usually with the dogs. And while I could go in with them, I'm pretty sure I'm more unwelcome than my dogs. I'm usually dressed in active pants, a backpack, a baseball cap and muddy sneakers. So I wait for the weekend to shop the pretty stores, when I'll have a car and I'm not such an eye-sore.
Unfortunately there are only about 7 precious hours in the entire 48-hour weekend that one can explore the unique boutiques or shopping. And if you are at all active outdoors on the weekends, you're left with roughly a 4-hour window to drive somewhere and explore something. It's as if Switzerland teases it's ex-pats with beautiful environs and shopping just to yank it away at the most convenient opportunity.
By the time Mr. Wild Dingo and I could get out the door on Saturday after his ride, it was 1:00 PM. A drive to Geneva with about 45 minutes stuck in traffic trying to park left us little time to do anything but buy a Swatch and a box of chocolates. By 6:00 PM, Geneva promptly rolled up the sidewalks.
That's when the steam started blowing out of my ears. The city is beautiful.The old town is lit up at night in the sidewalks with back lit cobblestones, the store windows all equally lit up, as if to mock me. "Ha-ha. You can't get me!" How can an international city where politicians meet and like, um, make big decisions, not have anything open (except a few quiet restaurants) for some serious partying and socializing? At 6:00 PM, you could hear a pin drop in Geneva.
Old town Geneva. Side walk is cobble stones back lit with sayings in numerous languages. I'm guess they're saying "You snooze, you loose American!"
My stomach grumbled as we searched for a place to eat. There were a few, but none that looked immediately appetizing. I was dying to find even a street vendor selling sausage or crepes. Nothing. More curse words. We finally found a pork restaurant that actually had very decent food. After dinner, we went home at the wee hour of 7:00 pm. Thank dog for the dogs to provide us some evening entertainment.
I can understand the Sunday shut-downs here. I can even understand the early store hours in small villages. But why would a major international city shut down all trade opportunities when there are so few other convenient opportunities for the working traveler passing through?
And for the love of Pete, why in the hell are there people who give away free hugs but there isn't a dog-gone freaking street vendor selling Croque Monsieurs?
No thanks, but I'll take a ham crepe if you have one.
It seems the price of living with beauty is making beautiful things unattainable. It's starting to make sense why things are so expensive here. It's not about lifestyle. It's about making bigger margins with working fewer hours.
When Mr. Wild Dingo went back to work on Monday, he asked a Swiss female co-worker the best places to shop. Here is what she listed:
The Swiss think they're so smart. We'll show them. We'll spend our money somewhere else! And then we'll pay them a hefty 15% tax duty for NOT shopping in their stores that are only open during hours when we can't shop.
Since everything is voted on here by cantons, it's not likely they're going to adopt late store opening hours anytime soon. It's no secret the country is slow to adopt anything. After all, women did not get the right to vote at their local level in the commune Appenzell until 1991. No, that is not a typo. The canton finally fell under federal pressure to give women the right to vote in that canton. So you may wonder when did women have federal right to vote? That would be 1971, three years after they burned their bras in the U.S.
Ha! Now that the real shoppers have a little voting power, it should take no time at all for laws to change for later store hours.