Say hello to the cubicle traveller! While there are folks out there who are location independent and are busy living on the road, not everyone can do that. Travelling full time, as alluring as it is, may not always be conducive for many. There are many like me who cannot give up the full time job, and are yet passionate about travelling, love to explore and live it up! Also, as many other bloggers would suggest, if you plan and research better, there’s always the icing on the cake – all for you.
CHIASSO – Switzerland. First Impressions!
My first international travel came, in the form of a work project in Switzerland with 2 and a half weekends at my disposal! A small piece of heaven in Europe, Switzerland needs no introduction at all. Having said that, some of the first things that may come to mind at the mention of Switzerland are – Zurich, Bern, The Swiss Alps, Jungfrau and so on… Well, all of that was up North. For me, it was the southernmost town of the country; in fact, I could literally walk across the border and enter Italy at my whim. So, this meant, I got two countries for one! Also, going there in summer was a boon, as daylight was available in abundance! So, lots of natural light to walk around and explore.
Chiasso, a small border town hosted me in a duplex provided by my employment with a fully functional kitchen, bedrooms with bathtubs and a terrace with a magnificent view – indulgence climbed a new high altogether.
Chiasso came across as a sleepy town with everything shutting down at 6pm (the same time when we’d finish our workday), and with most of the businesses out on vacation (because it was summer) there wasn’t much to do; except Fridays, when the main commercial street dressed up for the weekly flea market – of sorts. The local Church of San Vitale provided the hourly tolling which was musical as the bells tolled in perfect sync! Roadside cafés dotted the landscape with various banks and supermarkets in the background. A football stadium and a mall that functioned merely as a parking lot now were some of the things I came across in sleepy Chiasso.
Morning espressos came with these views for company. Inspired contemplation at times, the types that are inspired by simple silence.
Pizzas, in the first few days, were the meal of choice. The restaurant just next to our work place served large rectangular ones with a pair of scissors to cut your own slices. Time to get creative, huh!
Travel Tip – Like in India, where water is offered free of charge, here, you either had to buy water or carry your own…even at restaurants. You can either select from still or sparkling water. If you ever run out of water and there are no shops around, you may find water fountains like the one here, to drink from. I tried multiple fountains, multiple times, out of sheer curiosity, though there are other travelers who may advise you against it. Use your discretion. I did not encounter any health hazard whatsoever, but we are all built differently 😉
Chiasso was a distinct agricultural village, however given its proximity to the Italian border and the customs office and later as an access route to the St. Gothard’s tunnel, it merged with a neighboring village and grew.
If you are in Chiasso and happen to spend some days there, the below list should help you:
- Aldi Superstore – Open till 7pm
- Migros – Open till 6 pm’
- Migrolos (At the Train Station) – Smaller super store open till 10pm
- Pizzas at Movenpick – worth a try
- Cross the border to Ponte Chiasso – Dogana Kebab, for Shawarma (known as Paidina) Chicken, chickpea curry with rice, and of course beer. A poor man’s joint as the two Pakistani workers told us, don’t expect ambience. Open till 3:00 am (or even more)
My romance with Switzerland had started and I was in love. The first few hours had greeted me with open arms and I couldn’t wait to explore more!
Have you traveled to Switzerland? What were your first impressions?