Every car that drives on Swiss highways must have a sticker (referred to as a vignette) showing that the car has paid the yearly approximately 40 CHF fee.
What if you don’t live in Switzerland? Even better. If you are a foreigner heading south and taking the Swiss roads because they are the fastest, most direct way to your Italian vacation, you’ve got to pony up. If you don’t have one, you have a large fine that must be paid on the spot.
Looking at these photos (I swear I was changing lanes in that one) you can start to get an idea of why roads might be expensive. We aren’t even in the alps yet and you have tunnels, mountains and lakes to contend with. Please note that even though it regularly thaws and freezes here, there isn’t a pothole in sight!
I’ve been bad. I should have known that as soon as I posted about driving over here, something would happen. I went 9 km an hour over the speed limit and got a ticket mailed from the French government. In my defense, I was going 119. I thought the limit was 120 km/hr; it was 110. Oops. We have noticed that in France the speed limit inexplicably drops with little warning. Lesson learned.
On the bright side, we didn’t get a ticket in Switzerland.* Here, tickets are based on a percentage of your income. Depending on your speed, this can get expensive. Notable whoppers include:
$110,000 with the speed unknown to a Porche (2008 in Zurich).
By the way, were you wondering how I got a ticket in the mail. On the highways here, there are radar detectors and cameras. The police mail you the ticket in the mail. I am told that if you fight it and/or ask for the photo, the fine increases.
*I get to pay my fine in Euros, not Swiss Francs. I had to go to the newstand, buy this nice little stamp, put it on the ticket and mail it in. I mailed it from a French post office because it would have cost me 40 CHF ($45) to mail it from Switzerland!
The city of Geneva is clean. Heck, Switzerland is clean. They work hard to keep it that way. Every morning, I see people cleaning the streets. I am not sure how often they do it, but know they are at it all the time. They clean the streets more frequently that I clean our apartment.
It’s funny. When things are so clean, you get used to it. Now, when we see a piece of trash, we immediately notice it. We have found ourselves thinking “someone had better pick that up right away.”
I saw someone cleaning a light post by hand! I was running late and didn’t have time to whip out my camera. I shouldn’t have worried. A few days later, I walked down the same street and although it’s not Ansel Adams (or even Diane Arbus) I managed to catch it (without being too obvious). Success!
Oh, and by the way, the parking structures are clean too. I saw this article and now I know how they are immaculate. People are assessed a couple of hundred dollars for leaving marks on the nicely painted floor of the garage!