Saturday, 21 February 2009

A quick trip to Zurich

A quick overnight trip to Zurich to give a speech about the state of the world economy . I had always thought Zurich to be a dull, functional , fun less place. That would be quite wrong - like much of Switzerland it's quite a revelation when you get away from the main tourist routes or go out of season. The old town has that picture perfect beauty that you expect of Switzerland without the contrived manicured excess that makes Geneva so dull for anyone under eighty years of age. The town is full of restaurants and bars and far from being dour the people seemed to be having fun - albeit in a strait-laced sort of way. No public drunkenness here but plenty of places to stop off and get out of the cold and have a drink!
After Italy it's quite a shock to be in a northern European culture where people stop at traffic lights, where cars aren't double parked and where everything works like clockwork. But the cost! For those of us who have to pay in Sterling the exchange rate comes as quite a shock - a hamburger in the hotel cost £35 and a glass of champagne £30. I guess we are going to have to come to terms with the fact that the days of an overvalued pound are gone for a long time to come.

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