When we announced we were moving to Geneva, people usually had a word in mind that they associated with the city. I’d say the most common ones were related to its role in humanitarian and worldwide efforts – “The Geneva Convention” or “Red Cross headquarters”. What followed next was “expensive”.
And the expensive part is true. Geneva always ranks somewhere in the top 5 most expensive cities to live in the world, far more so that New York, Paris or London. However, for that expense, the Swiss enjoy the highest standard of living than anywhere in the world – Zurich being #1 and Geneva #2. Gabe and I are trying to learn the balance of this – to embrace the high quality of life available here, without going broke!!
In the US, there were so many restaurants that we loved that had entrees in the $10-$20 range. So we could frequently go out, have drinks with dinner and have a bill under $50 for the both of us. However, inexpensive dinners like this simply don’t exist in Switzerland. A hot dog on the street is about $10 CHF and lunch side salads average about $20 CHF. Thus, a mid-range dinner would cost about $100 CHF and a nice one around $200CHF, for two. Prior to moving, we planned 1-2 meals mid-range meals in order to manage our budget.
Our entire first week, I have made all our meals at home and we had our one budgeted meal for the week for Saturday lunch. We needed to get out of our little 1 BR flat and decided to get a bit creative and make a picnic to take and watch the sunset. We sat on the rocks by the baby beach to eat.
Later we moved up to the grass for a softer spot to watch the sunset.
We enjoyed the evening so much, we were questioning why we never picnicked in the park in the US since our home was so close to the largest park in Charlotte. We concluded it was because eating out didn’t seem so expensive enough to drive us to be creative. Thanks Switzerland for this lesson!