If you’re getting to the end of a year of travelling and finances are running low, might I suggest that you don’t choose Switzerland as a final destination? It's not just uber expensive, it’s the only place in the world I’ve ever been to where I felt truly impoverish, and even the snazzily dressed homeless people were looking down at me.

On account of having quite a few mates living in Zurich, (and being absolutely 100% guaranteed snow), we decided to spend a week amongst the Swiss and try to understand why everyone dislikes them so much. I thought it was just jealousy at their prowess (and attitude) on the ski slopes, but apparently there’s more to it.

Not to dig up old bones or anything, but there’s the historical argument about them being neutral in the war (eg, did they think the Nazi’s would just occupy the whole entire universe and leave the Swiss alone with their chalets and fondue and precision time pieces?) But that old whine is a bit naff these days and would certainly earn some disapproving looks, or atleast be politely ignored by your average Swiss.

The more likely source of pain (which could be argued as tall poppy syndrome), is that the average personal wealth of a Swiss national is 250,000 francs (EACH). AVERAGE. And foreigners (apparently especially zee Germans) are systematically paid less, charged more rent and left generally unable to complain as Swiss German is completely indecipherable compared to German German, despite the fact that Swiss kids actually learn German German at school. But that kind of embedded prejudice happens in most places around the world.

Perhaps it’s those annoying holes in all the cheese. Or the fact that you can’t flick the wine opener on a Swiss Army Knife open without requiring stitches.

Perhaps it’s the way the Swiss stare over your head when you talk to them (actually at my height I’m use to that). But none of those things are deal breakers;  I think there’s just a general unfriendliness about the place, a series of social aims which everyone appears to be striving towards and class systems not found anywhere else (except maybe in those Banking institutions where you have to wear the right kind of shirt and you never, ever think of bringing your own lunch to work lest you get asked ‘can’t you afford to eat out?’). It just struck me as a difficult place to be less than perfect in your time-keeping and career ambition. After a year where neither of those things mattered, I found it difficult to come to terms with, and easy to understand why the most common form of suicide amongst the high pressured Swiss is throwing yourself in front on a train ‘because nothing fucks with the Swiss more than when their train is late…’

All of this is hearsay really because I didn’t get to meet a single real Swiss person, mostly because our friends living in Zurich haven’t succeeded in befriending a Swiss. According to one, the saying goes, ‘the Swiss make perfect strangers, and terrible friends’ meaning they’ll give you directions, but then the conversation is over.

I only had one genuine experience of eye to eye contact, and that was at the intersection where Joe ran across the road and I politely waited on the side of the road for the black Porsche Cayenne to pass, and since he had to slow down to assess and was so confused as to why I hadn’t illegally darted across the road in front of him too, he sped up, leaned across the passenger and stuck his finger up at me furiously. Well I never!

The country is beautiful – none of it was ruined by wars (not for the last 500 + years or so) and they have amazing lakes and mountains – and even though none of them were operational for skiing, we still had an awesome time walking and wanderwegging all over the place.

Highlights, of course, were hanging out with Bill, Verena, Wolfgang, Shail, Tomski and Janineski, Miko’s birthday birthday party and the ‘All you can eat’ fondue night.

Lowlights: Bank balance.