Non-Swiss folks need to know the following about our quaint little country:
- A canton is comparable to a state. Different laws and customs apply.
- On a public holiday all the shops are closed, including drug stores. If you need anything medical you need to find an emergency pharmacy which is easy in a large city but hard in all the other areas.
- A freeway rest area usually has a good selection of stores, including a drug store.
- 1 km is roughly 0.6 miles
Here goes: After being thrilled about the fact that the Team Canada had won the prestigious Spengler Cup 7:2 against HC Davos we quickly grabbed our overnight bag and were on our way to visit our friends. They live in a very small and remote village in a different canton, 57.7km (35 miles) from our place. You might call it at the end of the world. But I don't wanna go there. After 43 km I noticed that I didn't pack my contact lens solution. "Well, you do have your glasses, right?" My husband asked. That was not the point. I don't wear daily or monthly lenses but "permanent" ones with an expensive prescription, so it was clear I needed lens solution for the night.
Hubby called our friends for advice. While on the phone with them I choose not to take the exit that leads to their place but stay on the freeway, because obviously the chances of finding a drug store that wasn't closed on New Year's Eve was better if I headed towards the more populated area of Basel. "The city of Basel is in fact the place you need to go" they told us. "Or wait, there is a drug store on the Autobahnraststätte Pratteln, this is more convenient for you guys, so you don't actually have to drive into the city."
We also called a health help line ("all our agents are busy, please hold the line. In a life threatening situation call the ambulance, thank you for your patience".) They told us we needed to go to one of two emergency pharmacies in Basel.
Thank God for a car with a navigation system! It brought us to the freeway rest area. I hopped out and steered towards the entrance. A guy was just a couple of steps behind me. We both stopped when the revolting door didn't move. We couldn't believe our eyes: it was closed!!! A service area that was supposed to be convenient and open at all times! The gas station shop was the only shopping opportunity. They carry deodorants, toothbrushes and shower gel, but no lens solution.
Hubby was not amused at all, and he didn't bother to hide it. I considered leaving him behind on the service area. "I will drive home for the night, so I won't need the lens solution" I suggested. He didn't want that either. "Drive to Basel" he muttered grumpily.
This is what I did. I was glad I was able to refrain from bitching and focusing on the positive:
- There was no traffic jam whatsoever
- There was no snow or ice on the streets
- The little guy on the backseat occasionally asked "how long 'till we're there?" but was OK otherwise.
- I had enough money to pay at the coin operated parking meter when we finally arrived at Basel train station
We arrived at our friends' house more than an hour late, tired and hungry. They were very nice and understanding and welcomed us to a beautifully decorated house and a wonderful dinner.
Colin stayed up until midnight and toasted to a happy new year with his alcohol free champagne.
PS: So what about those numbers in the blog title?
- 148km = the mileage we would have made if I had turned around the minute I noticed, drove home, got the lens solution and drove all the way back
- 104km = what actually happened because we went to the emergency pharmacy in Basel
- 57.7 km = the way from our home to our friends without any detours