Grindelwald and the Jungfraujoch

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Grindelwald Grindelwald is the principal town in the Jungfraujoch, a term that refers to the saddle between the Eiger and the Munch Mountains in Switzerland’s Alps. The combination of snow-clad mountain peaks, beautiful valleys, sheer rock faces, waterfalls and glaciers, including the Aletsch (which is Europe’s largest at 65 square miles and 2,300 feet [Read more …]

Swiss Alps: Bernese Oberland

Zermatt to Interlaken by train (5)

Zermatt to Interlaken Switzerland While not quite as awesome as the Glacier Express, the train in the Swiss Alps from Zermatt to Interlaken was pretty darn awesome nonetheless. Surrounded by sheer, near-vertical, scree-strewn cliff sides and impossibly-shaped mountain peaks, we passed through a series of pretty towns in deep valleys and occasional grazing sheep and [Read more …]

Switzerland’s Scenic Alps Part One, Matterhorn

Chur railway administration building

It wasn’t supposed to work out this way. We originally planned to spend a day in Zurich, followed by a day in St. Moritz and another day on an end-to-end train trip (from St. Moritz to Zermatt) on the Glacier Express, one of the most iconic and scenic train trips in the world. We didn’t [Read more …]

Zurich Switzerland

Zurich - Niederdorf building windows

Zurich is known primarily as one of the world’s most important centers of global finance and banking. Its history is much more dramatic. It initially was settled in the 1st century BC by a Celtic settlement. In the 9th century, it was expanded to a Roman fortress and developed rapidly into a trading center. Then [Read more …]

Salzburg Austria

Salzbyrg - Juddengasse

Salzburg Austria is a beautiful Baroque city that is particularly famed for being the birthplace of Mozart and site at which he composed many of his works. More popularly, it is the site of the movie, The Sound of Music. The city is divided into three primary parts: Old Town is the most atmospheric and [Read more …]

Vienna Austria

Vienna Albertina Square

Vienna Austria is the long-time political (home of the Habsburg Dynasty and Austro-Hungarian Empire), cultural (temporary homes to Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss), academic (Vienna University, Freud, etc.) and fashion capitals of Europe. Although the city suffered severe comeuppances in both world wars, it has recouped significant portions of its glamour and its prestige (if not [Read more …]

Chernobyl Ukraine

Cernobyl reactor 5

Chernobyl Background One of the reasons we wanted to visit the Ukraine was to visit Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident until Fukashima. We took a full day 100 km tour of the area. After looking at the various options, we choose a smaller tour of 18 people maximum and booked through [Read more …]

Kiev Ukraine

Kiev - Maidan Square

Kiev Ukraine is one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe. It has been a major commercial center since at least the 5th century when it was on the trade route between Scandinavia and Constantinople. Like Lviv Ukraine, it has had a tortuous history. The Vikings first conquered in the 9th century. The Mongols completely [Read more …]

Lviv Ukraine

Lviv city hall

The current political controversy had put the Ukraine has been in the U.S. news recently (fall 2019). But we planned a visit to the Ukraine long before all of this. The Ukraine’s current struggle has its roots in Mikel Gorbachev’s 1991 decision to grant Ukraine its independence. Today it is mired between Vladimir Putin’s para-military-based [Read more …]

Octoberfest in Munich 2019

Munich Old Town Hall

It has been years since we have been to Munich—decades since we have spent any time in Munich. While we were once here (decades ago) for the Christmas Market, the closest we came to Octoberfest was a breakfast beer at the Hofbrau the morning of the day Octoberfest was to open (before we had to [Read more …]