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One of the driving reasons for our trip to Italy a few years back was to visit the Cinque Terra. It is such a beautiful place that we wanted to see it, and I wanted to photograph it. We just spent the day in the same type of place in Switzerland: the Berner Oberland, specifically Murren and its immediate surroundings.

The fact the it was raining and overcast this morning didn't slow us down at all. We started the day with a great walk down the mountain a bit to the tiny village of Gimmelwald. The rain stopped and it looked like the sun was trying to peek out, so we hopped a couple of gondolas to the Schilthorn (10,000', give or take). It was mostly in the clouds, but there were some interesting photos to be had. It is also the location where the Bond film “On Her Majesty's Secret Service” (starring that oh-so-famous-Bond George Lazenby and the lovely Diana Rigg) was filmed, so it is a Bond-centric place. Whatever. The people watching was outstanding, however.

Back to Murren for another short walk, then we picked up a large bottle of beer and a small bottle of wine and sat on our balcony and watched the sun light up the face of the mountains on the opposite side of the valley and the paragliders float right across in front of us. And below us. Awesome.

Another great day in Switzerland.

(BTW: yesterday on the way here, the bus was loaded onto a train — with us on it — that took it through a mountain. Saved us 1.5 hours on the road and was a very odd experience.)

Murren, Switzerland, 5/30/16

The view from our balcony. Jeez.

Murren, Switzerland, 5/30/16

After another rough day.

Murren, Switzerland, 5/30/16

Again, the view from our balcony.

Murren, Switzerland, 5/30/16

Murren, Switzerland, 5/30/16

Murren, Switzerland, 5/30/16

Murren, Switzerland, 5/30/16

Somewhere in Switzerland, 5/29/16

Riding the rails. In a 40' bus.

 

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So, only enough time for another quick post. Yesterday we drove from Engelberg to Lugano with a few stops on the way, one of them a dam where they filmed scenes for a Bond movie and — wait for it Karen — “The Amazing Race.” We headed up a twisting turning road (in a 40' bus) to a tiny Swiss village looking at more spectacular scenery the whole way. Wow. We then drove on to Lugano for dinner and a lakeside stroll.

Today we took a boat ride to Gandria, a tiny village perched precariously on a hill alongside the lake. We wandered the very narrow streets and alleys for a while, always up or down, never level, and then had a delicious lunch (with adult beverages, of course) perched over the lake. It was pretty unbelievable.

The sights we have seen on this trip keep getting better and better. Tomorrow we get up early and head back to the Alps, this time into the Berner Oberland to a tiny village, only reached by gondola, called Murren. Stay tuned, should be some interesting images.

Lugano, Switzerland, 5/27/16

This is the view from our room in Lugano.

Sonogno, Switzerland, 5/27/16

Sonogno, Switzerland, 5/27/16

Sonogno, Switzerland, 5/27/16

Above Locarno, Switzerland, 5/27/16

Above Locarno, Switzerland, 5/27/16

Alas, the bungee jumping off the dam was closed.

Gandria, Switzerland, 5/28/16

Gandria, Switzerland, 5/28/16

Another great lunch.

 

I'm too tired to do much more than quickly post some photos from our great day here in Engelberg. We started the day with a trip up Mt. Titlis (10,000') where we slipped and slided through the snow, dodging tourists, taking photos, and generally being awed by the views that are one of the reasons we came this way. It really was spectacular. After a sunny lunch partway down the mountain, we crossed the valley and took a hike that, to us flat landers, was a tiny bit challenging. Dinner and drinks, including the most expensive shot of rum I've ever paid for, and we're ready for bed.

Tomorrow we're off to Lugano.

Mt. Titlis, Switzerland, 5/26/16

Paragliders were everywhere.

Mt. Titlis, Switzerland, 5/26/16

Mt. Titlis, Switzerland, 5/26/16

Mt. Titlis, Switzerland, 5/26/16

Mt. Titlis, Switzerland, 5/26/16

Mt. Titlis, Switzerland, 5/26/16

Mt. Titlis, Switzerland, 5/26/16

Lunch on Titlis

Mt. Titlis, Switzerland, 5/26/16

Mt. Titlis, Switzerland, 5/26/16

Feeling pretty good

Above Engelberg, Switzerland, 5/26/16

Above Engelberg, Switzerland, 5/26/16

Above Engelberg, Switzerland, 5/26/16

 

Yesterday was a rainy day in Luzern so we headed off to the Transport Museum. We had heard that it was worth it and we had heard correctly. Lots of old trains (who knew the Swiss were pioneers in developing the technology to convert electricity to mechanical energy? Besides the Swiss, I mean.), old (and new) cars, and old (and new) planes. They even have some space related stuff there. All-in-all it was an interesting way to spend a dreary day.

Later we had our first meeting and meal with our tour group. Since this is the inaugural “Best of Switzerland” tour there will be…wrinkles, which just serves to keep us on our toes. Yesterday there was an issue with the original meeting room they booked for our orientation, so we met on one of the many tour boats for a “Cruise To Nowhere.” We never left the dock. After a short walk to see the Lion (see below), we had a nice dinner in a small restaurant and then called it a day.

Enjoy the photos!

Transport Museum, Luzern, Switzerland, 5/23/16

Remind anyone (ahem…Karen) of The Amazing Race?

Transport Museum, Luzern, Switzerland, 5/23/16

This one's for Brady!

Transport Museum, Luzern, Switzerland, 5/23/16

 

Some of their inclines are so steep they utilized custom cars. We could have used this the other day going up and down Mt. Rigi.

Transport Luzern, Switzerland, 5/23/16

 

The famous Lion of Luzern.

Luzern, Switzerland, 5/22/16

The day before we saw lots of folks sailing. Looked like a lot of fun. Nice backdrop, too.

 

Today was our first full day in Switzerland and, despite all of the forecasts I'd looked at, it turned out to be a beautiful day and perfect for an outing. So we took a boat trip, then a ride up a cog wheel train, and found ourselves at the top of Mt. Rigi (1798m, 5899'). The train was pretty interesting. At times it was so steep that the folks sitting on the uphill side (me) had to brace themselves to keep from sliding out of their (my) seat.

The peak was a different world from the warm lake cruise we had enjoyed. Strong winds and chilly temps (at least to us Floridians) made it … invigorating. But the views, oh, the views. Wow.

We walked about the top and then hiked a few miles down the mountain, stopping for lunch and a beer on the way. When you consider that a flight of stairs is normally a significant altitude change for us, this walk was a warm up for things to come. It was wonderful.

The path was crowded with young and old. Extremely well maintained, there were many benches to enjoy the views, fireplaces pre-stocked with wood to cook your lunch, and vistas around every corner. It was great and our legs are feeling every foot of it. Totally worth it. We earned our beer/wine tonight!

The photos below are just a meager sample of what I shot today. Damn, we're having fun.

Mt. Rigi, Switzerland, 5/22/16

Mt. Rigi, Switzerland, 5/22/16

Mt. Rigi, Switzerland, 5/22/16

Lunch was tasty, and what a view!

Mt. Rigi, Switzerland, 5/22/16

Mt. Rigi, Switzerland, 5/22/16

Some people are more interested in taking selfies than where they are. I can't tell you how many times we saw this kind of behavior. To each their own, I suppose.

All ages were up there and on the trails, from younger than this fellow to significantly older than us. The really tiny hiking boots we saw are awfully cute.

Mt. Rigi, Switzerland, 5/22/16

These benches were common and a nice place to catch some alpine rays.

3 hour drive to Miami

10 hour flight to Zurich

75 minute train to Luzern

10 minute walk to the hotel

Total: 27 hours since our heads left a pillow

View from our hotel room: well, just see below:

Luzern, Switzerland, 5/21/16

In the photo below, our hotel is the building with the flag. Stay tuned, we've only been here an hour and we already realize it's going to be awesome!

Luzern, Switzerland, 5/21/16

 

 

 

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5/20/16, Florida (for now)