Many of my conversations lately have centered on 2 topics: my weight loss and my vacation to Europe in June.  I’ve been blogging a lot lately about the former, so now it’s time to blog about the latter.  Those of you who know me know that travel is my primary passion, and this was our 5th vacation to Europe.  We spent a day and a half shy of 3 weeks, and it was just the right length to be traveling, since the day before we left we were ready to come home.  If it had been too long a trip, we would have been wanting to come home earlier, but if it were too short a trip we wouldn’t yet have wanted to come home.

All vacations have highlights and we’ve certainly never had a “bad” vacation to Europe, though there are things we won’t do again.  So in these blogs I just wanted to review our itinerary and, city by city, cover our activities and provide some general impressions.  As with many of our vacations, I utilized frequent flyer points (American Express points more precisely) and didn’t have to shell out money for airfare, which (going to Europe) is usually a big chunk of the trip’s expense.  Often–as with this trip, and especially when you’re traveling during peak times as we were–you just have to call your airline of choice and say “we’d like to go to Europe for about 2 1/2 weeks between date X and date Y; where can you get us in and out of?”  Living in Atlanta, Delta is our airline of choice, especially when flying to Europe, and I also requested that (if at all possible) we have direct flights.  The super-helpful agent (I think they LOVE working with people who are planning vacations because they’re happier) put together an itinerary that had us fly into Zurich on a Friday and out of Rome on a Wednesday…direct flight going, but with a layover in JFK on the way home.  Not quite perfect, but a good schedule nonetheless.

 Switzerland – we landed in Zurich on time and without event, rented a car, and headed for the mountains.  My idea was that a few days of fresh Alps air would be a great way to get over jet lag, and I was right.  We stayed in a Rick Steves’ favorite, Gimmelwald, and it was awesome: rustic, but not uncomfortable.  We stayed at the Pension Gimmelwald, and the views from the deck were incredible.  Cuisine-wise we enjoyed the locally made cheese and beer.  The two main highlights in the Jungfrau region were getting to the top of the Schilthorn (Lori and I had attempted before in 2001 but back then the mountain top was shrouded in clouds–this time it was a glorious view for as far as the eye could see) and the amazing Trummelbach falls, water falls down to the Lauterbrunnen valley that have chiseled twisty crevices into the valley side.

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Coming up in my next blog…Italy!

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