Archive for July 2009

Ich Bin Ein Berliner

Ich Bin Ein Berliner Berlin is a fascinating city of contrasts and change. When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, David and I had just been married a few months. I still remember watching film footage on TV of that historical moment when the people of East Berlin were finally able, after 40 years, to climb over the wall without fear of being killed. Dave’s mother left East Germany and crossed via Berlin into West Germany in 1958, three years before the ..read more

A Warm Viennese Welcome

A Warm Viennese Welcome Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. As the center of the Austrian Hapsburg Empire for 640 years, Vienna has a rich history, culture, and tradition of elegance and refinement. It’s also the home to relatives on my Mom’s side of the family, which made this visit particularly special. We spent two days in Vienna, exploring its many museums, royal buildings, shopping and eating areas. Then we spent our evenings visiting with my second cousin Peter ..read more

The Music and Mountains of Salzburg

The Music and Mountains of Salzburg When the average American thinks of Salzburg, they think of The Sound of Music. The classic film about the Von Trapp family was filmed in this beautiful mountainous city in Austria. Salzburg is also known for its famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was born and lived here until he moved to Vienna. In history, Salzburg was given to Bishop Rupert in 700 A.D. by Bavaria in order to evangelize the area. It remained a peaceful, independent state for 1,200 years,, ..read more

Many Munich Memories

Many Munich Memories We spent a day and a half in Munich, and found it a lovely city to visit. I really didn’t know what to expect when we got to the city, but Munich is very friendly, sophisticated, Americanized (because of the occupation after World War II) and interesting. Now that I’ve been to Munich, I can see why some compare it to Boston. Munich was created when a toll road needed to be established for the salt trade going ..read more

Dachau Concentration Camp

Dachau Concentration Camp We spent a morning in Dachau, one of the more well-known concentration camps during Hitler’s terrorizing rule.  As we drove in, I wondered what we would see and experience. And I also wondered what it must be like today to live in Dachau, with such a horrific stain on the town and association with the name. Dachau is still today, as it was in the 1930s and 1940s, a suburb of Munich, Germany. The people who lived there, surveyed later, knew for ..read more

Castle Bound in Bavaria

Castle Bound in Bavaria We arrived in Fussen, Germany in the evening after our drive from Venice. The landscape and culture couldn’t be more different. In Fussen, the mountains encircle farmlands and gingerbread-decorated Bavarian houses. Fussen is the land of sausage, beer and veiner schnitzel, and littering is verboten. We stayed at Suzanne’s B&B just outside of town. Suzanne was an interesting host. She ran a tight ship, and although her personality was a bit bossy, her accommodations, recommendations, and breakfast were wonderful. There was ..read more

Viva La Venezia

Viva La Venezia I had always wanted to go to Venice one day, and now I have – in a day and a half. We drove into this watery city of islands via a causeway, parked our car at a modern garage, then boarded our first vaporetto ( boats that provide public transit) to float into Europe’s best preserved big city of a hundred islands connected by 400 bridges and countless narrow waterways and alleys. We disembarked at the center of the island, at ..read more

Bella Vista Cinque Terre

Bella Vista Cinque Terre Driving to Cinque Terre, Italy (named for its five fishing villages connected by panoramic cliffside walking trails) was an adventure in itself. Italian roads resemble its pasta: thin and twisty. We headed toward the town of Vernazza, the fourth town on the Cinque Terre hiking circuit. Vernazza is a picturesque town, where locals pull up their fishing boats onto the streets to “park” them at night. We stayed at Trattoria Gianni, after we parked the Mercedes Boxvan outside the town ..read more

Awestruck in the Alps

Awestruck in the Alps We woke up this morning to views of the Alps – thank God! It was absolutely incredible. The peaks were rugged and snow-covered, in and out of the clouds, and the temps were in the 50s. But no rain. So we quickly had breakfast and set out for a 5-mile ridgeline walk from Muren to the next town of Grutschalp. The hiking path was gravelly and wide, and steadily sloped downhill the whole way. It was beautiful. We took so many photos, ..read more

Murky Murren

Murky Murren Day 7: Switzerland The alpine resort of Murren stands about 5,400 feet high in the Swiss Alps, and looks like heaven on earth in the pretty picturesque postcards at the front desk of our hotel. We took two trams to reach this indescribably beautiful town, and the reason I can’t describe it is because the view out our window is thick, grey and soupy. Yes, it’s been raining in the Alps all day, and although we had some tantalizingly brief glimpses of ..read more