Sept. 22, 2004

 

Dear Friends,

 Mel and I just returned from a wonderful trip to the Alps of Switzerland, Italy and Austria . Mel and I flew into Paris and stayed there for five nights at the conclusion of the trip with Tauck Tours. We traveled with two couples we had met on the trip we took to Ireland and Great Britain a couple years ago.

 We all flew into Zurich two days before the start of the tour. Zurich is a wonderful city. It is clean and the people charming. It is however very expensive. We arrived on a Sat. and by the time we were all together and settled in, the stores were closed for the weekend. I think maybe the men planned it that way. So we window-shopped along the Bahnhofstrasse. It is world famous for it’s shopping. We dined on traditional Swiss food that night. The next day we took a tour of the city and a cruise on Lake Zurich . It was a beautiful warm sunny day, perfect for sightseeing. That evening four of us went to a café in Old Town and dined on Fondue. The next morning we connected with the tour at the airport and took off on a fantastic trip through the Alps .

Our first stop was for lunch in the town of Bern . I wish we had had time to really explore this beautiful little, quaint town. I believe it is the capital of Switzerland . We lunched at Hotel Bellevue, which was quite grand. It would be a great place to stay and really get to see Bern .

After lunch we were on our way to Interlaken . It is a town that sits between two lakes and a backdrop of a spectacular mountain range, which consists of the Schreckhorm, Eigar Monch and Jungfrau . The Jungfrau is known as Jungfraujoch. (Top of Europe , it is 11,333 ft) We took two different trains to reach the top. It was raining and cool most of the way to the top and we stood out in a blizzard once we were at the top. Also on the top there are several activities you can see. The Ice Palace and Husky dogs were only two of the attractions. The Ice Palace was carved out of the glacier. You walked through this tunnel and there were different ice carvings of things like penguins, bears etc. Our trip to and from the Jungfrau took us past quaint villages. The house’s window ledges were dripping with flowers and the pastures had cows grazing lazily. There were hay drying houses and wild flowers everywhere. Beautiful! We spent 2 nights at Interlaken .

 On our fourth day our journey continued to wind past sparkling lakes and majestic mountains to Vaduz in scenic Liechtenstein . It is the smallest sovereign state in the world. It is between Switzerland and Austria . We stayed the night in Tannheimer Tal.

 The next day we were off to Innsbruck . On our way we visited Neuschwanstein. Built by King Ludwig II, it is the castle after which Disney modeled his Fantasyland castle. We rode a horse-drawn carriage up to a stopping point and then walked or I should say climbed the rest of the way to the castle. It is beautiful and worth the trip to see.  After the visit to the castle we were off to Oberammergau , Germany ; cute town with great shopping.  That night we arrived in Innsbruck .

  Innsbruck , Austria is a gorgeous town with lots and lots of history. It has been the host of two winter Olympics. It is the home of the “Sacher-Torte”. (It is a chocolate cake) Yummy!!! Innsbruck has wonderful buildings, churches and squares. Many buildings have faux paintings on the walls and of course an abundance of flowers. Most of the shop and Inn signs are ornate iron works.

 That evening several couples went to a traditional dance and music show, The Tiroler Alpenbuhne. It was charming and as they say a good time was had by all.

On day 6 we were off to wind our way through the Dolomites on our way to Lienz , Austria . The Dolomites are a mountain range that look different from the Alps we had been traveling through. We weaved our way through Austria and Italy . The Dolomites are starker with sheer rock walls. The film Cliff Hanger was filmed there.

 The next morning we were off to Grossglockner the highest peak in Austria and on to Salzburg . I am just glad I didn’t have to do the driving on this day. The bus driver did a great job. He must have nerves of steel.

  Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart. It is a picturesque city that is nestled between the Salzach River and Hohensalzburg Fortress. We took a walking tour of the city and visited Mozart’s home. The afternoon we were on our own to explore. The six of us took the incline to the fortress for one wonderful view of the city with its steeples, towers and cupolas. You could see the river and the valley below. We had lunch in the world famous St Peters Stiftskeller. We bought Mozart chocolates and walked through old town. The smallest Mc Donald’s sign in the world is there. All the shop and Inn signs are in iron also. They are works of art. That evening we attended a piano concert at Mirabell Palace . A selection of Schumann, Brahms, Chopin and of course Mozart was preformed. Salzburg was my favorite city that we visited.

 The next day, day 9 we were off to Vienna by train. A bus met the group and we were taken on a city sightseeing tour. We visited the grounds of the summer palace and passed several monumental buildings. We passed over the Blue Danube, which is not really blue. That evening several of us went to see  “Sounds of Vienna”. It was a most enjoyable evening of music, dance and singing.

The next morning we went on a walking tour of the city. We visited the Kunsthistorisches (Museum of fine arts) and the Hofburg, Imperial Residence of the Habsburgs. It is a beautiful city. That night we had a farewell dinner and reception. We met lots of interesting people and had a fantastic tour.

 The next morning Mel and I were off to the romantic city of Paris for five nights and four glorious days. We did all the tourist things. We visited Versailles , the Louvre, the d’Orsay and Notre-Dame. We lunched on a river cruise on the seine. We had dinner at Altitude 95 in the Eiffel Tower . It was wonderful and the weather was great.

Shirley Pavey Moore