Archives for posts with tag: Odysseys Unlimited
IMG_9605 Russ really lost his head over this accordianist!

Russ really lost his head over this accordionist!

In Part 5: Mozart brought music to the world, The Sound of Music rang in our heads, and the Eagle’s Nest reminded us of the destruction that greed, hatred, and supreme power can enable.

Munich is the capital of Bavaria. There are roughly one-and-a-half million people living in the city, who proudly have their own nationalistic dialect, and think of themselves as from München Bavaria, not Germany. Munich is known for its beer, Oktoberfest celebrations, museums, and international companies like the headquarters of BMW.

Where we stayed:

Eurostars Book Hotel must have been designed for people like me: readers and/or writers whose imaginations propel their lives. From the first moment we stepped inside Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_9413 This is the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born here.

In Part 4: Neither the Prince of Liechtenstein or Heidi was around so instead we visited a mountain in Innsbruck and a centuries-old museum of Tyrolean farms.

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA

Where we stayed:

Imlauer Hotel Pitter Salzburg has been owned by the Pitter family since 2007. The hotel was renovated in 2014. It has a beer cellar and Imlauer Sky – Bar & Restaurant rooftop restaurant. The buffet was diverse and carries many regional dishes. Staff was friendly and professional.

What we saw:

One of my grandfathers was from Salzburg (which means salt fortress), so I was Read the rest of this entry »

Vineyard near Heidiland (Maienfeld) in Switzerland.

MAIENFELD, SWITZERLAND (OR HEIDILAND TO DEVOTEES!)

In Part 3: A toe dip into Stresa, Italy and a relaxing cruise around Lugano, Switzerland that explored many ancient and diverse communities.

Before leaving Switzerland behind and crossing into Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, we stopped in the border town of Maienfeld, Switzerland. For such a small area, Majenfeld holds two great distinctions of world import.

It’s the birthplace of Heidi, a story written in 1881 by Johanna Spyri.  The story may have been a work of fiction, but try telling that to the international tourists who flock here to visit a theme park-like area called Heidiland to see Read the rest of this entry »

Driving through the Simplon Pass connecting Italy and Switzerland.

In Part 2: A relaxing boat ride and two cogwheel trains later, we’d risen over 10,000 feet to gape at the Matterhorn.

We took a toe dip into Italy before re-entering Switzerland, where we would be staying in Lugano for a few days. I say a toe dip because we left the mountains briefly for Stresa, Italy, an internationally acclaimed resort town snuggled up to Lake Maggiore, and because similar to a toe dip, we weren’t invested in full immersion.

Before arriving in Stresa, we took a roadside pause on the Simplon Pass, where Napoleon had constructed a road Read the rest of this entry »

View on our ferry ride to Andermatt.

In Part 1: Trains, boats, a fierce storm atop Mount Pilatus… and this was just the beginning of the tour!

On our way to a boat ride that was part of the day’s transportation to Zermatt, the alpine city from which many mountaineers venture to tackle the Matterhorn, we bussed through the small village of Vegas, where once Russian composer Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff lived. The gentle one-hour 45-minute minute journey on Lake Lucerne aboard the Flüelen ferry began in Vitznau, which also has the oldest cogwheel train still running. Lake Read the rest of this entry »

The scenic natural beauty of Switzerland.

It was the trains that did it.

The idea of trains snaking slowly up to mountain peaks 7,000 feet or higher along ancient cogwheel tracks exhilarated my any-excuse-to-take-a-train husband, Russ. My stomach roiled pondering multiple train rides chugging along steep inclines, thinking about how I got nervous even holding onto the railing on the Empire State Building’s upper floor and tried looking down. He buttered me up about taking the Odysseys Unlimited Alpine Splendor tour by painting a picture of the scenic beauty we’d encounter in five countries: Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein, and Germany. By then, I remembered we’ve climbed glaciers and volcanos, ridden cable cars up 5,000 feet, and never once did I pass out in fright. My fears morphed into anticipation.

Ride along with me on this soaring Alpine Adventure which concluded with an extension trip to Read the rest of this entry »

A painting by Paul Cezanne.

In Part 4, we saw how Vincent Van Gogh’s art was impacted by his mental issues, how mountaintop former castles and fortresses continue to “live,” and how the idyllic beauty of Southern France country landscapes inspire paintings.

Aix-en-Provence

It was a reality jolt to spend days roaming gentle villages of country folk living high in ancient fortresses and then to find oneself in the thriving urban city of Aix-en-Provence. We strolled along Cours Mirabeau, a wide, tree-lined thoroughfare, explored the Old Town, and took in the artistic drumbeat left by Artist Paul Cezanne, born here in 1839 and who Read the rest of this entry »

Shopping at the farmer market.

In Part 3, we cruised down the Canal du Midi in a barge, cooked a full-course meal in a 5-star French hotel’s cooking school, and learned that Vincent Van Gogh left his impressions on more than canvas.

SAINT-REMY-DE-PROVENCE, LES-BAUX-DE-PROVENCE, ISLE-SUR-LA-SORGUE and ROUSSILLON

One of the absolute delights of this Southern France trip was getting to visit (albeit too briefly) small mountainside medieval villages on day excursions. We were lodging in Aix-en-Provence. Each village brimmed with the flavors of France, from fresh bags of lavender to nutty confections of nougat, to the flower-potted window sills that crowded narrow passageways within the former fortress rock walls. The air was fresh from mountain breezes. The views of multi-hued fields Read the rest of this entry »

The locks at Canal du Midi

In Part 2, the journey took us to Figueres, Spain to explore Surrealist Salvadore Dali’s Theatre-Museum, to the seaside city of Collioure immortalized by paintings of André Derain, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, and to the quiet beauty of Perpignan.

CANAL DU MIDI, AVIGNON and ARLES

On our way to stay in Arles and to visit Avignon, we paused for a morning excursion on the famed Canal du Midi.

CANAL DU MIDI

The slow steady pace of cruising down the 150-mile-long 17th century-constructed Canal du Midi in a flat-bottomed barge was one of the most relaxing aspects of the two-week Odysseys Unlimited tour thus far. Originally named the Canal Royal en Languedoc in 1681 when completed by Pierre-Paul Riquet, it was renamed by French revolutionaries to Canal Read the rest of this entry »

Idyllic Southern France countryside

Art. Food. Wine.

Those were the three words that drew my husband, Russ, and I to book our two-week tour to Southern France, the Languedoc and Provence regions. Russ expected this tour would be a bit more laid back than our previous Odysseys Unlimited tours, though sometimes we still felt as if we were racing against time to cram in as many cultural experiences as we could before our weary bodies collapsed. That’s not a complaint, by the way… just the reality of not wanting to miss out Read the rest of this entry »

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