Trip to Europe

Europe1-15Last Saturday, I returned from my first real vacation in 7 years. It was 2-1/2 weeks in Northern Italy, the Jungfrau region of Switzerland, and Northeastern France. It also included a quick trip to Paris. Given how hard I have been working the past few years, it took a little time to get into “vacation mode”, but I must say that once I did, it was amazing.

The trip started by flying to Zurich and then taking a train to Milan. Our good friend, Francesco, who happened to be there for a meeting, met us at the train station and the touring began. Milan isn’t as touristy as Florence, Venice, or Rome, but it is a beautiful city with some amazing old churches. Some pics can be found here.

From Milan, we took a train to Verbania, Italy, which sits on the shores of Lake Maggiore. Touring the Isola Madre and Isola Bella was a treat and the botanical gardens were a treat for my plant-loving wife, Suzanne. Should you be in the area, I highly recommend the hotel we stayed in, Grand Hotel Majestic. The location is amazing, the food good, it was clean, and the service was top-notch. Some pics can be found here.

After leaving Lake Maggiore, we took a train to Interlaken, Switzerland, which is in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland. It was one of the most beautiful and wonderful places I have ever been—the mountains and lakes are stunning and the hiking is outstanding. We happened to stay at a hotel run by an Italian gentleman and his Swiss wife. He was also the chef and he was incredible. He made a seafood pasta that was a religious experience. Some pics can be found here.

After Interlaken, it was back on a train, but this time to Strasbourg. God, what a magnificently livable and beautiful city. We had a few days of vacation time (including a quick trip on the TGV to Paris) and then our stay ended with Suzanne attending the European MRS meeting. The local tarte flambée was a treat and the Strasbourg Cathedral was amazing. Some pics can be found here.

Though probably a result of the grass always being greener, I must say that Europe seems like a very pleasant place to live. I am back at work now and the ASEE meeting is next week. I will be so glad when that is over since it has taken much of my physical and emotional energy lately.

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