Posts Tagged ‘world’


Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

SwitzerlandI have to say that Switzerland is the most beautiful country I have ever seen. There is something majestic about the Swiss Alps that almost takes your breath away.

We stayed in cabins, which was a welcome relief from camping in freezing weather. My body almost had a chance to heal from the bad cold I had gotten in Paris. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking.

We took a steep trolley car to the Jungfraujoch, otherwise known as “The Top of the World.” It was a stunning sight, absolutely beautiful. The snow looked luxurious, like powder. The plateau was so freezing that my ears were numb, and I could no longer feel my hands. I couldn’t open my eyes for more than a few seconds at a time because I felt like my eyeballs were going to freeze. It was painfully cold.

There was an ice palace up there. The walls were made of ice, the floor, the ceiling, the tunnels, the figures – all ice. I had lunch overlooking the Alps. I drank some famous Swiss hot chocolate with my meal. I mailed a postcard to my family.

On the way down, I felt like my head was going to explode from the sudden change in altitude. I had a pounding headache for the rest of the day.Switzerland-2ice-sculpturesSwitzerland-3


Monday, June 28th, 2010

AustriaWhen the tour bus crossed into Austria, I was surprised by how gorgeous the scenery was. I realized that I was looking at the Alps. Happily, we were able to stay in a chalet instead of pitching a tent in the snow. I cranked the heater up and felt warm for the fist time in weeks.

We had the opportunity to ski in the Alps, and even though I was a beginner and had only skied once, I wanted to have that experience. Of course, I stayed on the bunny slopes because I didn’t want to break an aAustria-2rm or leg. Besides, I didn’t know what I was doing. But apparently, the few people who had come with me had never gone, so I told them briefly what I knew: if you point your skis straight down, you go fast; if you ski in S’s, you go medium fast; and if you put your feet into a V-shape, you slow down and eventually stop. Everyone was hugely grateful, since people who actually knew how to ski were nowhere in sight. This was the Alps, after all. The views were much better higher up.

We stopped in Salisburg, where we saw a statue of Mozart. I even got to see his piano in the Mozart museum. I stood in the church where “The Sound of Music” wedding scene was filmed. The sculpture of a dove was at the very top of the dome. It was a beautiful church.Austria-4Austria-3


Venice, Italy

Friday, June 25th, 2010

venice-italyThis is the fifth instalment of my “Nightmare Through Europe” series: Venice, Italy.

Riding a loud, crowded bus to Venice, I took a motorboat, then a short gondola ride to get to the city from the campsite. While I walked along the beautiful streets, I had terrible cramps. The world was distorted, and I nearly fainted. Someone from my tour helped me get to a pharmacy. I barely had time to swallow a pain killer before going to a glass-blowing and lace-making demonstration. I was semi-conscious as I lay doubled over on the floor, away from all the people.venice-italy-2 Someone asked me if I was okay, and I said, “No.”

After the demonstrations, I got some fresh air and felt stronger suddenly. Maybe the pain killer was taking effect. I toured St. Mark’s cathedral, the third largest cathedral in the world. The stained glass windows were breathtaking.

Since I was feeling better, I went on a lovely gondola cruise. It was lovely to see the city of Venice, Italy, by gondola! Seven of us piled into the gondola, to split the bill. I felt light-headed, as if I were in a dream. The liquid streets were romantic, and the Bridge of Sighs was picturesque. It was a pity not to be there as a married couple. To be there alone just seemed out of place. Two men opened the shutters of a window above us as we passed them. The entire city was exotic-looking. Some day I would love to go back.venice-italy-3venice-italy-4













Here is a beautiful video that will show you the best sights in Venice, Italy:


Thursday, June 24th, 2010

RomeWhen we arrived in Rome, we took a night tour of the city. We saw the Spanish steps, and I threw a coin into the Trevi Fountain so that I would return some day. The Pantheon and the Colosseum were lit up in the dark. I ate some yummy gelatti ice-cream before going back to camp.Rome-2

We spent the next morning at the Vatican. We took the elevator and the stairs to get to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. Up there we looked out over the city of Rome. It was very nice inside – the best cathedral I’ve ever seen. It is the largest cathedral in the world. Famous sculptures and paintings are in there, including Michelangelo’s pieta (a sculpture of Mary with Jesus). The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was fantastic, especially Rome-3the Creation of Adam. I bought a poster of it.

After lunch, I went underground to the catacombs. The damp, earthy walls were cold and creepy. As the tunnels wound around, you couldRome-4 easily get lost down there. (People are buried there.)

The next day I saw the inside of the Pantheon. There were also museums with statues and famous paintings. I saw the ruin of a labyrinth of rooms under the Colosseum and wondered how many terrified people had died at that location. I also saw the Roman Forum, which was in complete ruins aside from a few columns. The day ended with pouring rain.