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Geneva; Global Peacekeepers and Western Europe’s Largest Lake

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed with Geneva. Aside from the lake, it felt like just about any other big Western European city to me, but you have to consider where I had just been. I had just arrived after five days in Zermatt, which is a nature lovers paradise in the Alps, so I think any big city would have disappointed me at the time. In any case, I made the most of my short time there by going on a day tour of the city and later visiting Lake Geneva. Besides the typical rich history of most European cities, with many museums, cathedrals and galleries, Geneva is probably best known for being global peacekeepers and for having Western Europe’s largest Lake.

The United Nations

 

Geneva is the city with the highest number of international organizations in the world. It is home to the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization. It is host to one of the four global offices of the United Nations and is of course where the Geneva Convention was signed. Geneva has a reputation for diplomacy and in fact has a refugee welcome center near the heart of the city. Perhaps that is why the people are so warm and inviting. I think it’s the nature of the Swiss people.

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Zermatt Switzerland; Biker, Hiker, Skiing Paradise

Zermatt Switzerland reminds me of Whistler, Canada and Rhotang Pass in India mixed all together. The panoramic views of the Alps, combined with the easy access to world renowned trails for recreational sport, make Zermatt, Switzerland a biker hiker, skiing paradise for tourists from around the globe. And by biker, I mean bicycles, because no gas engines are allowed in the town, nor are any private cars. The taxis and delivery vehicles are all electric, and residents get around by walking, bicycling, cable car or train. It leaves the air smelling about as pure as you can find anywhere on the planet.

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

 

With a cost of about $135 USD for a round trip to ticket, it’s expensive to get to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, but it was worth every penny. It sits at an elevation of 12,739 feet and the view will leave you breathless. It’s about a 45-minute cable car ride to the top. As you sit in the relative comfort of your cable car, you look down on glaciers, green meadows with pretty wild flowers scattered about, pristine waterfalls, and lots of people hiking and biking the trails. At the top, there is an ice palace full of ice caves and ice sculptures, a restaurant, café, and panoramic viewpoint for tourists to enjoy.

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Vienna, A Crazy Mix of History, Culture, and Modern-Day Amenities

Vienna is a fascinating city, that provides a crazy mix of history, culture and modern-day amenities. With a local population of nearly 2 million people, plus all the tourist, it is a big and bustling city. Two days was not nearly sufficient time to enjoy all it has to offer, but I got enough of…

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Salzburg Austria: A Most Extraordinary City

I spent only a couple of days in Salzburg, but it was long enough to realize that Salzburg is a most extraordinary city.  It’s a fantastic mix of ancient architecture and modern-day cosmopolitan conveniences. The food is delicious and the people extremely friendly. Honestly, there is nothing I didn’t like about the city, except for…

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Innsbruck Austria: Incredible History, Beauty, and Nature

Standing on Seegrubenspitze Mountain, at the top of the Hungerburg station (the name for the cable car), I felt like I was living inside of a postcard. Everything I had seen that day, from the world-renowned “Goldenes Dachl” (Golden Roof), to the lavish Innsbruck Cathedral was astounding, but the view from the top left me…

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Bier, Brats, and Beauty in Munich Germany

I only spent two days in Munich, but it left a lasting impression on me. The grander of the Alps, the many shades of green, the opulent castles, the delicious food, and helpful people, all left me wishing I could stay longer. It may have only been a stop-over on my way to Austria, but the bier, brats and beauty of Munich Germany will bring me back.

The Alps

It took us about an hour until we were outside of the city and passing beautiful green farm fields, giant windmills and starting to see glimpses of spectacular mountains poking through the mist in the distance.  The closer we got to the mountains, the more excited I got. My heart was racing as I took picture after picture of the grand mountain peaks towering above charming Bavarian villages.

 

Dreamy Castles

I signed up for a day tour to visit two fairy-tale looking castles. The first stop was Linderhof, the smallest of the three royal castles built in the 19th century by King Ludwig II, who was known for being quite eccentric. He was never married and died a suspicious death at the age of 41. The palace was built in the French Rococo style and is surrounded by perfectly groomed gardens and picturesque landscaping. A large white swan swam elegantly around the glassy pond and colorful flowers lined the shore. Outside the palace was a gorgeous fountain that shot high into the air every half hour. The inside of the castle was even more impressive. Every nook and cranny was gleaming with gold plate atop extraordinary designs. The walls and ceilings were covered in murals honoring various legends or religious figures.  The color and detail was incredible! The king’s bed was especially lavish, covered in blue velvet and silk with real gold embroidery and accessories. I stared in awe and couldn’t help but wonder what it must have been like to live as royalty in such a beautiful palace.

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