If you love mosaic stone paving, you will love Lisbon, Portugal.

One feature of many European cities that I especially enjoy and that distinguishes them from a typical American city is the craftsmanship that goes into paving the streets and walking surfaces. Wander around virtually any American city, and what do you see? Concrete and asphalt mostly. But wander around any European city, and the the streets, sidewalks, boulevards, plazas are very often characterized by beautiful stonework that is itself an art form.

We visited Lisbon a few months back and since we love to explore every city we visit by foot, we discovered that Lisbon is a city where virtually all of the sidewalks and plazas are themselves works of art. Continue reading

Para-gliding looks like fun. Sort of.

Setting aside for the moment the fact that I am pretty scared of heights, I have recently found myself thinking that if I had my life to live over again, I might go ahead and get my high school degree because I might need something to fall back on, but then move to Switzerland and become a para-glider guide. From my vantage point, those dudes seem to lead a pretty good life.

Paragliding is that sport where you rely on updrafts to lift you (and a partner, for a tandem flight) up off the earth as you basically run off a cliff. Continue reading

European Christmas Markets – A great way to get in the holiday spirit!

The idea is being “borrowed” in the U.S. and elsewhere, but to me, the traditional Christmas Market will always be a uniquely European custom. According to my research, the Germans first came up with the idea back in the late Middle Ages in the German-speaking part of Europe, and across the former Holy Roman Empire including modern day regions of France and Switzerland. Today, virtually all large European cities – and many small ones – open Christmas Markets that last the entire month of December. Continue reading

Join me for the 7.3K Course de l’Escalade run in Geneva’s Old City

I’m going to admit right from the start that I plan to put a lot less effort into writing this post than I did in producing it. I ran a 7.3 kilometer race earlier today, called the Course de l’Escalade. Regular followers of this blog might recall a previous post in which I explained the historical significance of the Escalade celebration.

Another event of the week-long celebration is a running “race” through the Old City. Continue reading

If you come for a visit, I will take you to Lauterbrunnen.

We were visiting friends in Paris a couple months ago, comparing notes about places we’d been in Switzerland, when my friend asked me, “Have you been to Lauterbrunnen?” When I replied in the negative, he responded, “Oh, you’ve got to go to Lauterbrunnen.” The very next weekend, we got in the car and traveled the 2 hour 15 minute drive (which is a lovely trip by the way, past Gruyère, Bern, and Interlaken) to go and see how beautiful this area is for ourselves. Continue reading

The Swiss “Désalpes” Festival is a celebration of cows like no udder!

Every year in the early fall, festivals are held across Switzerland’s alpine villages that feature herds of cows wearing silly hats and large cowbells parading down village streets, marking the end of the cattle’s summer grazing in the high alpine pastures. This is a custom that has been taking place across Switzerland for generations, and we recently attended a festival in L’Étivaz to take in this iconic Swiss celebration. Continue reading

I finished the Lausanne Triathlon! (…and came in 310th place…)

About three months ago, as incentive to keep working out, I registered for the Lausanne Triathlon. And not for one of those wimpy “sprint” triathlons, either. This one is classified as the “Olympic Distance”: 1.5 kilometer swim (in Lake Geneva); 40K bike ride; and a 10K run. It’s the same distance that Great Britain’s Browlee brothers went gold/silver in Rio.

It was a beautiful day for a race, temperatures in the high 70s, light breeze, partly cloudy. Continue reading