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

We take a road trip to beautiful Mantreux (and you won’t believe the view we had at lunch!)

A couple months ago I posted a piece on my hike up the Rochers de Naye, which featured some video and photographs of the beautiful town of Mantreux, located at the east end of Lake Geneva, opposite of our home in Geneva on the lake’s west end. That day, I had no time to actually explore the city so I have been looking forward to returning. We took advantage of the opportunity during the recent visit of Nancy’s sister Ellen and our brother-in-law Cliff. Continue reading

My first real Swiss hike: 1000 meters verticle up to the Rochers de Naye

When I was a kid, my family did a lot of camping and backpacking. I’ve maintained a real love of hiking ever since. This blog post describes my first real hike since arriving in Europe. Chris and I tried a hike in the Jura mountain range, which didn’t really materialize as we had expected, and we did complete a great “hike ” in Spain with Jose and Susan and family which was fabulous and which I will feature in a future blog post, but that was only about 2 kilometers each way, which doesn’t qualify as a “hike” in my mind.

This hike however, was different. Continue reading