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Month: May 2016

Munich

Munich

Memorial day morning we took a water taxi to the airport. and waded through the frustrating clusterfuck (yep, more cursing in Italy) of Venice Airport: late, disorganized, and rude employees at every point in our journey. We didn’t have a gate or the ability to even check in until an hour before our flight. The only way to find out where to check in was to keep asking employees until someone knew which anonymous “web check-in” line was for our…

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Venice

Venice

After a four-hour train ride we walked out of the train station to see a rain-clogged city of canals. We bought tickets in the rain (why are the ticket machines not inside the terminal?) for a public water taxi to our hotel. After checking in we walked down the narrow streets looking for dinner. We picked Trattoria Pizzeria Da Gioia at random and were treated to a great meal. Sam was elated to have cuttlefish ink pasta for the first…

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Rome

Rome

After arriving at the main train station in Rome we went to a “tourist information booth” and were told what I can only imagine translates to: “Fuck off!”  Welcome to Rome. Our friends who live in Italy (one born there) admitted later that the country has somewhat of an antagonistic attitude toward tourists. Can’t live with them (tourists are everywhere and trampling all over your history), can’t live without them (the Italian economy is essentially clothes and tourists at this point…

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Florence

Florence

In Florence we checked in and headed to the duomo where we ascended the 400+ steps for a breezy view of the city. We then ambled toward the Ponte Vecchio, stopping for dinner along the way (ossobuco, risotto, and very good d’asti). Before we reached the river we picked up gelato and ate it as we ascended the steps to the Michelangelo’s David replica in the high plaza overlooking the city. We stayed to watch a cloudy sunset and slowly…

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Milan

Milan

We woke at 6am on Monday to catch the early trains to Milan. After checking into our hotel we set out on foot to explore the city. First, we visited the inside and roof of the duomo. Then we walked to the Scala Opera Museum but decided not to buy a ticket as the theater (the whole point of a museum ticket) was closed. We stopped by Peck, which was a little underwhelming (like an Eataly-light) and ate at a few…

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Lauterbrunnen Valley

Lauterbrunnen Valley

On Thursday morning we headed to Lauterbrunnen, Tolkien’s original inspiration for Rivendell, remembered from his travels as a young man before the first world war. When we arrived in Lauterbrunnen it was raining, but by the time we checked in and had lunch it had turned into fog and mist. Here is the view from our hotel balcony: We went for a stroll for a few miles by the waterfalls in the valley before heading back for dinner (we bought…

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Zermatt

Zermatt

Although St. Moritz is known for being a posh pristine mountain town for playboys to show off expensive ski boots, Zermatt is only famous for the rugged peak of the Matterhorn. Since summer season was still officially a week away our hotel was underbooked and gave us a free upgrade to a room that could see the famous pyramidal shaped peak that most Americans recognize first as the centerpiece to a Disneyland ride. Zermatt has a more rugged and “authentic” atmosphere,…

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Glacier Express

Glacier Express

When we boarded the Glacier Express panorama train in St. Moritz we shared the car with only one other couple. This made the first few hours an enjoyable experience of gliding down from the “Top of the World” while jumping from side to side shooting hundreds of photos pressed against the high windows. When we got a bit lower to Chur things took a turn (pun intended). A group of retired-but no less rowdy-German tourists, complete with barking guide, filled…

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St. Moritz

St. Moritz

We left Zurich in the early afternoon on a train that straddled the brilliant teal Zurichsee for about thirty kilometers before heading further south to Chur and then landing in St. Moritz. We learned that about a third of the journey (between Chur and St. Moritz) is part of the Glacier Express. We arrived in St. Moritz late in the afternoon and then had to figure out the local bus system to our hotel. Turns out it was very simple,…

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Zurich

Zurich

On Friday, May 13th, Sam and I embarked on a 23-day European vacation. We ubered to LAX and flew over eleven hours on Swiss Air to Zurich, landing around 4pm local time on Saturday. The Zurich airport is quite small, but tidy and neat, like an airport built by Ikea. We took an easy train into the city and discovered “Zurich’s got talent” taping at the main rail station, just a short walk from our hotel. After settling in we went out…

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