Answer Me These Questions Three

Answer Me These Questions Three

(Sorry, I can’t resist a Monty Python reference. That title comes from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”) There’s a travel podcast that Melissa and I often listen to called “The Amateur Traveler.” At the end of each episode, the host asks his guest expert three questions about the place they’ve been discussing. Here are… Read More

Personal Pilgrimages

Personal Pilgrimages

When you think of pilgrims in Rome, you think of devout Catholics in awe as they approach the seat of the Church, St. Peter’s Basilica. But the city is full of people on personal pilgrimages of all kinds. Whenever I’m in Rome, I try to visit as many churches and museums as possible that contain… Read More

The Joys of Coming Back

The Joys of Coming Back

A first visit to Rome is amazing. A second or third visit is great in a different way. The first time, you race to see all of the most important sights of Ancient Rome (the Coliseum, the Forum, the Pantheon, imperial palaces) and Renaissance Rome (St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums, and… Read More

From 2017 to 2018: What We’re Up To

From 2017 to 2018: What We’re Up To

Early last year, Melissa and I decided that 2017 would be our personal Year of the Mountain. We’d spent a lot of 2016 in flattish places, so we were yearning to see high things on the horizon. We’re usually lousy at keeping New Year’s resolutions, but we did a good job with that one: In… Read More

Photos of Austria

Photos of Austria

The Stubai Valley in the Tirol region of Austria, 27 kilometers from the city of Innsbruck, is a beautiful place. We spent a week there in August 2017, based in the village of Neustift, hiking and riding cable cars to view pine-covered mountains, glaciers, roiling streams, and dramatic waterfalls. The valley has hikes easy or… Read More

Valley Discoveries

Valley Discoveries

Hundreds of thousands of people visit Austria’s Stubai Valley each year (most in the winter), so it isn’t exactly undiscovered. But few of them are Americans, and the valley is new to us, so we feel like it’s a discovery. We’re in Tirol, one of Austria’s alpine regions. When our housesit in Switzerland ended, we… Read More

Around Lake Lucerne

Around Lake Lucerne

Although we’ve taken lots of great excursions, most of our time in Switzerland has been spent around Lake Lucerne, the beautiful body of water that we see out our windows every day. Our little village of Merlischachen, with its handful of old chalet-style houses, is always a good place for a stroll. The benches down… Read More

Adventures in the Bernese Oberland and Unterwalden

Adventures in the Bernese Oberland and Unterwalden

In most U.S. guides to Switzerland, Interlaken and the central two valleys of the Bernese Oberland region (the villages of Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, and Murren) get all the love. So Americans and countless other tourists flock to Interlaken and Grindelwald to gape at mountains like the Eiger and the Jungfrau. That area is beautiful, but it’s… Read More

In the Heartland of Switzerland: Schwyz and Uri

In the Heartland of Switzerland: Schwyz and Uri

Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons, roughly equivalent to U.S. states but much smaller. (The biggest is only slightly larger than Delaware.) The village on Lake Lucerne where we’re housesitting this summer is located just barely (by about a mile) in the canton of Schwyz. It’s also within an hour by train from at least… Read More

Our Best House Sit Yet

Our Best House Sit Yet

We’ve looked after people’s homes and pets in some wonderful places over the years. Rome, Italy; Penang, Malaysia; Burlington, Vermont; and Charleston, South Carolina come to mind. But this summer’s five-week house sit in central Switzerland may be the best one we’ve ever had. We’re in the village of Merlischachen on the shore of Lake… Read More