A Preschooler’s View of Switzerland

A Preschooler’s View of Switzerland

Four-year-old Francesca Ferraro, our unofficial goddaughter, is a well-traveled kid. She’s taken trips with her parents to Istanbul, Venice, and southern France. And she and her mom, AJ, have traveled with us in Vietnam, Sicily, and Oaxaca, Mexico. When we did our house sit on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland last summer, we were struck by… Read More

Renaissance Mantua

Renaissance Mantua

Our second stop in Italy on the way to Switzerland was the town of Mantua—or, as the Italians call it, Mantova—about 2 hours east of Milan. We chose Mantua as our northern stop because we wanted somewhere quiet after Rome, so we stayed away from bigger cities in the area, such as Bologna and Verona… Read More

Medieval Orvieto

Medieval Orvieto

A reader recently asked us to say more about why we go to the places we visit and what we like about them. So here goes: After our housesit in Rome, we had four days until the beginning of our housesit in Switzerland. We decided to spend that time in Italy rather than Switzerland because… Read More

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