Friday, October 30, 2009


Christine and I awoke to snow the morning we were leaving for Europe. Our friend Keith dropped us at the airport and we headed to Charlotte NC, our first connection. On the flight over, we met Terry who was seated beside us. He and his wife were from Colorado Springs and were headed for Turkey. The flight went by fast as we all chatted about church, running, and starting your own business. We arrived in Charlotte to find that our flight was delayed. After being delayed an hour at a time for around 5 hours, we were finally notified our flight was canceled. Everyone made a dash for the ticket counters and luckily we were the speediest. We scheduled a flight through Munich the following afternoon with Lufthansa. A Holiday Inn, a treadmill, and a trip to Rite-aid and we're headed to Munich Germany.

Zurich Switzerland welcomed us with a cool and crisp morning. We got our Eurail Pass validated and jumped on our first train, headed for the Lauterbrunnen Valley, via Bern and Interlaken.

We were pretty exhausted after having traveled through the night without sleeping very well on the plane. We checked into the Hotel Staubbach and rested our eyes for a few. We treated ourselves to Fondue that night in Lauterbrunnen.

The following morning after a breakfast at the hotel, we took a quick tram ride up the cliff face directly east of our hotel. We then hiked the 20+ km loop back. We were in the midst of some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever experienced. 1000 meter cliff faces, with towering snow-capped mountains in the background. The shear magnitude of the mountains was capturing, even though their height wasn't any higher than 14ers in Colorado.

After our long hike, we stopped in a cheese shop and bought some local cheeses then headed to the local CO-OP and bought bread and chocolate. We "dined on the dime" that night at the hotel. We ate, talked about the day, and played checkers in the common room. A great end to a great day.

The following day, we hiked to the town of Wengen (one of my favorites of the trip) then took the easy way out and took trains to various towns and villages in the valley. Words can't begin to describe the beauty that surrounded can only attempt.

The landscapes were so layered with color, it was difficult to capture it all.

This picture shows the immensity of the area. You can see the town of Grindelwald in the valley below. The picture was taken at the base of the peak called the Jungfrau (Young Woman)....4158 meters.....and very close to the famous mountain The Eiger!

The houses, hotels and cabins were all very similarly built. Pictures like this just deepen my desire for a cabin in the mountains someday.

Looking back on our Europe trip as a whole, it was hard for either of us to say what our favorite was.....well, harder for Christine than me. It's no secret that I love the peace I get from being in the mountains. We both commented on how differently we would have viewed Switzerland, if we had visited it last rather than first. The train system was amazing. Everything thing was extremely clean. The people were friendly and welcoming. And the scenery topped it off. This is the place I desire most to visit again....maybe a little closer to summer when you can explore higher in the peaks....or in deep winter when the descents are that much more fun. Until that day, I've got plenty of pictures to keep me company.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Taste of our Europe Trip

We will post more photos and stories about our Europe trip soon, but here are a few pictures to give you a taste of Europe from our point of view.

Shane and Christine

Swiss Alps

Overlooking Salzburg Austira

Venice Italy

One of the peaks in the Dolomites....Falcade Italy

The Dolomites

Vernazza Italy in the Cinque Terre Region

My attempt at being an artistic photographer....keep trying aye!


Christine on the train....a place we spent quite a few hours.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Europe Part Vier

Another travel day in the books for Christine and Shanes Europe trip. We took a train from Venice to Belluno, which is where we met Mr. DeMartin. The father of a friend and coworker, Mr. DeMartin showed us all the ropes of the Italian Alps. We were able to get a nice hike in, then he showed us where Lance Armstrong rode in the last Giro d'talia (sp?), then made us an authenic Tirolean dinner. If money was not an object, I think we would keep traveling for a while. But alas, all good things have to come to an end.

We are planning a nice hike tomorrow and an overall chill day, before taking yet another train ride. We will head to Venazza and the Cinque Terre region for the last destination of our journey. We will be there for 2 nights, before heading back to Zurich and back to the good ol US of A. The rest of the trip is set, so there should not be any more changes from here on out. We should have internet access in Vernazza if anyone needs to contact us.

I think we are getting close to the 500 mark on the number of pictures we have taken so everyone get ready for a bunch of pictures. Actually, I have taken the approach that the more pictures I take, the better the chances of having a good one! Besides all the ones that I have taken of Christine (which are all good), hopefully there are a couple others that are worth seeing. Look for picture posts in the near future. Until then, take care and we look forward to talking to everyone soon.

Shane and Christine

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Europe Part Drei

Yo....We made it to Wein (Vienna Austria) safe and sound this afternoon. This place is a zoo. There are a couple of streets that have no cars, but there are definitely people traffic jams. There are street performers, sightseers, and craziness everywhere. It is pretty much the Boulder Pearl Street amplified 1000 times. We hit an internet cafe to check on a possible hotel in Venice as well as research other portions of our trip. The game plan may be changing again, as I emailed my work buddy Stefano who has a cabin in Falcade Italy, just north of Venice. We are going to try to stay there on the 19th and 20th.

As for now, we are about to have some food and contend with all the tourists, then we will be on the night train for Venice tonight at 2040 hrs. We will be spending the following night in Venice (18th). We will continue to keep you all posted as much as we can.

Shane and Christine

Friday, October 16, 2009

Europe Part Zwei

After almost 10 hours on various trains, we made it from Lauterbrunnen Switzerland to Salzburg Austria last night. Our first night stay was not the best choice. We stayed in a womens university dorm that rented rooms like a hostel. So, we left this morning and found a much nicer place just down the cobblestone streets.

We spent the day touring the city of Salzburg. It is bitterly cold, which has Christine itching to head for the warmer climate of Italy. Not just yet though. We are planning to catch an early train to Vienna tomorrow morning and spend half the day there. Then we are heading on the night train to Venice.

The tenative plan is to stay a night in Venice then head to Zermatt Switzerland for a relaxing couple of days, then to Vernazza Italy to end our trip. As you can see, the trip is somewhat dynamic, as we are changing plans daily. One thing is for sure and that is ending our trip in the cinque terre region on Italy, as we have reservations.

Europe as a whole is quite different from the states. We are also quite jealous, as it seems that most all people we encounter speak a number of languages, including English. There is little reason to try speaking German, but we are giving it our best shot anyway. We have a lot of catching up to do, as far as learning new languages.

Well, that is about it for now. I am currently on an ancient computer (maybe the first laptop ever made) and the Y and Z keys are reversed. It is absolutely driving me crazy.

Peace to everyone that reads this. We cannot wait to share more pictures and stories soon. Until then, take care.

Shane and Christine

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Europe: Part Ein

Just wanted to throw a quick update to everyone that's checking our blog to ensure we're doing well in Europe. After an unexpected 24 hour delay in Charlotte, NC we made it to Switzerland. We took a quick train from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen and things have been awesome (with the exception of my wife just correcting my grammar as I'm typing this). It's a little harder than I expected adjusting to the time change. We spent our first day hiking about 20 km. The mountains here are even more dramatic than I expected. We're staying at approximately 800 km above sea level and the highest peak is over 4000 km. We're hitting the mountains again today and probably heading to Zermatt, Switzerland tomorrow. I'll continue posting as we get an opportunity, but we're not sure when that will be. After Zermatt, the plan is to head to Salzburg, Austria.

Peace to everyone that reads this.