Bern

Alright, I realize it might be time to switch up the topic from travel, but this is my last post on our trip. Bern, Switzerland was our last stop before flying out of Stuttgart and I loved it. It was small, manageable and did not feel at all touristy. I loved walking along the river, through the arcades, eating in the calm squares and meandering up to the rose garden for a late afternoon espresso. As we had just come from our "outdoorsy" part of the trip, I splurged and booked us to stay at the Bellevue Palace. We really soaked it up by taking some down time and reading in the lobby, enjoying pre dinner cocktails in the bar and an after dinner gin rummy game in the lounge where they had a live pianist singing some Frank Sinatra classics. We wandered the farmer's market for breakfast, but enjoyed coffee from the terrace of the hotel that looked over the river. Bern was the perfectly calming ending to a busy trip. We could let down, but by doing so around such beauty we did not feel as though we were missing a beat. All that, and I finally got to indulge in some seriously authentic Swiss fondue- a true cheese lovers dream.DSC_0014-001 DSC_0015-001

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Next, we will be back to our regular scheduled programming.

Lauterbrunnen, Murren & Gimmelwald

While the cities we had visited had all been smaller, seemingly manageable and very clean, our stop in the Swiss Alps reminded all of us how stunning and spectacular the world can be. While I always tend to lean towards architecturally and design inspiration, there is no doubt that a couple days taking in fresh mountain air, a more laid back life style and a couple of winding, hilly hikes, can be good for the soul. DSC_1412

Scott had previously visited these small towns, back in 2005 when he was here on a study abroad program, and while I was in the midst of planning he requested we make a stop. I chose for us to stay in Murren as it sits at 1,700 meters above sea level and is only accessible by cable car. I thought this would be remote enough to fill his apparently increasing need for the outdoors, a alter-ego we jokingly coined "Extreme Scott". That it did. Scott's extremeness in the Alps was like my extremeness on my first trip to Paris, back when I was 15. It's a type of excitement that you can't believe this exists in the world and you are just finding out about it. I mean the guy even walked backwards on one of our hikes as to not interrupt the best angle for the mountain views. When he wasn't walking backwards, he was jogging ahead. When we weren't sleeping with the windows open to truly experience that fresh mountain air (keep in mind it was a brisk 30 degrees during the night) he was pausing and soaking it all in. He climbed into waterfalls (to test the temp) and would wander off on his own, getting distracted by the powerful scale of our surroundings. It's fun to travel with someone who has so much energy about a destination that excitement is basically coming out of their pores. Now, I just need to work on channeling that excitement in museums and larger cities!DSC_1427

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After spending a couple glorious days reminding ourselves how beautiful the world can be, we hopped on a train and headed to Bern for our last stop before returning to Stuttgart for an early morning flight. Final Stop: Bern!

Lucerne

We woke up early to head from Innsbruck to Lucerne. Along the way we stopped in the ski towns of St. Anton & St. Christoph to grab a coffee and catch some views. photo-026

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When we got to Lucerne it was pretty rainy, but it didn't stop us from walking around the town and catching some of the sites. It also helped that there were numerous cafes and wine bars to pop into to shield ourselves from the elements. While the Chapel bridge, old city walls and historic buildings exude an old world European elegance, there also seems to be a current and thriving art scene. All the restaurants were busy, the new convention center was jumping and I enjoyed surveying all the information on upcoming art exhibits at one of the local coffee shops where we grabbed lunch. It was cool to see amongst a quaint, lakeside European town that there seemed to be a youthful and alternative underlying pulse.

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We enjoyed some appetizers on the river at Opus, and then headed to old town for a delicious pizza dinner. Our next stop... Murren!