Category Archives: Travel- Europe

SIX OF THE BEST – Historic Swiss Hotels

Biergarten. Romantik Seehotel Sonne, Kussnacht

The biergarten of Romantik Hotel Sonne, Küsnacht, by the lake near Zurich

‘Historic’ need not mean faded glory. These hotels combine spectacular locations with character, fascinating stories…and modern plumbing.  
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TWO SWISS HOTSPOTS – it’s no surprise which I prefer.

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It’s thrilling to see the Matterhorn for the first time, though I didn’t have it to myself.

I once wrote that to qualify for ‘Most Beautiful Place I’ve Been‘, there should be no crowds, and it should feel like a small achievement to get there.  

90% of Switzerland could be in contention for ‘world’s most beautiful place’ awards, and of course climbing to the summit of the Matterhorn is an achievement well out of my league. But thanks to the super-efficient Swiss tourism industry, getting to eye level with the bottom of the climb is easy. So of course there are crowds.

It’s still spectacular, though there’s another place nearby that meets all my ‘beautiful place’ criteria.    Continue reading

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BEST ONE WEEK WALK IN EUROPE – the pictures

Simon - Lac des Vaches

Crossing the Lac des Vaches, with the Grande Casse in the background.

I’d done parts of this walk before – along the GR5 and the GR55, but this was the first time I’ve tackled the whole six-day Tour des Glaciers in the Parc de la Vanoise, the oldest national park in France.

From beginning to end it’s spectacular. Here’s the photographic evidence… Continue reading

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A FRENCH TOWN THAT’S ON THE NOSE

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La Place aux Aires. Pleasant even for those who can’t smell it.

I’ve just discovered that I have little or no sense of smell. I can’t even distinguish marijuana from whisky in a sniff-off at the smelling tubes in the International Perfume Museum. 

It may explain my devil-may-care attitude to applying deodorant and changing socks.

I’m probably not ideally qualified to comment on a town that’s built a thriving tourism business around its fragrances.  Continue reading

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FIVE LITTLE ADVENTURES IN TOULOUSE –

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La Ville Rose (the Pink City) surprises us.

Although it’s France’s fourth largest town, (see below for numbers 1-3*) Toulouse was just a place to pass through on our way to hike in the lovely Languedoc. It was an afterthought for me to book an extra night there.

We soon wished we’d made it longer. It’s not a big place, but a day and a half wasn’t enough to do everything in a relaxed, Toulousian manner.      Continue reading

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WE’RE SURPRISED HOW MUCH WE LIKE THIS PLACE

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Luxury yachts and a crowded beach. All the things we’re supposed to hate in a resort town.

We Australians don’t visit France’s Côte d’Azur for its beaches. We don’t like paying to sit on a deckchair or renting a towel. We hate the idea of private beaches for hotel guests only.   

On the other hand, we don’t know any Australian resort towns with covered markets, massed petunia baskets hanging above cobbled alleyways and a Picasso Museum.  Continue reading

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CANNES – do they let ordinary people in?

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Just plain folks who’ve spotted someone special. It makes anyone go a bit silly.

Mevrouw T and I have never been to Cannes at film festival time. I’ve been waiting to be nominated for the Palme d’Or and unsurprisingly that hasn’t happened yet. Not even Un Certain Regard…

But this year we happened to be in the neighbourhood, so we dropped in to see what all the fuss was about. It was fun.

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