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Why didn’t we go years ago?  Can we go back next year?  That pretty much sums up how much we loved our trip.  Traveling by train our route included Paris, Cannes, and Nice in France with a side trip to Monaco.  Then on to Italy where we stopped in Milan and Lake Como.  We finished the trip in Switzerland stopping in Lucern and Zurich with day trips to Interlaken and Engleberg.     

Paris in springtime was everything we imagined and more.  Cafe’s, the food, and the people.   We walked everywhere typically logging 10 miles a day.  Why go underground on the metro when there is so much to see on the streets.  Fast food here is baguettes made simply with ham and cheese or stuffed with other goodies like grilled eggplant, buffalo mozzarella and delicate lettuce piled high in the windows for you to grab on the go or sit at one of their outdoor tables.   Coffee is an art meant to linger over.  Lunch is around 2:00 and dinner doesn’t start until 7:30.  I’m still dreaming of scrambled eggs the French way.  We really didn’t have many large meals but simply grazed from one place to the next.   Good wine is served everywhere and very reasonably priced.  

Our first night. A little jet lagged but that didn’t stop us from finding some tapas at this little place across from our hotel. That yellow mound in the background is butter with sea salt for the baguettes. You can serve yourself.  Heaven!

The Seine

We had a list of foods to try and a crepe was definitely on there.

Traveling by train is so much more civilized than by air and it is so easy.  Our six hour ride from Paris to the South of France allowed us to see much of the French countryside with the Alps in the distance.  Both Cannes and Nice were very much resort towns and really different from Paris.  We took a day trip to Monaco visiting the Prince’s palace for the changing of the guards and a stroll inside the Monte Carlo casino.

View of Cannes and the marina with the mega yachts.

Outdoor market in the South of France. Torture!

Monaco

Casino Monte Carlo

Milan is not so much of a tourist destination as other parts of Italy, but it gave us a taste of the country for a future trip.  Museums, shopping, and of course the food.  Pasta cooked to perfection tossed in amazing sauces.  Mounds of fresh Italian buffalo milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream known as burrata.  Pizza topped traditionally or with only one item like thin slices of zucchini or peppers.   We wish we could have tried every one but the free food at happy hours filled us up.  Highlights include the Duomo de Milan where you actually walk up on the roof of this magnificent cathedral.  We also toured the Renaissance Castle Castello Sforzesco where we saw Rondanini Pieta the last sculpture Michelangelo was working on when he died and Leonardo da Vinci’s famous piece, Madonna Lia.

Duomo de Milan.  From the roof we could peer down at the plaza.

On our way up to the roof. We opted for the stairs instead of the elevator. What were we thinking?

The roof. It slants down. A bit scary!

The inside of the cathedral. It was massive.

Rondanini Pieta is a marble sculpture that Michelangelo worked on from 1552 until the last days of his life in 1564.

We next headed up to the Lake Como area where we hoped to spend time using the ferry to hop from town to town for a day.  But our good luck with the weather ran out and we had a rainy time there.  We did see Varenna and Bellagio before heading to the town of Como for our train ride through the Swiss Alps to Switzerland.

Varenna was a quaint town on the shores of Lake Como.

Bellagio along the shores of Lake Como. Lots of shopping and great restaurants.  We never let a little rain deter us and truthfully cobblestone is prettier when wet.

One of the cafes in Bellagio

Waiting for the ferry from Varenna to the town of Como

Switzerland is absolutely beautiful.  If you are a fan of the Sound of Music, it is hard not to hum the theme song as you are traveling through.  I know, wrong country!  We chose to stay in Lucern and take day trips to the mountains.  We were also in search of fondue and we found that in Interlaken with a nice cold bottle of wine.  Our train trip up to Engleberg and then via cable car to the top of Mount Titlas at a little over 10,000 feet was amazing.  We reached the top on a clear day with views for miles and a balmy 42 degrees.

Lucern

Lucern

Our view from the train up to Interlaken, Switzerland.

Interlaken, Switzerland

Fondue with a cold glass of wine in the Swiss Alps. I was in heaven.

Our train ride to Engleberg, Switzerland.

On our way via cable car to the top of Mount Titlas. That is not the top you see but rather where we transferred to a cable car that rotated 360 degrees.

Now we are at the top.

Gary on the suspension bridge over the glacier.

Engleberg, Switzerland

We spent our last few days in Zurich before flying home.  Reflecting on the trip we both felt we had really planned well.  Twenty six days, 3 countries (4 if you count Monaco), 8 cities, 13 train rides, 5 hotels and 4 AirBnB’s carrying only a backpack each and one shared day pack.  

Springtime in Paris

Harry’s New York Bar in Paris drinking a Manhattan and a French 75.

Fair winds,

Cindy