Germany/Switzerland 2017

We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed the trip.
We will follow the itinerary  from September 6-16,2017.
Valerie & Wayne

Our beautiful Hotel Schillingshof in Bad Kohlgrub. We stayed here for our first three nights.

Bonnie Lueck, already settled in at the lounge, working on contacts with home,
plus a diary tracking her adventures.

Elaine Dishaw and Connie Molbeck relaxing on their arrival at the hotel.

Ed and Evon Solms relaxing in the lounge.
Valerie Graczyk and Amy Carpenter

Connie Molbeck, Elaine Dishaw, Jim Molbeck and Camille Meyers enjoying our welcome dinner.

September 8, 2017 -

"Almost all" of our wonderful travelers as we began our initial day on the trip. Picture includes our Tour Escort and driver. Evon Solms, Dan Fee, and of course me (I took picture).are not included.
Ed Solms, Amy Carpenter, Alice Dann, Sue Furness, Camille Thibaudeau Meyers, Elaine Dishaw, Valerie Graczyk, Marta Del Zuffo (tour escort), Adam (driver in rear),Connie Molbeck, Jim Molbeck and Bonnie Lueck

 We headed for Neuschwanstein Castle, nestled in beautiful Bavaria and then the Linderhoff Castle, the smallest of 3 palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Beauty such as these Palaces  are hard to capture but we think these pictures do them justice. The Neuschwanstein Palace actually inspired Walt Disney to design  and create the Sleeping Beauty Castle in California's Disneyland Park.
The walk up and down to the Palace was adventuress yet some how relaxing and beautiful.
Elaine Dishaw
Sue Furness
King Ludwig II of Bavaria lived in the Palace above.
Valerie Graczyk, Alice Dann, Connie &Jim Molbeck, Evon Solms, Elaine Dishaw, Ed Solms, Sue Furness, Amy Carpenter, Dan Fee, Bonnie Lueck and Camille Meyers.
After the ascent and descent what more can we ask for but a wonderful lunch.
Alice Dann,  Sue Furness, Ed Solms, Evon Solms, Marta, Amy Carpenter, Valerie Graczyk, Jim and Connie Molbeck, Dan Fee, Bonnie Lueck, Elaine Dishaw & Camille Meyers.
Valerie outside the beautiful restaurant we dined at in Neuschwanstein.
In the afternoon we traveled to Linderhof Palace, the smallest of three palaces King Ludwig II. . Although smaller than Versailles, it is evident that the Palace of the French Sun-King Louis XIV was its inspiration.
 The gardens surrounding Linderhof Palace are considered one of the most beautiful creations of historical  garden design.

Jim & Connie Molbeck, Elaine Dishaw, Camille Meyers, Bonnie Lueck
Alice Dann & Sue Furness
Camille Meyers
The water parterre in front of the palace is dominated by a large basin with the gilt fountain group "Flora and Puttos". The fountains water jet itself is nearly 25 meters high.
On the way back to our hotel we captured beautiful paintings on the sides of houses...this one capturing a fairy tale we all recognized

We seem to be blessed with weddings on every trip. This one occurred outside our hotel and featured some form of a challenge from the bride to the groom.

September 9, 2017 - Innsbruck, Austria

We visited Innsbruck for a delightful day and were surrounded by breathtaking mountain views.

Host of the 1964 and 1975 Winter Olympics and 2012 Winter Youth Olympics we visited various sites including the Innsbruck Basilica Wilten, Maximillian's Golden Roof and the Black Men statues.

Olympic Circles decorated the site of the ski jump. 

Olympic ski jump stood majestically above our heads.  Some of us thought it looked pretty scary to think someone voluntarily goes down at a breakneck speed and soar through the air like a bird.

View from  the end of the ski jump, commentators for the Olympic Ski Jump often said the skiers "were flying right into the cemetery" (lower right) but it was only an optical illusion.

Our wonderful guide showed us sites before we had free time to explore on our own.
Evon & Ed Solms, Jim Molbeck, Amy Carperter, Sue Furness, Alice Dann, Camille Meyers and Bonnie Lueck (Dan Fee partially hidden on right).

The Golden Dachi (Golden Roof) composed of 2,600 gilded tiles.  It was used by Emperor Maximillian to view festivities in the courtyard below.
Wayne Graczyk, Sue Furness, Alice Dann, Camille Meyers, Ed Solms, Dan Fee, Elaine Dishaw, Bonnie Lueck, Evon Solms, Jim & Connie Molbeck  and Amy Carpenter 

Some took part in an optional tour of the Gothic Imperial Court Palace with its Giant's Hall where we stood in awe in front of the Schwarze Mander (Black Men...although they depicted both men and women). There were 28 black larger than life bronze statues surrounding Emperor Maximillian's tomb. The tomb is actually empty with his remains at another site. The foundation of the original tomb site couldn't support the statutes so a new site was built to display these 28. Maximillian actually had 42 statues depicting individuals he felt were very important to him. Only 28 were used here.


September 10 -Lake Constance & Lindau


On the way to Lake Constance we witnessed the beautiful Alps smothered in a mist and clouds.  The lake  is located near the meeting point of the Austrian, German and Switzerland borders and is Europe's third largest freshwater lake.

Of 10 days of forecasted rain, this was only one of two rainy days.  Actually it cleared up during our walking tour of Lindau, the only Bavarian town on Lake Constance and is an island on the eastern side of Lake Constance. Valerie Graczyk demonstrates how to fight the wind with an uncooperative umbrella yet still remaining dry.

The famous harbor entrance of Lindau. The drizzle kept my camera under wraps most of the early part of our walking tour but came out and the island simply dazzled us as we enjoyed the sun, our lunch and traversed an outdoor market with a variety of local vendors. Oh, did anyone lose their cell phone?

We then traveled into the heart of Germany's Black Forest. Upon arrival we enjoyed one of the many fantastic Cuckoo Clock stores right outside of our hotel.

Bonnie Lueck and Dan Fee above and Elaine Dishaw and Jim Molbeck captured with the many cuckoo clocks from a hundred to a thousand dollars. Don't know who bought one but the choices were plenty.

Our hotel was situated on beautiful Titisee Lake in the town of Titisee.  Here are some pictures of the lake and beach.


You could use a paddle boat, row boat or simply watch others.

Our hotel from the middle of the lake (above) and from on shore (below)

After a day of traveling we sat down to a delightful dinner.
Dan Fee, Bonnie Lueck, Valerie Graczyk, Camille Meyers 

Connie & Jim Milbeck, Evon & Ed Solms

Alice Dann, Sue Furness, Amy Carpenter, Elaine Dishaw

And a exceptional sunset to end close our day.
September 11 - The Black Forest & Gengenbach
Our trip to the enchanted Black Forest was a wonderful adventure. We visited Triberg and their famous waterfalls, were delighted with interesting facts and exhibits in the Black Forest Museum before driving to and experiencing the old world charm of Gengenbach. Once again the rain abated as we had a great day of touring and experiencing the area.
A beautiful gift and cuckoo clock store in Triberg complete with moving
 characters to capture everyone's attention and interest.

A manikin depicting the attire of that time. Note the red cloth balls on the young ladies hat. The balls indicated that she was still single. Black balls meant "hands off", married.

Our guide explained the history of cuckoo clocks having first been created in the middle of the 18th century. While it is unknown who invented the cuckoo clock but it is thought that much of its development and evolution was made in the Black Forest area.

They come in all shapes and sizes with the original being operated with  heavy weights. Today many are battery driven as well as the weight driven clocks, which must be pulled down every morning to continue the mechanism that keeps the time. Fact: The pretty little cuckoo bird that pops in and out of clocks don't just make other birds raise their young, they also lay their eggs while the other bird is in the nest.

The museum  had not only cuckoo clocks but a variety of mechanical musical instruments which played music to captivate the observer. Some played with a click of a  switch while others required a person's intervention.

 One of our musical traveler, Dan Fee (not pictured), got the chance to grind the organ and make the music play to his own rhythm, which was captured on video but couldn't be placed on this blog....lucky him.

Ed Solms and Amy Carpenter observe and listed to the music of this organ type instrument.

Evon Solms was able to "ditch the umbrella" as she headed up to the water falls with her husband Ed, who was walking ahead while her picture was capture.
Elaine Dishaw and Jim Molbeck (brother and sister enjoying the trip together)
stand before this magnificent falls. The top of the falls as shown was only the first of 4 tiers aperson had to climb to reach the top. They both made it.

Wayne stopped one level  from the top.
If you look closely you'll see a young lady in a bright jacket.

Evon & Ed Solms observed the falls from the platform at its base. The beauty of a zoom lens
The mighty waterfall slows to a slow trickle as it enters the city of Triberg 

Old Town, Gengenbach. The entrance is graced with the presence of
our travelers ready for a free afternoon for adventure.
Jim Molbeck, Dan Fee, Bonnie Lueck, Amy Carpenter, Elaine Dishaw, Ed Solms, Alice Dan, Sue Furness, Evon Solms, Camille Meyers and Valerie Graczyk

At the Christmas Market, the Village Town Hall's windows become an advent calendar...wish we could see it in all its spender.

Bonnie Lueck and Dan Fee pose with the beautiful and original buildings in the background




Valerie Graczyk in the church garden

Relaxing in the Town Square after their free time, lunch and all....after a bit of Gelato of course
Camille Meyers, Amy Carpenter and Valerie Graczyk
September 12 - Zurich & Introduction to Interlaken
On the way to Zurich we encountered a powerful waterfall in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. It was a stop to uplift everyone's spirits and a great introduction to all the beauties of Switzerland.

Jim and Connie Molbeck - the falls couldn't be better for a picture of this importance.

Valerie Graczyk and Camille Meyers (sisters enjoying a joint venture...for 7th trip)

Sue Furness and Alice Dann...friends and also Master Gardeners!!!!
Zurich, Switzerland

Group picture in Zurich after visiting two beautiful churches, the Grossmunsterplatz and
Fraumunster churches plus viewing the outside of St. Peter's.
The face of the clock on St Peters is larger than Big Ben in London.
Valerie Graczyk, Jim & Connie Molbeck, Evon & Ed Solms, Dan Fee, Alice Dann, Camille Meyers, Bonnie Lueck, Elaine Dishaw, Wayne Graczyk, Sue Furness


 Interlaken, Switzerland....Home for 4 nights.

Bonnie Lueck and Dan Fee on a gorgeous overlook of Switzerland beauty
A stop along the way to Interlaken is always welcome.
Valerie Graczyk and Camille Meyers

A beautiful rainbow greeted us as we arrived in Interlaken. The rain went away and we were greeted by wonderful "creatures from the sky"..Para Gliders.

How graceful as so many Para Gliders floated down from a near mountain to land gracefully in a field directly across from our hotel. Some actually glided right over the hotel and we could see them from the elegant restaurant and lounge on the hotel top.

Jungfrau Mountain, which can be seen in the background, was visible from our hotel and beckoned us to take the railroad ride to the top at 11,333 feet, which we all did on our final day.

Our welcoming dinner was held when we arrived on top of our hotel where the views were actually breathtaking, including a clear view of Jungfrau Mountain.
Jungfrau at dusk as seen from  the hotel roof and what seemed like "the top of the world".

.This could have been Dan Fee and Bonnie Lueck (but wasn't) who actually took "the leap" off a mountain top to glide to wonderful mother earth below. Elaine Dishaw and Jim Molbeck attempted to do the same on two different days but the wind Gods didn't cooperate. It is a dream yet to be fulfilled for both
September 14 - Harder Klum, Lake Cruise and Spiez Castle

A platform extending over Interlaken. Very high, very exciting and excellent views.

A 10-12 minute ride on a tram takes you to the top. The angle seemed to be about 40 degrees. And to think, people climb to the top in only 3 hours!
For the record, the main sport in Switzerland is HIKING.
All in the family on the platform. Connie & Jim Molbeck, Elaine Dishaw

Alice Dann experienced the height, and the strong winds as well.
No stranger to Midwesterners, but our friend also wanted to be part of the view.
We experienced the awe, the wonder, and the winds of Harder Klum.
Wayne Graczyk, Jim & Connie Molbeck, Elaine Dishaw, Bonnie Lueck, Dan Fee, Sue Furness, Alice Dann, Amy Carperter and Camille Meyers.

Restaurant at the top of Harder Klum. Eat and enjoy the view.

Interlaken means "between lakes", the Lake of Brienz on the east and
Thun to the west, along the river Aare.
Time to travel back to reality.
Sue Furness back left, Alice Dann, Dan Fee, Bonnie Lueck, Elaine Dishaw and Connie & Jim Molbeck
Our cruise on Lake Thun occurred on a rainy day but it didn't dampen our spirits as we enjoyed a wonderful full lunch on board and  shared stories and memories of Harder Klum, Para Sailing, the prospects of returning to our hotel for more walking adventures.

Valerie Graczyk, Camille Meyers, Sue Furness, Alice Dann, Amy Carpenter

Elaine Dishaw, Dan Fee, Bonnie Lueck, Connie & Jim Molbeck

Valerie Graczyk, Dan Fee, Amy Carpenter, Bonnie Lueck, Camille Meyers, Connie Molbeck, Jim Molbeck, Alice Dann, Sue Furness, Elaine Dishaw escaping the light drizzle after getting off cruise ship.

Our comfortable Lake Thun cruise ship departing our gracious company of travelers

Spiez Castle, a Swiss heritage site of national significance, where we had a self guided tour before our return to our hotel.
September 15 - Jungfrau Mountain and Wengen - To finish our time in Switzerland, we just had to take a TRIP OF A LIFETIME, to the top of Jungfrau (Young Lade) Mountain!

On our travels to the "Top Of  Europe", an elevation of 11,782 feet, we took Europe's highest railway.  While the scenery can truly only be captured in person, we will give you a taste with a few pictures.

On the train on the first leg of our journey. We switched trains twice
Back row: Bonnie Lueck, Valerie Graczyk, Alice Dann and Camille Meyers
Front row: Dan Fee Sue Furness, Amy Carpenter & Evon Solms
Transferring to the "red train" to the top.
We were advised/warned that the air would be very thin at the top so we were cautioned about dizzeyness & light headedness. We were thankful for the advise too as some found out when we got to the top.
Sue Furness, Camille Meyers and Alice Dann
11,782 feet - at the "Top of Europe"
Alice, Dan, Bonnie, Elaine, Connie, Jim, Sue and Amy
We were inside a warm building at the top unless we wished to venture out on the ice and snow, which, of course, we did.

Sue Furness was -7 degrees out there so we limited our time a little.

So did Wayne although every person experienced going out, but not caught on camera.
Notice the hikers in the background. They actually exited the building and were about to hike down or on the Glacier. Recall: Switzerland's favorite sport? Hiking, even up here.

Hikers ready to exit the warmth and protection of the building complete
with ice picks and steel spiked shoes (on floor).
The ice and snow were spectacular and really breathtaking.

Clouds coming in wrapping themselves around the mountain peaks.

This is the Eiger Glacier which we will be tunneling through to
observe the Ice Palace with its ice carvings
Here we go under, watching our step as we went:

Jim & Connie Molbeck
A bear. A polar bear?
Look closely and see 3 birds of prey with wings extended
If you have seen the movie and sequel, Ice Age, this is where the little guy ended up.
Penguins and an igloo
It was really quite roomy in the Ice Palace....and not too cold either
considering we were under tons of ice.
Elaine, Jim & Connie
A hotel and restaurant in Wengen where we all gathered before ending our fantastic to the Top of Europe and our climb under the glacier Eiger
Amy, Valerie and Ed
To end our trip we were all treated to an actual Swiss chocolate making demonstration prior to our final meal of the trip, in Interlaken.
When it is chocolate, we all listen and even got to eat the spoils.
Our chocolate creator was an apprentice but you couldn't tell by her wonderful demonstation
 Now that was worth the wait...real Swiss chocolate make just for us.


We all had the chance to make our own "chocolate lollypops"
Look at their faces if you think they enjoyed this part of demonstration
Dan Fee

Ed Solms.

 Jim Molbeck

Amy Carpenter
Valerie Graczyk
And a Cheese Fundue dinner to climax the evening and the trip.
Alice Dann, Camille Meyers (Ed Solms in background) and Sue Furness
September 16 our trip ended with lots of memories. We got up very early to be at airport for out 9:40 a.m. flight back to the U.S. 

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