Friday, October 2, 2009

Update from Russ in Europe

This has been awesome! Amsterdam is on my list of places to go back to! So much to see, and so little time. Just finishing up Germany, tomorrow we go to Strasburg, France for a canal ride & city tour, then to see the Maginot Line. Today was Ruins and Cathedrals in Heidelberg. Earlier, we toured Cologne & Koblenz. Awesome sunny and warm weather here, will cool off in Zermatt! More later

We spent a week in Amsterdam (and the surrounding area), walking, riding trams, & cruising all over the city. We saw all the Old & New churches, all the old buildings, the breweries, the wind Mills, the shopping areas, museums, the Red light district, and cruised the canals. The best of all was walking along all the canals in the Jordaan. The scenery, the architecture, the history, and did I mention the bars & cafes? And the bicycles!!!! They are everywhere! Awesome! We traveled north for a few days to Noord Holland (the North coast, great people, fishing villages, more history). Finally we returned to Amsterdam for a day, before getting on our river cruise ship & heading up the Rhine.

Strasburg, France. . . WOW!!!!!!

Awesome is all I can say! Well, touristy & expensive too, but it's the off season, so it's not too bad. The views from anywhere in Zermatt are awesome. The buildings, the mountains the snow, the Glaciers... I take pictures everywhere I go!

So far we walked all over Zermatt, then took 3 gondolas up to Glacier Paradise at 3883 meters to check out the views (The highest Gondola in Europe). I was dumb struck by the views. Watching the skiers & hikers, looking down into Switzerland and Italy, checking out the mountains and the Glaciers... There are no words for how pretty it was.

The lowest temps so far have been 32, so I got to test my cold weather clothes finally. All I needed was a few layers, and I was fine. I wore an AO T shirt, with a Cap 3 Patagonia zip neck over it, and a Marmot Precip jacket with a Nat Geo buff and an AT cap. I was toasty, At night in town, my Columbia travel shirt or my cap 3 zip neck, combined with my Patagonia vest worked great. For carrying my gear, I alternate between my Mountain Hardware Enterprise pack, and my small Patagonia pack. Both worked well (with my shorts, of course). Word of advice... If you are going to travel for 3 weeks and walk on cobble stones all the time, buy a good pair of walking shoes/light weight hiking boots. My New Balance sneakers worked great for a while, but did not hold up to the abuse, the mid sole is squashed on the outside & I walk crooked.

Tomorrow we take the cog up to another lookout, I will let you know how it goes.