A lovely hike on the Amden-Höhenweg (high mountain trail), with grand views.
After more than two weeks away from Switzerland – in the sunny Mediterranean and the Baja of Mexico – it was somewhat jarring to return to the crisp air and fallen leaves of autumn in Zürich. Within an hour of arriving home, I took a walk with the family to the hilltops above Zürich, where there were dozens of other families out for a sunny Sunday stroll among the colorful leaves of late-season forest trails and distant views of snow-capped Alps. I was eager to get back out into the mountains.
It rained all week, and the fog rarely lifted high enough to see the hill on the opposite side of town, let alone the mountains beyond. I thus had weak hopes for a hike this weekend; indeed, I thought perhaps the higher trails may well be buried in snow. But read on about our visit to the Amden valley – there is good news ahead – and check out the photo gallery. Continue reading “Amden Höhenweg – High Mountain Trail”
A week in Mexico to attend MobiCom, and to snorkel the warm waters around Los Cabos.
I spent a week in Los Cabos, Mexico, to attend the annual MobiCom conference. Although the conference itself was excellent – great science, interesting colleagues, and celebrations of this conference’s 25th anniversary – I had a chance to explore some of the outdoor opportunities in the area. Read on, and check out the photo gallery. Continue reading “Los Cabos”
We spent a week on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea, from Malta to Sicily to Greece.
Thus concludes our cruise of the Mediterranean from Malta to Sicily and on to Greece and Athens. We were incredibly lucky with the weather – blue-sky sunshine every day, unusually warm for October, and perfectly calm seas. On board our ship Le Bougainville, which is only five months old, the staff was friendly, the accommodations comfortable, and the food fabulous. (French chef; need I say more?)
The highlight of our time on-board, though, was a series of lectures and panel discussions on the topic of “World Affairs”, organized by Washington & Lee University’s office of lifelong learning. (Although we were part of the W&L group, we comprised only half of the passengers; they were also welcome at the events.) The speakers included Fareed Zakaria from CNN, John McLaughlin retired from CIA, Daniel Mendelsohn from Bard College, and Provost Marc Conner from Washington & Lee. Every lecture and panel was a fascinating reflection on world affairs from the time of the ancient Greeks and Persians to the dramatic news of this week (notably, involving Washington, Ukraine, and Syria).
See the photo gallery for a few photos of the ship, the gallery of “favorite photos” for the entire cruise, and the blog posting from each stop on our cruise:
After our cruise, we had a day to visit some of the monuments of ancient Greece – and to explore the streets of old Athens.
Our cruise ended in Athens on Friday morning, allowing us Friday afternoon and Saturday morning to explore Athens itself. Given the limited time available, and it being my first visit to Athens, we focused our attention on the Acropolis and its accompanying museum. Read on and check out the photo gallery.
Continue reading “Athens”
A brief visit to the lovely island town of Hydra, on a beautiful day.
We pulled into the harbor of Hydra, a little town on a small island in the Aegean Sea, not far from Athens. Once an important port for shipping and, during the war for Greek independence, for the military, Hydra is now entirely driven by tourism. Nearly all of its 1,900 residents live in the hillside village surrounding the bay, navigating the narrow streets, stairs, and alleys on foot. “Rubbish trucks are the only motor vehicles on the island, since by law, cars and motorcycles are not allowed. Horses, mules and donkeys, and water taxis provide public transportation” [Wikipedia].
Although our guided tour included the maritime museum and the preserved mansion of an 19th-century businessman, I found it most interesting to wander the streets and drink in the sights and smells of this quaint little town. Below you can see about half the town, and, in the bay, our ship. Check out the photo gallery for more.
A fascinating visit to the ancient Greek site of Mycenae, built over three thousand years ago.
Our final visit on the Peloponnese peninsula of Greece was to Mycenae, the site of a grand palace and fortification built over three thousand years ago. I find it astonishing that these structures and graves were preserved, buried for millennia, until modern excavations just a couple hundred years ago. It has impressive scale and scope, remarkably with several major structures still intact, notably the Lions’ Gate entrance and tholos/treasury. Read on, and check out the photo gallery.
Continue reading “Mycenae”
From the port of Nafplion we visited the ancient Greek theater and healing village of Epidaurus.
The Peloponnese, a major peninsula that forms the southern portion of Greece, is the site of many prehistoric and ancient Greek archaeological sites. Today we toured Epidaurus, the site of an incredibly large and intact Greek theater (still used for performances even today), and a small village of temples and lodgings used as a site for healing.
The theater seats 14,000 people, and is renowned for its excellent acoustics. Modern measurements indicate “that the astonishing acoustic properties may be the result of the advanced design: the rows of limestone seats filter out low-frequency sounds, such as the murmur of the crowd, and also amplify the high-frequency sounds of the stage.” [Wikipedia]
The rest of the complex included temples and lodgings for pilgrims who spent a night at Epidaurus; “In their dreams, the god himself would advise them what they had to do to regain their health” [Wikipedia]. There are still stone slabs on which ancient pilgrims have inscribed testimonials about the miraculous healing of their conditions.
Overall, a fascinating site. Check out the photo gallery for more.