Rheinfall and Schaffhausen

A daytrip to see the Rheinfall and wander the old town of Schaffhausen.

For our final day of free Swiss rail travel, we decided to stay close to home.  We headed northeast, to a curious finger of Switzerland on the north side of  the Rhine River – which otherwise forms the border with Germany. The train stops directly at the Rheinfall, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, where there are some impressive viewing platforms and an historic castle now converted into a restaurant. The waterfall was beautiful, though the flow was at an annual low – it being winter, and there being no rain for the past week.  The low-angle sun (1:30pm, a few weeks after winter solstice) painted a pretty rainbow on the mist of the falls (a “mistbow”?).  Read on, and check out the Rheinfall gallery and Schaffhausen gallery.

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Fribourg

A daytrip to Fribourg, on the boundary between Francophone and Germanophone regions of Switzerland.

Day #3 of our efforts to maximize the Swiss GA card, and we pick a city known for being smack on the boundary between Francophone Switzerland and Germanophone Switzerland. Fribourg straddles the small Sarine river where it passes through a deep gorge.   Traditionally, the villagers on the west side of the river speak French, and the villagers on the right side speak German.  The modern city uses both languages interchangeably, though French is dominant; each street sign shows the street name in each language.  Read on, and check out the photo gallery.

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Locarno

A daytrip to Locarno, in the Italian section of Switzerland.

For our second day in the effort to ‘use up’ our Swiss rail pass, we chose Locarno. Not to be confused with Lugano, which we’d visited two weeks earlier, it is nonetheless in Ticino, the Italian section of Switzerland. It was Sunday, so things were pretty quiet, but there were many other families out for a stroll along the lakefront or for a coffee in the cafe. We had lunch in a lakefront restaurant, with a mix of tourists and locals. They have fresh truffle/pasta dishes to die for.  The sun was strong, and the lake blue, and the surrounding mountains white capped. What’s not to like?  Read on, and check out the photo gallery.

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Bern

A daytrip to Bern to stroll the old town, climb the cathedral tower, and visit the Einstein museum.

Pam, Andy, and I bought ‘GA’ cards for the past holiday month, giving us free rides anytime, anywhere the Swiss rail system (and local bus/tram systems) go. What a treat! With only four days left on our cards, Pam and I decided to make the most of them. Each day we asked, “where would you like to have lunch today? Anywhere in Switzerland. Anywhere.”  Today we picked Bern, the capital city, only an hour from Zürich by express train.  Read on, and check out the gallery.2020-01-11-79641.jpg

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Franz in West Virginia

Six days after my visit to Franz Kotz’s hometown in Germany, I visited his hand-built home in West Virginia.

Just six days after our visit to Sulzau, Germany – the original home of my great-great-great grandfather Franz Kotz – I was chatting with another direct descendant inside the home Franz built in West Virginia, holding his Wander-Buch and following his youthful travels in my imagination. Read on!

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Lugano

A beautiful day to visit Lugano, in the Italian part of Switzerland.

The weather is often very different on the opposite side of Switzerland, because the country’s Alpine backbone breaks up the clouds and airflow patterns.  On this cloudy day in Zürich we hopped a Eurocity train to Lugano, through the Gottard Base Tunnel (the longest railway tunnel in the world), and popped out into the sunshine on the Italian side of Switzerland.  Once in the pretty lakeside city of Lugano, we walked the streets of old town, dined on pasta and pizza, and strolled along the lakeshore.  I climbed up to Parco Panoramico, to catch some panoramic views across the lake and the city to the Alps beyond.  Read on, and check out the gallery of photos.

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Favorites of 2019

My favorite photos of 2019.

I had the good fortune to explore many parts of the world in 2019.  Along the way, and around my home, I took over 10,000 photographs.  You’ve seen many of them in my blog posts, or associated galleries, but I decided to create a gallery of my favorite 75 photos of 2019.  I selected them because they are personally important, or photographically pleasing (or both!).  You’ll see photos from England, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, South Korea, Malta, Mexico, Switzerland, and the US (New Hampshire, Vermont). Enjoy the slideshow!

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