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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Sulzau – ancestral Kotz home

A trip to Germany, and back in time, to discover our family heritage.

Franz_KotzOn a late-winter day more than 180 years ago my great-great-great grandfather walked out of the Main Office of the Kingdom of Württemberg carrying his Heimath-Schein (Certificate of Residence) inside his Wander-Buch (“wandering book”). On that day, March 8, 1830, he was just fifteen years old. This ‘passport’ allowed Franz Kotz to travel beyond his home village of Sulzau – now part of southern Germany.  Sulzau, still a tiny village tucked alongside the Neckar river, is just a two-hour drive from Zürich, so we decided to make a quick visit.  Read on as we wander the quiet streets of Sulzau, dine in a castle, and dig into our family history.

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Zermatt and the Matterhorn

Three days, three visits to Zermatt – with very different views of the Matterhorn.

There are few scenes more glorious than the Matterhorn seen from the ski slopes of Zermatt, under sunny skies the day after a snowstorm.  I snapped more than five hundred photos in under three days, and was spoiled by some of the best skiing I’ve ever encountered.  Read on and check out the photo gallery for more.

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