|Days 1-4, Switzerland:
Switzerland was awesome! Prettier than in the pictures. We stayed at a small Alpine resort-town called Murren. Perched on a ledge about 5,000 feet above sea-level, Murren is surrounded by the Alps and overlooks the Lauterbrunnen Valley below. To get to Murren we had to take a train to Interlaken and then take a mix of buses, trains, and gondolas up the mountain. The two mountains above Interlaken (and on either side of the valley) are the Schilthorn and the slightly taller Jungfrau. Murren, our home base, was half way up Schilthorn and directly facing Jungfrau. The view was unbelievable. Even at 5,000 feet above see level, we felt dwarfed by the snow-capped Jungfrau peak (nearly 14,000 ft.). Our hotel looked like a classic ski lodge and provided some stunning views. Our room was on the top floor and our balcony dangled above the valley below. Jungfrau and his friends were directly in front of our balcony. Clouds would more often pass below us than above us. We spent our days in Murren hiking or biking the lush green mountain sides, eating cheese fondue, and staring out our balcony. Our only disappointment in Murren was not having gone to the top of Schilthorn (we never really considered going to the top of Jungfrau because the short trip would have set us back several hundred dollars - in our eyes, not worth it). At the top of Schilthorn there is a revolving restaurant where they supposedly filmed part of a James Bond movie. We had planned to take the gondola up to the top on our last day and had mapped out an interesting (albeit rigorous) hike that would have taken us down the 5,000 feet back to Murren. Unfortunately, a rain/snow storm hit on our last day and the top half of the mountain had zero visibility. Oh, well...next time.
From Switzerland we spent a night in Milan and are currently in Cinque Terre in the Italian Riviera. More on Italy later.