Europe 2001


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On September 3, 2001, Heidi and I stepped on an SAS long-haul jet headed for Copenhagen.  10 hours later we landed, endured a couple of hours of layover and off we  were on a short flight to Milan’s Malpensa airport.  Here’s our jet in Copenhagen, Denmark at 1 pm Europe time.

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Milan, Italy.  September 4, 2001.

We hopped on the metro and walked up some stairs onto the incredible Piazza del Duomo.  It was a sight to see, even with super tired eyes.  Smartly, we had rented a room within two blocks of where this photo was taken- so we ate dinner and threw ourselves in bed.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The next morning we slowly drug ourselves out of bed and went looking for some breakfast.  Heidi was super excited to be in Europe!TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The Duomo is one of the most beautiful structures on earth.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

What is this?  A Smart Car?  They should have these in the US!!!TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Venice, Italy.  September 6, 2001.

The next day we hopped a train for Venice.  We had been here in 1996 and loved it.  The weather was amazing!TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The Gondolier was singing in a beautiful baritone Italian.  TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Piazza San Marco, filled with people and pigeons.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

San Marco Basilica- trying to be artistic with a pretty lame digital camera.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

San Marco CampanileTOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

After a beautiful day of walking around, it was time for some lunchtime pizza.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Now that is a beautiful sight!TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

This is a taxi boat.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Gondola repair.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Rialto BridgeTOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Our hotel was right by the fish market, pictured below.  What isn’t visible were the extremely loud sounds starting at 5 am.  Those sound are part of life in Venice, which is fabulous, but not when trying to get over jet lag.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Pre-sunrise view of the Grand Canal.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Piazza San Marco before the tourists arrived.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

This is not lens distortion- that tower is actually leaning.  Yikes.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Varenna, Italy.  September 8, 2001.

It was time to explore Lombardia and Lake Como, so we took a train to Varenna.  This photo is from our hotel room- we were situated right next to a car ferry landing.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Just out of town was a castle that we visited.  Those mountains in the background are in Switzerland.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

This was our excellent skinny hotel.  TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Heidi being a happy camper.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Bellagio, Italy.

The next day we took the little ferry over to the real Bellagio.  What a super cute town!  We did some shopping and then headed back to Varenna.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

This is from the castle above Varenna.  As you can see, the weather couldn’t have been better.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Looking down onto Varenna.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

I bought a local cycling jersey!TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Delicious pizza- that’s what I call veggie pizza!TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The view from our room looking west.  Those are some big mountains between Lake Como and Lake Lugano.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Lucern, Switzerland.  September 10, 2001.

We took the train through the alps and into Switzerland.  Our layover before going to the Berner Oberland was Lucern.  We definitely need to spend more time there in the future.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Wengen, Switzerland.  September 10, 2001.

After leaving Lucern, we trained into Interlaken.  From there, we took the mountain train into Lauterbrunnen, where we switched to a cogwheel train that led us up to Wengen.  This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Wengen from the gondola.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

We rode the gondola up to Männlichen.  From there we hiked through the snow to Kleine Scheidegg at the base of the north face of the Eiger.  Wow!TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The mighty Eiger shrouded in clouds and a fresh layer of snow.  This was our second time to the Berner Oberland in September and both times we experienced the first snow of the season.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Riding the cogwheel train.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Looking north toward Wengen.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

This was our hotel.  This is also when we found out about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.  It was surreal being in such a beautiful place with the events happening in America.  Needless to say, the Swiss were incredibly concerned about what was happening and they made us feel very comfortable.  I guess it was a pretty good place to be considering the circumstances.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The next day we went up to Kleine Scheidegg, hiked under the Eiger and down to Grindlewald.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The town of Grindlewald.  From here we took a super long gondola back up to Männlichen.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

On September 13, we rode up the cogwheel train to Kleine Scheidegg and headed to the “Top of Europe”, the Jungfrau Joch.  This is a view from the middle of the Eiger north face where they cut holes to dump the tunneling rock.  Looking down toward Grindlewald.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

This is looking straight down the face, where many climbers have climbed and many have died trying to conquer this face.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Once we got to the top- 11,388 feet, we looked south and across the largest glacier in Europe= the Aletsch Glacier.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

You can walk down UNDER the glacier and they have a bunch of carvings and cool tunnels.  It’s incredible.  You can actually hear the glacier creaking as it moves down the mountain.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Some of the tunnels were a bit claustrophobic.  TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

You will never again see a photo of Heidi eating a weisswurst and rosti.  It happens every few years, but photos are no longer allowed.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Zermatt, Switzerland.  September 14, 2001.

We hopped the train for Zermatt via Brig.  As soon as we arrived we got a room and headed out for dinner.  Of course we got fondue.  It was amazing!TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The next morning we woke up to beautiful blue skies and incredible views of the Matternhorn.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

It was time to do a huge hike.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

I believe the mountains in the background are the Rimpfischorn and the Strahlhorn.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Avignon, France.  September 17, 2001.

After a week in the high Alps, we took off to Provence via Geneva.  We got a cute little apartment in the old town of Avignon.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

We spent a day wandering around the beautiful town and enjoying our first experience in Provence.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Arles, France.  September 18, 2001.

The next day we rented a car and drove to Arles.  This apartment wasn’t very cute, but it was super inexpensive.  Like $25 US per night.  Crazy.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The town of Arles was super cute and we checked out a bunch of shops and museums.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

One of the best things in town was the old Roman Amphitheater.  It was incredible.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

I think they still use it today for bull fighting, believe it or not.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

This is a view of the Rhone River from the top of the amphitheater.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The spices in the market blew our minds.  We’d never seen anything like it.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The selection of olives was pretty impressive.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Rouissillon, France.

Here’s a picture of Heidi with our trusty Renault.  It got us through the narrow, winding streets of Rouissillion and amongst the vineyards in Provence.  But it didn’t keep Heidi from getting car sick.  TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

This is the hill town of Rouissillon.  It is the first place in France where no one we met spoke English.  We arrived in the late afternoon.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The streets were very narrow because this down was a true medieval hill town.  For some reason, I don’t have any more photos of this town.  We checked in to a little (almost empty) hotel, went to a neat restaurant, guessed at ordering some meals in French and ended up eating some things that we had no clue as to what they were.  Heidi avoided the meat, which is always a good idea in these types of situations, but the meal was fun and adventurous.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The next day we drove through the beautiful Ardeche Gorges region just west of Provence.  The roads were extremely windy and Heidi had to work hard to avoid getting car sick, but the sights we saw were epic.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The next few photos are Pont du Gard.  This is an amazing aqueduct built by the romans 2000 years ago.

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That night we returned our car in Avignon, stayed at the same hotel we had previously rented and made a plan for the rest of our trip.  We were still only 10 days post 9/11 and didn’t really know what was going on.  We decided to hang out in Paris for a few days and then end the trip early by a few days.  We grabbed a TGV from Avignon the next morning and made our way to the City of Lights.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Training in style.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Paris, France.  September 21, 2001.

We attempted to get a hotel on Rue Cler, where we had stayed in 1996, but all the hotels had been influenced by the “Rick Steves” effect and were significantly more expensive than what we wanted to spend.  We wandered around the 7th Arrondissement and found a great place on Avenue de la Motte Picquet.  We were still only a couple of blocks from the Eiffel Tower and the Invalides.

We, like normal, hiked all over the city and of course spent a lot of time on the Champs Elysees.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

This is a view looking south east from the top of the Arc de Triumph.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The Hotel de Ville.  We almost stayed there.  Well, not really even close.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

We wandered around the Jardin des Tuileries, but avoided the Louvre which we had spent many hours in during our trip of 1996.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Heidi taking a well deserved rest on the banks of the Seine.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Notre Dame Cathedral.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Someone bought a new pair of shoes and a jacket- from Prada.  TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The next day we spent a lot of the day in the Musee d’Orsay.  It was pretty incredible.  BTW, all these photos were taken with no flash.  Not bad for a crappy 2001, barely megapixel camera.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

That night we visited the Eiffel Tower, rode the elevator to the top and enjoyed the view.TOSHIBA Exif JPEG TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

The next day we took an early flight to Copenhagen, which was significantly delayed by fog.  SAS put us up in an incredible hotel at the airport and we rested from 3 weeks of traveling by lounging around the hotel and our beautiful room for the rest of the day.  If we had a bit more energy we would have, and should have, visited beautiful Copenhagen.  Next time!

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