Untours Cafe

Featured Blog Posts (85)

The Colours of Spain - Andalusia in Springtime

Spain has an intensity of light and color that we've experienced in few other places. There's a vividness to the scenes that seems to burn into one's consciousness and never quite diminish. Months after our springtime visit to Andalusia, the warmth of Spain and its people remains with us. We visited many hilltowns but it was Iznajar that called out most strongly to us at first. The beautiful Patio de las Comedias, above, was at the very top of the…


Added by Doris M on November 13, 2007 at 9:45am — 8 Comments

"What comes first?"; duty as understood by an Alpine villager

One of the early Untourists to stay in Margrit's apartment was a certain Jim Cashman. Mr. Cashman, who, it happens, owned the Cadillac agency

in Reno, Nevada asked me what the family did to earn a living. I explained that

they had a number of sources of income but that the family saw themselves as

"farmers." They sold their cows' milk

(and cheese made from it); and sometimes they slaughtered a calf or a cow,

selling and eating the meat.

"How many cows do they… Continue

Added by Hal Taussig on October 29, 2007 at 10:14am — 1 Comment

Sachseln's Le Grande Dame

Sachseln's Le Grande Dame is out of the hospital with a brand new hip. She came by this morning to get things for her trip to her "rehab/wellness" hotel.

The next stage of her rehab will be at a 'wellness' hotel in Kanton Aargau. She will spend 2-3 weeks there in various sessions aimed at getting her back to normal (that may be an oxymoron when speaking of Berit). Anyway, two interesting things about this: one, the… Continue

Added by Vance Roy on October 29, 2007 at 7:21am — 1 Comment

Prague (Adventures in Austria Part 3)

What? Prague... is not in Austria, but I've only been here for 24 hours so I don't really too much to write about where I am just yet. Only that, as always, Prague is beautiful city, the buildings, the people, the way that Castle is lit up at night always make me go all gushy inside.

The rest of the world has definitely discovered Prague, but it's still a joy to walk along the Charles Bridge at night (pretending the other tourists aren't there), and to try to capture that perfect… Continue

Added by Powen Shiah on October 25, 2007 at 8:29am — No Comments

Margrit's role expands

So, Margrit, and about fifteen other landladies agreed to rent their properties to me for almost the entire 1976 tourist season

(late May to mid-September). I was over-confident about the prospect of finding

enough clients to fill these facilities; in fact found clients for only about

1/3 of the space reserved. Aware that I had not met my obligations, I went to

each apartment-owner agreeing to pay the full amount, but bargaining

(successful in all cases but one) for… Continue

Added by Hal Taussig on October 22, 2007 at 10:48am — No Comments

Berit Has a New Hip

Here is Berit with Albert on day two after a total hip replacement. She looks better than she has in several weeks because the pain is gone.

Added by Vance Roy on October 21, 2007 at 6:59am — 4 Comments

Goodbye Salzburg, Hello Vienna! (Adventures in Austria Part 2)

I arrived yesterday in Vienna after an easy train ride from Werfen to Salzburg to Vienna. It was sad to say goodbye to the mountains, but the wonders of city await!


Claudia held the orientation yesterday afternoon, since the other Untourists who arrived yesterday were coming from Prague and so weren't jetlagged. There's so much to do here, that I think I'll need to set up an hour-by-hour schedule to make sure I do everything that I'd like to.



Added by Powen Shiah on October 18, 2007 at 8:58am — 1 Comment

Margrit Winterberger: the beginning

I'd like to start a little mini-series of blog posts about our the Untours staff people you meet when you are on site in European countries. . Since I've recently returned from two weeks in Switzerland I begin by musing about our one full-time European colleague. We have about 55 part-time (full time equivalent 25) staff in Europe.

When I took the original six Untour guinea pigs to Meiringen, Switzerland in September, 1975, I stayed…


Added by Hal Taussig on October 16, 2007 at 8:03am — 5 Comments

Adventure In Austria (Part 1)

I don't know how many parts this series will have, but I have been in Austria visiting the Salzburg-area Untour since Wednesday.

I wasn't able to find an internet cafe in Werfen where I'm staying, so I'm updating from a place in Salzburg. It was a glorious day today to walk around the city... it's definitely autumn now -- the leaves are changing, the weather is cooler, and the hordes of tourists are gone! It's pretty cool at night, but in the sun during the day it's just… Continue

Added by Powen Shiah on October 14, 2007 at 10:34am — 4 Comments

The Best of the Cafe: October 12th

Here is our occasional feature, highlighting some of the Best of the Cafe:

  • Our new Help Section:

    Yours truly (Marilee) struggled mightily to write clear instructions on how to upload photos, post a tripblog/story, search for something and other helpful tasks. I used a lot of pictures of the screen, because I am a visual learner....so if you have been meaning to share your trip, but weren't sure how to do it, check out our Help…

Added by Marilee Taussig on October 12, 2007 at 4:29pm — No Comments

"If you travel, it must be to seek difference."

My wife and I have just returned from a trip to China and Tibet. After 18 Untours it was quite unique to be on a tour. The title of this blog is a quote from a book titled Travelers' Tales China True Stories. When we have returned from all of the untours and the recent trip it is common to have friends ask, "Why do you go to these far away places?". I now feel that I have a very good answer- "I seek difference". All of the staff at Idyll and our recent tour leader in China and Tibet have…


Added by stevesavel on October 9, 2007 at 12:34pm — 7 Comments

At home in Andalusia

Gabe and I are enjoying day seven of our Andalusia untour. We are feeling very much at home at our cortijo, "la Cruz Blanca", just outside of the town of Carcabuey. The cortijo is very rural, surrounded by mountains and olive groves. It is very quiet and peaceful - the perfect place to relax after a day of hiking or sightseeing. We love sitting on the patio with a glass of¨"tinto de verano" (red wine with orange Fanta) just about any time of day! There is a jasmine vine nearby that sends out…


Added by Liss Poulson Small on October 2, 2007 at 5:29am — 3 Comments

¡Fotos! Scenes around the cortijo and in Sevilla

Edited: All photos have been moved to Gabe's photo set over on his page. Go check 'em out!

Added by Liss Poulson Small on October 14, 2007 at 2:01pm — 3 Comments

Oktoberfest 2007 Is Here- Started Sat Sept 22nd

The festivities have started in Munich (Bavaria, Germany). The first keg of beer was tapped and the festival began. It runs for two weeks ending in October. To celebrate the event, I have posted pictures from our trip to the Oktoberfest in 2006. You can view them as an album with descriptions from my home page. Hope you…


Added by Marlene Hench on September 28, 2007 at 2:07pm — No Comments

Best of the Cafe: Sept. 28th

Since the last "Best Of" ( more than a week ago) here are just a sampling of the many noteworthy contributions:

Photos to Die for

This is a shot Bill Kover made in Quebec.....(several of our staff stood around and gawked at the monitor displaying this....and someone said, "is that a photo or a painting!?") Here's his blog about…


Added by Marilee Taussig on September 28, 2007 at 12:26pm — 1 Comment

CH Headlines

I have added a few Swiss headlines that I find interesting/amusing.

A guy arrested for speeding (106 mph in a 75mph zone) gave the judge an excuse that he had severe diarrhea and needed a toilet in a hurry. The judge was not impressed and gave him 20 days in jail, a 1000CHF fine, and 3 months without his license.

A lawyer in Zurich left the lights on in a public building for five days over a vacation period. The court fined him 300CHF because the light disturbed the… Continue

Added by Vance Roy on September 29, 2007 at 1:36am — 2 Comments

Usually I think "modern" art is sort of flaky but...

I am having a brainstorm that involves Untours, videos and a modern work of art....hang on to your hats - this is going to be a wierd post....

As part of the Untours marketing team, I am doing some research into how people are using video on the web to tell travel stories.

I am doing this because I have a passionate belief in the Untour way of traveling, but I think it is very hard to communicate what an Untour is. I truly believe (and I think I would even if my Dad HADN'T… Continue

Added by Marilee Taussig on September 27, 2007 at 9:40am — 6 Comments

Episode (1) Quebec...The other France!

Episode (1) Through the eyes of an artist

Almost on an annual basis in September, Eleanor and I motor on up to Montreal, or for the past 10 years, the area in Quebec called Mont Tremblant. The purpose is to visit with Eleanor's cousin Richard Vaskelis and his girlfriend, Danielle Ste-Marie. In Mont Tremblant, we have the added benefit of a wilderness countyside to explore as well as some nice little towns, like nearby St. Jovite. Tremblant Village is an expensive shopping and…


Added by Bill Kover on September 23, 2007 at 1:50pm — 1 Comment


Ellen Peter's pictures of Alphorns moves me to muse about this Swiss Alpine instrument. First of all just a bit of background information. The alps (small "a") is not the Swiss word for mountains;

it rather refers to the high meadows where the farmers take their cows to graze during the summer.

On these meadows, huts are… Continue

Added by Hal Taussig on September 14, 2007 at 12:00pm — No Comments

For the Frugal Traveler

I came across a great article yesterday about ways to save money while traveling. Here are the condensed highlights; click to the full article on Freemoneyfinance.

  • Research your destination
  • Budget
  • Carry a guidebook
  • Pack light
  • Pack smart
  • Manage your money
  • Carry a moneybelt
  • Sleep cheap
  • Eat…

Added by Powen Shiah on September 19, 2007 at 9:47am — 2 Comments


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