This was our sixth trip to Switzerland with our first trip ten years ago. We have taken Untours to other countries as well, but always come back to Switzerland. This time we had the normal two week Heartland Untour followed by a week on our own.
During the next few days, Emily and I continue to visit the sights, explore the neighborhoods (we are especially struck by the architecture and colors of Madrid de los Austrias--the Austrian, or old, quarter)
(here's a map that tells you the location of the Austrian Quarter, where we have some apartments for the Madrid Untour)
and, of course, sample the food. We sample churros y chocolat,…
Vance Roy's video narration is 49 minutes, I must admit I felt daunted when I saw that length.
But I was very delightfully surprised.
I HIGHLY recommend braving that long-sounding time; Vance is a great, great narrator. The videos are casual, the humor is good, and he has done a terrific job of informing you about what a trip to Zermatt entails (from the touristy parts, to the neat little backstreets where the tourists don't go, to the pristine… Continue
I recently turned some of my very favorite travel photos into canvas wall art, and I was so pleased with the results. Perhaps someone here is interested!
I struggle with what to do with my photos after a trip. I love to make scrapbooks and albums, but I don't thumb through the finished products all that often. This solution is great, though - I now have some nice artwork on my walls, I get to see two of my favorite places in the world every day, and everytime I see them I remember…
Hello dear readers....it was recently suggested to me by someone named Brian (he left a comment on my Blogger.com blog) that I post my 10-part saga of our 2001 Paris trip here on the Untours Cafe. Thank you Brian, for tipping me off about the Untours Cafe! Being a brand new Blogger as of June 2007, my first choice of what to write about was our 2001 trip to Paris...more explanation is below. I hope you enjoy our story....thanks for stopping by, and anyone is welcome to…Continue
It's been ten years since last I was in Spain. That time I was passing through quickly on my way to Africa. I have hazy memories of wide open spaces, one grand building, and the small hostel my friend Eliza and I stayed at in Madrid. Oh, and I remember the overnight train rides.
It's evening when I begin my trip from the Philadelphia airport to Madrid. I'm excited and nervous. I don't like take offs and landings so I'm trying to keep my…
It was so enjoyable reading the Cafe staff recommended article in the New York Times about fly-fishing in Greece. Just hope the fishing is still good there, in view of the terrible fires they are having. The article brought back wonderful memories of many hours spent with youngest son, Jim, trying to perfect the art of attracting a fish to the fly, and thought I'd share a few photos of these efforts.
This discussion about exchange students reminds me that there would be no Untours if it weren't for the fact that, in 1963-64, our family hosted an exchange student, a certain Hartmut Helmchen, a high school student from Berlin who lived with our family for a year--the same year that the person who dreamed up"Untours Café," my daughter Marilee, was in the 5th grade.
Some of you may know about Jane Helmchen,Hartmut's…
I don't know about you but when I am travelling, there are some crowds that I experience that are just awful....make me almost not like travelling when I end up in a tourist trap and people are crawling all over a place in a frenzy of buying and picture taking. Then there are other times that it is quite different...
My daughter, Bonnie, who lives in the "compound" with me in the Texas Hill Country, has hosted a number of exchange students, mainly from Italy and Germany, who keep coming back to visit over and over again, or we visit with them in their home area.
This is Federica "Fede" Amati, whose home is in Bologna and who is now studying to be a Notary at Bologna after attendingt the University in Rome. A Notary in Italy is not like ours in the States. They must first finish college with a law…
When we heard Untours was adding Rome to its list of programs, we couldn't wait to go. We had visited the Eternal City twice before, but the opportunity to live there Idyll-style was just irresistible! October 2005 found us and our adult daughter Cindy settled into an large apartment overlooking via Ottaviano in the Prati district. We were delighted to be just a four-block walk from Vatican City . (That became a regular after-dinner walk for… Continue
Alsace may surprise you. It's not just pretty little villages. It's also mountains worth exploring and trails worth hiking high in the Vosges Mountains.
We're hikers at heart and after exploring a few of those pretty little Alsatian villages, we felt a need to get up into some hiking country. Luckily, it's not far at all from Beblenheim to the Vosges...and the maps are good!…
Doris M's pictures and text of Alsace constitute the final bit of evidence--as if we needed it--that Untours Cafe constitutes a unique format for travel reports.
Speaking personally, her combination of skillful writing and photography have brought me to a decision: my absence from this part of Europe is no longer tolerable. ( I think it's been four years since my last visit.) The way village life merges with rural landscape is unequaled in any area of Europe--perhaps the world.… Continue
After eight wonderful Untours, we're finally learning to do what Idyll has always wanted for all us Untourists. We're beginning to take the time to remain in our own special little village for a while and soak in the feeling of living in a place rather than just using our apartment as a springboard for all those other exciting new places we feel we need to explore. So often we'd come back home after an Untour and realize we had explored most every place we had on our list - except for our…
This is our temporary abode; we are trying to bear up under the strain of sacrificing for our friends.
While we are here, my goal is to narrate the experience of "living like a local" by using all the tools in the Untours Cafe. I hope to weave together words, pictures and videos in a way that any Cafe member with a computer, a DSL line and a digital camera can do.
I'd like to pass along a few tips that have helped make our Paris stays such travel high points. First of all is a book, the Michelin Paris Atlas. This slim, pocket-size guide was part of the pretrip materials for our Paris Untour in April, 2000. (Merci beaucoup, Untours!) It's become a Bible for us, and is one travel book I never lend out! Every street in all 20 arrondissements is listed, with a page number and map key. And because of its… Continue