Monday, June 16, 2008

Switzerland and Beyond

Currently in London. Catherine's flight from Toronto was majorly delayed due to severe thunderstorms so we have had to alter our lans somewhat. We have decided to nix the dublin excursion and stay in London and do it up right. Cath arrives tonight at 10pm, we overnight at Yotel Heathrow and set out tomorrow.

Dave and I covered a lot of ground in Greece and Turkey. We saw some amazing sights and met lots of backpackers along the way. I think I covered most of the highlighs in past posts, but the Hammam (Turkish Baths) are worth a mention. We decided to do this in Goreme, Cappadocia. So, first you take a sauna. Hot as hell. Then you lie on this very hot slab of marble...and I mean hot! It was only after lying there like a piece of raw meat, that I noticed you can douce yourself with cool water. What a relief. Then a very large, burly Turkish man beckons you to his cubicle where he assaults you with hot water, cold water, suds, and gives you many goings over, scrubbing you like you have never been scrubbed before. There's a lot of massaging, well pumelling, bordering on beating. A few neck cracks etc and you are done with the assault, but squeaky clean and surprisingly quite refreshed. Then we moved to the pool where Dave and I compared notes. A refreshing juice later on a lawn chair and the one of a kind experience was done.

Greece was great too. We missed our bus to Delphi so spent some time at the archealogical museum and went to Olympia (home of the anchient Olympic games). It was a beautiful site in a very small but picturesque town. The next day we returned to
athens where we said our goodbyes. Dave was off to theGreek Islands and I to
switzerland. I worried about Dave on his own probably more than Pam did. I was happy to hear via Faceook that he arrived safely. Similar to Colin and
sarah MIA for two hours in Dubai, if I had kids I would be in Unit 9 from worry.

Switzerland was stunningly beautiful. There were about 40 on our tour ..Americans, Brits, Welsh, Aussies, Kiwis, Indian, Korean, Malaysian and evenIcelandic. I was great hearing about everyone'shome country. I was the only Canadian.

We started the tour last sunday and our first stop was a small Alpine Village.
eing Sunday, church bells were ringing throughout the valley, echoeing off the green rolling hills, only interupted by the clanging of cowbells. In the distance we could see the Alps. This was Switzerland!

We covered a lot of territry in 9 days. We even popped into the small principality of Lichenstein, governed by a prince. His family bought the territory several hundred years ago ..long story..and is now one of the smallet countries in the world. Another bonus was that we popped into Italy several times. Language and currency were always a challenge as switz. did not join the EU so is on the Franc while Italy is on the Euro.

Swizerland is truly multilingual with four official languages. It was wild because in the a.m. you could be in a completely German part,later Ialian, and evening French.

Our guide Fiorenza was from the Italianpart of Switz. and she was fantastic. She showed us it all...Alps, waterfalls, rolling countryhills, castles, rivers, and glaciers. We saw sun, rain, snow and even hail. We were in the Alps as high as 10,000 feet, but we were also in subtroical areas such as Lake Como and Lake Lugano (which they call the Swiss Riviera).

The entire country is going nuts as they are cohosting with
austria the Euro Football event.
bye or now