Subject: Hello from Mike and Fran (Long)

We are new to this group and are looking forward in shairing and receiving travel information.

I work for Nestlé Waters North Aamerica and as such have had the opportunity to travel to Vevey Switzerland. Paris, Nemes and Vittel France. Since my wife told me she would kill me if I went to Vevey without her on my first trip, I of course, made arrangements to accomodate. My meeting in Vevey was a week long and I attached a week in Paris after than for Holiday. Needless to say, the trip was fantastic.

Even though I spent most of the time in a meeting while in Vevey, I did arrive early, rented a car and took a few day trips around the area. The first evening we just went up the road to Montreux and headed up the foothills to get a view of the lake. It was spectacular. Continuing up we came to Caux where we saw a hotel training school that looked like it was located in a castle perched on the side of the mountain. I did a short travelog with some pictures and you can see it at the address below. I put it in pdf format to make it as small a file I could.

We did a day trip that took us through Bulle which had a castle in the middle of town being used by the local police department, on to Moléson where we took a funicular and then a cable car to the summit for a spectacular view of the Swiss plateau. We had noticed in the parking lot that it was full of young and old families (it was Sunday) putting on their hiking boots. When we got at the top - off they went into the distance. I wanted to live there and be able to do that too. Since this was our first trip to Europe, we were hooked and we knew we would be coming back.

After Moléson we went on to Gruyéres which had a mideval village and a large castle. We had a great visit, had lunch and had (I think) Raclett (sp). It was a potatoe fondue and it was very good. Then we headed back home.

The next day we planned a looping drive through the countryside to Gstaad. It was another breathtaking day of beauty.

My wife had a week to herself while I attended the Nestlé meeting but she made good use of it. After Vevey, we took the TGV to Paris and could finally spend a week together enjoying the sites.

My most recent trip (September 2002) was to Zurich where we rented a car and headed out for a touring holiday. We stopped at Chur for the night because we did not want to spend a long time on the road after just getting off the plane. This was a good choice because at about 3:00pm we both felt like walking zombies. I was awake but my body was telling me that it had given up several hours ago.

We did stop at Rapperswill for an hour to view the village along the lake and to get some breakfast. After Chur we headed South and East to Merano where we had a 3 night stay at a hotel called Castle Fragsburg (a great location with great food). We took the 1/2 pension because we had planned to spend a lot of time touring and did not want to get back to the hotel late each night only to have to worry about finding where we would eat dinner. This was a good choice as the chef prepared excellent meals each night. We had our own regular table where we ate breckfast and dinner. They were thoughtful enough to put the meal description in English for us and I saw it in German and French on other tables. This hotel is located up the side of the mountain above Merano and the view was outstanding.

It was our plan to tour the Dolomites and the weather was great. For those that have not traveled in the Northern Italian Alps, the Dolomites are different than the surrounding mountains. Geologically, they are much younger than the rest of the Alps and they stand out like huge massifs trusting up from the vally floor. They exhibit far less weathering (because they are much younger) and as such their features are more sharp and defined. We made several day trips and took one longer one to Cortina d'Ampezza where we stayed the night. This is a beautiful little town surrounded by the mountains. We stayed at the hotel Menardi (again with 1/2 pension) for the night and then headed back on a different route to Castle Fragsburg for one more night. After that we drove to St. Moritz where we spent a night and then back to Chur where we dropped the car and took the night train to Paris where we spent another week.

I like breaking up our tips like this with 1/2 touring and the other half in Paris. It is almost like two seperate holidays. I am a serious photo hobbiest and took lots of pictures of this trip which I am currently scanning. I will eventually have these to see and will try to put together a more detailed travelog in the future.

One funny note on the night train to paris. I was led to believe that our room would have a toilette in it. When we got in and looked around we could not find it. Then I opened a small door on the side of the table and found a Pee-Pot. You were supposed to use it and then put it back in the cabinet. This allowed it to tip and dump on the tracks to empty. I had not used a Pee-Pot since I visited my grandmother back in 1955 (she did not have indoor plumbing).

I am planning our next trip and this will occur the first week in June, 2003. I told my son and daughter-in-law that I would take them on one of our trips. They have just been married for about 2 years. I am planning to fly into Zurich, rent a car and then drive to Arosa which is just above Chur for the night. We discovered this beautiful little town on the last trip. After that I am planning to head South but this time turn West on this trip, head around the Italian Lakes and stay in Lugano, then on to Zermatt for a few nights. After that to Chamonix and Annecy where we catch the TGV to Paris.

I could use some help on the best (most scenic route) from Chur to the lakes and Lugano. These touring trips we take are designed for us to briefly see a particular area of a country so that on future trips we can select one and spend more time there.

I have other questions but I think that this is long enough for one message.

Best regards,

Mike and Fran