Monday, June 4, 2012

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mont Blanc/Italian Alps

Mont Blanc
Of course we saved the best (& biggest) for last.  The grand finale of our trip was a visit to Chamonix, France which is home to the massive Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps at 15,772 ft.   We took a cable car up to Auguille du Midi which is over 12,000 ft elevation.  We were fortunate to have great weather so enjoyed clear views of Mont Blanc and surrounding peaks including the Matterhorn in the far distance.  Also watched climbers and skiers work their way down the steep terrain.  Spent a full day on the mountain and it was amazing!  A great ending to an unforgettable trip!

We are back in Italy now and headed out for our last Italian dinner before we fly home tomorrow.  It has been an amazing adventure touring Italy and the Alps with my good friend Lori.  But now its time to say "Arrivederci"to Europe...


Friday, June 1, 2012

On Top of the Alps

We couldn't pass on the chance to see the alps from the air.  We booked a private charter on a Cessna high wing plane.  Our flight began in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland to view prominent peaks including the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau ranging from 13,000 ft to 13,642 ft elevation.  Then the pilot headed south to the Matterhorn which is located on the Swiss/Italian border in the Pennine Alps and rises 14,692 ft elevation.  The pilot approached the pyramid shaped peak and then circled it up close which was really cool!  Our final destination was Mont Blanc which lies on the Italian/French border in the Savoy Alps and is the highest peak in the alps rising 15,772 ft elevation.  It looks alot like Mt McKinley in Alaska towering over all the surrounding peaks and valleys below.  The flight lasted about 1.5 hrs and we were fortunate to have clear weather and a great pilot to give us an up close and personal tour of the snow- capped alps!!!
Mont Blanc

Jungfrau Region

We left Italy on Tues and drove into Switzerland traveling over St Gotthard Pass.  We arrived in Lauterbrunnen which is the known as the valley of the waterfalls.  It looks similar to Yosemite Valley with waterfalls cascading over the cliffsides of surrounding mountains, just beautiful.  We had a great view from our balcony looking up at Staubbach Falls and the Lauterbrunnen valley surrounded by snow capped mountains.  We rode a cable car lift up the western side of valley to the Schilthorn which is around 9700 ft elevation and provides 360 degree views of the Jungrau region and mountain peaks.  Stopped off at a little high alpine village called Murren on the way down.  Then we explored eastern rim visiting another alpine village, Wengen and then took gondola up to Mannlichen.  Great panoramic views, but we had low cloud cover so visibility was limited.  This area is amazing with beautiful scenery in every direction.  Will definitely have to return...