On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
The name of the album by The Who just popped into my head when putting this together. Here are some more which are fun, but didn’t make the previous posts.
Also, here are some videos of Mt. Blanc (they are about half a minute each). There’s no voice over or anything, just views.
Views around the lower section of Aiguille du Midi. You can see some climbers coming off the snow and rocks back to where we less intrepid folks are. Embiggen
Looking back to where the previous picture was taken. Embiggen
Walking around Grindelwald, where the town starts to thin out in the direction of Grosse Scheidegg. Each afternoon was an ever-changing display of clouds and light on the mountains. Embiggen
This was supposed to be the best pizza place in town. It was always busy, but we didn’t try it out. We were a little uneasy with the occasional European fascination with American race relations and history. We were also a little uneasy about eating in a busy restaurant, though they had a lovely patio, too. Embiggen
A rare view from our studio apartment when the clouds cleared out. Embiggen
One night in Geneva! This is the view from our balcony, from our $100/night room! Geneva is given a bad rap for not being as quaint as Bern or Lucerne, or the other Swiss cities, but it’s a nice place! There’s an enormous, beautiful lake, a nice river (the Rhone) exiting that lake, parks all over the place, from certain spots you can catch a glimpse of Mt. Blanc… Embiggen
Well, these are out of order – oh, well. This is leaving the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau behind, heading towards Lauterbrunnen valley, and you can see Mürren on the right, and Gimmelwald, Rick Steves’ favorite Swiss village, down to the left. Embiggen
OK, back to Geneva – that’s the jet d’eau, or water jet, taken from a park and some flowers for a foreground. Embiggen
Ah, this is our little balcony in the daylight :-) Embiggen
Also, the trick to traveling cheap, especially in Switzerland: go to the local doner kebab place (or pizza place, or supermarket) and eat in a park, or on your balcony with a river view! And buy some beer or wine from the market.
Actually, that little balcony scared the crap out of me. That railing only came up to just below my butt. I totally felt like I could go flailing over it at any point, perhaps crushing an employee from the neighboring Mandarin Oriental Hotel out for a smoke break.
A look upriver at the jet d’eau from the bridge next to our hotel. Embiggen
Those videos…amazing but my fear of heights definitely kicked in.
Paul in Jacksonville
I paused the second video at the 14 second mark, where I see a profile view of George Washington in the center at the top of the mountain. Do you see him, too?
Amazing photos! When we lived near Geneva for a summer going to the jet d’eau and the baby plage was one of my kid’s’ favorite things to do!
What a wonderful trip and such amazing photos and videos-thanks so much for sharing!
I’m getting jealous of all BigJimSlade’s travels (just kidding – sort of 🙂!)
@eclare: The videos are amazing, but I doubt that I could do it.
Just a wonderful series. Those videos though. Yikes!
@JPL: I know my limitations!
Thanks for sharing.
These have all been wonderful and definitely make me want to go walking in that area. The video from the upper gondola is stunning – you feel you’re there!
Thank you for this whole series. To say that the mountains are awe-inspiring is to understate, but I cant’t think of a better word. And in the midst of massive rock peaks, the green!
@Paul in Jacksonville: Nope, I can’t see it.
On pic 2, there is a little bridge down to the right of the steel viewing platforms. What the heck??
And how do you secure your phone so you don’t do that tourist thing of fumbling and losing it to the gods of the alps??
All really stunning pictures. Thanks for the travels.
Such splendor, love the videos!
Such splendor, like the videos! I imagine hiking those trails for a couple of days and soaking in all the beauty and experience the feelings that would arise…just that, nothing else.
@eclare: Yeah, my fear of heights kicked in, too, but I was determined to deal with it and enjoy it. It was a bit stressful, but it was also totally awesome.
@MelissaM: There’s a trick to holding your phone that I wish I’d known before going on my boat trip around the Gargano peninsula. You put the phone in your left hand so that you can’t accidentally cover the camera lens. Then curl your first and little fingers around to grip the phone. Your left thumb is free to stabilize it and your right hand does the button pressing. I had to throw out a lot of pictures because I was afraid to drop the phone into the Adriatic and a finger got on the lens.
@Paul in Jacksonville: I thought I saw it, then couldn’t see it again… maybe it’s our thank-you for the statue of liberty?
@MelissaM: That little bridge area would be for insane climbers only – it’s probably the safest thing they do ;-)
Regarding not losing your phone, well, I mostly used my camera, which has a wrist strap. So when I used my phone for the videos I was Very Careful – no casual conversation while holding the phone over the railing!
Thanks for the nice words everybody!
The end of an era.
The end of the series. sniff-sniff
Geneva definitely deserves more attention. I recall being told by a local that the rounded green hillside in the distance from your balcony is where the locals do their family hiking, little kids to grandparents
Love the videos!
Those videos, especially #2, made me nauseous.
Bridges, tall buildings, upper decks of stadiums…. ….really really struggling with heights these days.
This getting old is not going well.
I’m always late to these, but thank you! Just absolutely amazing photos, and a beautifully well-told story :)
@BigJimSlade: I’ve stayed in Grindelwald and done the same hiking routes as you a couple of times – some of the brightest highlights of my traveling life. Thanks for the great tour and the reminiscences!
Note: I do NOT recommend taking the cable car up to First, walking to the Bachalpsee, and then hiking all the way back down to Grindelwald, if you want your quads and knees to be at all functional the next day. I spent the entire day after on our balcony facing the Eiger, drinking Swiss wine and feeling very stupid.
Has it been asked yet, did you ever find a stranger in the Alps? What happened?
Almost 25 years ago I was able to spend two nights in Murren and hike the slopes around the village, plus take the gondala up to Schilthorn (of 007 fame). There were lots of very happy cows around the village, including immediately outside the hotel window. Every cow wore a cowbell. Not the clonky cowbell you’re thinking of, but a beautiful looking and sounding, unique brass bell, no two the same tone. These bells were attached to very wide hand-tooled decorated leather collars, all unique and different. Walking through the village, at one point I just stopped and listened. A symphony of cowbells from all directions, some near, some distant. It was delightful!
On a separate trip I had the opportunity to also take the gondola up to Aiguille du Midi. IIRC, there are two gondolas, the lower one up about 3000 feet to a station where you transfer to the upper gondola, which goes the entire 9000(?) feet altitude gain in one swoop – no pylons at all. The last 2000 feet are almost vertical. At the top there is a small gondola that traverses about 2 miles horizontally across the glaciers to Point Helbronner on the Italian border. Another gondola goes down that mountain into Italy. I returned to Chamonix. It should also be mentioned there is a 7 mile long tunnel under the mountain from Chamonix into Italy.
The Alps are really beautiful, as is Switzerland. I think that country must have a law that all windows must have flower boxes.
Thanks so much for the great photos BigJim, it brought back good memories.
BigJim, thank you for these wonderful photos, and damn you for making my memory rush back to 1972, when I spent the entire summer in Switz and the Alps! You’re making me wish I was 19 years old again… But, thank you, thank you.