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Old 07-08-2010, 09:46 PM   #1
RSM
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Alpine Magic Photos-6/20-Part 2

Picking up where I left off. On the second free afternoon in Zermatt a group of us took three gondolas up to Klein (Little) Matterhorn and went through Glacier Palace. Again, this trip also offered spectacular views of the Matterhorn.

Zermatt-Going to Klein Matterhorn

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The outside of the glacier:

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Aiden and Rich inside the glacier at Glacier Palace. Pretty cool (literally and figuratively):

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When you get to the end, there are alot of ice sculptures:

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On our Way to Luzern:

First we stopped for lunch in Andermatt. A pretty little town:

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Biking around Lake Lucerne:

Aiden ready for the "Tour de Luzern"

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We bike to another scenic vista at Lake Lucerne. The water is really cold and we are used to the Northern Atlantic.

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Arriving in the city of Luzern:

Views from the hotel room in Luzern:

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One of the historic bridges in Luzern. There are original paintings on the inside:

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Aiden climbing one of the towers along the old wall:

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Another view of Luzern:

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Running with the Huskies:

Aiden, Rich and Yuma:

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Jenn and her husky:

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Aiden and Rich walking Yuma. Yeah right, more like Yuma walking us:

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Dying Lion Monument:

You really can't see it from the picture, but it is huge. I found this sculpture moving. Tremendous detail when you really look at it in person.

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The World Cup Scene:

It was actually pretty cool being in Europe during the World Cup. This was the courtyard right outside our hotel. They basically set up a jumbotron and people would gather to watch the game. This game had Switzerland playing. Too bad they couldn't score, the place would have erupted.

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Ballenburg:

Ballenburg is the open air museum that takes through you periods of Swiss history. There are many styles of houses that represent Swiss architecture through the generations:

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Aiden; and Rich cutting wood the old fashioned way. This is hard work:

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The Farewell Dinner:

We were met by William Tell and Alpenhorn blowers. After hearing the story of William Tell, Aiden wanted to know how far away he was when he shot the arrow and if he was blindfolded.

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Aiden took a crack at the alpenhorn and actually did a pretty good job. He must have mom's musical ability, because dad doesn't have a musical bone in his body:

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Well, this provides just a brief glimpse of some of the activities and sites of Alpine Magic. We can't speak highly enough of this adventure. Special thanks to Maddie and Marc, our guides who were awesome throughout. And for Marc---Go Espana!

Feel free to ask me any questions about this adventure.
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:19 PM   #2
wdwsos
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RSM, what make/model of camera do you have? As much as I love mine, I think I'm coveting yours.

I agree about it being so cool being in Europe during the World Cup! This was the setup outside of the Eiffel Tower:



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Old 07-08-2010, 10:35 PM   #3
RSM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdwsos View Post
RSM, what make/model of camera do you have? As much as I love mine, I think I'm coveting yours.

I agree about it being so cool being in Europe during the World Cup! This was the setup outside of the Eiffel Tower:



Thanks WDWSOS. Most of the photos were taken on a Canon Rebel xti (DSLR camera). Although a few of them were taken on a Nikon Coolpix.

We actually went to Paris for 5 days after Alpine Magic so I know the scene in your photo of the Trocadero. We stayed at the Pullman in that area. It felt like we could reach out and touch the Eiffel tower from our balcony.

BTW--nice to see a fellow Bostonian. We are from metrowest.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:11 PM   #4
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Wonderful pics, RSM! It just all looks so lovely and charming!

And OMG, this pic:

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Originally Posted by RSM View Post
Lovely! Sunset? Sunrise? Wonderful.

I can't believe the crowd in that courtyard! Heavens, it would have been deafening if Switzerland had scored...

Sayhello
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Old 07-09-2010, 12:01 AM   #5
HappyGrumpy
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Thank You!

Thank You so much for these wonderful pics! Just Gorgeous! I am absolutely sold and will most likely make this my ABD for 2012! Now I need to convince SayHello to travel with us!
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Old 07-09-2010, 08:19 AM   #6
Diskidatheart
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Great pictures, thanks so much for sharing. Every activity looks to be a lot of fun and I like that this trip is a little more than just sightseeing. It seems to be a little more activity based than some of the other European trips. Can't wait until 2011.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:19 AM   #7
RSM
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Originally Posted by Diskidatheart View Post
Great pictures, thanks so much for sharing. Every activity looks to be a lot of fun and I like that this trip is a little more than just sightseeing. It seems to be a little more activity based than some of the other European trips. Can't wait until 2011.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhello View Post
Wonderful pics, RSM! It just all looks so lovely and charming!

And OMG, this pic:

Lovely! Sunset? Sunrise? Wonderful.

I can't believe the crowd in that courtyard! Heavens, it would have been deafening if Switzerland had scored...

Sayhello

Thanks. Jenn does the majority of the photography. That particular photo is a sunset.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:26 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Diskidatheart View Post
Great pictures, thanks so much for sharing. Every activity looks to be a lot of fun and I like that this trip is a little more than just sightseeing. It seems to be a little more activity based than some of the other European trips. Can't wait until 2011.
There really was a great mix and balance of physical activity, cultural, and sightseeing. Our barometer was that Aiden remained interested and engaged during the cultural and sightseeing activities (pretty tough for an active 7 y/o boy) and never complained that something was boring. I attribute this to the diversity of the adventures, as well as the JA's really bonding, and of course having Marc and Maddie to entertain.
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Old 07-09-2010, 11:44 AM   #9
Amy H
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Great Photos! I am going to Paris after our Med Cruise next year and I was wondering what you would suggest to do while we are in Paris? We are going for 9 days so I have some time to fill. Thanks-
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Old 07-09-2010, 12:44 PM   #10
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Great Photos! I am going to Paris after our Med Cruise next year and I was wondering what you would suggest to do while we are in Paris? We are going for 9 days so I have some time to fill. Thanks-
Wow, 9 days in Paris, that is great. We had been to Paris a few times, but not in the past 8 years or so, and not with our 7 y/o. Without knowing whether you are going as a family or if it is all adults, I would offer the following:

1.) Definitely learn the metro system. It is very easy. The first day we were there we got a 2 day pass for the hop-on/hop-off bus. After spending about 90 minutes in traffic, baking in the open (it was about 90 degrees), we began taking the metro everywhere. By the end of day 1, we were very proficient on getting around.

2.) We got a 3 day Paris museum pass before we left. This gets you into ~60 different museums/monuments. The biggest advantage is that you don't have to wait in line to get tickets.

3.) The worst lines we encountered in Paris were for the Eiffel Tower (surprise!) and Notre Dame. We waited about 30 minutes to get tickets and ride up the elevator on the Eiffel tower. Then on the second level, it was about another 15 mins to go to the top. For Notre Dame, get there early. The church opens at 7:30, by 10:00 there was a huge line. If you want to climb the spires and be with the gargoyles (very cool thing to do), they open at 10. I would be in line by 9:15 or 9:30 or so.

4.) There are countless monuments and museums to see. For us, the must do's are probably the typical touristy stuff. the Arc de Triomphe, people watching on the Champs Elysee, Eiffel Tower, Musee de Orsay, Invalides, the Louvre, Seine river Cruise, Notre Dame, Montmartre, and some of the parks.

5.) Things we booked in advance this time were:

- For the Louvre we booked a tour through a company called Paris Muse. Basically it was a 2.5 hour tour of the Louvre highlights, only they turn it into an art detective type scavenger hunt. This worked out really well for us. Our guide Maria was great with our 7 y/o boy, and he didn't lose interest once as he looked for his clues and anticipated the next one. She also imparted alot of educational information that we all learned from. The best testimonial I can give is that it kept a 7 y/o engaged and interested in art for 2.5 hours (he still talks about perspective when looking at a painting). Note, the Louvre is open late on Wednesdays. Crowds tend to thin out about 5 pm on that night.
- We also booked a full day bike tour of Versailles with Fat Tire Bike. This was also alot of fun. You basically bike from their office to the RER station, put your bike on the train, go to Versailles, shop in a market for your picnic lunch, bike the grounds of Versailles, then do a self tour of the palace. Our 7 y/o did pretty well with most of this. The only part that was a struggle was that there were some long slightly uphill stretches where he had to walk his bike (it was also 90+ degrees that day). It was also a little stressful for us. He is pretty good on a bike, but is not used to riding in a pack (there were about 30 in the group), nor is he used to riding on city streets (with Paris traffic). But at the end of the day, we made it and he felt pretty good about himself because it was hard and during the day he was hurting. If we had to do it again, I would take the RER out to Versailles on our own and rent a bike at the palace where we could go a much more leisurly pace.
- We also had dinner one night at the Jules Verne on the Eiffel Tower. It is very good but expensive. Make reservations 3 months in advance if you want to do this. This is one of those things that we can say we did it.

6.) We spent a few hours in Montmartre and Sacre Couer. This is an artsy area, but is pretty cool. Another museum often overlooked is the Rodin museum. Alot of great pieces in there (the Thinker, The Kiss, Gates of Hell, etc.) and it tends to not be crowded.

7.) With 9 days, you could definitely do a couple of day trips. One could be Normandy and the D-day beaches another could be the castles of the Loire valley.

Paris is a fun city. Take time to sit in a bistro and have a baguette and some cheese and just watch the scenes pass.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-09-2010, 12:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by HappyGrumpy View Post
Thank You so much for these wonderful pics! Just Gorgeous! I am absolutely sold and will most likely make this my ABD for 2012! Now I need to convince SayHello to travel with us!
Actually, I was thinking the same thing (2012). Unless something new out-fabulouses this. Do they do an Adults-only version? We'll need to talk!

Sayhello
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:27 PM   #12
Amy H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSM View Post
Wow, 9 days in Paris, that is great. We had been to Paris a few times, but not in the past 8 years or so, and not with our 7 y/o. Without knowing whether you are going as a family or if it is all adults, I would offer the following:

1.) Definitely learn the metro system. It is very easy. The first day we were there we got a 2 day pass for the hop-on/hop-off bus. After spending about 90 minutes in traffic, baking in the open (it was about 90 degrees), we began taking the metro everywhere. By the end of day 1, we were very proficient on getting around.

2.) We got a 3 day Paris museum pass before we left. This gets you into ~60 different museums/monuments. The biggest advantage is that you don't have to wait in line to get tickets.

3.) The worst lines we encountered in Paris were for the Eiffel Tower (surprise!) and Notre Dame. We waited about 30 minutes to get tickets and ride up the elevator on the Eiffel tower. Then on the second level, it was about another 15 mins to go to the top. For Notre Dame, get there early. The church opens at 7:30, by 10:00 there was a huge line. If you want to climb the spires and be with the gargoyles (very cool thing to do), they open at 10. I would be in line by 9:15 or 9:30 or so.

4.) There are countless monuments and museums to see. For us, the must do's are probably the typical touristy stuff. the Arc de Triomphe, people watching on the Champs Elysee, Eiffel Tower, Musee de Orsay, Invalides, the Louvre, Seine river Cruise, Notre Dame, Montmartre, and some of the parks.

5.) Things we booked in advance this time were:

- For the Louvre we booked a tour through a company called Paris Muse. Basically it was a 2.5 hour tour of the Louvre highlights, only they turn it into an art detective type scavenger hunt. This worked out really well for us. Our guide Maria was great with our 7 y/o boy, and he didn't lose interest once as he looked for his clues and anticipated the next one. She also imparted alot of educational information that we all learned from. The best testimonial I can give is that it kept a 7 y/o engaged and interested in art for 2.5 hours (he still talks about perspective when looking at a painting). Note, the Louvre is open late on Wednesdays. Crowds tend to thin out about 5 pm on that night.
- We also booked a full day bike tour of Versailles with Fat Tire Bike. This was also alot of fun. You basically bike from their office to the RER station, put your bike on the train, go to Versailles, shop in a market for your picnic lunch, bike the grounds of Versailles, then do a self tour of the palace. Our 7 y/o did pretty well with most of this. The only part that was a struggle was that there were some long slightly uphill stretches where he had to walk his bike (it was also 90+ degrees that day). It was also a little stressful for us. He is pretty good on a bike, but is not used to riding in a pack (there were about 30 in the group), nor is he used to riding on city streets (with Paris traffic). But at the end of the day, we made it and he felt pretty good about himself because it was hard and during the day he was hurting. If we had to do it again, I would take the RER out to Versailles on our own and rent a bike at the palace where we could go a much more leisurly pace.
- We also had dinner one night at the Jules Verne on the Eiffel Tower. It is very good but expensive. Make reservations 3 months in advance if you want to do this. This is one of those things that we can say we did it.

6.) We spent a few hours in Montmartre and Sacre Couer. This is an artsy area, but is pretty cool. Another museum often overlooked is the Rodin museum. Alot of great pieces in there (the Thinker, The Kiss, Gates of Hell, etc.) and it tends to not be crowded.

7.) With 9 days, you could definitely do a couple of day trips. One could be Normandy and the D-day beaches another could be the castles of the Loire valley.

Paris is a fun city. Take time to sit in a bistro and have a baguette and some cheese and just watch the scenes pass.

Hope this helps.

Thank you for the information. The names of the tour companies will come in handy! Who did you contact for the reservations at the Eiffel? I am traveling with two children and I was wondering if the dinner at the Eiffel is appropriate for them? When we go my ds will be 11 and dd will be 8. I rented an apartment right next to the Eiffel Tower.
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:51 PM   #13
RSM
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Thank you for the information. The names of the tour companies will come in handy! Who did you contact for the reservations at the Eiffel? I am traveling with two children and I was wondering if the dinner at the Eiffel is appropriate for them? When we go my ds will be 11 and dd will be 8. I rented an apartment right next to the Eiffel Tower.
Our son was 7 and he got dressed up in a shirt, tie, sportcoat, etc. There are no kids menus and he did fine. Although we paid about 70 euro for what basically amounted to a chicken breast and some shoestring fries :-). He didn't like the sauces and garnish that came with the meal. But it was a special day for us and something we had really wanted to do. I made the reservation on line with the Jules Verne. I think you can do it up to 3 months in advance. Take a good look at Paris Muse for the Louvre. We were really surprised at how engaged and interested our son stayed for the full 2+ hours (considering the first time I went, I began to glaze over after about 45 mins), along with what he has retained.
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:11 PM   #14
DisFan10
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Hi RSM, thanks for posting the pics! You & Jenn took some amazing shots. Will you be sharing any pics of your trip to Paris?
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Old 07-10-2010, 03:43 PM   #15
kristilew
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I second the Paris Muse suggestion. We did the If Buildings Could Talk tour and it was amazing! Amy, my DD was 11 when I took her to Paris and she loved everything about it, especially the food. We did many "local" meals in little eateries that seemed full of locals. The servers would just look at DD and wave away the menu, and bring a something that she invariably gobbled up.

RSM, amazing pictures, thanks so much for posting! I have a question about the JAs interacting with the guides: were there special activities for the junior adventurers during some of the touring? For example, did they ever seperate from the group and go off with one of the guides for a more kid friendly tour? This was something that we loved about the Peru ABD, that did not happen on SWS. I think it would still be important to us on our next Adventure, though I do have to keep reminding myself that DD is getting older every year!

eta: RSM, did you end up having Mary on your Muse tour or did they switch you up? I'd love to hear what you thought of her!
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