Lucerne is breathtaking! The mountain air and delicious water is refreshing and revitalizing. With swans, snow-capped mountains, medieval towers and walls, Lucerne is at the top of my must revisit list. So easy to get around, safe, and people are friendly. Glacier Garden is a geological site. It spoke to my inner archaeologist. I picked up a couple crystals from the gift shop to bring that amazing energy home with me. Hubby and I went to the top of Mt. Rigi but the fog was too thick to see the proclaimed amazing views. I took some great photos on the ride up and down the mountain though. Of course I ate plenty of Lindt chocolate and tried the famous cheese fondue. So so so good!
Selecting a clamshell for pearl
Polynesian Cultural Center
There is nothing like stepping off the plane into tropical air and be greeted by friendly faces who shower you with flower leis. While vacationing in the Hawaiian Islands, I stayed on Kauai, Oahu and Maui. Some of the highlights I experienced in Kauai was swimming in Queens Bath, witnessing the red clay of Waimea Canyon, and seeing the island by helicopter — Amazing
In Oahu, the not to be missed on my list, is Sunset Beach (the name says it all), the Polynesian Cultural Center, Pearl Harbor, and the much-frequented Pineapple factory tour.
On my last trip to the islands, a 9.0 earthquake had hit Japan, and Hawaii was getting tsunami warnings. The tidal wave was estimated to hit the islands at approximately 3 a.m. I spent a terrifying night in paradise with alarms blaring and people evacuating the coast to head into the mountains. I was told to stay in my ocean front hotel room. I feared for my life and wondered if I’d ever see my children again. The good news is the tidal wave had subsided by the time it traveled to Hawaii. I had only choppy water, cool temperatures ,and wind to deal with. **Strange coincidence: When I was a teenager, my parents went to Hawaii celebrating an anniversary and they too had a tsunami warning. I remember them coming home wearing matching tee-shirts that read “I survived the tsunami”. Weird.
I can’t comment too much on Maui. I was there for a couple days following the tsunami warning and the water was too rough to swim in. However the vistas were beautiful.
Newports lovely mansions
One great thing about living in New Hampshire is that I am close to Canada! My hubby and I took the kids on a road trip to Montreal and Quebec City over the summer. Our clear favorite site in Montreal was the Biodome, featuring habitats.
We spent a day outside the city at Safari Park where we fed a variety of animals from our car window — huge hit with the kids and parents alike!
I’d always heard that Quebec City is a gem. And I wasn’t disappointed! We loved the charm. We toured the fort, the old city by horse and carriage, rode the Funicular, visited the underground museum, and ate AMAZING food.
Vienna in December is magical. The outdoor famous Christmas market is quaint, yet spectacular. I spent a lot of time shopping and drinking hot, spiced wine (makes the cold weather bearable). There is so much to see in this friendly, safe city. Another open-air market is Naschmarkt at Weinzelle. Viennese merchants have operated here since the Middle Ages selling fruit, vegetables, and spices. In December you’ll find nuts and gingerbread geared for the tradition on December 6th, when the children leave their shoes out hoping Chris Child fills them with goodies. You better be good though, or the Krampus will put sticks in your shoes!
Outside the city, the Schonbrunn Palace, the baroque summer palace of the Habsburg family, is a must see. Back in the ring (Ringstrasse) be sure to look for the Roman ruins, the Karntnerstrassue (like shopping on Fifth Ave in NYC), stop in St. Stephen’s 12th century cathedral, and get tickets to see the white stallions dance at The Spanish Riding School.
Vienna is one of the most authentic, old world European cities I’ve visited. Though I would have loved to see the gardens in bloom at Schonbrunn Palace, being there for the Christmas Market made the holiday season uniquely special.