Last summer, from the beautiful swiss village of Gruyere’, Laveena and i journeyed by train to the valley of Chamonix, a commune located in the Rhone Alpes region in south eastern France, home to the famous Mont Blanc or White mountain.
The natural beauty of Gruyeres in hard to describe. Gruyères is a fascinating and pretty little medieval town, located in the upper valley of the Saane river, in the canton of Fribourg, in Switzerland.
We had visited the picture book town of Gruyere, with its rolling green landscape and the peaks of the Fribourg pre-Alps, a decade ago, on one of our many trips to Switzerland.
Ever since the end of the cold war in 1991, I was curious to see what lay behind the symbolic iron curtain. When I finally landed in the city by the Moskva river last week, I wasn’t prepared for what lay ahead. I was in Moscow for a 2 day conference, but I knew I had to make my limited time in this city count and I had to visit at least a few of the captivating architectural marvels this magnificent city had to offer.
Last summer, after spending a week in Gais, in Switzerland’s charming Appenzeller region, Laveena and I took the train to Stein Am Rhein. We had plans to meet up with our friends from Germany, the effervescent and affable Lydia and Oliver Kirchel, a delightful couple we met in the Maldives in the late 90s and with whom we have toured different parts of the world including Scotland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Germany and France. We arrived at the station and almost as soon as we stepped out, in keeping with the well known reputation of German precision, our dear friends announced their arrival with a light honk of their car horn.
As a continuation of our family vacation last November, we travelled from Firenze to Terontola, Cortona. We had taxi’s waiting for us at Terontola station. For those who prefer to drive, you are better off taking the train from Firenze to Camucia, a small village where there is a car rental available.
Our friendly taxi drivers were a father and son team, typically Tuscan, typically Italian, both cool to the hilt. As we drove down the perfect village roads, headed to Borgo di Vagli, my mind wandered to the locations shown in ‘a walk in the clouds’ starring Keanu Reeves and Aitana Sánchez-Gijó. Although filmed on location among the wineries of Napa Valley and in the towns of Napa, St. Helena, and Sonoma, I felt that the region of Cortona was very similar to the locations shown in the film. And as our taxis neared Borgo , our final destination, the similarities grew even stronger.