Thursday, April 20, 2017
It was a magical trip to a place that you never really get over. When the view off of your hotel balcony is too good to be true, you know you've landed in paradise. It was one odd story as to how it even happened.
I'd planned to go to the south of Spain, Gibraltar, and a side trip for the day to Morocco on the ferry. At that time, the Moroccans were having some political issues. I decided that it would be better to abandon that for the time and find somewhere else to go for my family's first big trip to Europe. I'd been to Europe before, but neither my husband or son had. My husband is a reluctant traveler and a total homebody, so it wasn't easy for me to get him that far out of his comfort zone. I certainly was not going to get him to go somewhere that was unstable.
I didn't have any ideas that I thought were suitable for them, so I appealed online to my Facebook friends and people who read my writing to see if anyone had any ideas that would be a good one for my family and I in Europe. Lo and behold, someone sent me some information about Lauterbrunnen.
I'd been to Switzerland twice, and I'd never heard of Lauterbrunnen. I'd always gone to Zurich and other cities. I'd spent my time admiring the Alps from afar or traveling through them by train. I had never gone into the middle of it all to a tiny town and experienced the Alps the way they should be experienced. I saw the train shot that you see above. It's the one that everyone who ever visits Lauterbrunnen takes. I fell in love with what I saw. It looked like the most beautiful place on Earth. Of course, this is coming from someone who loves mountains, waterfalls, and has a soft spot for the Alps already.
I couldn't resist, so I thanked the reader and started making arrangements. We stayed at the Staubbach Hotel, which is named for the beautiful falls that are the centerpiece of the entire village. The Staubbach is a grand old hotel from the days when the British used to come and spend the summer. Then they started to come and ski in the winter. Now, the summer thing is to paraglide or zipline. The valley stays up with the times, even though there are a lot of traditions around as well.
One of the great things about Lauterbrunnen was all of the different kinds of accommodations. We stayed in an old hotel. It was like a bed and breakfast with one of the most wonderful staffs I've ever encountered. Also in town were guest houses, villa rentals, apartments, hostels, resorts, and a campground. I loved the campground, because here in America our campgrounds are a little different. In Lauterbrunnen, the campground had a performance area, a store, a restaurant and so on. It was great. We went there one night to try some local cuisine recommended by our wonderful staff and discovered that every Wednesday night a local group, dedicated to preserving local traditions, came and performed for the tourists at the campground. It was great. There were polkas, alpenhorns, cheese making and more. It was a great evening out for us.
The cows were fabulous. These guys lived right outside our hotel. There was the equivalent to a Smart Car in our parking lot and the cows were sniffing at it as though they thought it was some kind of alien animal. They were so cute. Cows are ubiquitous in Switzerland. Cheese is huge in that country, and the cows roam the countryside all summer long. They still wear the big bells around their necks and you can see them halfway up the mountains and more.
And oh my the waterfalls. The cliffs here are about 800 feet high. There are towns all over the cliffs and in some cases, you have to take a gondola up to them. The waterfalls that spew off of these cliffs are amazing. Staubbach Falls is the falls in Lauterbrunnen. There is a trail up to and behind the falls which is a lot of fun. It also gives you a unique view of the valley and the town below. I've told my family that I think that might be the place I choose to have my ashes scattered.
Even the cemetery, just across from the falls, is meticulously cared for and beautiful. Families have lived here in the Bernese Oberland for generations, since before Switzerland was a country, and they honor their ancestors still today. It was one of the most gorgeous cemeteries I've ever seen, and it too, came with a great view. I guess that if you have to go, this should be your view for eternity.
If you've ever wondered if the houses you see on television are real or if someone makes up the flowered villas; I can assure you they are real. Lauterbrunnen is a whole town full of them. They are gorgeous, mostly Begonias, and it makes the whole experience feel as though you walked into a painting.
The falls are the star in the town. They went to a lot of trouble to make the stone path and tunnel to get up behind the falls and look out over the town. As you go around town there are paintings of them as well. The valley is known for it's 72 waterfalls, but Staubbach is the falls that is always visibly flowing.
Lauterbrunnen is a wonderful little town, and a great jumping off point for all the amazing activities in the valley. I will be spending some time now, talking about this amazing region. Summer is coming up and I want everyone to know what I know about the Lauterbrunnen Valley. I want them to have their busiest year ever, because I want everyone to go there and see the stunning things that I saw. There are many places to visit, some of them famous, and some of them little known. I will tell you all about it. I love this place.
So, come and see the town of Lauterbrunnen. Come by car or by train or by bus or by bicycle. Come and eat great food, drink great beer, hear traditional music, meet great people, see some of the most stunning scenery in the world. Did I mention that these people are almost all bilingual and speak English? Just another perk of this truly fantastic little town. This is the only village that I've been to in Switzerland where you could walk down the middle of the road and not worry about the traffic. This is the only place where I've kept in touch with the people who worked at the hotel. I can't say enough about this great place. And Lauterbrunnen is just the jumping off point. I will be talking soon about all of the villages; Wengen, Kleine Sheidegg, Grindlewald, Gimmelwald, Murren, Stechelberg, Isenfluh, and even Interlaken. Check it out, as I write all the amazing ways to get around on Gondolas, funiculars, and cog railways. I'll tell you of activities for the whole family, and Adventures for Anyone. Enjoy!
And New in my world is my first novel, The Ring of the Queen, a Russian adventure story. It is available on Amazon and Createspace, and is only $1.99 on Kindle. You can find it at the links below under my real name, Terri Dixon.
Monday, April 3, 2017
She wanted to learn more about Russian History
Stacey had learned a lot about Soviet History from her grandma during her life. When her grandma died and gave her a mysterious Russian looking ring, she decided that she wanted to learn more. She wanted to know about the Tsars that once ruled Russia and the ring that her grandma had given her. During her first year in college, she goes to Moscow University to take a January Term class about the Tsars.
What Stacey finds out is that the ring is an ancient right to the throne of Russia and that she is the last surviving direct connection to the Romanovs. There is a Tsarist movement that wants her in power, and a President that wants her gone. This leads Stacey, her friend Tania, her teacher Steve, and the new man in her life, Peter on an adventure across western Russia.
As Stacey tries desperately to exit the country and return home, she makes her way to several towns, museums, and palaces that teach her the history that she went there to learn. As the game continues, Stacey has to find a way to save the lives of her new friends, and make her way home. Will she give President Yuri Kostov the ring that her grandma left her, or will she find a way to keep her family history in tact so that she can come back and battle the corrupt President another time?
The Ring of the Queen is the first book of a trilogy about a young girl and a rite of passage that will take her from her home in rural Indiana to the leader of all Russia. It's an adventure like no other, from a history like none other.
I know that this blog is about travel, but I have to say that after 40 years, I finally did it! I published a novel. It has a lot of action and adventure and takes place in one of the most mystical and exotic places on Earth...Russia. I hope that you will check it out. It's on Createspace and will soon be on Kindle and Amazon.
Just to let you know, Nina Kindred is the pen name that Fictionpress assigned to me lo these 13 years ago, and it is not my real name.
Terri Dixon is the well traveled internet writer, blogger, and photographer known as Nina Kindred. She has written over 12 stories on Fictionpress since 2004. The Ring of the Queen is her first self published full length novel. She has been writing her weekly travel blog, "Adventures for Anyone" on Blogger for five years. She has been showing and selling her photography on Cafepress, Zazzle, and Pixels for several years. When she is not traveling, writing, working, or taking photos, she is spending time with her husband and son in the Northwest Hills of Connecticut where she lives.
I certainly hope that everyone will like the story. I hope to continue to write and edit the stories that have already been written. I have loved writing stories since I was 8 years old. I won't say how long that's been, but it's been a really long time. I am very happy right now, and I can't wait to see how it goes.