2022 in Review

2022 was definitely a year of travel! My first trip was in late Jan/Feb for almost a month in Honolulu, Oahu. Although I went by myself, I had lined up a few dates through online dating and also went to a couple of Meetup.com happy hours. It was a nice escape from the winter here in Northern Kentucky.

I left in early April for almost three months in Europe, 5 countries, 21 accommodations, with 18 day trips. It was a trip of a lifetime! When you travel solo, you tend to meet people more easily. I met a man at the beach in Mykonos, Greece and had dinner with him, a man and his family from a Facebook Europe travel group in Colmar, France, another lady from the same group in Colmar, France, and was invited to a friend’s country home in Chania, Greece.

I started in Rome for six nights with day trips to Tivoli and Orvieto. (Photo at Villa d’Este, Tivoli, Italy)

I traveled by train most of the time. Next I spent seven nights in Spoleto with day trips to Perugia, Assisi, and Spello. (Photo in the town of Spello)

My next destination was Florence where I spent eight nights with day trips to Siena (photo below), Lucca, and San Gimignano.

With nine nights in Paris, I was able to take day trips to Rouen, Versailles, Chartres, and Troyes (photo below).

Rouen shown below

During my five nights in Tours, France I took a shuttle bus to see some amazing Chateaus: Villandry (the gardens)…

Azay-Le-Rideau…

Cheverny…

Amboise, Chambord, Clos Luce, and Chenonceau.

I also had my hair colored/cut and had a spectacular 90 minute massage!

The seven nights I spent in Colmar, France were some of my favorite. It’s a magical place.

I took day trips to five quaint towns surrounding Colmar: Riquewihr, Kayserberg-Vignoble, Ribeauville, Equesheim, and Turckheim.

I also took a day trip from Colmar to Strasbourg, which I loved!

I began my time in Germany with five nights in Freiburg Im Breisgau (Black Forest) with day trips to a couple of area lakes. My Airbnb host let me borrow her bicycle which I rode often. I also went to a day spa with indoor/outdoor mineral pools.

Next, I made the journey through towns along the Romantic Road and spent one night each in Wurzburg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbuhl (photo below), Noerdlingen and Augsburg.

The last stop was in Fuessen for two nights. The Neuschwanstein Castle is located here. The first photo was taken while on the uphill walk to the castle…

I flew from Munich to Mykonos where I spent four nights.

Then took a ferry to Santorini for three nights.

To finish my Greek Islands experience, I flew to Chania, Crete, and spent three glorious days.

Next up was Switzerland…I flew to Zurich, took the train to Lucerne and spent two nights.

I backtracked and spent three nights at Lake Como, visiting Varenna, Menaggio and Belaggio (photo below).

I spent eight additional nights in Switzerland and discovered it’s my favorite European country! The hiking is amazing!

Took the Bernina Express Scenic train to St. Moritz for two nights. (Photo taken from a hike)

Took the Glacier Express Scenic train to Zermatt for two nights. (Photo taken from a hike)

Spent four nights in Lauterbrunnen (Photo taken from a hike)

In September I took a 10 day road trip through Michigan, Traverse City, Taquamenon Falls State Park, Marquette, Munising in the Upper Peninsula, and Mackinac Island. My dear friend Sherry joined me for the UP and Mackinac. (Photo: Pictured Rocks Boat Tour)

In October, a friend and I drove to the Smoky Mountains and hiked for a couple of days.

Finally, in December I found an inexpensive ($160 including luggage) flight to St. Petersburg, Florida and rented a beautiful Airbnb for 10 days. A new girlfriend joined me for part of the trip.

The holidays are rough for me since my husband and only child passed away a few years ago. I don’t contemplate suicide like I used to. I’m getting used to living alone. On Christmas Day I had brunch with my brother and his wife and then went to a get-together at a girlfriend’s home.

A few other things to note: I had my bathrooms and kitchen remodeled and after a six month break from online dating, joined five sites and have gone on too many first dates to remember ­čÖé I also joined a health club and have been working out pretty regularly.

I’m writing this on my deceased son’s birthday. We named his Justin, because he was born Just-in time for the new year. I miss him so much. I’ve been invited to go out this evening, but I’ve decided to stay home.

I’m looking forward to a trip I planned to Mexico City for the month of February. I’ve always gone to beaches when I’ve visited Mexico, so this will be a nice change.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

Trummelbach Falls

After my hike to Murren and Gimmelwald, I took Bus # 141 (to/from Lauterbrunnen) to Trummelbach Falls before returning to my lodging in Lauterbrunnen. It’s the world’s only glacier waterfalls that are accessible underground by lift, galleries, tunnels, paths and platforms. They carry the meltwater of the glaciers from the Jungfrau down to the valley – up to 20,000 liters of water per second. The water carries with it over 20,000 tons of boulders and scree per year and causes the entire mountain to shudder and make a thundering noise.

The falls are part of the Lauterbrunnen Valley’s 72 waterfalls and are a Unesco World Heritage site. The entrance fee for adults is 14 francs. It’s chilly inside but felt great because I was hot from hiking. It’s difficult to capture the sound and sheer power of the falls with photos alone. I took the elevator up to the 6th floor which is the highest it goes and then walked up to the top (10th level). I checked out the waterfalls from each level (6-10) and then walked back down to the elevator and took it to the bottom. I walked up some separate steps to check out waterfalls number one and two so really I only missed out on falls three – five.

The elevator…

When I planned my itinerary back in November/December, I decided to incorporate one night at the Hilton Hotel by the Airport in Zurich (where I was flying home from the next day) mainly for peace of mind since Covid was still prevalent, and in case of any train issues. On June 19, 2022, I left Lauterbrunnen at 8:00am and took three trains before arriving at the Airport. The hotel shuttle picked me up at 11:30am.

This was a trip of a lifetime! I’ll be posting what I packed, how much the trip cost, and how I planned the trip in my next few posts.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Hike from Lauterbrunnen to Murren and Gimelwald

I took a cable car (there’s one every 30 minutes beginning at 4:08 a.m.)(normally 9 francs..less for me with a Eurail pass) from the Gr├╝tschalp station in Lauterbrunnen (next to the Coop grocery)(takes 3 minutes to go up) and then hiked 7 km to the very quaint town of M├╝rren. There’s also a train if you don’t want to hike. That’s what most people did. The hike from Gr├╝tschalp to M├╝rren was scenic. It took me about an hour and a half but I did stop and have my breakfast/lunch on the way

Murren reminds one of The Sound of Music!

Lovely place to take a break…

People like to have their photo taken here…

Upon arrival in M├╝rren, there were no signs pointing the way to Gimmelwald, which is where I wanted to go next, so I asked a local and he gave me directions. M├╝rren is a quaint pedestrian-only Village so it’s quiet. It’s a gradual 1.7 km paved downhill hike to Gimmelwald and it’s more scenic than the first hike although everywhere is scenic.

Gimmelwald is smaller and has more of a local country feel to it.

From Gimmelwald I took a cable car down where there’s a bus every 30 minutes to take you back to Lauterbrunnen. View from the cable car.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Schynige Platte Hike

On one of my three days in Lauterbrunnen, I walked five minutes to take the train from Lauterbrunnen at 8:02 a.m. (there’s one every 40 mins. & takes 15 mins.) to Wilderswil where you take a 50 minute cog train ride to Schynige Platte (76 francs r/t, but with Eurail pass 57 francs). There are four hikes that you can do ranging from 1 hour and 15 minutes to 6 hours, so I chose one that is two and a half hours (#3).

This was my favorite hike of all…the scenery reminded me of a combination of Olympic National Park, Glacier National Park, Alaska, Colorado, Canyonlands, Utah and the Sea to Sky highway on the way to Whistler, Canada. The views of both Lake Thun and Brienz were delightful.

It almost looked mythical…

Wildflowers were abundant…

The hike is a little over six km (6,463 ft. high elevation) and took me two hours.

Taking the cog train…

Views from the cog train were stunning!

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Four nights in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Originally, I was going to take seven scenic train rides (a section of it known as the Golden scenic route) from Zermatt to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, but after having been on 70 trains in the past 10 weeks, I decided to take the shortest route which only took a little over three hours on three trains. Upon arrival in Lauterbrunnen, I had a five minute walk to my lodging. The view of Staubach Falls from my balcony was stunning (photo below)!

I walked towards Staubach Falls taking photos along the way.

The Friedhof Lauterbrunnen cemetery is adorned with flowers and so well kept.

Staubach Falls drops 974 feet (297 metres) from a hanging valley that ends in overhanging cliffs above the Weisse L├╝tschine.

The falls are lit up at night.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.