On August 10 th 2007, we (the Petersons - John is to the right in the picture to
the right) flew to Zurich to meet our Australian & Indian friends
Judy & Doug Wimble and Raja Varma for a month of traveling in Europe.   The first week
we took the "Tops of Switzerland" rail tour.   Raja has traveled extensively in
Switzerland and was a great help in navigating the train system.   We got on the wrong
car a time or two, but never the wrong train.   We stayed in Zurich, Interlaken, and
Lucerne and visited Jungfraujoch, high atop the Alps at 11,782 ft, the highest tourist spot
in Europe; Mt. Pilatus.
We took a boat trip on Lake Brienzersee, and then Raja left for London.
From Lucerne we took the train to Venice, Italy for a 4-day stay.   We
enjoyed San Marco Piazza along with thousands of others, the Doges Palace, the Grand Canal,
the crowds on the Rialto Bridge, the Murano glass works, and wandering the narrow back
streets.   We next had 10 days in Slovenia and Croatia, arriving by train in Ljubljana,
renting a car and driving NE to the Lake Bled area.   Our rooms overlooked Lake Bled with
the Church of the Assumption on Bled Island, and Bled Castle.   We took a gondola to Bled
Island (free to go, pay to get back), and saw an enjoyable medieval jousting tournament at
Another day we hiked through Vintgar Gorge.   From Bled we drove to
Opatija, Croatia, on the Gulf of Kvarner off the Adriatic Sea.   Opatija is a seaside
resort full of ornate hotels painted in bright pastels with Victorian type white trim, and
beautiful flowers everywhere.   On the return to Ljubljana we visited Predjama Castle,
built in the mouth of a 395’ high cave below an overhanging cliff.   You could climb far
into the cave from the castle, very unique.
Ljubljana has a lovely medieval center,
impressive churches, open-air markets, and the River Ljubljanica running through it to add
to its charm.   It was then back on the train for the return to Italy.   We spent 2
nights in Bologna with a side trip to Ravenna and their churches and historic, beautiful
mosaics.   Another rental car and we were off to Barberino Val d’Elsa where we rented a
villa in the medieval area.   What a treat!   We had a patio overlooking the sunsets
in the Tuscan hills, grocery shopping with lots of finger pointing, and 2 great restaurants
overlooking the valley.   We took side trips to Siena, Florence, Pisa, and many more
Wimble’s then left for France and the Rugby World Cup, and we spent the
last 3 days in Rome and the Vatican.