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                                                Switzerland - August 1995

Vicky Blitz

For thirty-five years I had dreamed of a visit to Switzerland. Of course, in those early years, having been a ski instructor for ten years in what was jokingly called the Banana Belt (Pennsylvania and Maryland), those dreams were of Switzerland in the winter. Now, in the winter of my life, I would be seeing Switzerland in the summer, instead. However, winter or summer, this is definitely a rewarding trip with vistas so beautiful that I won't even attempt to describe them.

My friend, Kay and I booked onto a Globus Tour of fifteen days, entitled the Alpine Countries, which was to take us through Southern Germany, Austria, Northern Italy and Switzerland. We were in Switzerland for five glorious days and had 38 people in our tour group. Upon arriving in this country of my dreams, we had already been on tour for nine days and gone through Germany, Austria and dipped once across the boarder into Italy.

Our tour guide, Wesly Carl, was very interesting, filled with enough fascinating information to choke a horse. He spoke of the land-locked topographically challenged Swiss, who, for many years had only the mountains to protect their boarders, and a small army that found it difficult to be at the right spot at the right time, to ward off invading armies. Today, with the world's advanced technology, we find a different situation. For example, Wesly Carl said, the Swiss have many of their military installations, especially the runways, inside the mountains and camouflaged, so that when another country tries to invade now, they open their runway doors and the planes take off, right out of the mountain. And, to prevent tanks from coming down the highways to invade, the Swiss now have designed and built into the roads, heavy iron spikes, that come right up out of the ground and will deter any foreign tank invasion. Good for them!

The road from Innsbruck, Austria, down into St. Moritz, Switzerland certainly must be unsurpassable in beauty by any other place in the world. It was truly, truly awesome! Steep mountains (some peaks exceeding 12,000 feet), waterfalls, rivers, green patches, rocks, larch tree forests, deep blue lakes! Sometimes, all of the above in the same panoramic view.

After a night in St. Moritz, we went on, dipping into a section of Italy that included the Maloja Pass with its thirteen hairpin turns, and going down into the Bregaglia Valley. Pretty exciting stuff but our wonderful bus driver, Salvatori, had to be the best. He maneuvered that bus, not only through those hairpin turns, but through ancient streets in little towns which were originally designed to accommodate nothing more than a farmer's cart.