Here is the last installment of our trip. Keep in mind we took so many pictures I could post five pictures a day for the next year. This is the best of the best giving you an appetizer sampler, but not a full meal.
We boarded the Golden Pass train and headed to the quaint town of Gstaad. We were in good company as Sophia Loren owns a house here.
There are little chalets sprinkled in and around the trees. We are still mystified when it comes to the logistics of getting from place to place. A trip to the grocery store would be a major event.
Our destination was the Castle of Gruyeres that overlooked the town of Gruyeres.....yes one and the same with Swiss Gruyere cheese.
Mister Joe and his eye for photography. I imagined a crossbow being shot through this window located on the ramparts hundreds of years ago at the invading forces.
Our friends Barbara and Randy walked a little faster and arrived at the caste ahead of us.
The views of the valley below were gorgeous.
We saw more red geraniums on this trip than we've seen in our whole entire life! They were everywhere.
This is the town of Gruyere just outside the castle walls. The car was making a delivery in the car-free town which takes away from the authenticity of the town with the cobblestone streets.
Here comes the spiritual part of the trip. At o-dark-hundred, forty of us boarded our motor coach and headed to Italy and France via Saint Bernard's tunnel through the Alps. It was a misty, raining day.....again. As luck would have it, the pass was open for traffic as the sky cleared and the rain/snow stopped, and we didn't have to drive through the tunnel which would have obscured all views of the Alps.
This was one day I was glad that I wasn't sitting at the front of the bus. I came prepared with my Dramamine, and I could have made some big bucks had I wanted to sell them. I became everyones best friend until the pills ran out.
Again, I've run out of adjectives. Majestic. Spiritual. Astounding. The whole bus became quiet. The chatter ended as we pulled over to exit the bus. (Maybe we were just speechless and thankful that we were on solid ground after the harrowing journey up the steep mountian road.)
This shot is looking into Italy.
There is an order of monks that live at the top of the pass year-round and raise.....you guessed it....Saint Bernard puppies. The monks have taken a vow of silence so they must train the dogs with hand signals. The puppies were not in their kennels, as they have to be moved to lower elevations for the winter. Saint Bernard is the patron saint of travelers, and he took excellent care of us on this incredibly windy, mountainous road into Italy.
We arrived at the ancient town of Aosta for lunch and shopping.
It was hard to get my head wrapped around the ancient Roman ruins. My gosh, such history took place right where we were standing.
From Aosta, we drove to Chamonix, France. The clouds parted just long enough for Joe to snap a picture of Mont Blanc.
This is the size of some of the bells that the cows wear. Our guide jokingly said the bells make the cows eat more since they pull their heads down closer to the grass. We brought a bell home in our carry-on luggage. We stuffed newspaper around the clapper so we wouldn't jingle all the way home! Airport security and customs officials have absolutely no sense of humor. They are downright gruff.
The French Alps.
The trip was magical, mystical and amazing. It was everything I ever imagined and more. There is a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow.