New Years in the Aletsch Arena, Switzerland

For a peaceful transition from 2016 to 2017, we decided to unplug for the weekend and retreat to the mountains. We had planned a relaxing New Years in a rustic wooden hut above the town of Riederalp, situated at the end of the Aletsch Glacier UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to Europe’s largest and most powerful glacier,…

The island of colors: Milos, Greece

  We flew into Athens and stepped in line to board the SeaJets ferry for the three-hour journey from Piraeus Port to Milos, just a few stops short of Santorini. After a year of deliberating and planning, we were finally on our way to meet our old friends Theodoris, YuFang, Lucas, Sarah, and Allison’s brother Nate for a week-long reunion in Theodoris’s…

Rochers Des Naye, Switzerland

It’s a challenge to spend an entire weekend in Geneva when there are so many beautiful places just a short train ride away. Rochers Des Naye is one such place, recommended to us by a Swiss couple we met in a mountain hut, and makes for an easy 1.5 hour daytrip from Geneva. I caught an early train to Montreux, hoping to set…

Lake Oeschinen, the most beautiful lake in the Alps

It was still early morning when I arrived in Kandersteg on the last summer hiking weekend of the season, a thick blanket of clouds masking any sign of the enormous peaks that I knew were lurking all around me. A humble hiking mecca in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland, Kandersteg lies just on the other side of the mountains from Rick Steve’s beloved Gimmelwald and is reminiscent of the…

A wine hike under the three suns of Switzerland’s Lavaux Vineyards

Any wine lover should immediately head to the north shores of Lake Geneva where one of Europe’s best-kept secrets lies waiting: the timeless Lavaux Vineyards. Just an hour from Geneva by train, Lavaux is the largest contiguous vineyard region in Switzerland, covering 800 hectares between Lausanne and Vevey, and has been protected as a UNESCO…

Stairway to heaven: day hike to Lac Blanc

  My best friend Laura was in town, and I wanted to plan a weekend adventure befitting of nearly 20 years exploring the world together. Hiking around Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe, seemed the obvious choice. Sitting at over 15,770 feet with magnificent valleys stretching into France, Italy, and Switzerland, the Mont Blanc…

Life in the Alps: a weekend in the Swiss National Park

Switzerland’s remarkable landscapes demand immediate action – grab your boots, jump on a train, and hit the trails. And perhaps nowhere deserves a visit more than the Swiss National Park, a relatively off-the-grid destination that bundles everything the country has to offer into a compact 170 sq km pocket of nature. With a three-day weekend ahead of us, we packed…

A week in Provence

The Provence painted by Van Gogh and Cézanne is a dazzling palette of richly colored scenes. More than a century later, nothing has changed. A region famous for its pastis and pétanque, rolling fields of purple lavender, storybook hilltop villages, and picturesque markets, Provence offers so many enchanting landscapes and experiences that it would take a lifetime to uncover them all. We had a week. On…

Castles and wine: roadtripping along the Rhine and Mosel, Germany

To me, there is nothing more exciting than being in a new place, surrounded by a state of complete unknown. On the edge of a frontier tempting exploration. Like listening to a Bo Diddley song: you’re legs just have to move. To my dad, there is nothing more overwhelming; yet, almost the day I moved to Europe he…

At the edge of civilization: Torla and the Pyrenees

Rick Steves missed this one on his best of Europe list. The tiny Pyrenean-style stone village of Torla, Spain has quickly become one of my favorite places in the world.  Torla is tucked away from civilization in a glacial valley in the Spanish province of Aragón and was quite appropriately chosen as one of Europe’s 10 Coziest Mountain Villages, managing to retain its…

Food and wine adventures in Spain: The Mugaritz and Rioja experience

Summoned by the allure of the culinary experience of a lifetime, Mugaritz, named one of the world’s 17 restaurants worth planning a trip around by Travel and Leisure, coaxed me back to San Sebastian‘s  enchanting beaches and tapas-laden streets for the second time in a year. We had tried to make a reservation at Mugaritz last September, but despite booking 5 months in advance there were no tables available. As…

Between the cows: painting a picture of Switzerland

This was destined to be an epic journey. One of my dearest friends and travel companions for the past 19 years, Katie, was coming to visit and we had planned a train trip across the country. From Geneva we would stop in the dazzling and fabled towns of Montreux, Gruyere, Lucerne, and Appenzell before arriving at our ultimate destination: Berggasthaus Aescher, the current…