We'd like to share some of the photos we took as we explored all  three wonderful places.Our first stop was Cologne. Getting from the airport to the main train station was easy.  There's a rail station in Terminal 2 of the airport, just about three/four stops to the Haupbahnoff.  Next to the train station is the magnificent Cologne Cathedral (also called the Kolner DOM). Train ride from Cologne (along the Rhine River) to Lausanne went smoothly, but got off at the wrong stop (Bassel) before the supposed stop (Bassel SBB). Fifteen minutes later came the Ice Train and so I got to my next train connection just in time before departure.

Lausanne has a lovely cityscape, a juxtaposition of the old and new setting. Walking is a great way to reach different places.  See where your feet take you.  Besides, people are generous giving directions, a nice trait that you also find in Cologne. Asking for and listening to directions are good ways to practice your French. If they don't understand your question, just switch to French if you know it "Ou est le lac?" And you get this sense of relief on their part of being able to help you without struggling to understand you. "Ahh, le lac...(Ah, the lake...)" Interesting how people use both verbal and non-verbal communications. Crossing the streets is very safe; pedestrians always have the right of way unless there's a street light.  Posts have buttons for people to push if they want to cross the streets.Streets are nice to walk along in the evening; it's quiet and not crowded. Interesting learning experiences: taking trains, having your own food bag when going grocery shopping (at a main grocery store), water is a priced commodity, stores close after dark, but a number of restaurants are open. Also, you must have a number before getting in line in the post office.

Not far from Lausanne, about half an hour by train is the historical Chateau de Chillon (Town of Veytaux) shown in the background.  It's overlooking Lake Geneva (Lac Lemac) and facing the panoramic Alps which are still visible from the interior of the chateau. And if you're up for more inspiring walks, take the route by the water for another half an hour and you'll reach the town of Montreaux which has interesting up and down streets.

I joined John in Zermatt (car-free community) the end of his skiing trip. John and Peter (a friend from New York)  were with a German-speaking group. They skied through Zermatt's beautiful mountains with the view of the famous Matterhorn.  Zermatt slopes join Cervina, part of Italy, so John was able to ski the Italian side of the mountains.   Our dear friend Agnese also joined us in Zermatt and together, we visited the Glacier Palace with some ice sculptures and the Matterhorn Glacier (at 12, 736 ft/3883m.u.m)),  taking the highest ski lift in Europe.

We went back to Cologne on our way to New York and revisited the Cologne Cathedral. The Rhine River is not far away; you can have a nice stroll along. Around the cathedral is the famous Ludwig Museum which features classical modern art work.

Just great to be in Europe again and see other places on foot, by trains and by skis.

Click here to see snapshots of our trip