Not Our Usual Landscape

Posted on August 12, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

Vacations have always been somewhat of an enigma to me. On the occasions we were able to get away from work responsibilities for a few days, vacation time was usually seizing a rare opportunity to visit with family. The few times we went to the beach or mountains were never real escapes from the emergency phone calls, demands of public relations crises and the temptation to clear a full email inbox. The result was arriving home exhausted to face a mountain of accumulated work demanding attention.

NotUsualLandscape-1So, our two weeks in the Alps of Austria and Switzerland was that elusive vacation  experience of long walks in alpine villages, unlimited meditation and devotional times by a lakeside vista and a delightful schedule-free itinerary of not having to be anywhere or see anyone at any particular time. The quaint bed and breakfast accommodations were not always the luxury of a Holiday Inn, and we had to tolerate the discomfort of unusual summer heat without AC. However, the scenery was enchanting and the amenities of breakfast with an unbelievable variety of bread and cheese will long be memorable.

NotUsualLandscape-2Managing European traffic was a challenge as I had to drive faster than I have ever driven in trying to stay in the flow on the autobahn and was still passed by BMWs, Audis and Peugeots flying by. Our rental station wagon served us well; with a six-speed manual transmission I felt like I was in a road race shifting up and down around hairpin curves on the scenic rural mountain roads.

NotUsualLandscape-3After stops in Garmisch in German Bavaria, Sound of Music country in Salzburg and a couple of days of cultural highlights in Vienna, our final few days were spent in Innsbruck in Western Austria and Interlaken in Switzerland with a stopover in historic Lucern. Photos feature some of our favorite settings.

NotUsualLandscape-4The first is the lakeside village of Hallstett, between Salzburg and Innsbruck followed by  a candid from an entertaining Austrian folk show in Innsbruck. Others include various mountain views and the peaks of Jangfrau, above Interlaken, one of the highest in Switzerland. (Those into trivia will be aware that the peak of the Mattherhorn is actually across the border in the Italian alps, though accessible from Switzerland.

NotUsualLandscape-5For a couple of weeks time stood still, we were in another world and enthralled by a landscape and panorama far different from down home in Mississippi! But it is always good to get back home where one belongs. No bed is ever as comfortable as your own and no scenery as pleasing as your own backyard. Sipping coffee in the porch swing early in the morning in Clinton, Mississippi was better than the most beautiful lakeside mountain vista in Switzerland! [More photos will follow next week.]

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