Thursday, September 24, 2009

One Year in Córdoba

Today marks our one-year anniversary in Córdoba. We left the United States from New York´s JFK Airport on September 15, 2008, and arrived here on September 24, 2008. I never thought we'd ever be out of the United States for an entire month, let alone an entire year. It's been a year of ups and downs, of joys and traumas, of unexpected problems and unexpected blessings. We'll be back in the USA next year, but I have a feeling we'll never be the same.

Return to Switzerland

During our few days in Switzerland in June and July, we had lots of rain. Everything was beautiful, but we would have liked to have more time to explore. Upon the recommendation of the locals, we came back in September. Good recommendation. We didn’t avoid the rain completely….that would be a lot to ask in Switzerland…but in our week there, we had two gloriously clear days and four overcast-but-with-nice-temperatures days. In my book, that’s pretty darned good. See the pictures at

To maximize the number of new places we visited, we took a different route this time, flying into Zürich and driving a rental car through Lucerne and on to Lauterbrunnen. The northern part of Switzerland is green and hilly and pretty, but it´s in the south that you see the magnificent Alpine scenery. We stayed at the same hotel where we stayed in July, although a different room. It had all of the expected luxuries, except a shower! There was a handheld sprayer in the bathtub, so we were able to make do for the week. I didn´t complain….much.

The Jungfrau area doesn´t have the highest peaks in Europe (those are in the Caucasus), or even in the Alps, but it does boast the Jungfraujoch, the highest railroad station in Europe at 3,454 meters (11,332 feet). From the Jungfraujoch, you can go walking across a glacier to Mönchsjochhütte, one of those pleasant mountain hüttes, where you can have a drink while enjoying the mountain scenery. That’s a civilized way to go hiking….take the train or the cable car up to the high places, and then walk along relatively level trails. It felt a bit strange to enjoy views from the peaks without having to sweat to get there. Another nice view was from the Schilthorn, where they’d just finished filming the latest James Bond movie.

During most of the week, there was good visibility in the valleys, but the mountain peaks were in the clouds. This created an interesting sensation when ascending in the cable cars…you’re enjoying a beautiful view, and then suddenly it’s as if you’re inside a ping pong ball.

This trip seems to have marked the transition from summer to autumn in Córdoba. When we left, it was over 100⁰F and we had the air conditioner running. When we returned, it was 70⁰F and raining. Wow.