Condor brought us from the wilds of the Yukon to the city of Frankfurt on a late summer day for our Great European Adventure of 2010.
How amazing that only nine hours later, we were there! Here is a sample of our travel journal.
Getting over the jet lag, we spent a few days visiting friends in Lahr, Germany. We toured the Black Forest, enjoyed watching the paragliders soaring at Kandel Mountain and sampled the local beer,Tannen Zäpple.
A detour to Strasbourg, France, where the old carousel, the cathedral, the ancient houses and the canals enchanted us.
We drove the famous Autobahn A5 to Switzerland, then along Neuchatel and Geneva lakes and through Montreux. We could clearly see the Alps gleaming on the horizon.
Soon after Martigny, we had a clear view of the Matterhorn! We ended our day in Sion, located in the upper reaches of the Rhône River, nestled in the mountains. We could see roads, villages and vineyards high up the mountains.
PHOTOS: Sylvie Léonard
The Chateau de Tourbillon, and the Valère Fortress dominate the older part of town and offer a contrast to the new architecture. We hiked along the Sion Bisse, a trail along a narrow canal bringing water from the glaciers to the vineyards with no guardrail and many steep drops.
Depending on the season and the day of the week, hikers can stop at wineries and sample the wines. The rest areas along the way create the perfect spot to enjoy a lunch of local cheeses, produce and fresh baguettes to accompany a bottle of Fendant, the local white wine.
The next day saw us take the direction of Evolène, a traditional Alpine village located in the Vald’Hérens.
The village has historical log houses and even a five-storey highrise, which made us feel right at home!
The twisting mountain roads with hairpin turns are paved. Every twist and turn brought another view of the valley and mountains, each more amazing than the last.
The third portion of our journey took us from Sion, Switzerland, to La Morra, Italy, through the Great St Bernard Pass, to Turino, Asti and Alba.
The Italian side of the Alps and the Aosta Valley brought more scenic views as we made our way from the pass to the farmlands to the hills and the wine area of the Piedmont.
We stayed in a B&B in a working winery in the village of La Morra, in the Langhe area. Breakfast was a daily feast of fresh local specialties. We could pick figs fresh from the trees just off our balcony.
The hilly valley covered with vines, the mist rising in the morning, the old town of Barolo in the distance met our vision of Italy. Thenebbiolo grapes of the area produce the amazing great dames of Italian red wines, Barolo and Barbaresco.
The fourth part of our journey saw us make our way from La Morrato Marseilles, France. We drove through the western portion of the Alps, with a stop in Gap and Aix-en-Provence.
Marseilles brought the big city traffic, the Mediterranean, the French culture, food and wines. A day trip to Cassis saw us drive by Cap Canaille, and a boat ride along the Calanques brought the fascinating contrast of the white limestone cliffs, the blue sky and the sea.
The final stop of our journey was in Kintzheim, Alsace, where we stayed in an 11th century former convent surrounded by colourful half-timber houses. The grape harvest for the tasty riesling wine was in full force. What an amazing experience!
We closed the loop and made our way back to Frankfurt. Tired but happy, we flew home safely on Condor.
And through the magic of time zones, we arrived a half hour after we left!