Destination: Switzerland

Photo You Must See: Soaring Over Engelberg

Photo You Must See: Soaring Over Engelberg REUTERS/Michael Buholzer
REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

A ski jumper flies through the air while training for the ski jumping World Cup in Engelberg, Switzerland.

Photo You Must See: Catching Air in Switzerland

Photo You Must See: Catching Air in Switzerland REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

A snowboarder performs a jump during a halfpipe event at the Snowboard World Cup in Saas Fee, Switzerland.

Video We Love: Gliding Down the Eiger

European Flesh and the American Prude

European Flesh and the American Prude Alexandra Beier/Reuters

Exploring Europe, exploring travel as a political act

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Moon-Gazing Around the Globe

Full moon over London Photos by cybea via Flickr (Creative Commons)

From Puebla to Paris, 12 photos by moonstruck world travelers

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Martigny, Switzerland

A traveler from Vietnam poses with Saint Bernard Salsa, at the Great Saint Bernard mountain pass.

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The Morning After: Breakfast at Balmer’s

The Morning After: Breakfast at Balmer’s Photo by Terry Ward

Terry Ward explores a travel rite of passage in Interlaken, Switzerland

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Dhani Tackles Poetry: ‘Dust From a Tree’

Dhani Tackles Poetry: ‘Dust From a Tree’ Adam Fish/Travel Channel, L.L.C.
Adam Fish/Travel Channel, L.L.C.

NFL linebacker and Renaissance man Dhani Jones hosts the new Travel Channel show, Dhani Tackles the Globe.

Like any good Renaissance man, he’s writing poems inspired by the travel experiences featured on each show.

The topic of tonight’s journey: Switzerland.

Dust From a Tree

I step without sound…
Tip toe to be exact…
To silent it is…
Meandering about I encircle my challenger to ease my pain I speak quiet voices of speech…
I wrestle the unconscious thoughts of calamity reaching a Meringen paradise…
Quietly for the chance to understand and kneel before those who have done more I implore…
An aroma of clarity enters my mind, I hear the rushing water of the alps behind me as I grab a hold…
Adjusting my grasp gently tilting my head I catch a glimpse of cheese and wonder what I’m doing…
Shall I dip or will I fondue the moment…
From where my help comes from I reach to the rainy sky and let out a sigh of relief…
A second later my mouth full of dust from the trees is full and I am home…


Take a Peek Inside ‘World’s First Zero-Star Hotel’

Last month, we reported on the Null Stern Hotel, Switzerland’s fallout shelter-turned-budget hotel that’s set to open early in 2009.  The Wall Street Journal recently joined some volunteer guests for the hotel’s test run, and a slideshow features the sneak peek inside the former bunker: Gourmet cuisine? Nope. Private showers? Nope. Protection from nuclear fallout? But of course!

Nuclear Bunker Converted Into ‘World’s First Zero-Star Hotel’

Photo by Fortyseven via Flickr (Creative Commons).

I’m not really sure staying in either a nuclear bunker or a zero-star hotel sounds like a super tempting vacation plan, but folks in Sevelen, Switzerland have embraced the concept, turning an underground bunker into a hotel complete with “artistic decoration and real hotel duvets.”

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The Alphorn: It’s Not Just for Swiss Shepherds Anymore

In fact, one 25-year-old jazz musician from Solothurn likes to play Prince, Amy Winehouse and Miles Davis on the 12-foot folk instrument—an act that has ruffled the feathers of Swiss traditionalists used to puffing out tunes like “With the Cows” and “On the Sheep’s Meadow.”

Eliana Burki, who fell in love with the alphorn at age 6, used to practice on a piece of garden hose affixed with a mouthpiece because her parents wouldn’t buy her a horn. Now an alphorn master, she’s played at trade fairs, shopping centers and concert halls in Ecuador, India, Germany and Taiwan, The Wall Street Journal reports, and now, she will be teaming up with Queen’s former producer to put out an album.

Switzerland Tops World Economic Forum Tourism Rankings

Austria and Germany took the second and third spots in the annual Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index. The index measures 14 factors in an attempt to pinpoint which countries have the most “conducive environments for developing the travel and tourism industry.” Here are all the rankings. (via Jaunted)

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* U.N.: Iceland Rocks. Sub-Saharan Africa? Not so Much.

The Road to Happiness

Frank Bures gets lost in Eric Weiner's "The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Place in the World"

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Longest Overland Tunnel Opens in Switzerland

Photo of Switzerland’s Jungfrau Railroad by d’n'c via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

Switzerland loves its tunnels nearly as much as its timepieces, so I wasn’t surprised to learn that the country crowned the world’s longest on Friday. The AP reports the 21-mile rail link will cut train travel between Germany and Italy from 3 1/2 hours to less than two. The opening of the $3.5 billion Loetschberg Tunnel after eight years of construction is good news for Swiss locals, who hope it will ease heavy truck traffic in their mountainous land.

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Nicolas Bouvier: ‘Switzerland’s Answer to Jack Kerouac’

That’s some high praise, and it’s Rory MacLean’s take on the Swiss writer who died in 1998. An English translation of Bouvier’s book “The Way of the World,” about the 19 months the author spent traveling through Europe and Asia with a friend in a Fiat in the 1950s, has just been published in the UK.

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