In 2012, we committed ourselves to travel extensively. Part of that time––3 months––was spent driving through Europe. Our journey commenced in Paris where we leased a vehicle that was new from the factory. There were many highlights in some 44 different locations. Here are a few of these:
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
From the eastern part of Italy, it is a short drive to the northern part of Croatia. Surprisingly, the A1 Motorway in Croatia is a beautiful road that is as good as any other in the western Europe. After a short distance, we veered eastward on country roads through outback Croatia, littered with minefields and shrapnel-hole covered houses––a leftover from the war of the 1990’s.
In this thinly populated area lies the Plitvice Lakes. This beautiful area was classified as a World Heritage site. There are 16 lakes that descend through the hilly, mountainous landscape in a stair-step or cascading fashion. Through naturally occurring dams caused by an accumulation of limestone or dolomite, algae and mosses, a wonderful array of waterfalls connect each lake to the next.
Grotto Gigante, Italy
Rome, Venice, Tuscany; these are all places on most people’s bucket list. Grotto Gigante in the suburbs of Trieste is not. When we arrived at the entrance of the cave, we couldn’t believe that there was only one other couple there.
The a cave of enormous proportions. We had to climb down 500 steps to reach the lowest portion
of the cave, but we were still not down to the bottom. The depth of the cave is 120 metres, with a total volume in excess of a million cubic metres. It used to be the largest tourist cave in the world. One of the stalagmites is 12 metres high. Our descent into the cave was stunning! The stairs were into the walls of the cave and when we looked over the edge near the top, it was quite scary. We wondered how they managed to build them in the first place. It is a place to visit if you are fit enough to handle the steps.
The Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe
Located near the Swiss town of Lauterbrunnen, the Jungfraujoch is simply one of the most stunning sights in the Europe! A cogwheel train runs inside the Eiger, one of the most famous mountains in the world. The trip through the tunnel took 50 minutes with two stops (still in the tunnel). It finally arrived at the highest railway station in Europe and what awaited us was awesome. . We had a 360-degree panoramic view of the Eiger, the Monck and the Jungfrau mountains at an altitude of 11,333 feet, with the 20 kilometres long Aletsch Glacier before us. One had to marvel at this engineering feat that took 16 years complete.
After lunch, we went for a walk along a snow trail on the edge of the Eiger, admiring the sights and hearing the sound of mini avalanches coming down the mountain every so often. We also met a man from Perth while on the walk that shouldn’t have surprised us anymore.
Magic Fountain Of Montjuic – Absolutely Magical
Where can you go to a two and a half hour free concert and be treated to a spectacular light, colour and water show? The place is in Barcelona, and this alone is worth the cost of coming to this great city. The show is put on four days a week during the summer months.
The National Art Gallery is a backdrop to the fountain. At 9:00 pm the fountain erupted in a great display, synchronized to music, initially classical then rock interspersed with more classical. As the evening wore on, the colours were terrific with pale pink to blues, reds and yellows. The show went until 11:30 pm with periodic interruptions in the music. There were several thousand people, including families, watching the spectacle and everyone was well behaved, with no drinking at all––at least not alcohol. It all contributed to a wonderful experience.
Editor’s Note: Dr Adele Thomas, semi-retired medical doctor and Dr Ely Lazar, retired chiropractor, are on a new mission as the Passionate Retirees. They are dedicated to inspiring the over 50s to live fulfilling and adventurous lives, so that “the twilight years will be the highlight years”. Their book, “Travel Secrets For Seniors” was released in early 2014. With more than 80 years combined of professional experience, their articles, books and workshops cover a range of topics from travel, health, relationships, sexuality and finances for seniors.
“Adele and Ely have always impressed me with their exceptional knowledge, professionalism and positive attitude. Mention their name and the one word that always comes up is respect.” – John Ross, Master Networker