Outdoor Adventures: 2009
A good European trip includes more than a series of castles and museums. Europeans are into outdoor adventure, and many American travelers are finding fun ways to get wet, windblown and out of breath too. Any tips on outdoor thrills for mild-mannered back door tourists not packing ice axes? Share your favorite outdoor activity.
- Please don't post questions here. Use our Travelers Helpline.
We went to Bagnoregio Civita, which is Rick's favorite place in Italy. It was spectacular. We ate at a really good resturant at the base of the stairs. It was marvelous!
Collinsville, ok USA Sun 12/27/2009
Ballenberg Outdoor Museum
Ballenberg Outdoor Swiss Folk Museum near Brienze, near Interlaken has 100 buildings, some furnished for the time period. One can get some good, moderate hiking in the hilly terrain while enjoying the variety of old houses.Feathered foot chickens, cows, pigs,& goats were in natural settings. I bought a combo train and museum ticket at the Interlaken station for approx. $20. in Oct '09. Many exhibits, like the bee house, are for kids too.
Kittery, ME USA Fri 11/06/2009
Hiking in Europe
We are two 60 yr old women who travel to Europe every September to hike for a week in out of the way places. We use independent walking companies and have had wonderful experiences in Ireland, Croatia, Corsica, and Sardinia. We also love to visit cities at the end of our trips. If you want to meet Europeans on their holidays go walking; everybody in Europe seems to be a hiker.
Victoria, canada Fri 06/26/2009
Roman ruins just outside Vienna
We spent a glorious sunny day going around the various Roman sites about an hour's train ride outside Vienna. For about 14 Euros each (on top of our 'Wochencarte' weekly travel cards), we had a round trip on the train to Petronell and Bad Deutsch Altenburg. At the former we had lunch overlooking the ruins, then toured a reconstructed villa and merchant's house and watched work on the ruins of the baths. Bad Deutsch is about an hour's walk away (or a 5 minute train ride, but the trains only run once an hour) and there's no easy way to do it -- but it wasn't too bad, and the interesting amphitheatre and museum there made for an excellent close to our day. Not to mention that the museum is just inside a spa area which featured numerous cafes serving very welcome Eiskaffee and Eisschokolade. Yum! We returned to Vienna worn out but very happy.
Brussels, BELGIUM, Belgium Mon 06/22/2009
Amalfi Coast Hiking Recommendations--Trail of Gods/Valley of Mills/Torre dello Zirro
I couldn't find detailed information on some of the hikes on the Amalfi Coast I was interested in, so I thought I'd post my findings! My wife is not the greatest hiker in the world, so we focused our hikes on minimum effort and maximum scenery!
1. Trail of the Gods.
a. Map. Buy the Costiera Amalfitana #3 map from Cart&Guide--you can see the map and buy it on line at www.carteguide.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This was the best map I found in the area and was extremely detailed. The trail is pretty well marked, so the need for the map is minimal--maybe one or two turns where you'd really need to reference.
b. Route: www.giovis.com website is an excellent resource for all Sorrentine Peninsula hikes. Go here to get an idea of what you're doing! Based on his advice, we hiked the trail from East to West starting in Bomerano. We drove and parked next to San Matteo church--The trailhead begins here. Nice little town with a few cafes--free parking. The markings for the trail coming out of Bomerano are excellent—you literally can't miss it. The trailhead starts right outside of the Hotel Gentile, right next to the San Matteo Church. We then walked the route which was largely downhill (but at a gradual slope) and extremely beautiful to Nocelle where we picnicked next to the church, and then walked to Montepertuso. This walk took us 3 hours including the lunch break. We then took the stairs down from Montepertuso to Positano--another 20 mins down. This was a huge mistake--nothing but knee pounding, without much new or spectacular scenery. PAINFUL. If we were to do it again, we would have waited to eat until Montepertuso, then checked for when the local bus came which connects Nocelle-Montepertuso-Positano (they're not a SITA bus, it's a local line called Flavio Gioia--small orange/green buses) and eaten lunch while we waited (also several restaurants in town if you don't have picnic stuff). Take the bus, save your knees! I think it comes every hour or so...you can pop into a cafe or the small grocery in Montepertuso to see when it will come next.
Once back in Positano, we took the boat back to Amalfi, (which I found much more relaxing, and speedier than the coastal road), and then took the SITA bus which connects Amalfi-Agerola-Bomerano. You can get a schedule for this bus from the SITA website, or in the local TI. Throughout our journey, we never had any problem with buses--pretty much on time, and pretty easy to use. The entire circuit I describe above started ~8AM and we got back to our car at about 3PM. We had a very long (but relaxing and enjoyable) wait for the boat at Positano. I would recommend the above to everyone--it was an amazing day. My wife found the walk very manageable provided you have good shoes, some snacks, water, sunscreen and clothing layered if the weather is questionable. We are in our mid-40s and in reasonable shape.
2. Torre del Zirro/Valley of the Mills.
a. Map. We used a trail map provided by the TI in Ravello called 'Passeggiate Walks" It was excellent and free. Details plenty of walks in the area. Again, we didn't really need it except to double check we were on the right path—neither one of these trails is very well marked, so you kind of need to know where you're going, or ask a local. Again, excellent info at www.giovis.com.
b. Route: We drove to Pontone and parked in a small, free lot in town. We first went to the Torre del Zirro which is basically due South of the town. The trailhead starts next to the small church you pass on the main road as you head into town on your left. This walk has some stairs up and down, but nothing too horrible. The view from the tower is very much worth it—beautiful. I'd say the walk out and back with some time out by the tower takes about an hour and a half. We had a beer and rested for a while at one of the cafes in Pontone, and then walked Northwest out of the town to the bottom of the Valley floor to the old mills lining the stream, and then walked into Amalfi town following the stream. This was well marked once you got a little bit outside of Pontone—no map required. The walk into Amalfi took about 1.5 hours. All of it downhill. You can then catch a bus up to Pontone (SITA runs between Amalfi, Ravello, Scala and Pontone) if it's not Sunday or a holiday. (No buses on those days). We didn't know this when we did it, so ended up taking a cab back up to Pontone from Amalfi (rather than walk) and it was either 20 or 25 Euro—I can't remember. Lots of cabs in the main piazza by the beach. The walk down the valley was OK, but not nearly as breathtaking as the Torre del Zirro or the Trail of the Gods. Again, if you can walk moderate trails, and you have good shoes, you'll be fine—not terrible knee pounding, although the walk out to the tower has lots of stairs.
Bucyrus, OH USA Tue 05/12/2009