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Reflections of a sabbatical from Colin

A number of people have asked if I would write a piece about my sabbatical. It’s kind of them to ask. There’s not room for a long article, but I looked back at my diary and notes and thought you might be interested in one of my reflections on my Interrail Trip for the month of May, around Europe, with my lovely lady, Diane. I hope this gives a flavour:

The Alps: One of the most special aspects of the trip for me was the ever presence – at least in my mind – of the Alps. Whilst we only spent a relatively short period of our trip actually in the Alps, they always seemed to figure for me. As we set off initially, through France and the Black Forest, I felt that we were “en route” to the Alps and, soon after arriving in the beautiful town of Stein am Rhein, in northern Switzerland, my friend kindly took us to the hillside fortress café, where we gained our first view of the high15 mountains in the distance. Subsequently, our 6 train day journey through and over the Alps to Tirano, in Italy, was quite breathtaking (and a highlight in every sense) and even when we arrived further on in Lake Como, the Alps were there completing the spectacular background.

Admittedly, we then left the Alpine area to travel in northern Italy and Slovenia, but still the Alps did not seem so far away and always figured in our deliberations on the best route home (ultimately over the Brenner Pass into Austria). They reappeared, in view, once we reached Bled, with its magical lake, in Slovenia, and soon we were in the Dolomites, in Austria, which are part of the Alpine range and we enjoyed some lovely walks amongst the mountains, including a stunning walk from Zell am See – including the bar café, at 5,000 feet, open on their bank holiday, complete with marvellous views and friendly lederhosen-clad barman. Yet, further in our journey, the city of Salzburg, is beautifully back-dropped (with “a drop of golden sun”) by the not-so-distant mountains. When we arrived in Munich, it was not long before we were angling to get on the train to take us to the Bavarian Alps and even as we left Munich to travel north to Cologne, I was aware that the mighty Rhein, which we were alongside, and then boat tripping on, had risen in the Alps.

I’ll leave you with a final thought: I’ve noticed that the Interrail prices go down for the over 60’s. So I’m looking forward to continuing on in 2021! Here’s a photo of the view from the station at the top of the Bernina Pass.

Bernina Pass

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