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Here you can find a short overview of the trip we took to Switzerland and Italy from the 11th of July 2004 till the 1st of August 2004. The photos will give an impression of the things we've seen.

Sunday July 11th
Today was a complete driving day. After having packed all the stuff in the car we took off and ended up at around seven o'clock in Renchen, south Germany, where we took a hotel for €42 and had a nice south German meal.

Monday July 12th
We left the hotel relatively early so we arrived at Interlaken, Switzerland, in the middle of the day. We were planning to stay here for a couple of days and walk around in the mountains here, but it was drizzling when we arrived and the weather forecast was that it would be around 6° Celsius at night and snow above 1800 meter. We decided to drive on around the Jungfrau massive to Brig. We drove over the Gimselpaß, but because of very thick low hanging clouds and even hail there was not much to see. Further on, we crossed the Furkapaß where we could see the beginning of the Rhône glacier. On the way we visited some typical Walliser houses; wood on pools with a concrete foundation. We stayed at the camping of Brigerbad; over organised, but that's what you expect in Switzerland.

Tuesday July 13th
We drove around in the valley and paid a visit to several villages. In Brig the Stockalperschlosß was quite interesting. In Naters there was a beautiful little church, besides a macabre charnel house (bone house) with a macabre saying: "What you are, we were. What we are, you'll be." The village of Naters has one of the best preserved views of a typical Walliser town.

Wednesday July 14th
It was really beautiful weather today. We took the cable-lift to the Bettmeralp, which is a very sweet little village up in the mountains. We walked to the next cable-lift to take us even higher to the Bettmerhorn. From the Bettmerhorn we walked to Märjelensee past the Grosser Aletsch glacier; impressive and awesome. It was a beautiful and long hike past the glacier and back around, with a stop on the way for soup in a Gletscherhütte, back to the village of Bettmeralp to have an excellent but typical Swiss dinner in the last rays of the sun on a terrace: we had the famous Raclette (cheese fondue).

Thursday July 15th
We doubted whether we should stick to our plan to leave today to Florence, Italy, because it was again so beautiful weather. But the legs were a little bit sore of the walk of yesterday that we decided to indeed leave Switzerland. Through the Simplonpass and a great view fro Il Sempione, to Florence. In Florence we took the wrong exit and we ended up in the centre of the city in lots of traffic jams. After having doled around for an hour we finally end up on the right track and just a fraction later we arrive at Fiesole a small Etruscan village just outside Florence. We found ourselves a beautiful and very quiet spot, with just one disadvantage: we had to climb almost 100 steps before we could be at the wash/toilet building.

Friday July 16th
We parked the car in Fiesole and took the bus to Florence and got out near Basilica Santa Maria Novella. Through several shopping streets we went to the Duomo. The cathedral is very big and impressive. Inside it is a sober cathedral, which is in sharp contrast with the façade, and this makes it even more impressive. The dome (hence the name of the Cathedral) is the most impressive with the painting of Brunelleschi; we even climbed up to the dome, which is a must when you're there anyway. Back in Fiesole we took a small bus to the Festa de l'Unita organised by volunteers from the former social and communistic parties of Italy. It turns out to be an open eat festivity with cheap and excellent wines as well.

Saturday July 17th
Again we take the bus into Florence, this time we got out at the Basilica San Lorenzo. The Sagrestia Vechia decorated by Donatello was designed by, again, Brunelleschi. For one reason or another they never finished the outside façade of the Basilica. After lunch we paid a one hour visit to the Uffizi, which for us was more than enough, because the kind of art that is in there is not really our taste. Crossing the Ponte Vecchio, we climbed up to Piazzale Michelangelo to see one of the Davids and have an excellent view of the city. Then we walked back to the city and walked around some more to just absorb the beauty of this city in all its glory.

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