Subject: Ciao from Switzerland...

June 1997

Bon jour,

Here is my first attempt at an e-mail message to everyone from Euroland. Specifically, I am in Switzerland, which is quite nice this time of year – or so I have heard. Currently it is raining, with snow threatening a 1000 meters above my head. However, the mountains of the Alps remain incredibly beautiful.

BTW - If you wish to be removed from this list, then I didn't really like you anyways...

I have just arrived here in lovely, expensive Suisse-Land from France.

Thus far I have had an excellent time traveling around since early May, beginning with a couple of weeks in Greece to relax after the arduous journey over :) and then several more weeks in Italia — which has proven much more beautiful and exciting than I had assumed. following Italia was a week in France on the Riviera of Cannes, Nice and Monte Carlo, in which I wrote the following blurb to share with you all...

I have made it to France. Predictably, they've folded up and the Víche French have given in. Actually, I am afraid to report a general friendliness towards me by the French, which is countering my general animosity toward them. I have decided to officially narrow my annoyance to Parisians, who still bug me at this point.

Otherwise, I've enjoyed traveling up from Roma, through Firenze (Florence) and surrounding areas, Venezia (Venice), Pisa (Pisa), and through the friendly Italian Riviera including the Cinque Terre area. Through Italia I battled the constant weight loss I have had with a wide assortment of wood-burning stone-cooked pizzas and local wines (chianti/Tuscany region) on a daily basis.

Now, I am battling the fatigue associated with lying on the sunny, rocky beaches of the French Riviera. French train strikes are ongoing but some trains still run. Unfortunately, I missed one of mine and spent an expensive yet happy evening in Monte Carlo with a lovely girl I was traveling with (also stuck) while my backpack and gear rested comfortably on my pre-paid hostel bed over in Cannes...

And lest you think (correctly) that I've spent most of my time staring at women in only one piece of traditionally two-piece bathing suits, I offer that I have also spent much time looking at ancient and famous art shit as well.

Moving away from the coast, I spent a few days with some people I met in a chalét in Chamonix, near Mont Blanc, Europe's highest peak, enjoying a clean bathroom with a view of glaciers and snow-capped peaks. This also made the experience a bit brisk, but no pain, no gain.

Now it is back out in the rain, which has finally caught me here in Switzerland, for some more mountain hiking and views, then on to Austria.