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by Jim Humberd
It was a resplendent morning, clear as a bell, in Chamonix, France. Our early morning ride in two different cable-cars took us part way up the mountain called Aiguille du Midi. Then we walked through a tunnel to an elevator that took us the rest of the way to the top. The snowy splendor of the jagged shapes of the needles, the sharp ridges, and rounded summits of these mountains, was staggering.
The Norwegian fjord coast ranks with the most beautiful scenery we have seen anywhere. A fjord is an inlet, or a bay, extending inland, generally bordered by steep cliffs. The roads went through small natural rock tunnels with no lights, but many had curves with little room to maneuver when we met a large vehicle. From Trondheim to Bergen the road ended at the water's edge several times. After 20 minutes or so, a boat would appear, and off we would go. Sensational scenery.
At the Plitvica National Park (near Zagreb, Yugoslavia) sixteen lakes are connected by thousands of little, hundreds of medium, and dozens of large waterfalls. We rode in a large set of trailers, pulled by a huge tractor, several miles up a twisty road, to the highest lake. Then we walked down the hill on the four foot wide wooden pathway that meandered over lakes, under waterfalls, through the Plitvica forest, up and down some steep ramps and stair steps, and most of the time that slippery wooden walkway had no hand rail. A scary walk through a gorgeous natural treasure!
One hundred miles east of Munich, Berchtesgaden and Obersalzberg are surrounded by outstanding mountain scenery. Passengers ride the Bundespost(post office) bus, the only vehicle authorized to drive the last several miles of this narrow, twisting road. A quarter mile walk into a tunnel, then a 400-foot ride in a large elevator paneled in very bright and shiny brass and copper panels, brings one to Kehlsteinhaus, formerly Hitler's Eagle's Nest. The scenic view from the valley floor, from the parking lot near the elevator entrance, or from the Eagle's Nest, was absolutely magnificent.
We've been here five different years, and each time we have visited Berchtesgaden it has rained and rained. Of course if it wasn't for all the rain, the countryside wouldn't look nearly so nice as it will if we ever get here when it isn't raining.
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