Submitted by V.M.
Lake Lucerne
My son and I decided to take a quick trip to Switzerland.  Upon arrival in Zurich, we immediately found our way across the drive to the airport shopping center. How convenient! Migros is the supermarket on site, full of great deals on inexpensive luggage, groceries, etc. This is good to know if you want to save money on food and not spend so much eating out. We took advantage of this store more than once on our visit. We then headed to the train station to get familiar with the transportation to our various destinations and then took the hotel shuttle to the Zurich Aiport Hilton. One thing we found interesting about the hotel shuttle is they played classic American music from the 80s and before. Public transportation is great in Switzerland.

Lake Lucerne - Covered Bridge Walkway
The weather was sunny and hot, much like back home in Georgia. After getting settled and dressing for sightseeing around lake, we took the train into Lucerne. Easy ride, and the lake was just across the street from the train station! The area was beautiful with plenty of shops and eateries all along the water front. We decided try some German (or Swiss German) food for lunch along with familiar dishes. The sour kraut was really good, and the macaroni/cheese/potato dish was incredible! We later found a place to try gelato for dessert.

Castle in the distance - Lake Lucerne
Lucerne is filled with many shops, cafes, hotels and other businesses along the waterfront and is only an hour by train from the Zurich airport station.  Everyone we encountered seemed to be enjoying themselves!  Off in the distance, we could see beautiful mountains and what appeared to be a castle perhaps.

Tuesday we took in some local sites - found our way to Old Town and the museum within walking distance from the Zurich Main Station. This time we found a great little cafe on the street. About this time, the breeze picked up making the weather perfect for dining outdoors. We had some weiner schnitzel, salad and fried potatoes. The salad included some type of cabbage/vinaigrette mix which made it even better!

Various gov't positions
The museum was rather interesting. There were many great artifacts from various historical events; however, if you visit, keep in mind the descriptions are written only in German (unlike the menus at the restaurants which offer an English translation).

After returning to the hotel, we decided to look around the grounds one last time before retiring for the night. To our pleasant surprise, we found a quaint little village up the hill and down the "jogging trail" with various crops including sunflowers, apple trees, and a vineyard along the path. We heard the traditional horn music coming from somewhere nearby. There was a tiny church, small cottages and what appeared to be some apartment homes. We passed some bikers and joggers along the way, and on the return we saw an incredible sunset in the midst of the clouds. This hidden treasure tucked away behind the hotel was one of the highlights of our trip.

Switzerland is a beautiful country with farms and cities intermingled throughout the countryside. The cows graze up on the hill side.

The people are very friendly, and most speak fluent English. There is something about the place that seems to breed youth and vitality. Maybe Switzerland has a secret fountain of youth? Everywhere we went, the people had so much energy walking all about or riding their bikes. We will definitely be putting Switzerland at the top of our list of favorite vacation destinations!

Easter Weekend in L.A.

 - Submitted by Valorie McLain

My son, Nick and I decided to take a quick trip to the California Coast so he could get a glimpse, up close and personal, of the surfer life. 

We flew into LAX and decided to stay at Sheraton Gateway - a nice hotel, convenient to the airport, with a complimentary airport shuttle for guests.  After arriving, we were hungry but too tired to venture out to find food so late at night.  Room service to the rescue!

The next morning we contemplated taking a guided tour of the city or renting a car and driving up the coast.  We decided, instead, to be economical and take the Ocean Express shuttle, which makes several stops in the local area, to Manhattan Beach.  Here we were able to see local shops and restaurants, a volleyball match, surfers in action and a school of dolphins!  It was a little too early for lunch, so we found a great little shop along the street for a quick bite to eat before heading back to the hotel to pack up to head home.

Although this was a very short visit, we enjoyed seeing the area and plan to return in the not-too-distant future.  Nick is thinking he may just live in Sunny California one of these days!

Be sure to check out the video clip below of the surfers.  :-)   


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- submitted by Wendell Scott

“…to all who come to this happy place - welcome.” ~ Walt Disney

And that I did, go to that happy place, twice. 

Disneyland opened its doors July 17, 1955, and it opened its doors to me this past weekend for the first time. I decided to take a little time off work and go visit the original magical place for the first time in my life. 

Performing for Walt Disney World, I had already been aware that an influx of pixie dust was waiting for me as I stepped onto Main Street U.S.A…but something different happened. I didn’t feel fantasy, but the reality of magic. I was walking on the same exact ground that Walt Disney once walked on. I was riding some of the attractions that Walt himself helped to design and create. I was walking in Walt’s footsteps. It was a very humbling and emotional experience for me that I will never forget.

Cheryl's Trip to D.C.

- submitted by Cheryl Addison

The Family Goes to DC

Our family trip (seven people) to Washington DC began early on a Saturday morning and continued full speed ahead until Wednesday afternoon when we boarded a flight at BWI for ATL. Whew, what a remarkable few days.

At Mt. Vernon we experienced a bit of life in the days of George Washington. History lesson…..Washington was a farmer and very progressive in seeking new and better ways to produce food crops which he shared with anyone in need. The issue of slavery was already being discussed and Washington, as a slave owner, struggled with how to bring slavery to an end.

Museums: Air and Space Museum (loved it), Museum of Natural History ( interesting but found it overwhelming), Museum of American History (loved the American exhibits), Holocaust Museum was so moving, definitely will spend more time there next visit. Spy Museum was a great break from American history for the two teenagers in the group. We did a night tour of Memorials which I highly recommend. It was so informative and just beautiful to see at night.

Arlington National Cemetery, the Changing of the Guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier very emotional. I left feeling very grateful for those who had given the ultimate sacrifice and fortunate to live in this great country.

Our Capitol tour became more that what we expected. Our guide of 26 years service at the Capitol found that my son in law is active army and invited us for a private tour. To walk the halls of that beautiful building, hearing not only the history of our country but the stories he had experienced during his career was the highlight of our DC adventure.

I returned with a since of pride in our great nation and a hunger for more history. I also was worn out! There is so much walking, walking and more walking. Words of advice: Book tours way in advance, some as much as 6 months. Familiarize yourself with the Metro, the only way to get around. Keep your schedule flexible so you can adjust your time at any one place. And oh, wear comfortable shoes.


- Submitted by JoAnn Johnson

Istanbul—the name alone sounds exotic and mysterious.  My friend and I spent several days there at Easter and loved it!  The spring flowers were in bloom which was an added bonus.

Must see attractions include:

Hagia Sophia – Church completed in A.D. 537.  Fantastically beautiful!  If you can only see one thing in Istanbul, make this it!

Topaki Palace – Wander the grounds at your leisure and drink up the beauty!

The Grand Bazaar – One of the largest and oldest shopping areas in the world—4000+ shops!  Try some Turkish Delight (candy)!

Mosque of Slueiman the Magnificent and the Blue Mosque – The minarets (towers from which the summons to prayer are cried) symbolize Istanbul.  Take a tour inside the mosques.

Cruise up the Bosporus Strait – Sit back and relax and view the many palaces, etc., along the way.  Sail under the bridge connecting Europe and Asia!

Cistern – A “different” type of attraction!  It’s an ancient underground water storage area!  Look for the two Medusa heads!

One of the best things about Istanbul, however, is there are CATS EVERYWHERE!

During this trip we felt completely safe.  The people were very friendly and many of them speak English.  Watch out for the taxi drivers trying to cheat you at the Grand Bazaar!

Country countdown for 2012:  Goal is to visit 8 new countries this year.   2 down.  6 to go.

Mia's Morning in the Simulator

Submitted by Mia Zeisig

This morning, I got to experience a rare treat that few people ever get to experience - a trip in one of Delta’s MD-88 flight simulators.  These are a major training tool for the pilots of DELTA and other airlines.  They must log at least 1500 flight hours in a simulator before they can get behind the controls of an actual plane with passengers on it.

The noises, lights, controls, alarms, and feel were all very real.  I took off from LGA (La Guardia airport in NY), flew around Manhattan, past the Empire State building, around the Statue of Liberty, over Central Park and then did an approach and landing back at LGA.  On take off, I followed the same flight path as the pilot who landed the plane on the Hudson.  It is pretty eye-opening to see that it was less than 45 seconds from take to the point where he landed the plane.  What great skill and technique he had!

I only crashed once—on landing—but it wasn’t my fault.  As co-pilot (and a rookie), I relied heavily on the pilot to set the landing gear properly and to instruct me on what to do.  I accidently landed nose-gear first and not the tail gear. Oops!!!   I was able to retry an approach and landing and nailed it the second time.  Score!!!! It was super exciting.

Two of my co-workers were there as well.  One flew into, around, and landed at IAD (Reagan International airport in Washington, DC).  We saw the Washington Memorial, the White House and the Capital Building.  The other flew into, around, and landed at SFO (San Francisco International airport in San Francisco, CA).  We flew around Alcatraz, over the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean.  We were able to select weather conditions—turbulence, winds, storms, cloud coverage—as well as time of day.  It made for some pretty awesome flying.

Attached are some pictures of me and the flight simulator.  Needless to say, I am so excited and loved flying.  It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.  I wish/hope I can do it again one day.