January 2014: time for a winter getaway, but where to? In previous Januarys we'd shivered on Waikiki (the hotel had AC but no heat), needed a jacket along the border from Arizona to Texas, and felt no urge to go in the water on Anguilla. Clearly the only place to experience summer in January is in the southern hemisphere—but we didn't want to go there.
So forget about trying for summer; a simple change of scene would do, and an Amtrak ad made us realize we'd always wanted to take an overnight train trip. For us who live in Boulder the nearest Amtrak station is in Denver, with trains going to Chicago and San Francisco. No contest which one we'd pick, San Francisco being warmer.
Amtrak's website showed the fares for either coach or roomette. Coach was temptingly cheap, but we really wanted the bed experience so booked a roomette: $1089.60 total for the two of us, for a round-trip (split up by a week in S.F.). You leave Denver early the first morning, and arrive in S.F. around dinner-time the following day. It's a good deal, as the roomette price covers all meals on the train (coach fare does not).
In September 2014 we went hiking in Grindelwald, Switzerland—for the eighth time. It's the best place for hiking we've ever found. The scenery is spectacular, the trails well-maintained, and there's every level of hiking from easy to terrifying. At each trail intersection a cluster of yellow signs tells the number of stunde (hours) to the next destination. There's no wind. Mountain restaurants located at strategic spots allow you to relax on a deck with beer and rosti while admiring the view.
But before going any further into the hiking aspect, one must consider where to stay. Switzerland is expensive. On our first three trips we stayed in hotels and ate in restaurants, before wising up: the thing to do is rent an apartment, have lunches at the mountain restaurants, and breakfast and dinner at home. Home!--it's so much nicer than a hotel room anyway, to have a living room and separate bedroom, a dining table on which to spread out all the brochures and maps, and a kitchen where you can make whatever you want.
Here's the website where you can find your dream apartment: