I feel fantastic when we are in Europe and able to remain in one place to establish a routine. We walk everywhere, and I cannot get enough of that crisp, cold, Alpine air, fresh, vibrant food at the daily markets, a quick workout, and a sauna visit . I love the slow-ness in the small towns, the lingering over long meals and simplicity of life there.  I try to recreate that at home as much as possible, but everything here seems rushed and hurried. Maybe the American culture is to blame…parents rushing their kids from activity to activity, worker bees rushing to go work, then rushing to go home, living for the weekends, trying desperately to create more hours in a day to get all the things done.

less = more

When was the last time you actually sat in silent meditation in nature and slowed down to notice the details,  I mean the bees buzzing, the birds singing, the sunshine on your face?

Yeah, I cannot recall either! I know I am guilty of not doing that enough …

But I am learning that you don’t have to travel too far to find that simplicity and relaxation. It can be  something you create.

Cassis, France

Bonnieux, France

Gruyeres, Switzerland

Bad Tolz, Germany





Gemutlich. It means “comfy” in German.

We woke up each morning for 2 weeks  in Bad Tolz Germany and made ourselves a huge  breakfast of local meats and cheeses, fresh quark, nutella, rolls and coffee with the CNN World News on as white noise. From the living room you could  see out onto the balcony, looking out to a  green pasture, picturesque  German cottages, the Isar River to our left and old German folks doing their morning exercise on the walking path next to the local gym.

Just a 10 minute brisk walk away was the Marktstrasse, bustling with locals picking up their daily bread and meats and cheeses and schoolchildren making their way to class each day.

I can see why my mother-in-law finds it hard to leave her hometown each time she visits. It is paradise.

Bad Tolz is centrally located right near Garmisch, as well as the Italian and Austrian borders, so we did not have to drive far to explore!


Germany: Local saunas and bads, the Zugspitze,  Lake Tegernsee, Neushwanstein Castle, Skiied the Braunig, 3 hockey games, hiked to the Kalvarienberg and along the River Isar, celebrated Fasching with the locals, cappuccinos and cake at Cafe Volkland

Austria: hiked in and around Seefield, and drove through Innsbruck

Switzerland: After driving through 7 hours of tunnels and high mountains and azure lakes, we made it to Lauterbrunnen at the base of the Jungfrau. We took the a cable car up to the tiny village, Gimmelwald, and stayed in Esther’s guesthouse  for 2 nights.  Both towns are completely car-less and 5000+ feet up on the mountainside and truly magical. I felt like I was in this little fairytale for 3 days.

So, just to let you get  feel for how spectacular this place is, let me describe how we got from point A to B , from Gimmelwald to Murren…by …SLED!

Here is a 4 minute video Larsen took with the camera attached to the front of his sled while sledding down to Gimmelwald. It was about 1.5 miles long and towards the end you will see the village. Enjoy!


The Epic Sled Ride