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Nathanael Martin 

In September 2018, I finally fulfilled a long-time dream to explore the beautiful Alps in the heart of Europe. I flew into Munich and drove down to Salzburg to start my tour, exploring the city and lake district, then drove down to Halstatt and through the country toward the border of Italy. It rained most of my first day there, but then started improving. I wasn't able to see any of the Austrian Alps, but it was still really beautiful. Halstatt is absolutely stunning, well deserving of its reputation as the most photographed place in Europe.


From Halstatt I made my way to the border of Italy where I began exploring the amazing Dolomites. I started with a six mile hike around Tre Cime di Lavaredo, a stunning set of peaks with a lot of World War I history. Afterward, I drove to the tiny village of Santa Magdalena, a quiet and peaceful place with one of the most incredible mountain backdrops I've ever seen. After a night in charming Ortesei, I spent the second day exploring Selva di val Gardena. This unbelievable area was chosen by National Geographic as the cover shot for their Greatest Landscapes book, and it truly deserved that honor.


After Italy I drove north and spent a day in Bavaria, southern Germany. This region is famous for its castles and forests including Neuschwanstein and Linderhof, as well as the charming village of Oberammergau where the world famous passion play has been performed every 10 years since 1634.


From Germany I spent a night in Vaduz, an alpine village in the tiny kingdom of Liechtenstein, then spent a full day exploring my way across Switzerland. This is a truly incredible country with so much beauty and I definitely only scratched the surface. Fiesch was a highlight, where I rode a cable car up to Eggishorn, a peak overlooking the largest glacier in Europe. It was mostly cloudy but I caught some incredible light there with a panoramic view of the glacier and a rainbow! I spent that night in Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn and the next morning visited Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, the highest cable car station in Europe, as well as Gornergrat, the highest open air railway station in Europe. Truly stunning views from both locations. The next two days I spent a bit further north in the magical Lauterbrunnen valley. This is classic Switzerland, and definitely one of the most beautiful places on earth.


After Lauterbrunnen I spent my last two nights in Europe with a friend who lives west of Bern. He and his wife took me to see some sights near their area, then we took a day trip down to Chamonix in France, at the foot of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe. They are avid hikers like me so we covered a lot of territory in this incredible valley. Sadly, the best view of Mont Blanc…the cable car to Aiguille du Midi, was down for maintenance, but it was still well worth the visit!


I left Europe with more photos than I’d ever taken on a single trip before, and a real appreciation for the amazing beauty of this region. Definitely would like to go back and explore more in the future!

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