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mtaussig's picture

Toasting, to your health, the Swiss way

on Wed, 04/04/2012 - 09:58
Making a toast in Switzerland and the US

Today's Culture Clue comes from the "who knew" section of cultural lore.  We're sure you've had a "who knew?" experience.  It's when you're in a new setting, and there's a subtle rule difference from what you're used to.  As long as you don't know about it,you can remain reasonably blissful in your cluelessness.  But once you DO know....there's always a forehead slapping "Who knew!?" moment, when you realise that you were out of step with your surroundings....and perhaps wish you'd known. 

I spent about 8 years in the early days of Untours, living part of the season in our Untours' European

nickfortunatus's picture

How to Be a First Class Untourist in Switzerland: Ride Second Class Trains

on Tue, 04/03/2012 - 10:50
Riding second class trains in Switzerland with a Swiss Pass

If you're planning on taking a vacation in Switzerland anytime soon, make sure you take a moment to acquaint yourself with the fabulous Swiss train system. They are so convenient and far-reaching that you'll hardly ever miss your Prius while you're over there. In almost every instance, wherever you want to go in Switzerland, a train (or an easy bus connection) will get you there. So, step 1 at being an Untourist in Switzerland is to rely on the trains - don't rent a car.

Having heard that advice, and following it as the gospel (as you usually do :P), you may be tempted to check out Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (SBB - the Swiss rail system) online and buy some 1st class rail tickets for your trip.

Whoa, there. Hold the caboose.

mtaussig's picture

Jerry and Sandy Nolan...Untourists of the Century?

on Mon, 04/02/2012 - 09:35
Jerry and Sandy Nolan
Jerry and Sandy Nolan, having lunch with two former Untour staff, Marianne Rosa and Madeline Thöni.

With eighteen Swiss Untours under their belt, Jerry and Sandy must be exceeding the "Untourist of the Week" category.  During our interview for this peice, they kidded us that they think  "Untourist of the Month, Year, Decade, Century"  might be more like it!  We agree!

Here's where they've stayed...does anyone detect a trend?   

1997, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011: Chalet Steinli, Swiss Heartland

2009: Hermann Lower, Swiss Heartland

2008: Mirabelle, Alsace

2006: Alcaraz,

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: Poet's Corner

on Fri, 03/30/2012 - 10:03
Harry LeFever, poet from Media, PA wrote a poem about dementia

Foundation board member and theater enthusiast, Tom Hibberd, took some of us out last night to see Bruce Graham's most recent play, "The Outgoing Tide". With unexpected humor, the play spotlights a family dealing with Alzheimer’s.  

The experience reminded me of the following beautiful and haunting poem by Harry LeFever, who wrote about the dementia that eventually took his life. Harry was a dear friend of Hal and Norma's and was husband to foundation board member, Mary LeFever. He is dearly missed, and we are so grateful for his words.

nickfortunatus's picture

Québec City, according to Untourists

on Thu, 03/29/2012 - 10:15
Untours Quebec City, according to Untourists

As our month-long Québec City coverage comes to a close (and we prepare for Switzerland in April!), I'm sure you're tired of me blabbing on about Mad Men, poutine and funiculars (but, really, who could be tired of funiculars?!). And, since this is one of our newer Untours, I thought that sharing a few insights from other Untourists who have traveled to Québec City with us might liven things up a bit and help those who are on the fence to make the leap over. Please take a look at what some of our clients had to say about their Québec City Untour experiences.

nickfortunatus's picture

How Mad Men made me think about Canadian money

on Tue, 03/27/2012 - 10:48
Toonies and other Currencies of Quebec

I love Mad Men. In fact, I'm a bit of a junkie. When season 5 premiered this past Sunday, I couldn't have been more excited.

And, it was a scene with Roger Sterling, from Sunday's premiere, that has inspired my post today. In it, he pulls out a wad of cash and hands it to Harry Crane to settle an issue with Pete Campbell. The thing that struck me about it was that he was carrying $1,100 in his pocket.

mtaussig's picture

Untourists of the Week: Kurt & Jean Struckmeyer

on Mon, 03/26/2012 - 09:24
Kurt, Jean and Guy, the Untours onsite staff in Quebec

Kurt and Jean Struckmeyer have been on five Untours. (Alsace, Quebec AndalusiaHolland, Tuscany).  Four of their five Untours have been with their very good friends, the McKinneys. 

Tell us a little bit about your Québec Tour.

Our Québec Untour in 2009 was one of our favorites. We traveled with our good friends, Jill and Scott McKinney and stayed in a wonderful apartment on Rue St. Paul near the Marché, the farmer’s market.

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: Meet Tom Hibberd!

on Fri, 03/23/2012 - 10:02
Untours Foundation Board Member Tom Hibberd presenting an award to Fox 29's Sue Serio, on behalf of the Media Theatre

What Tom likes most about the foundation is its "uniquely optimistic idealism and heartfelt empathy."  Tom was and is a powerful force in our Fair Trade work keeping us moving at fast speed. He is Mr. Enthusiasm, for which we are most grateful every single day! Counter to what he writes below, he is indeed very cool! Here's more on Tom:

Mission statement:  To live a full life without too many regrets and very few "coulda, woulda, shouldas", appreciative of the opportunities afforded me. I want the epitaph to reflect that I knew how to live, enjoy life, and did so with enthusiasm.

nickfortunatus's picture

Untours Featured Property: Chapelière

on Thu, 03/22/2012 - 10:47
Notre-Dame-des-Victoires in Place-Royale, Québec City

If you're looking for a more cozy, private Québec City vacation, then you have to stay in the city's Lower Town section. It is a delightful maze of narrow cobblestone streets presided over by historic buildings and monuments. A stroll around the neighborhood leads you to Place-Royale, site of the famous Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church (as I mentioned last week) and the Centre d'intreprétation de Place-Royale, which tells the history of Québec through exciting exhibitions and hands-on demonstrations.