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Re: Your scarriest or scary moment Happened 3 years ago. In short me and my wife went rafting in an isolated lake without life vests (I'm a lifeguard and wsi) . The water was gushing very very fast. Suddenly we hit a branch that was floating there and our rafting tube/boat busted and we were thrown deep under the water. We didnt know that the branch on top was a huge tree under the water. After getting some deep scratches and cuts i quickly freed myself. When i swam back up i saw my wife was not there!!!!
In the end i pulled her up and after being hospitalized for a week she was okay

September 29, 2014, 11:46:36 PM
Re: Switzerland and Venice trip report Okay so I finally found some time to write a Trip Report on our trip last summer to Switzerland and Venice. I really had no reason or patience to write it as it’s harder to write than it sounds. But after reading other Trip Reports, I realized how helpful it is to other DDF’rs so I made the time to write it.

My wife and I went on this trip and we left our daughter behind. It was almost a 2 week trip. We heard from some people that Switzerland is boring and there is nothing to do there besides staring at mountains each day. A friend of mine even suggested visiting upstate NY as he doesn’t see any difference in the beauty of the mountains. How wrong they were! We couldn’t stop marveling at Hashem’s beautiful world. It’s magnificent! (Well, the truth is that Switzerland is a little tricky, because it rains a lot there and if most days that you are there rains, you are in trouble. We B”H  had picture-perfect weathers almost every day.) We took along our Panasonic LX5 camera and all photos are from what we took, we didn’t download any pictures that we didn’t take.

Switzerland is absolutely a gorgeous country and very suitable for tourists. It’s an extremely relaxing place with sky-reaching mountains and breathtaking views and crystal clear air! The Swiss culture is also impressive, with everyone trusting each other. We never saw a chained bike. No need to chain it. They are confident no one will steal it.

If you understand Yiddish, you’ll understand most of the language

There are three types of mountains there.
Green mountains – grass and trees
Grey mountains – stone
White mountains – snow
Each of them has its beauty and specialty. But there is one thing that you will find by all of them - water. On every mountain if you go a little away of the trail you’ll find the water which runs continuously with nice waterfalls every so often. And on the green mountains you will see the famous Swiss cows with the big bell hanging from their neck. I’m not sure who owns and takes care of them. The air on the high mountains is so pure, that I don’t understand how people breathe city air.

Cows roaming around on the green mountains

Waterfalls flowing at sides of the mountains

Train system
The Swiss train system is fantastic and very on time. I would recommend going with the train unless you travel with children, and besides, the train is nice and clean and no matter where you travel, you have nice sceneries. Someone gave us a train card that looks like a check, we paid $350 and got 7 days to ride the train unlimited, plus when not using the free days the card is a Halbtax which gives you half price to train, bus and most attractions in Switzerland. And by having that card, we didn’t need a car, so we had no worries about parking, gas etc. Additionally, with the train you get to your destination quicker. The price however is not cheap; a local tram or bus is about $8 but it gives you prompt and comfortable service.

We headed to JFK and took an A”A overnight flight to Zurich. We each took two luggage stuffed up till over max (of course  ;) ) with a lot of Kosher food. I’ve never flown with A”A before. I was very not impressed with the airline; they don’t even come close to Delta or United. Anyways, we arrived safely to Zurich and that was the main point

From the airport we went with a prearranged taxi to Engelberg. The way took 1.5 hours. The highways in Switzerland are very neat and nice, and all drivers strictly enforce the “left lane passing only” rule. Along the way, there were a couple of long tunnels that run under a mountain, and the views on the way were nice. The closer we got to Engelberg the nicer the mountains and the view became.

Engelberg is a nice town in a valley between huge mountains. It is located in central Switzerland and is about 40 minutes from Luzern. There is usually a Minyan there from after Tishe B’av for 3-4 weeks. It is cooler there than in Zurich and at night the temperature drops considerably so you need sweaters. Engelberg has a few hundred people living there year round, and I believe most of them work in shops or by the two main attractions located in their town, which are Titlis and Brunni. (see later)

Engelberg town. Right side is Titlis and left is Brunni

We booked a room via It is a complex of 4-5 apartment buildings of about 3-6 floors each. The apartments are owned by private people who rent it out while they are not there. We booked a one bedroom apartment for 80 francs a day (125 after all taxes). The room was okay, nothing fancy, but nice and big with a porch viewing the Titlis. We arrived to our apartment a few hours before Shabbos. We took along most food for Shabbos, and the rest we bought at Coop. (Switzerland has 2 supermarkets all over, one is Coop (co-up) the other is Migros. They each carry a lot of Kosher food) The shops are really nice there.

The apartment complex which we stayed in

We decided to do the Brunni first, so we walked over. Here I have to explain; I am terrified of heights, but in order to enjoy the real magnificent views you have to go on a chairlift (Gondola). There are two kinds. 1) A small one, 4 to 6 people in each. 2) A huge school bus sized enclosed cart. I’ve never been on that before, it is very scary especially when passing a pole and the entire unit shakes... Anyways, we arrived to the Brunni and went on this scary huge cart. I couldn't really enjoy the views because my eyes were closed... The ride is about 5 minutes to the next station and from there another 10 minutes on a small open chairlift till the top. At the middle station, there is a mountain slide (Alpine Sliding) which is cheap and short but a lot of fun. To get from the second to the third station, you can hike up (it would take approximately half an hour) instead of the chairlift. When you get to the top it’s like you are in a different world; Stuuuunnning!! It’s like having all those beautiful screen savers in front of you.

Open chairlifts to the top station at Brunni

The beautiful lake on the top station of Brunni.

That’s me, relaxing a bit and taking in the magnificent view of Brunni.

There is a lot to do there; especially hiking. But after hiking for 15 minutes our feet started hurting so we went back and relaxed. Then we sat down by a Glider take-off spot. It’s very interesting to watch people flying like birds. I wished I knew how to fly it. After watching several take-offs, we went into a lake where there is a walking path in there that was pretty cool.

We met up with cows the entire time. Note the gliders overhead.
This is a clip I took of the Gliders taking off and flying around, the background noise is from bells of the cows. ("ckmk47" uploaded it for me, Thank You!)

We woke up early to go to the Titlis, which is one of the main attractions of central Switzerland, and is located in Engelberg. Before you go, you should pack in sweaters and boots or good sneakers, because up on the mountain there is snow and gets really cold. We were by the ticket center before 10:00 and already there were long lines. (It’s 80 francs per person.) Then we followed the crowd to the chairlifts. I’ve never seen something like this before, a whole maze of tracks and every few seconds another one takes off.

Titlis is more than 10 thousand feet high. It takes almost an hour to reach the top including four chairlifts (five stations). By every station there are some activities to do and you can go out at that station to enjoy them. By the second station you can take a Trottibike which is a mountain scooter with big wheels, and you can scoot down to the first station (you’d want to do that on the way back). By the center station (3’rd) there is a lake with paddle and row boats (for free, no supervision either). And by the 4’th station you can go out and walk a little. There is also a porch in the back with a breathtaking view; perfect spot to shoot some photos. The last (top) chairlift is the most interesting one, called Rotaire chairlift, and it rotates so you can stand in one place and see all sides. When you get higher up, you start seeing snow. Up there is freezing with a lot of snow on the ground.

The smaller chairlifts, from station 1 to 2 and to 3. Note Engelberg in the background

The Titlis Cart from station 3 to 4

The Titlis Rotaire Chairlift

View of Titlis. Taken from the Rotaire Chairlift.

At last, I reached the very top of Titlis!

We put on our jackets and went first to the mini Ice Museum located one flight below the chairlifts. At this station there is also a long metal bridge that shakes terribly! It’s something like a hammock which is only connected at the two sides and as you walk deeper in you feel it shaking more and more under your feet. It is terrifying! Not recommended for those with a faint heart. From this station you can also take an open Gliding Chairlift (additional charge of 12 Francs) which takes you to a snow tubing spot. The tubing area was far smaller than we expected but a lot of fun. There are multiple types of sleds and tubes that you can take, free of course. We tried out all kinds of sleds and after having a good time and tumbling over once and twice, we headed back.

See how the Titlis reaches above the clouds.

On the Trotti Bikes. Scooting down Titlis from station 2 to the bottom

Since it was our last full day in the area, we decided to do Pilatus. We took a train to the big Luzern train station. Our plan was to take a boat from the train station to Pilatus, but since we missed the boat we took another train instead, which was about 15 minutes. The way up we did by this very steep train, a long 20 minute slow ride. Up there was cloudy so we didn’t have such a nice view. There is a huge deck with entertainment and Restaurants/gift shops. There are also paths/tunnels inside the mountain with little windows to get a peek of the view outside the mountain. The view is amazing. Down we went with a huge bus-size cart chairlift. (very scary, because it’s a lot of people and crazy high up) By the center station there are some activities; like a huge mountain sledding area (Alpine Sliding) which was really great! It gets really curvy and steep so you’ve got to slow down a bit. We watched a boy tumble out of the track along with his seat and EMS was promptly notified to head over. We also enjoyed a cute rubber slide where you get to sit onto a tube and slide down. There was also a really impressive activity of ropes and trees where you hook your harness onto the zip line and you climb in the maze of levels. It was all really fun.

The steep train on Pilatus

Pilatus chairlift. Notice how high it is.

High up chairlift

Rescue Team ready at all times

Wednesday we went to Venice for two days and then returned to Switzerland for another week.
To be continued!

October 28, 2014, 09:05:15 PM
Re: Switzerland and Venice trip report Here is the second and final part.
Because of the many questions we received regarding the pictures, I will repeat: we took along our Panasonic LX5 Camera and all photos featured here are from our own snapshots; nothing is downloaded from other sources.

We took a train to Zurich Airport and flew ZRH-VCE (Venice) round trip on Swiss Air, booked with United Points. The flight was short, about 45 minutes, with great entertainment - Mr. Bean’s videos… after every joke all passengers aboard burst out laughing... it was really funny.

View from the airplane, see the mountains blend with the clouds.

Arriving in Venice, we were immediately hit by the extreme humidity. The sun is very strong there and the air is sticky and wet. We took an Alilaguna Shuttle Boat which was nice and cheap, to San Marco – the main square in Venice. From there we had about a 5 minute walk to the Westin Europa and Regina Hotel, booked with 10k SPG points + 150 Euros. The hotel from the outside looks old and shabby, but the inside is beautiful. We got a regular room with no view, but spacious and comfortable. When we arrived, the air condition was already working in the room (in most hotels in Europe you have to put in a card in a slot in order to put on the lights or air condition. You can put in any card, not only the room card) and we were so excited to see the fridge fully stocked with neat rows of drinks and snacks, as we were so exhausted and hot from the heat outside. We didn’t think twice, and started drinking bottle after bottle. The next day we were informed that each bottle costs 10 Euros! That was real bad news as we already drank half a dozen of them. So the next day we ran from store to store with empty bottles in hand, trying to find identical bottles to replace the ones we drank.

The Westin Hotel; our room and bathroom

View from The Westin Hotel

Venice is a very interesting city and really crowded; not with residents but with Tourists, Hotels and Fashion Shops. The language (Italian) is a strange one. Masses people are on the streets, coming and going, flashing camera everywhere. There are almost no attractions there. You just roam around the streets and observe the city. There are absolutely no cars to be seen! The police, Ambulance, UPS and what not, are all boats. Instead of asphalt roads it’s either water canals or slim sidewalks (I was surprised at the lack of safety there; almost no gates by the water). In the canals there is boat traffic and lots of boat honking, all as if they were cars... Strollers have a difficult time navigating, because after every few blocks there is a little bridge made out of steps that you need to climb up and down with no alternate route.



Gas Station

Delivery Boat (I was ready to see some boxes slip in the water…)

Typical Bridge in Venice

Gondola Boats Parking Area

Since it was getting late in the day, we began our way in search for the Chabad Shul. 45 minutes later we finally found it. After davening, we proceeded to the Restaurant Gam Gam for supper. However, they were all full so we went to a restaurant across the Shul. (I don’t remember which hechsher it has) We didn’t trust the Hechsher for meat so we ordered Italian Pasta which had a ‘eww’ taste; more spice than anything. After Davening Maariv, we went back to the hotel and warmed up some of our frozen food.

We were told by a friend to go to Lido - an island next to Venice. We went there by the local taxi boat, ACTV. We rented a 4 wheel bike and biked around the city. Since Lido is surrounded by beaches on all sides, it isn’t the most spiritual place to go. I would rather recommend going to Murano. The only nice thing about the trip to Lido was the relaxing boat road and beautiful view of the sea.

Arriving back to San Marco, we went shopping for souvenirs. There are loads of peddlers on each corner, selling everything you can want. We had fun bargaining. (You just need to be firm and keep bargaining. These salesmen are desperate to sell their stuff and they end up giving you the price you want.) We then packed, checked out of the hotel, took a boat to the airport, and flew back to Switzerland. We arrived to Zurich at night, and stayed overnight at Holiday Inn Express near the airport.

San Marco

Standing in San Marco Square

The Water Canals

Police patrolling in San Marco

Back to Switzerland
Friday we went back to the main train station at the airport and headed to Wengen. The ride took more than 3 hours, with 4 transfers in the middle. The last train ride from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen is exceptionally scenic and gorgeous.

The beautiful scenes on the way to Wengen.

Wengen is a very nice little town situated on a steep mountain. You can find some houses with one side underground and the other side two flights up. Cars are not allowed in the town to keep the environment clean. There is even a 2% tax on everything in the town for the clean environment. There are more hotels in Wengen than private houses as it’s basically a tourist town. (Engelberg is also a tourist town but there are a lot of people that live there all year and that makes the place cheaper). The drawback of Wengen is the entire town is made of steep roads and it’s very hard to walk (climb…). Even though we are quite young, our feet hurt all the time.

Wengen. Note the tall Palace hotel in the center

How many floors does this little house have??

We stayed in the Palace Hotel which was rented out by Tour Plus. The price was expensive and the hotel is not nice at all, (maybe a 2 star), but the food was super good! Shabbos was a hit with such delicious food and breathtaking views; it was a real Oneg Shabbos. Here is a link to Tour Plus:

The Palace Hotel

Looks like one cloud is stuck there

Sunday we went to First, Grindelwald, about a 45 minute train ride. There was not much to do there besides hiking, but the view from there was spectacular. Every mountain has its specialty that others don’t have. Upon asking around what this mountain offers, we were told to hike a specific route and that will lead us to a "beautiful" lake. (I want to add that almost every hike in Switzerland is marked very clearly, with signs about every mile that update you how much longer you still have to walk)

Maze of tracks

View from Grindelwald

Hiking to the lake

The path to the lake

We hiked for about an hour with high expectations. Along the way there was a dramatic cliff right off the 3 foot wide path, and shockingly no gate there. We finally arrived to... this simple lake, and besides a restroom there was absolutely nothing to do there. We headed back with much disappointment. We wanted to do the Zipline but it was too windy so it was closed. After taking the chairlift down to the middle station, we rented Trotti Scooters and went riding down the rest of the mountain. The Trotti path is very winded and steep and ends in the city. (I think the Trotters by the Titlis is more enjoyable, but by First it has a nicer view.)

Why can’t they put a gate?

The lake. Note the people on the right side

Zip Lines

Trottibike Sign

We wanted to go up the Jungfrua which is officially called "Top of Europe”. But it was rainy and foggy with only 5 meters of visibility, so we went to Bern and strolled the streets, went shopping etc. Late afternoon when we returned to Wengen, the sky cleared up, so we took the train up towards Kleine Scheidegg and went down by the Männlichen stop and hiked down. This hike was my favorite one. Really nice and relaxing and of course free :)

Hiking from Männlichen to Wengen

The signs on the way

The views on the way are unbeatable! If you’re in the area I would definitely recommend a hike down from Kleine Scheidegg or Männlichen to Wengen.

Sunset view from the Palace Hotel

Sunset on the Jungfrau Mountain

Just in case you wondered how they plow the snow on train tracks.

The next day was rainy again so we went to Interlaken and tried to walk from the East Station (Ost) to the West Station but we gave up in the middle and walked back to the East, and chose some souvenirs on the way. Then we picked up a brochure to see what else we can do in the area. We decided to do a little mountain called Heimwehfluh. That mountain was not a good choice as it’s meant for kids. There was a Mini Train Museum and a cute little park. The only good activity was a short mountain sled (alpine slide) to the bottom. Then we went to an indoor little park called “JungfrauPark Interlaken”. That park was definitely a good choice for a rainy or foggy day. It has indoor exhibits and a sky ride. We watched a 3D Panoramic IMAX of the Swiss Alps. It was beautiful. Then we headed back to Wengen and packed our stuff. We checked in our suitcases to the Train Station and they sent it to the airport for us. It was a great service, as it would’ve been quite impossible to hop on and off trains with all our luggage. Wednesday we took the train to Zurich and checked into our Hotel near the airport. Then we had some extra time so we went shopping in a local mall. Thursday morning we flew back to JFK with A”A.

Mini Train Museum


There are 2 major things we didn’t get to do – top of Jungfrau and Saas Fee. I guess we’ll need to return a different time.

Let me know how you would like future Trip Reports, Short and to the point? Long and detailed? A lot of photos? Videos?

Up next – our trip to AZ and the Grand Canyon. I hope to post it in a few weeks.

November 12, 2014, 07:54:50 PM
Arizona: Sedona and the Grand Canyon TR We wanted to do a short and interesting trip but couldn’t decide where to go. I read a few TR and they all seemed good enough. But when I came across Yehuda S.’s TR I had no more doubts; this was the place I wanted to visit! My wife, our 3 month old daughter and I went on this short trip, from November 2-4 2014. We took along our Panasonic Lumix LX5 Camera and all photos featured here are from our own snapshots; nothing is downloaded from other sources.

We departed 10:30 am and flew JFK-PHX with US Airways. Since I booked the tickets quickly, I made a mistake in one letter of my name. I didn’t realize it until I was stopped by a TSA Agent who sent me back to change my name. The ticket agent couldn’t change it since it was booked with Avios, so he just scribbled on that letter and rewrote it right below… I then went again to Security and chose to stand on line by a different TSA Agent and he B”H let me through without any issues.  The flight took about 4.5 hours. Along the way there were nice views from the AZ desserts.

Getting closer  to PHX

Right after we landed I powered on my cell phone and received a text message from Hertz that my Jeep Patriot is parked in stall #M0010. Considering that I booked an intermediate car it was a great surprise for me and a good start for our trip. There are no car rentals “in” the airport; you have to take a shuttle to a building where all car rental companies are located (about a 7 minute ride). We got onto a shuttle right away and were taken to the parking lot. I just walked straight to my car and drove out. It was all very simple and quick. When I left the rental, the guy told me “thanks for being a Hertz 5 star member”- I guess that’s why I got the upgrade.

Police Bike in the Airport

Our first stop was at Segal’s for a late lunch/early supper. The food was delicious and Heimish. Then we went to Last Chance and picked up beautiful clothing for less than $10 a piece, and then did some more shopping in the Shopping Center. When we were done, we headed out to Sedona.

The driving in AZ is something the Tri State should learn from. It was such a pleasure! There are no Tolls, no construction, and the speed limit is 75 mph! (Perhaps, if NY would be a Republican state it would also be that way) Best of all, the gas prices there are crazy cheap. I filled up my tank for $2.29 when the average price in NY was $3.43.

When I started my drive up to Sedona, it was still light outside.  Along the way, it darkened and we had a beautiful sunset view. Later on however, something followed that I was totally unprepared; the speed limit was 75 mph and it turned completely dark - a darkness that I’ve not experienced in my life before - and the highways were becoming really curvy and steep. Even though I consider myself a professional driver, it was a real hard drive. I found it difficult to reach the speed limit…

We booked 2 nights in the Sedona Real Inn, and arrived there about 7:30 to check in. But before settling for the night, we first had to stock up on food. So we drove to Safeway, about 1 mile from the hotel, and bought fruits, vegetables, chips, etc.

Sedona Real Inn


We woke up early, and off we went for the once in a lifetime trip! The way from Sedona to the GC takes about 2 hours. The first leg of the way which is a drive in Oak Creek Canyon is pretty challenging, with one lane in each direction and awfully curvy.

Oak Creek Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon (Google Maps)

Once you get close to Flagstaff the road straightens out. After Flagstaff you hit the final road to GC which is a semi highway with one lane per direction and the speed limit goes up to 75mph and of course you drive on 85+… That road is very boring, for over an hour you see nothing but endless desserts; no exits, no gas station, no rest areas, absolutely nothing! Then when you finally arrive about 15 minutes before the GC there are some gas stations and a few shops (Don’t buy anything in the Gift Shop there as the shop in the GC is much cheaper) then you finally enter the GC. The price is $25 and you get a pass to go in.

Near Flagstaff

After entering the village we parked by the visiting center. Upon opening the car door, a fresh cool breeze welcomed us. (By the GC its about 10 degrees cooler than in Sedona) We geared up and walked to the bus stop from where a bus leaves every 8 minutes. We took the bus towards the South Rim. We went down by the South Kaibab Trail which was supposed to be a hike that is kids accessible with breathtaking views and restrooms along the route.

Upon getting off the bus I was like Ooohhhh mmmyyyy!!!! This is huuuuuge!!! And steep. When we entered the trail and saw how steep the trail actually is, it was truly terrifying. The first 10 minutes we couldn’t breathe, and then it started straightening out a bit. The deeper you go in the trail the nicer the view becomes. Kids accessible? Look at the picture and tell me how. Restrooms? After walking 45 minutes to the ooh aah point we were told, “Hike down for another hour, there are some restrooms” (After the ooh aah point the trail once again gets very steep). There are no signs along the way to let you know how long you still have to go (like in Switzerland). Safety? I thought only in Europe the safety is poor (I had a brother who nearly drowned in Europe after falling out from a ferry boat who’s door was literally open) Now I see that here in the USA you need to look out for your own safety as well.

View from the start of the S. Kaibab Trail

The first 10 minutes is very scary. Kids accessible?!

I will not even try to describe the views from the GC as it’s something that words can’t do. If you were never there, you will never know. Even the best pictures don’t show you a fraction of the real and incredible views, especially since it’s not just one point to look at, but a 360 degree view. And besides the actual views there is another amazing thing; since there are no mountains, your eyes could see for a vast stretch of a few hundred miles. Of course you can’t “see” so far but you can see the horizon.

As you hike on, the views widen more.

The widest point of the trail. Here we allowed ourselves to catch our breath and snap some photos

No gates on the sides

Random snapshot

We were by the ooh aah point for about 10 minutes, and then we hiked back. By ooh aah point, there were a few insane people who posed for pictures by the tip of the stones. I was terrified that I will see someone slip and fall down... The hike back was easier than the way going. We took the bus to an observation point called “Yaki Point” and then took the next bus back to the visitor center, bought some souvenirs and at about 2:00 we drove back to Sedona.

View from ooh aah point

Ooh aah point

View from Yaki Point

This might give you an idea of how big the GC is. See the red box on the left?

This photo is the red box from the previous pic. See the red circle? That’s 2 mules with people riding on them!

On the way back, while driving on the boring highway I thought, why not test how fast the car can drive? I knew (thought) I’m safe since you can see a few miles ahead, and I saw there are no cars in sight, so I pressed down the gas 90…95…100… after reaching 100 mph the car started shaking from the winds…105…110… suddenly for a split second the front tires lifted and landed on the other lane… B”H there was no car there. I quickly turned back the wheel and obviously slowed down, and never hit 90 again.

We arrived to Sedona at 4:30. We wanted to watch sunset (5:30) by the Cathedral Rock. We arrived at the rock and realized that the parking lot and hike are on the east side of the rock (NE). The beauty of sunset in Sedona is to see the rock turn red and glow. In order for us to see that we would have to hike all the way around the rock and by that time the sun would long be gone. I checked on a map and saw the fastest way to drive to the other side of the rock would be a drive around Sedona. But by that time it was already 5:00 – half hour before sunset. A quick google search revealed us that on Airport Road there is a lookout point special for sunset.  5 minutes later we were there. It is a huge parking lot with loads of people watching sunset. The views were awesome. Then I drove another 1000 feet to check out the tiny airport.

I jumped out at Cathedral Rock, snapped  a picture and continued on

Waiting for sunset

The rocks are starting to glow

Note Sedona between me and the rock

A glimpse towards the sun

The rocks in full glow

A few minutes before sunset

1 minute later

We had the return flight scheduled for 1:30 pm in Business.  We woke up early, checked out of the hotel, and about 7:45 drove out to Bell Rock. The parking fee is $5 (Red Rock Pass). We hiked on the rock and took some stunning self-portrait pictures. The views from there are spectacular, especially in the morning. When it became difficult to hike further we turned back to our car.  Supposedly, Sedona has 4 places where there is a vortex; meaning you feel some magnetic power pulling you down… one of the places is Bell Rock. We tried to feel it, with no success… I guess we don’t live in an illusion…

Bell rock (From behind, the famous “bell shape” is from the front)

On Bell Rock

View from Bell Rock

The drive back to Phoenix was way easier than the way going (if safety matters to you don’t drive at night!). Along the way we were able to enjoy the jungles of cactus. Then we made a stop by Anthem Outlets. We got some cheap things at Gap from the clearance rack… and a few other stores. Then we returned the car. After checking in, we went to the Lounge Club. (From Chase Ink) That lounge is pretty old and small, but they provide some free food; chips, soda cans etc. As soon as we were seated with our baby, we got stares from the 2 passengers in front of us, and as soon as my daughter started Kvetching a little, the two guys whispered loud “get her quiet” “shut up” etc. They really made us feel uncomfortable.

After all, it was a trip worth going!!

Cactus along the way

PHX lounge Club free snack bar

In front of Anthem Outlets

I discovered a new thing... I set my camera on SCN-Sunset and NYC looks like a piece of gold...

December 09, 2014, 07:21:09 PM
Re: Switzerland Master Thread
Which city do you go to?
I was in Saas Fee, Zermett, Montana, St moritz, Wengen -my favorite, Lucern, Engelberg, and more... Last summer i was in Klosters and Davos.

February 03, 2016, 10:14:26 AM
Re: Switzerland Master Thread
Is Crans Montana as nice as Wengen?

Thanks alot for all your help BTW, much appreciated.
Honestly, not as nice. CM is more of a ski resort area where-else Wengen is an expensive breathtaking village. But you have to look on what is easier and better for you.

February 04, 2016, 01:59:47 PM
Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report Part 1 of 2

Non of my reports nor pictures should influence you to do this. I already found myself in hot water more than once for recommending a trip that I did and enjoyed, but the recommend did not enjoy it.  Between them are @...... who I recommended my very best  trip so far to Wengen, Switzerland. But he did not enjoy it. And @...... who I recommended Victoria hotel in Austria last year and we were even there togather at the same time. And he did not enjoy his trip. But even stranger is that @Stbaum also went to Victoria hotel and had a terrific experience. (Despite the fact that TourPlus took it over this year resulting in mainly a Mizrachi type crowd)

Okay and now to the actual trip. For this summer (2016) I wanted to try something different but still an awesome place. One of the places that immediately seemed like a good candidate was the northern part of Italy. Either Lake Como area (boarding Switzerland) or Trentino area more in central Italy a.k.a. Dolomites. The reason I did not immediately jump in to planning a Dolomites trip was because there is very little information or TR's found on English. Most reviews and reports I read (on tripadvisor and other sources) where written in Italian. And even what I was able to read was absolutely confusing. From the area to the activities. In fact when someone asks me where I went. The geographical answer is: Alba > Canazei > Val Di Fassa > Trentino > (Dolomites) > Italy.

But meanwhile my cousin got engaged and the wedding was going to be on a Thursday night in July in Belgium. We were not going to miss this wedding and thought of combining it with a summer trip. We started planning. I immediately found availability to BRU with Delta in J for 62.5 FB. Then found availability return flight from Venice one week later on Thursday with UA in J, so we booked it with Aegean 40k. Then booked a revenue flight SN BRU - VCE for Sunday.

So now that the flights are booked is time to book hotel stays. For Belgium we booked one of my uncles' house... for Italy we booked Sunday-Wednesday in My Kosher Hotel in Canazei after hearing great feedback of the accommodation and food. Since our flight home on Thursday was 10:55 a.m. and the Kosher hotel is a 3 hour drive from VCE we booked Wednesday night Hilton hotel next to the airport. Car rental we booked from Hertz via for $236 a week.

We flew Delta J JFK-BRU. On Delta international two cabin flights, business class is called "Delta One".

Delta One

When we landed in BRU we immediately saw the high security. When we arrived to Antwerp, however we were surprised to see soldiers in full gear literally "all over" the Jewish neighborhood. It felt like walking in "שער שכם"

Soldiers patrolling the city.

Friday we went to the zoo... Not much to do there besides the zoo. I tried out my new 50mm f/1.8 lens.

We flew SN BRU-VCE and landed at 3:20 p.m. We headed towards the car rentals - a 10 minute walk -  the same direction of the water boats. Got our car, a Ford focus wagon and drove up towards the mountains. As we got closer the views became nicer and nicer. But being that we were exhausted from traveling throughout the day we didn't take pictures for now. But at one point we passed a little hill and saw it was somewhat white. As we got closer we realized it was sheep roaming around.

Sheep and their shepherd

After driving for 3 hours on the most windy road in Italy, we finally arrived to the hotel.

November 30, 2016, 11:19:47 AM
Re: Switzerland Master Thread
Hi everyone,
I've read a ton on DDF, google, trip advisor, etc...I think i read the first 20 pages on here and then skipped to page 100; now im up to 127.
I currently have reservations for Shabbos Chanukah (Dec 6-9) with my wife in Brienz in a very nice airbnb; this is around 30 min out of the jungfreu region, overlooks the mountains, and is basically on lake brienzersee.
I personally have been here (Jungfreau and Lucerne) when I was single and was just in awe of how beautiful it was, so I didn't mind going back to see it with her.
Heres my question:
Im considering changing our base because she doens't care where we go and I would love to see more of the country. Is it worth it to go to a place like Saas Fee? Crans Montana?  St Moritz? or even to move inside the Jungfeu (like laturburnen)?
I heard that St Moritz is beautiful but not the most spectacular of the alps.
When it comes to SF and CM, Im a bit concerned just about the distance from Zurich. We land on Thursday at 930am and we leave on sunday at 120pm. Im just concerned there isnt enough difference to where Im currently staying to these places to justify driving 3 hours after a long flight or early sunday morning (vs an hour or so). This is honestly probably the biggest reason why Im not going to Saas Fee; SF is a 4 hour drive, St Moritz is 3 hours, CM is 4 hours, while the jungfreu is at worst, 2 hours.
I want to have the best views, good but not great accommodations (due to budget), and something cool to do on friday (like going up the schilthorn for example).
Does anyone have personal experience they'd like to contribute? Should I consider moving my plans to a new place and just make the drive?

Thanks in advance!
the alps in the South (SM SF CM) are beautiful, but that is if you have time to get there from ZRH or land in GVA.

In your case keep in mind SF will be the furthest, SM closer but still a 3.5 hour drive with possible slippery roads. I would prefer Jungfrau as it is IMHO the nicest of them. That is if I would not care for the higher apartment prices.

Also, Lauterbrunen is at the foot of the Jungfrau, Wengen and Manlichen have far better views.

BTW CM has Minyan and Kosher food

October 21, 2018, 07:24:50 PM
Arizona - Grand Canyon NP I went with a friend for 2 days to The Grand Canyon NP in Arizona. Here is a quick TR

Flew with AA on a basically empty flight JFK-PHX on Motzei Shabbos, arrived Sunday 1:00 a.m.
Rented a car from Hertz.
Slept in a local hotel near Chabad of Scottsdale. Sunday morning, we drove out to Sedona, stopped on the way at Out of Africa.

Afterwards we hiked Cathedral rock, Slept over in Sedona.


Monday morning drove out to the GC, hiked the south Kaibab.

Then went to Navajo Point – Not to be missed.

then drove back via Route 89, it was a breathtaking drive compared to route 64 that most people take.

Then drove back to PHX and back home with Jetblue.

January 27, 2020, 11:36:23 AM
Re: Is it time to reopen the country? All of my grandparents quarantined from before Purim. They are all locked in.

They all checked for anti-bodies and ALL of them have high levels of it. Which means they had the virus without symptoms and successfully fought it.

Also, one of them has a serious history with multiple heart surgeries and more. When he told his doctor that he has so much antibodies, his doctor refused to believe and told him to test again by a different lab. And yes, after testing again he got the same results.

May 20, 2020, 12:42:23 AM
Re: Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park
Due to being concerned of closures or personal safety?
Closures or extreme limiting of attractions.

I am planning to go with my 3 kids and a big part of my itinerary is the adventure parks.

June 25, 2020, 11:01:17 AM
Re: Tweets, Pictures, And Videos That Are Coronavirus Related Someone please tell me it is actually real...

On a side note, I started typing in Goggle בהר and it suggested right away בהררי קודש תהלים...

October 09, 2020, 12:25:57 AM
Re: Czar Cuomo I live in BP. My boys and girls had no school for at least 3 month. It started again right after Shvaous quietly in basements with only half of the kids every second day.

Regular school started only at the beginning of the summer/day camp.

For a average family in willi / BP, considering the amount of kids at home in a tiny appartment was just impossible. There was no 2 ways about it. Either school for the kids and shuls open to socialize, or a definit nervous break down and long term trauma for the kids.

@Lurker I understand you live OOT. Please don't judge us by saying we were not complying at the beginning, when in fact we did and we started opening after the staying home situation was just not possible anymore, and that was after the administrators consulted with Doctor's and health professionals.

October 17, 2020, 11:18:50 PM
Re: Czar Cuomo
I respect the struggle. It would help if the frum community would embrace the less costly interventions like masks. There are probably a billion people in the world who wear a mask every day now. We can do it in shuls.
a fully agree with you. I'm also very upset why we ended up in this situation when we could've and should've enforce strict rules. IMHO the blame is that there are no Rabbonim who have the power to enforce this, rather every Shul/ Chasidis/Mosid operates independently. Look at Antwerp were there is 1 Rav and 100% Compliance.

October 17, 2020, 11:28:49 PM
Re: Czar Cuomo
I think we agree, for the most part. I hope I didn't come across as saying no one kept anything, ever. That's not true. I'm just annoyed at people pretending that everyone kept everything for months, which is also not true. Cuomo's gross overreach and generalizations don't give us the right to absolve ourselves from our misdeeds. I just wish there was a little more accountability and ownership here. Pretending we are blameless hurts us.

But do you also agree that every ultra orthodox family sacrificed a lot more than the average American? If so by putting that in perspective you should try to understand the Orthodox brooklynites more.

I am also frustrated why we are not following the rules especially since Rosh Hashona when we heard about the uptick and should've started to comply more short term in order to have a relatively normal life again long term. Now we are unfortunately screwed.

Yet, I also don't blame the people who are not complying, why should they listen to Cuomo when they know first hand how hard it is? But they certainly would have listened to our Rabbonim if they would be הרואה את הנולד. But unfortunately were not and are pretty much quiet.

October 17, 2020, 11:48:58 PM
Re: Which Camera Should I Get? Master Thread
You'll have to decide if you want to go mirrorless or not, but the 90d isn't a full frame.
I ended up buying the 6D Mark 2

January 07, 2021, 03:58:34 PM
Re: Stocks
Gme done?!
The game stopped

February 02, 2021, 08:43:46 AM
Re: Stocks From pre market prices, it appears we are in the middle of a major correction in tech
February 23, 2021, 08:08:08 AM
Re: Call of the Wild: Something Fishy's Four Alaskan 2020 Trips INSANE!!!!!!!!
March 01, 2021, 12:29:44 AM
Re: Call of the Wild: Something Fishy's Four Alaskan 2020 Trips @Something Fishy I'm holding my breath to read @shayaj  bear encounter.
March 02, 2021, 12:01:25 PM
Re: The funny/strange/interesting/random pictures thread
I'm really not that good at meme making. This is what I was able to come up with, but I think it may be time to look for a replacement...

Usually anti-vaxxers are also anti-mask wearing. Perhaps a different picture would be better.

March 14, 2021, 10:55:32 AM
Re: Lakewood Rabbonim Ban Use and Sale of Marijuana and Related Products May I venture to say that the Chabad DDF'rs are pro Marijuana לחיים?  Just kidding.

I personally think that we already have some alcohol abuse. It is bad enough as is.

The KK is probably attempting to stop Marijuana from infiltrating our communities for as long as possible.

March 16, 2021, 12:10:27 PM
Re: The Call of the Wild: Something Fishy's Four Alaskan 2020 Trips AMAZING!!!
April 11, 2021, 01:39:26 AM