A land of incredible beauty, Switzerland is also expensive. We went to Lake Constance for a day out of Schaffhausen and, stepping from the train station and the tourist info desk, were met with heat and hordes, making it difficult to enjoy the town. Later, savoring fresh lake fish on the patio of a lakeside restaurant, we asked our server if the day had been part of a special holiday. Nein, Constance is in Germany, just over the border, and the Swiss love to come to save money on everything from tourist attractions to accommodations and food. A good choice in August, when Europe takes its families on vacation.

The Swiss appear to be a hearty, extremely suntanned folk, at all ages ready to climb the nearest Alp for fun. Eco this and bio that signage are rampant. But, they smoke a lot, even the elderly. And, we discovered only after we completed the Switzerland part of our trip, that, at the time, they had a lower vaccination rate than the U.S. We might have altered our travel plans had we known that. Turns out this hearty breed has 'vaccination fatigue.' Guess they all must feel they have lungs of steel.