Karen in Amherst+Switzerland+Italy

Karen Lee:

Hiking boots, swimsuits, and cameras packed.   

First stop: Amherst, Massachusetts and a visit to the Design Building at UMass designed by Leers Weinzapfel Associates where we were fortunate enough to receive a building tour by Architectural Chair, Stephen Schreiber. The building is an awe-inspiring mass-timber system structure which includes glue-laminated wood, cross-laminated timber, wood-concrete composite flooring and an exquisite long span zipper wood-steel truss spanning the atrium.

Next stop, Grindelwald, Switzerland—land of multiple efficient modes of transport.   With the melodic sounds of cow bells and lungs full of fresh alpine air, we found ourselves meandering mountains, climbing gorges, traversing panoramic trails, floating across lakes, and immersing ourselves in chalet villages, all stitched together by trains, trams, buses, boats, cable cars, and of course, trekking boots.

Final stop: Cinque Terre, Italy, a series of five quaint and colorful fishing villages linked with hiking trails and rail tunnels.  Despite constantly indulging in good pizza, pasta, crepes, and gelatos, we were able to stay fit with many (many!) steps and stairs and uphill walks.  After our long hikes up and down the terraced vineyards and hillsides, late afternoons were rewarded with dips in the Mediterranean Sea.


01           Zipper Truss, UMass Design Center, Amherst, Massachusetts

02           Suspension Bridge at First Cliff Walk, Grindelwald, Switzerland

03           Kleine Scheidegg/Mount Eiger, Grindelwald, Switzerland

04           Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy