Skip to main content
#
 
Tours and Vacations for Women
Travel Planning
FAQ
About Us
Contact Us
our twitterour facebook page pintrest youtube
Subscribe to
Women Travel News.
Why?

Email:

2020 Tours Coming Up 
2021 Tours Coming Up 
SWITZERLAND 
Cool Switzerland - Books & Movies
RECOMMENDED READING 
  • The Apple and the Arrow by Mary Buff, Conrad Buff. The year is 1291, and Walter is the twelve-year-old son of William Tell, the greatest bowman in the land of Uri. Walter lives happily in the remote heights of the Alpine Mountains, caring for his family’s goat herd and practicing his marksmanship in the hopes of making his father proud. But as the end of the year approaches, Walter’s peaceful life is shaken as his country enters a revolution, and Walter must carry a secret that could threaten the life of the father he loves so dearly. More than seven hundred years have passed since the day Walter stood in the marketplace balancing an apple on his head while the Austrian tyrant Gessler commanded Walter’s father, William Tell, to take aim at the apple with his great crossbow. The dramatic tale of William’s arrest and escape and the daring revolt of the Swiss against the Austrians has become a legend around the world.
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Little orphan Heidi goes to live high in the Alps with her gruff grandfather and brings happiness to all who know her on the mountain. When Heidi goes to Frankfurt to work in a wealthy household, she dreams of returning to the mountains and meadows, her friend Peter, and her beloved grandfather.
  • Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner. In the novel that won her the Booker Prize and established her international reputation, Anita Brookner finds a new vocabulary for framing the eternal question "Why love?" It tells the story of Edith Hope, who writes romance novels under a pseudonym. When her life begins to resemble the plots of her own novels, however, Edith flees to Switzerland, where the quiet luxury of the Hotel du Lac promises to restore her to her senses. But instead of peace and rest, Edith finds herself sequestered at the hotel with an assortment of love's casualties and exiles. She also attracts the attention of a worldly man determined to release her unused capacity for mischief and pleasure. Beautifully observed, witheringly funny, Hotel du Lac is Brookner at her most stylish and potently subversive.
  • The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann. In this dizzyingly rich novel of ideas, Mann uses a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps, a community devoted exclusively to sickness, as a microcosm for Europe, which in the years before 1914 was already exhibiting the first symptoms of its own terminal irrationality. The Magic Mountain is a monumental work of erudition and irony, sexual tension and intellectual ferment, a book that pulses with life in the midst of death.
  • Scrambles Amongst the Alps by Edward Whymper. When he first saw the Alps in 1860, Edward Whymper was a 20-year-old English wood engraver whose dream was to become an arctic explorer. Ambitious and hungry for adventure, he fell in love with the challenge the Alps presented and set out to conquer them peak by peak. Whymper made quick work of the challenge, racking up dozens of first ascents and acquiring a reputation as one of the best in the nascent field of mountaineering. But on the Matterhorn, considered to be mountaineering's Holy Grail at the time, Whymper met with failure again and again. On his eighth attempted ascent he finally succeeded, becoming the first man to reach its magnificent peak. The victory came at a heavy cost, however, as Whymper watched four of his companions fall to their deaths on the descent. It was a tragedy that would cast a shadow over the remainder of his life. Published in 1871, Scrambles Amongst the Alps is Whymper's own story of his nine years spent climbing in the Alps. One of the first books devoted to the sheer thrill of mountaineering, it is a breathtaking account of the triumph of man over mountain in a time before thermal clothing, nylon ropes, global positioning systems, and air rescues. It also offers Whymper's controversial story of the tragedy on the Matterhorn. One of the best adventure books of all time, Scrambles Amongst the Alps is an essential classic of climbing literature by one of mountaineering's most legendary figures.
  • Ticking Along with the Swiss by Patricia Highsmith, Stanley Mason, Roger Bonner. This popular book contains a delightful collection of personal experiences of English-speaking writers, journalists, translators, teachers and business people of many different nationalities who live and work with the Swiss. They record their impressions, wonder, perplexity and assimilation in essays, poems, anecdotes and letters. There is an A to Z on customs and foibles, a report of being in the Swiss army without knowing a Swiss language and many entertaining observations of national and local character traits.
  • Why Switzerland? by Jonathan Steinberg. Why Switzerland?, first published in 1976, offers a unique analysis of the structures that make Switzerland work and provides a short, concise "working model" for the visitor or student. Linking an analysis of the microeconomy to the major features in politics, history, religion and language, it shows how a "bottom up" society has survived in a world of "top down" states. For this new edition Jonathan Steinberg has completely revised and extended his text, and a number of unusual and attractive illustrations have been added.
  • Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains by Jon Krakauer. No one writes about mountaineering and its attendant victories and hardships more brilliantly than Jon Krakauer. In this collection of his finest essays and reporting, Krakauer writes of mountains from the memorable perspective of one who has himself struggled with solo madness to scale Alaska's notorious Devils Thumb. In Pakistan, the fearsome K2 kills thirteen of the world's most experienced mountain climbers in one horrific summer. In France, a hip international crowd of rock climbers, bungee jumpers, and paragliders figure out new ways to risk their lives on the towering peaks of Mont Blanc. Why do they do it? How do they do it? In this extraordinary book, Krakauer presents an unusual fraternity of daredevils, athletes, and misfits stretching the limits of the possible. From the paranoid confines of a snowbound tent, to the thunderous, suffocating terror of a white-out on Mount McKinley, Eiger Dreams spins tales of driven lives, sudden deaths, and incredible victories. This is a stirring, vivid book about one of the most compelling and dangerous of all human pursuits.
  • Swiss History In A Nutshell by Grégoire Nappey. Swiss History in a Nutshell gives you an easy-to-read insight into the most fascinating moments in Switzerland's rich and colorful history - from its cavemen to its conquests, foundation, growth, independence and prosperity. Switzerland's surprising past as a leading military power in Europe - how Swiss democracy matured through several revolutions - the origins of Swiss cultural differences and how they were overcome to create a stable federal republic how Switzerland's direct democracy, consensus politics and legendary good industrial relations were achieved. Cartoons (naughty and nice) illustrate this kaleidoscope of key events that have created Switzerland as it is today.
  • Swiss Watching: Inside Europe's Landlocked Island by Diccon Bewes. A light-hearted yet revealing journey around Europe's most individual country. From seeking Heidi and finding the best chocolate to reliving a bloody past and exploring an uncertain future, Swiss Watching proves that there's more to Switzerland than banks, skis, francs and cheese. One country, four languages, 26 cantons, and 7.5 million people (only 80% of whom are Swiss): there's nowhere else in Europe like it. Switzerland may be surrounded by land, but it is an island at the center of Europe.
  • Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman. A modern classic, Einstein’s Dreams is a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905, when he worked in a patent office in Switzerland. As the defiant but sensitive young genius is creating his theory of relativity, a new conception of time, he imagines many possible worlds. In one, time is circular, so that people are fated to repeat triumphs and failures over and over. In another, there is a place where time stands still, visited by lovers and parents clinging to their children. In another, time is a nightingale, sometimes trapped by a bell jar. Now translated into thirty languages, Einstein’s Dreams has inspired playwrights, dancers, musicians, and painters all over the world. In poetic vignettes, it explores the connections between science and art, the process of creativity, and ultimately the fragility of human existence.
  • The Gilded Chalet, Off-Piste in Literary Switzerland by Padraig Rooney. In the summer of 1816 paparazzi trained their telescopes on the goings on of poets Byron and Shelley - and their womenfolk - across Lake Geneva. Mary Shelley babysat and wrote Frankenstein. Byron dieted and penned The Prisoner of Chillon. His doctor, Polidori, was dreaming up The Vampyre. Together they put Switzerland on the map. Switzerland has always provided a refuge for writers attracted to it as an escape from world wars, oppression, tuberculosis - or marriage. While often for Swiss writers from Rousseau to Bouvier the country was like a gilded prison or sanatorium. The Romantics, the utopians (Wells, D. H. Lawrence) and other spiritual seekers (Hesse), viewed Switzerland as a land of milk and honey, as nature's paradise. In the twentieth century, spying in neutral Switzerland, spawned espionage and detective fiction from Conan Doyle to Maugham, Fleming, and Le Carré. Padraig Rooney peers through the chalet windows and finds the rooms crammed with curios: lederhosen and Lepidoptera, spas and spies, fool's gold and numbered accounts. Literary detective work and treasure chest, history and scandal, The Gilded Chalet will make you strap on your skis and come off-piste to find out the real Swiss story.
  • William Tell: One Against an Empire, A Swiss Legend by Paul Storrie. He wanted nothing more than to live in peace, until a petty tyrant forced him into a cruel choice: Swiss hunter William Tell is famous for his great skill with a crossbow. A mild-mannered husband and father, he just wants a quiet life for his family. Yet his homeland's brutal foreign rulers are making such an existence impossible. Then, one day, a ruthless official forces Tell into a terrible choice: Shoot an apple off his son's head--or be killed along with his son. Will he accept this awful challenge?
  • Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman. It stands unconquered, the last great summit of the Alps. Only one man has ever dared to approach the top, and that man died in his pursuit. He was Josef Matt, Rudi Matt's father. At sixteen, Rudi is determined to pay tribute to the man he never knew, and complete the quest that claimed his father's life. And so, taking his father's red shirt as a flag, he heads off to face the earth's most challenging peak. But before Rudi can reach the top, he must pass through the forbidden Fortress, the gaping chasm in the high reaches of the Citadel where his father met his end. Rudi has followed Josef's footsteps as far as they will take him. Now he must search deep within himself to find the strength for the final ascent to the summit -- to plant his banner in the sky. His father died while trying to climb Switzerland's greatest mountain, the Citadel, and young Rudi knows he must make the assault himself.
  • The Alps, A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond by Stephen O'Shea. For centuries the Alps have seen the march of armies, the flow of pilgrims and Crusaders, the feats of mountaineers, and the dreams of engineers?and some 14 million people live among their peaks today. In The Alps, Stephen O’Shea takes readers up and down these majestic mountains, battling his own fear of heights to journey through a 500-mile arc across France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia. O’Shea, whose style has been hailed for its “engaging combination of candid first-person travel writing and absorbing historical narrative” (Chicago Sun-Times), whisks readers along more than 2,000 years of Alpine history. As he travels pass-by-pass through the mountains, he tells great stories of those (real and imagined) who have passed before him, from Hannibal to Hitler, Frankenstein’s monster to Sherlock Holmes, Napoleon to Nietzsche, William Tell to James Bond. He explores the circumstances behind Hannibal and his elephants’ famous crossing in 218 BCE; he reveals how the Alps have profoundly influenced culture from Heidi to The Sound of Music; and he visits iconic sites, including the Reichenbach Falls, where Arthur Conan Doyle staged Sherlock Holmes’s death scene with Professor Moriarty; Caporetto, the bloody site of the Italians’ retreat in World War I; and the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s aerie of a vacation home. O’Shea delves into Alpine myths and legends, such as the lopsided legs of the dahu, the fictitious goatlike creature of the mountains, and reveals why the beloved St. Bernard dog is so often depicted with a cask hanging below its neck. Throughout, he immerses himself in the communities he visits, engagingly recounting his adventures with contemporary road trippers, watchmakers, salt miners, cable-car operators, and yodelers.
  • Coming Out Swiss, In Search of Heidi, Chocolate and My Other Life by Anne Herrmann. Anne Herrmann, a dual citizen born in New York to Swiss parents, offers in Coming Out Swiss a witty, profound, and ultimately universal exploration of identity and community. “Swissness”, even on its native soil a loose confederacy, divided by multiple languages, nationalities, religion, and alpen geography—becomes in the diaspora both nowhere (except in the minds of immigrants and their children) and everywhere, reflected in pervasive clichés. In a work that is part memoir, part history and travelogue, Herrmann explores all our Swiss clichés (chocolate, secret bank accounts, Heidi, Nazi gold, neutrality, mountains, Swiss Family Robinson) and also scrutinizes topics that may surprise (the “invention” of the Alps, the English Colony in Davos, Switzerland’s role during World War II, women students at the University of Zurich in the 1870s). She ponders, as well, marks of Swissness that have lost their identity in the diaspora (Sutter Home, Helvetica, Dadaism) and the enduring Swiss American community of New Glarus, Wisconsin. Coming Out Swiss will appeal not just to the Swiss diaspora but also to those drawn to multi-genre writing that blurs boundaries between the personal and the historical.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING 
  • Heidi (1937). A plucky little orphan girl gets dumped abruptly into her gruff, hermit grandfather's care, then later gets retaken and delivered as a companion for an injured girl.
  • Goldfinger (1964). While investigating a gold magnate's smuggling, James Bond uncovers a plot to contaminate the Fort Knox gold reserve. One of the best James Bond films uses Switzerland in some of its backdrop scenes with star Sean Connery. Secret Agent 007 returned to Switzerland for more background scenes in the 1969 On Her Majesty's Secret Service and the 1995 Goldeneye.
  • Frankenstein (1994). When the brilliant but unorthodox scientist Dr. Victor Frankenstein rejects the artificial man that he has created, the Creature escapes and later swears revenge. The 1994 version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein used dramatic Swiss backdrops.
  • The Eiger Sanction (1975). A classical art professor and collector, who doubles as a professional assassin, is coerced out of retirement to avenge the murder of an old friend. A man joins an expedition up the Eiger to avenge the murder of his friend in this film partially set in Kleine Scheidegg.
  • The Bourne Identity (2002). This action movie, set mostly in Prague, pits an amnesiac spy against his pursuers in the heart of Zürich.
  • Clouds of Sils Maria (2014). Largely set (and filmed) in the Upper Engadine valley, this coming-of-middle-age drama stars Juliette Binoche as an aging actress and Kristen Stewart as the personal assistant who poses a subtle threat (as does the Engadine's unique weather patterns).
  • Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995). In the longest-running film in Indian cinema (600 weeks in movie theaters), two young people fall in love on a trip to Switzerland.
  • Five Days One Summer (1982). Sean Connery stars in the tale of an incestuous love triangle, offset by breathtaking climbing sequences in the Swiss Alps.
  • Journey of Hope (1990). Three members of a Kurdish family search for a better life in Switzerland.
  • North Face (2008). Based on a true story, this film chronicles the 1936 attempt by two Germans to scale the Eiger's "wall of death."
  • The Swissmakers (1978). The most popular Swiss movie ever made showcases a group of foreigners trying to get Swiss citizenship.
our twitterour facebook page pintrest youtube

TOLL FREE: 866-737-9602
240-750-0597 when calling from outside the US 
13610 Chrisbar Ct., Germantown, MD 20874, USA

We welcome your phone calls and email inquiries.
Our office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 – 5:00 EST

Copyright 2004-2019 Sights and Soul Travels
Web Design: Kasia Slabosz

Why travel with other women?
Many women do not have families or compatible friends who wish to travel. When going on a main-stream tour, women often find that most activities are geared towards couples and quite often they feel left out. Singles' tours are not always what women are looking for. If you do not have a traveling companion, there is also the issue of the expensive "single supplement", sometimes as much as 50 or even 100 percent of the tour cost. By going on women-only tours, women can easily avoid paying for the single supplement by sharing a room with another woman traveler.
Read More