I spent time in Europe when I worked in Switzerland, and then again when I traveled to Russia for the Mt. Elbrus climb.   We rode the high-speed train from Lausanne to Paris, and on the weekends I used the excellent Swiss train system to visit some of the world's most famous mountains -- including the Eiger, the Matterhorn, and Mont Blanc.

I thought that Switzerland was the most beautiful place I had ever seen.  And I was surprised by the grandeur of the architecture in Paris. It is unsurpassed anywhere.