I am in the mountains in the Pyrenees, it's the first time I've worn these walking boots and they're hurting. My previous pair disintegrated in the Dolomites a week ago, so I've not had time to break them in. These belonged to my deceased father, so I really am stepping into a dead man's shoes.
There is something both comfortably familiar and appealingly exotic about Budapest. Wander the parliamentary area, whose buildings were inspired by Westminster, the high-end shopping malls that showcase global brands and some of the many museums, and you will feel totally at home.
As we sailed out of Venice, my love of cruising went up a notch. It was a beautiful late September afternoon and the sight of a buzzing St Mark's Square a few hundred yards away soon had me on cloud nine, albeit there was not a cloud in the sky.
The Piz Gloria restaurant, 10,000ft above the Swiss village of Mürren on Mount Schilthorn, is still welcoming Bond fans nearly half a century after it became the villain's hideout in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
It was here that Blofeld (aka Telly Savalas, complete with white cat) plotted to destroy the British establishment.
Ski resorts normally resound to the constant hum of shuttle buses, the excitable shouts of tourists racing to be first to the lifts and the unbearable boom of Eurotrash pop echoing from a myriad of bars.
If a two, or even three centre holiday is not enough, then how about a three nation afternoon? It's one of the intriguing possibilities thrown up by a short break in Basel. On a walking tour of the pretty, compact city on our opening morning, our guide explains that Germany is just a couple of miles away (a tram takes you there) and France is equally close.
In an age of high-speed travel it is a real treat to take a leisurely rail journey through the gorgeous Austrian landscape. The train meanders through the mountains and postcard-pretty towns, which means hopping on and off as and when the fancy takes.
This is what you can expect to find along the way.
The hills are alive with the smells of Michelin-starred cuisine. Throughout the summer, a selection of delectable dishes dreamt up by some of Europe's top chefs are on offer in the Austrian Alps. There's only one catch: you have to climb a mountain or two to taste them.