Following my previous post, off we go further across South-East Asia,  thanks to the pictures sent by JB&FL. They have been flying over the Indian Ocean to one of the most interesting  and picturesque island to visit : Sri Lanka. Layers of sand, waves and water as far as the horizon. Are you ready to follow them ?

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Let’s start with a cool drink on a guesthouse balcony. Lush greenness all around. I imagine the birds singing joyfully, peoples’ voices coming up from the gardens and houses nearby. Sweet flowers scents and maybe just a light breeze. Inviting, isn’t it ?

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These wooden decorations and paintings made me immediately think of fabrics. Yes, you know my passion for quilting and materials. I searched in my various boxes of materials  for inspiration. I found some exotic pieces that somehow I think are related to these patterns.Photo 22.03.17 11 29 38Here they are : who knows what these fabrics will inspire me someday ?…DSC03633

What a majestic alley of tall, imposing trees that reminded me of a poem by Charles Baudelaire.

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“Nature is a temple where live pillars, Sometimes whisper confused words, Man walks across it through forests of symbols, Which observe him with familiar looks.”

Excerpt of the poem “Correspondances”. Underneath is  a view of a small part of the Toolangi Forest Center, Victoria, Australia. A wilder kind of temple of eucalypts.

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What a beautiful  and colorful sight ! So many spices and Ceylan teas  and oils and pretty looking wooden spoons and so much more from this faraway island. It  makes you dream and wish you were there. I can just smell it all ! Quick, let’s  prepare a meal I love for  its taste and all the scents that will be wafting  from the kitchen. Traveling can happen over short distances too;)

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Here is a favorite recipe of mine : sweet potatoes and  zucchinis sautés with some olive oil in a delicious blending of spices : shallots, garlic, ginger, curcuma, coriander, cumin. I added a tomato to get more juice.  Mix it all and… Bon appétit !  Tasty as can be.DSC03629

Traffic in town, pretty looking taxis, special architectural style in the buildings: by foot or in those sometimes overcrowded   buses, there are surely many interesting places and sites to visit.Photo 22.03.17 15 08 03

And when you are tired of the heat and pavement,  why not  enjoy some cooler moments in the magnificent Botanical Garden of Kandy, together with many schoolchildren and their teachers ? Who  do you think are the noisiest ones ? Birds or kids ? Joy is in the air for all, certainly.

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I was fascinated by these pictures of trees. Their strength, the soft look of their leaves, their intricate branches reaching far out, twisted and so artistic at the same time.Photo 23.03.17 14 20 42Let’s share these peaceful images to end this present travel that I hope you enjoyed as much as I did. Our next destination will be quite different. I look forward to show you some more pictures that JB&FL will generously and thoughtfully share with us. Thanks a lot to both of them and good luck for your next journey.Photo 16.03.17 17 03 52

Hello Friends,

Since I did not post nor took many pictures for a while, I thought of asking dear “Jb&Fl” whether they would mind sharing with me some of their  travel pictures. They agreed happily. Both are traveling in South-East Asia. The correspondances  and contrasts between here and there  are just amazing and so interesting. Beautiful too. Then I dug into my archives and found some images that would in some way correspond to theirs but in my part of the world (Switzerland). Here is the result, I hope you will enjoy the trip as much as I did looking at these images from far away.photo-01-01-17-17-09-36As a bright parasol  opened under the warm sun of Myanmar (Burma),dsc02058snow had been falling all day long in the Swiss Alps.

photo-19-01-17-12-50-21Red: such a warm color under any sky ! Here is a typical wooden house at the edge of the  Inle  Lake (Myanmar).dsc03407On my way home on a rather dull day, I was attracted by this red barn which added some warmth to the Winter landscape.

photo-16-01-17-11-07-17Bowls and pots,  almost similar shapes but different uses according to the places and the Seasons. Teatime in South-East Asia and flower pots in standby in Switzerland.dsc03415

Dogs… don’t they all sometimes have the same worried look wherever they live ?photo-29-01-17-13-23-55A puppy in a street somewhere in Asia. “Will you adopt me ?”dsc03380Ninio at home : “Where is JB ? The only one in the family who runs almost… as fast as I do. I miss him and our games”.

Slow ways of transportphoto-24-01-17-12-50-03A “taxi” in Laos and a funicular in Switzerland. Two ways of traveling slowly but surely.dsc00657

Cool food for hot days. A tasty looking salad  in Thailandphoto-26-01-17-12-25-08and another one here at home.spring-salad

Would you care for some sweets ? How about a mango and rice dessert to end your meal ?photo-26-01-17-15-25-54 or  would you prefer a choco-pistachio  dome in Switzerland ?dsc01488

Are you ready for more visits after a pause ?  Like cruising slowly along  rice fieldsphoto-09-01-17-16-24-11whereas our own fields over here are barely out of dormancy.dsc03317

Let’s  walk uphill to the mountains of  North  Myanmar photo-16-01-17-12-30-20or walk on a mountain path facing some of the Swiss Alps ?dsc02074

It has been a long day of walking and visiting , photo-27-01-17-16-16-18 admiring the golden domes of  the many magnificent ancient temples in South-East Asia. Let’s walk into the old Gothic church (St-Michel) of Fribourg and have a rest while listening to classical music.dsc02025

The sun is setting down now, warm colors over the horizon, several dark silhouettes of  temples   in the Far-Eastphoto-14-01-17-18-08-46and, on a misty day,  an unusual pink shade  at sunset over a farm in my village.dsc03356Thanks a lot “Jb&Fl” for sharing your beautiful pictures with me and the visitors of my blog. It was a real pleasure to bring our worlds together and to see through your eyes. How difficult to choose pictures amongst all of them ! Maybe there will be another post about your future travels and visits in Asia ? Take care and all the best. Love.

What would they say ?

November 19, 2016

Or “If sculptures could speak”.  What  would those beautiful Caryatids say ? A stately demeanor, indecipherable  expressions on their sculpted faces. Would they talk about the endless flow of visitors coming and going around them in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens ? Or comment on the heavy burden they have been carrying on their head for so long ? Exchanging about their use as decorative supports in Greece and the ancient Near East ?

dsc02173_2What could those men in their elegant toga be discussing about ?  Would they talk about philosophy ? Would one of them be teaching the others ? Or were they engaged in a more private conversation ? In any case they will remain anonymous…dsc02176Two worlds meet in this picture. Modern buildings behind a vision of other times. In those past decades when women, mothers had to travel on the back  of a mule while taking their children with them as they went working in the fields.

dsc03079Mules were equipped with two strong sacks (jute or leather) on each side of their flanks. Inside them and well protected, mothers would put a baby or a small child. Usually, the slow and regular mule’s step would bring the children to sleep.  Maybe the little girl standing behind the mule would ask : “Mom, let me sit on the mule, please, I feel tired”. The track to the alpine village or to the pasture could be long. (Sculpture by Edouard Sandoz for the association of “The Mule”s Friends”, or  Les Amis du Mulet, Sion, Switzerland).DSC03078.JPGIn an open air museum of the village of Etroubles,  Aosta Valley/Italy, close to the Swiss border, I stopped and observed this three-dimensional sculpture by Andrea Granchi, a Florentine artist. It was entitled : “Viaggiatore sedentario incontra il  Grande”. I tried to imagine what the sculptor expressed in this particular art work. Maybe the  great (grande) man on the wall would say to the traveller (viaggiatore) : “Here you come, bumping into (incontra) other travelers like you who  try – or tried – to cross this mountain pass !” It is just my interpretation of this amazing sculpture.dsc01371

Greece, Naxos Island. On the  metallic entrance door opening to a wild garden, someone had written : “This is paradise”. After a few minutes’ walk uphill, amidst bushes and trees of all sorts, we stopped in front of a dry stone wall. At the bottom of it and protected by a fence, a huge statue  of a man, more than 17 feet,   seemed lost in a long sleep. It was the “Flerio Kouros”, built  in 570 BC in Naxian marble. What would the Kouros (young man) have said at that time ? Maybe he advised the stonecutters to be very careful when they would transport him to another site for the final touches. Apparently they weren’t enough or their artwork broke before ?  The statue remains unfinished, its leg broken, the marble has turned grey/brown in time and the mystery is unsolved.dsc02430I wonder what these  sculptures inspire you ?

White and blue and more

August 18, 2016

White and blue make me think of holidays at the seaside, Summer clothes, sailing , a bright sun,   sea and sky  of a deep blue, and….a special country  I visited last June : Greece and some of its islands.

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Santorini and its small houses huddled together on the hills and rocks overlooking the Aegean Sea. Here and there another color of a wild plant illuminates the whiteness of a house.

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A bright touch of red on a door, a blue dome in the far, an old broken wall and its multicolored layers of bricks and stones.

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More colors catch your eyes in Greece’s Summer time : a green window frame protecting a lovely embroidered curtain.

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Washing day in the sun, barely any breeze, plenty of colorful vegetation in the yard, no one around : time for a siesta indeed !DSC02236.JPG

What about the various shades of the sea, the sky, the rocks and Southern plants on this hanging garden ?DSC02228

Not to forget : the colors of History that one finds everywhere in the country; here an ancient amphitheater (Delphi) of the same shades as the mountain above.

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And when time for a rest comes, either from the brilliant sun or from too much walking and visiting, let’s close the blue shutters and enjoy the cool shade inside.

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Wishing you a colorful Summer wherever you are. Mine is turning slowly but surely towards Autumn. A transition I do not mind  and that reminds me to enjoy every minute of this brilliant Summertime.

Warmth in Winter

March 6, 2016

When the weather is not exactly bright, when rain and snow compete with a tempestuous wind to remind you that Winter is not  gone yet, what do you do ? I am not sure about you but today I feel like sharing pictures of a place in a warmer climate. Will you follow me to Italy ? DSC01277Arrival in Verona in the early evening. No Juliet on the balcony nor Romeo waiting on the alley below. A  light is on though, someone must be in. The mystery will remain…

hanging gardensA brilliant  morning !  a  joy to discover Verona and its hanging gardens along the Adige river.DSC01297Let’s cross one of the many bridges in Verona. This  one, constructed with red bricks, has been partially restored and will lead us to the ancient part of the city. A picturesque link between epochs and styles.

DSC01280What a treat to sit in an old church (San Domenico), listening to the melodious  voices of  those young  and talented American singers ! They belonged to a choir and were on a musical tour in Italy. Sacred, classical and folk music from all around the world.  How lucky we were to walk into this church !DSC01314After a long guided visit through the old town of Verona, walking on uneven paved alleys on a hot morning, a pause was definitely needed. Remember the   cool pasticceria (cake shop) with so many pastries and cakes to choose from ? My choice went to a small  “Romeo” cake (chocolate/moka)  and  a strawberry tartlet with vanilla cream. With three drops of this strong Italian coffee. And a big glass of water. This was an exquisite moment.DSC01318

This was the “Flego” pasticerria. Remember ? A stylish blending of modern and old decor.

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Weren’t we happy to be back on Garda Lake in the evening ?  just in time to see the last rays of sun and its reflections on the water. Peacefulness and beauty. This was a busy and very enjoyable day.

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A few more sights of the lakeside as the sun went down.

DSC01367There was this terrace almost floating on the lake where people sat and enjoyed quiet moments or animated talks. A place for everyone and “gelati” (ice cream) for all.

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Back to the here and now… Looking outside, I see the weather has not changed, stronger rain, snow and wind. As promised to my little buddy, we will go out no matter what. You see, Ninio has been waiting, sleeping with one eye only, not even thinking of renouncing to a “promenade” in search of scents over and under the snow. So here we go, buddy ! It was nice to be back to a warmer climate for a while though. I hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did.cartes, quilt tree 032.jpg

More information about the ancient city of Verona here :

https://wikipedia.org/wiki/verona

Thoughts behind images

August 1, 2014

My Summer is busy over here, too busy, not enough time for taking pictures unfortunately. I apologize for not posting more regularly. I thought why not look into my archives and find some pictures I like and write a post around them ? Let’s go to Australia, Victoria, an area I visited a  few years ago and let’s imagine the thoughts behind the images. immigration museum 1 Melbourne, the Immigration Museum. A beautiful  desk aboard a ship sailing to a faraway world. Someone had been sitting there and writing home. I imagine he or she was writing home about the long, so long travel to the other side of the world. The various feelings  one tried to express in a letter : sadness of leaving behind family members, maybe and a place called home, the hope of a new future, seasickness, meeting other immigrants, limited place to live all together… And certainly a lot more personal feelings and messages. dsc07288 Melbourne, a large avenue in the center. A coffee shop. At first I thought : “Why such a difficulty choosing from all those similar bags of oranges ?”  But then maybe this man’s indecision comes from choosing from the various snacks or meals sold in the shop ? St-Ex in St-Kilda 2 St-Kilda near Melbourne. A bus stop. Those words scribbled on a board: “What is essential is invisible to the eyes. It is only with the heart that one sees clearly” . Did the person who wrote this quote just read St-Exupéry’s book “The Little Prince” and liked it or was he/she in a particular mood which inspired these thoughts ? Melbourne card-4 052 Maldon, Victoria, is a notable town for its 19th century appearance, maintained since the gold-rush days. As I walked in front of this porte-cochere, I thought how relieved travelers  must have been to  finally find a place to stop, eat and rest after a long journey by stagecoach. a person 1 Carlton Gardens, Melbourne. An oasis of peace in the middle of this large  busy city. I stopped there just to look at my city-map, eat a snack or just give a break to my tired feet. Someone was sitting nearby, reading. In front of me a man was also sitting, quite immobile, meditating maybe or lost in his  own thoughts ?  Or taking a nap ?

 

Do you sometimes wonder what thoughts or situations hide behind your images ?

La Vie en Turquoise

January 31, 2014

Back with you , my friends, after a demanding month of January. I had very little time to write and download more pictures from my stay in Istanbul. When I did so, I realized there was a lot of turquoise color in them. You surely have heard this lovely song “La Vie en Rose” (seeing life through rose-colored glasses),  so why not seeing “La Vie en Turquoise”  in some streets of Istanbul, Turkey ?

Turquoise, the blue cousin to lapis lazuli, has been known and valued for thousands of years. The early mines in Sinai, Egypt, were already worked out in 2000 B.C. Today the best quality Turquoise is found in Iran. Turquoise was first sent to Europe through Turkey, hence its name, which means “Turkish” in French (turc  or turque).

Turquoise has long been appreciated as a holy stone, a good-luck-charm or a talisman. It is believed to promote good fortune, happiness, and long life.

DSCN1021Had this dark roller-blind been up, I am sure the shop behind it would have looked like an Ali Baba’s Cave full of semi-precious stones and all kinds of jewels.

DSCN1076A quiet back street, away from the touristic main sites. This luminous quilt, a flash of turquoise, was hanging in front of an old shop.

mosaics You often get surprised whether you look up or down. Here, an artistic minded mason had decided to embellish the pavement in inserting typical Turkish  tiles… or what was left of them. Isn’t it charming ?

turquoiseI stood a long time there. In front of the shop various jewels decorated the wall. Turquoise necklaces of all sizes, shapes and lengths. On the right hand side,  several “nazar” were displayed (Turkish: bazar boncuğu) . A nazar is an eye-shaped amulet believed to protect against the evil eye,  they are seen and sold all over the city.

reflectionsColourful reflections. Shawls, fabrics, bags, cushions, carpets highlighted the wooden walls of an old Ottoman house. The sign in Spanish says “Good quality, pretty and cheap” !

Musée de l'IslamTurquoise and golden shades  are engraved in the Ma’mun globe (a Caliph who reigned from 198-218 H./813-833 CE.) in front of the entrance of the Istanbul Museum for History of Science in Islam. A great achievement. The map on this globe displays, with surprising accuracy, the geography of the part of the world which was known at that time.

Maybe your weekend is in the grey shades ? or all white with so much snow ? or golden with a hot sun ? blue, if you live near the sea ? No matter the color you are living in, here is Edith Piaf singing for you “La Vie en Rose”.  I hope you will enjoy it.

Happy weekend to you 🙂

Best wishes to all

December 31, 2013

For a HAPPY NEW YEAR with light and colors on the horizon of your life.


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A boat in the sunset cruising on the Bosphorus strait last November. A short but most pleasant stay  in Istanbul with my family. It was a surprise trip for our eldest son and the most enjoyable experience for the four of us.

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May your New Year fit nicely in this colorful year cycle. This is how I interpreted this painting in the astronomy section of the superb Museum of the History of Science & Technology in Islam  from the 9th-17th centuries through a series of replicas of its greatest achievements and inventions (Gülhane Park in Istanbul).

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The objects displayed serve to honour a number of the sciences including astronomy, geometry, chemistry, physics, optics, mineralogy, architecture, time measurement and war technology. They attempt to show how discoveries made across the Islamic world were adopted, altered and assimilated into European culture.

Thank you to each and all of you for sharing with me your own pictures and experiences here and there, your own  beliefs, traditions and cultures. I really believe that it is in communicating with others, all over the world, that we start understanding one another better. Less fear of the unknown and more peace all around.

Bonne et heureuse Année !

Isabelle

Greenness in the city

August 14, 2013

Another day in Portugal. After the city of Porto, its harbour and the Douro river, how about spending some time in a luxuriant park of Porto and in Coimbra’s Botanical Garden ? It was founded in 1772 and is part of its very ancient University. More about the beautiful city of Coimbra later on.Coimbra, jardin botaniqueWon’t you come into the garden, I would like my roses to see you.” Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) said to his future wife Elizabeth inferring that she was more beautiful.

Coimbra, meditation
I sit in my garden, gazing upon a beauty that cannot gaze upon itself.  And I find sufficient purpose for my day.  ~Robert Brault.

Coimbra, tons roses
In the garden I tend to drop my thoughts here and there.  To the flowers I whisper the secrets I keep and the hopes I breathe.  I know they are there to eavesdrop for the angels.  ~Dodinsky

Coimbra, fleur jauneThe temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.  ~Basho

Coimbra, serresThe mystery of a glasshouse… What kind of world is growing  under its roof, brilliant patchwork of glass tiles ? What universe shall we discover as we open the door ?

Porto, jardin des plantesGive me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.  ~Walt Whitman

Porto, eucalypts
Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.  ~Henry David Thoreau

Coimbra, oiseaux du paradisBread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul.  ~The Koran

Porto, olivier

Even when seen from near, the olive shows
A hue of far away. Perhaps for this
The dove brought olive back, a tree which grows
Unearthly pale, which ever dims and dries,
And whose great thirst, exceeding all excess,
Teaches the South it is not paradise.
Richard Wilbur
Walking in a botanical is always a deep pleasure for me. Looking at Nature in so many different forms is enchanting for the eyes and the soul. Gardeners have been working in the same alleys for centuries, students from the nearby University have observed, studied and written about the life  of plants – often a secret for a visitor.  I walked and sat in a garden in Portugal. Yet much of the  world  was present around me. A palm tree  from New Mexico was standing  beside a mighty eucalyptus from Australia, its strong, unmistakable scent reminding me of the Australian bush. A Chinese bush was blooming along a colorful  rose garden from Southern countries. The olive tree – last picture – was the “ancestor” in the garden : if I remember well it came from Israel and was about 1000 years old.

My garden is my favorite teacher.  ~Betsy Cañas Garmon,www.wildthymecreative.com

Third day in Portugal. En route for a one day cruise on the Douro river, 980 km long, springing in Spain and marking the boundary between the two countries for about 100 km. Needless to say we did not go to the Spanish border in one day but the short trip up-river was a fascinating and most pleasant one.The light morning fog had lifted  and  the day was  brilliant and hot.

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We are sailing at a slow pace between  low hills covered with thick forests or well-kept vineyards. Here and there we pass in front of isolated houses, some look abandonned, others may be holiday houses.Douro, 31

A few bridges  cross the landscape : here an old stone railway bridge and above it  a more modern one for the busy traffic along the Douro Valley. Most villages and towns are built in the hinterland. We passed through them as we travelled back to Porto by train in the late afternoon : white villages surrounded by orchards, large vegetables gardens, some vineyards and all kind of flowers, of course.

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A flash of golden brightness in the woods. Would those luminous plants be brooms ?

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I was curious about the small white house on the left. A waiter on board told me it was a railway station. Little did I know I would stop there on the way back to Porto later on. A neat and quiet place between forests and rows of  terraced vineyards.Douro, station

Another village  at the edge of the water slowly waking in the morning sun. There were hardly any sounds we could hear from the boat : just a dog  barking, a few kids running and laughing, a peaceful setting. I imagine the hills getting fully alive during wine harvest. It reminded me of my own area in Switzerland, apart from the mountains.

Douro, village

The Douro river was once as a succession of rapids and the river had to be moved up countercurrent. Five dams were built  to make it safe and navigable. The Douro was the river route for the Rabelos barges which transported barrels of wine from the valley to the wine logdes of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.Douro, lock

We are just passing through one of the several  locks. Impressive high walls and heavy doors !Douro, lock 2

More terraced vineyards nested in the forest. A lovely red-roofed house,  maybe a “Quintas” ? one of those farms  and residences of the wine producers where the best wines can be tasted.

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We stopped in Peso da Régua, this is where our small cruise ended. Before our train took us back to Porto, tiime was sufficient to visit the small town which lives for and from wine. In the XVIII century it already was the point of departure for the Rabelos (barges).   Beautiful painted azulejos (tiles) depicted different scenes of the life and  work  in the vineyards.Douro, azulejosHere is a detail of one of the azulejos : the loading of the barrels onto the Rabelos as they went on their journey to Porto.  I liked this tribute to the many men and women who are working hard on the terraced vineyards along the Douro. Their way of working has changed of course, but the passion for their culture and wine making remains the same.

Douro, Regua, azulejos

Back in Porto station early evening, the eyes full of colours : the blue sky and river, the yellow bushes, the green vineyards and forests, the red tiled roofs of the white houses. Truly a magnificent day. I hope you enjoyed it too.

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