March 28, 2017
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 ?
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 ?
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.Here they are : who knows what these fabrics will inspire me someday ?…
What a majestic alley of tall, imposing trees that reminded me of a poem by Charles Baudelaire.
“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.
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;)
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.
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.
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.
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.Let’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.
March 3, 2017
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.As a bright parasol opened under the warm sun of Myanmar (Burma),snow had been falling all day long in the Swiss Alps.
Red: such a warm color under any sky ! Here is a typical wooden house at the edge of the Inle Lake (Myanmar).On my way home on a rather dull day, I was attracted by this red barn which added some warmth to the Winter landscape.
Dogs… don’t they all sometimes have the same worried look wherever they live ?A puppy in a street somewhere in Asia. “Will you adopt me ?”Ninio 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”.
Would you care for some sweets ? How about a mango and rice dessert to end your meal ? or would you prefer a choco-pistachio dome in Switzerland ?
Are you ready for more visits after a pause ? Like cruising slowly along rice fieldswhereas our own fields over here are barely out of dormancy.
Let’s walk uphill to the mountains of North Myanmar or walk on a mountain path facing some of the Swiss Alps ?
It has been a long day of walking and visiting , 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.
The sun is setting down now, warm colors over the horizon, several dark silhouettes of temples in the Far-Eastand, on a misty day, an unusual pink shade at sunset over a farm in my village.Thanks 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.
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 ?
What 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…Two 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.
Mules 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).In 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.
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.I wonder what these sculptures inspire you ?
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.
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.
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.
More colors catch your eyes in Greece’s Summer time : a green window frame protecting a lovely embroidered curtain.
Washing day in the sun, barely any breeze, plenty of colorful vegetation in the yard, no one around : time for a siesta indeed !
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.
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.
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.
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 ? Arrival 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…
A brilliant morning ! a joy to discover Verona and its hanging gardens along the Adige river.Let’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.
What 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 !After 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.
This was the “Flego” pasticerria. Remember ? A stylish blending of modern and old decor.
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.
A few more sights of the lakeside as the sun went down.
There 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.
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.
More information about the ancient city of Verona here :
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. 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. 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-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 ? 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. 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 ?
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.
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 ?
I 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.
Turquoise 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 🙂
December 31, 2013
For a HAPPY NEW YEAR with light and colors on the horizon of your life.
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.
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).
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 !
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.Won’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.
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.
My garden is my favorite teacher. ~Betsy Cañas Garmon,www.wildthymecreative.com
August 8, 2013
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.
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.
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.
A flash of golden brightness in the woods. Would those luminous plants be brooms ?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Here 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.
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.