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.

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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 ?

Easter light

March 26, 2016

DSC02110May the sun rays over the Alps bring you light and warmth in your heart.

DSC02119.JPGI hope you will rejoice and smile at the brightness of these fresh Spring flowers. A true renewal of Season.

DSC00083.JPGPeace and love  to all in those troubled times and let us not forget to stay strong and  keep Hope alive.

Wishing you  and yours a very Happy Easter !

Isabelle

Time for Art exhibitions

December 4, 2015

Feeling like visiting some art exhibitions with me ? The Season for various cultural events is on again.

So let’s follow the curious chickens into the galleries…DSC01669

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Albert Chavaz was a Swiss painter (1907-1990) who left a great amount of oil paintings, pastels, watercolors, drawings; he was a sculptor as well as a Master glassmaker; so many beautiful windows he created in churches, chapels and official buildings. I visited his studio with one of his daughters. Everything has been left untouched since he passed.

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In another gallery, I admired other sculptures created by Pierre Loye,  an artist living in the Valais area in Switzerland. “The Travellers”, as the artwork below is named, has been carved in a single piece of wood (lime tree) A few people  are on the road, their house is turned upside down definitely meaning: “We are away and will not be in for a long time”! Imagination and talent !DSC01677

Pierre Loye is also a painter. Two of his inimitable characters stand on their window like on a flying carpet…opening to the wide world. At least this is what I imagined !DSC01676

To end our visit, let’s go to the Museum of ancient wallpapers in Mezieres, near Fribourg, Switzerland. It is installed in a lovely restored mansion of the 14th century.

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Photography (especially with flash) was not permitted for obvious reasons. These old wallpapers, painted, drawn or made out of silk would be damaged by too much artificial light. Here is a postcard of part of a wallpaper called “The two Doves” in the Blue Room.

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No flash was needed in a brightly lit room to show you a ancient chest or writing table ? It was lined with a decorative wallpaper.

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A surprise in another room ! An old Korean bicycle carrying a huge load of colorful bundles of various objects and materials called  “Bottari Tricycle (2008)” This old tricycle was loaded with about twenty “Bottaris” which are multicolored sheets used in Korea to transport the basic tools of a household. Kimsooja (*1957), the artist, describes these Bottaris as symbols of a nomadic world, a form of simple and  mobile life. This is becoming more common in our global society.

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Here are a few examples of ancient wallpapers of the 19th century… in the form of wrapping papers and postcards.

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It was a lovely autumnal Sunday afternoon, hardly anybody but me in this small museum. Who could blame them when the landscape was so inviting for a walk ? Which I did later on.

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Thanks for joining me !

Less is also beautiful

December 19, 2014

Strolling along the Advent’s time, trying to slow down on the path to Christmas and making a pause near those ancient walls that are part of an old castle.DSC00733

Why not take time to watch the sun through the branches and look more closely at some small wild flowers barely visible between the rough stones of an old wall ? Pinks and whites and rust emerge through the cracks.
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Exotic trees and luxuriant plants growing quietly against a shaded brick wall. A secluded garden may reveal more wild beauty.

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No flashing colors and bright lights of the Season here, no noisy and busy places, just a hint of a Light or a Star leading the way to Christmas ?

DSC00737The ruin of an ancient door joyfully decorated by ivy leaves and red flowers, under the shelter of a shower of silver leaves.

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Beauty also lies in the less visible, the shy and persistent grasses blushing under my curious and admirative look.

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The old castle, deserted on a sunny afternoon, offering a moment of peace and lending its walls to plants that only need a bit of earth, sun and rain to come back to life and bloom.

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On the way back to the city center, a narrow paved alley, a bridge between times and places, a contrast of shades and construction with the beautiful resilience of nature.

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Hints of Spring

April 15, 2014

Did you think Spring had come ? I did too last March. Then one morning I felt everything looked too white, too cold.  Different. A patch of Winter had covered the landscape. Again. Just to give us a fright. It did not last long though.   DSC00321 When snow melted, the soil got warmer by the day and little by little tiny flowers, daisies, appeared in the grass. Some were quicker to open to the sun, others  more shy, stayed asleep. DSC00408 Dialogue between two cotton sheets in the open. “What is Isa thinking to hang us outside today ? Early March is too cold and what a Siberian wind this morning !!”.  “I know, I am freezing. Let’s huddle up together, get warm and dry. Isa will come over, bring us down into her basket and put us back nicely onto our beds”. Spring washing Hiding in the grass ? I saw you, pretty white primrose. You made my day. Thank you. DSC00356 Spring can affect some animals, apparently not these quiet cows grazing along the railway road. As I and other passengers were waiting for the train back in Fribourg, we were told that the train would have an indeterminate delay. We waited as the same message was repeated again and again. Finally we knew what it was all about :  heifers were on the tracks and  all trains from Zurich to Geneva (half of Switzerland, North-South) were delayed. Maybe it was the cows’  first day out in the pastures  after a long stay in the barn ? Such an excitement and joy ! There must have been some serious gap in a fence somewhere  too. Fortunately nothing wrong happened to anybody, the cheerful cattle was driven back home and the train moved on. Missed connections but more time to admire the scenery.DSC00368   Spring can also make you feel more tired. This is my case. I do not seem to be the only one… I was looking for Nino at home, no sign of him. I found him upstairs, dozing lazily on a comfy quilt, eyeing gently at an exotic parrot. Oh well, change of Season, you know.quilt, Nino, KOSince we are in a patchwork mood, let me show you my new Spring project. Something I have been planing to sew for a long time : a picnic blanket for Summertime. All different scrappy squares, economy blocks or diamond in diamond. I really enjoy going through my leftovers boxes. The quilt is far from being finished; I plan to separate each square with a plain fabric, white or green.  Spring has just started and I hope to sit in the open on this blanket next Sumer. How I love picnics ! DSC00448Just a few touches of my Spring that I felt like sharing with you, hoping yours is pleasant too. Any project on the way ?

Altitudes and contrasts

March 19, 2014

Over the past weeks it seems like I did  nothing much but come and go between the mountains (4429ft) and the plains (1480ft) and yet I can assure you a lot happened in-between ! The seasonal flu’ hit several family members I looked after; Spring cleaning fever hit me too, as well as clearing out. I also took time to visit with friends here and there. During these constant trips up and down the valley, I became interested in  comparing the changes of Season according to the different altitudes.

The tall and almost bare larch trees in the Alps; snow melted in places but no green buds yet.arbres-mâts

A forest of slender masts in the town of Morat, at the edge of a lake. The boats are stlll protected from the cold and the frost that can cause so much damage in Winter. Soon they will sail on the lake though.

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Under an unusual mountain fog, the slate roofs of the chalets are still covered with a thick layer of snow.

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whereas the old red tiled roofs of the ancient houses shine under the sun near  Morat.

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Snow flowers over 4000ft

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and  Spring first pink blossoms at the lakeside.  So welcome !

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Someone you know, my Nino, is almost taking off a steep slope in the mountains, a simple joy he never gets tired of,

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and a thirsty dog (20°C on that particular day) taking a bath and drinking water at the edge of the lake, after playing with his master on the grass.

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Typical Winter activity…

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and early Spring relaxing moments at the lake.

DSC00268Such are my landscapes at the moment. Winter is not yet over (far from it) and Spring is starting to shine down in the valley. I even saw apricot trees in bloom, a rare sight at the end of March. I wish you happy moments, joyful colors and a warmer sunshine in a blue sky.

En route for Spring !

Summer abundance

October 13, 2013

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Rather than showing you the grayness of my foggy morning – it seems as if the mountains have disappeared – I much prefer to remember Summer, its alpine meadows, its colours, scents,  tastes, all precious gifts that I hope you have enjoyed yourself too.

DSCN0634During a wonderful birthday party, a lot of delicious food was served , amongst which those small tomatoes of all shapes and shades just picked in the garden. My favorites were the dark red ones, almost purple. So sweet and juicy.

DSCN0643On a bed of wild camomile and rosemary. black cherries were glittering in the sun. Are you tempted ?

DSCN0642Oh, the taste and scent of those sweet strawberries !

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Lavender and parsley added an exquisite touch to the pieces of chicken and potatoes.

DSCN0640Beside various wines  produced locally, we were offered a kind of “herbal water” served in a big glass jar. The cool water was flavored with branches of lemongrass, mint, rosemary, sage and even a few cherries. So refreshing !

DSCN0658As an extra gift, and not the least, Pierre’s birthday celebration was held on a superb “terrace with a view”.  One you do not forget : the well-known vineyards of Lavaux over the Lake Léman, surrounded by the Alps.

Somehow it was  also everyone’s birthday  because of the reunion of dear friends as well as for the treats that had been prepared with love. The magnificent view was a fantastic gift. A Summer day to remember when Fall is at the door and some summits are already snow-capped. Oh well, Autumn will give us more colors, scents and tastes, won’t it ? More gatherings to look forward to.

Happy Sunday to all !

Silent times

May 18, 2013

So much time and patience have been needed recently to first open my PC, then read my mail and respond to it, write on the blog or read you ! My old PC definitely needs a rest or better said, a retirement after a long and good collaboration. Slowly but surely.Remington 2Maybe I will go back to writing on an impressive  type-writer such as this  Remington from other times ? It was sitting quietly on a coffee house table.

A letter 2Or maybe I will switch to snail mail – which I often do anyway – choosing a lovely stationary, using my favourite fountain pen and letting it flow gently on the soft paper ?

montgolfièreSomething is sure though. A travel is planned soon. I will fly over the Alps to a warmer climate (hopefully !) and when I return home, you may well find me sitting in front of a new screen 😉

In the meantime, I wish you a happy and sunny Spring, plenty of pictures, thoughts and experiences  to share. I look forward to reading you.

Take good care of you.

See you again later. Au revoir et à bientôt.

Isabelle

A weekend in Lucerne

February 11, 2013

Let me share with you a few  pictures of a weekend spent in the lovely city of Lucerne (Central Switzerland).

Snow had fallen lightly  bringing a soft touch on the roof of an ancient wood covered bridge, the Chapel’s Bridge. A strange sight to see this touristic city so quiet. The cold month of January did not attract many visitors but I enjoyed visiting Lucerne in Winter.Lucerne, pont 2

The quai along the Reuss river  was almost deserted but for a few silent seagulls.Lucerne, Reuss

I found this old postcard of the “Devil’s Bridge” over the same river (Reuss) but in the mountains, wild,  still untamed, before it reached the bottom of the valley and the lake of Lucerne. The small lower bridge was built in 1707 for people and their mules  having to cross the mountainous gorge. In 1830, a larger one was constructed for the stagecoaches travelling across the Alps. Finally a third bridge and a new road have been built in 1956. Still a very impressive sight!

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Only a few pedestrians, swans and ducks were to be seen along the lake promenade on this freezing Saturday morning. Some of the large and majestic hotels were closed waiting for better days to welcome tourists.

Lucerne, quai

What a totally different atmosphere in the evening ! There was a concert in the prestigious concert hall  of the KKL (Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern). A real treat. The musicians of The Festival Strings of Lucerne presented two concertos by J.S.Bach as well as a Bohemian Serenade by A. Dvorak and J. Suk.KKL, 1

Beautiful and warm decor, talented musicians, an evening to remember .KKL, 2

I am hoping you will enjoy a part of the “Serenade” by A. Dvorak, “Tempo di Valse”. The musicians are not the ones I heard in Lucerne though but I love their lively interpretation too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjC2fP1652w

The Carnival fever was already tangible all over the city, here in the main railway station . The celebration was to start on mid-February (right now in fact). Lucerne is well known for his great carnival in my country, as well as Basel.

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A few weeks later Carnival has invaded Lucerne. This weekend musicians and the “guggenmusik” groups are playing and dancing in many areas of the city.  Here are two music groups, one in Lucerne, the other in the South of Switzerland.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLMtqbkhONg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKYWxwZEYSY

Saying “good-bye” to Lucerne by night from the roof of the KKL concert hall and to our relatives there who made our stay  so very pleasant. Thanks a lot Yves and Christiane.Lucerne, night

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapellbr%C3%BCcke