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Showing posts from December, 2018

´Twas the day after Christmas

´Twas the day after Christmas
When the clock chimed seven
Hastily I awakened
To watch the sun rise to heaven

Out of bed I flew
There´s tradition to brew
And stills to show
The beautiful view 

One click, two
Three too few
That will do
Here they are for you. (Poem by Charie)

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie

The Rocky Wall of Lauterbrunnen

Staubbach Falls Surrounded by towering rock faces and snow capped mountain peaks, Lauterbrunnen has one of the most dramatic settings in the Bernese Oberland. Free falling Staubbach Waterfall rushes down nearly 300 meters off the face of the cliff to the valley below. It seems to disappear behind a group of chalets on main street leaving a trail of wet spray. Staubbach is only one of 72 other waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen.  

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe traveled to Lauterbrunnen in 1779 and was impressed by what he saw, enough to write a poem ¨Spirit Song over the Waters¨. Here´s an excerpt from the poem:
“Down from the lofty
Rocky wall
Streams the bright flood,
Then spreadeth gently
In cloudy billows
O'er the smooth rock...”  

Lauterbrunnen Valley To get a good view of the valley, take the train to Wengen, an alpine village above Lauterbrunnen with an elevation of 1,274 meters (4,180 ft.).
Some visitors to Lauterbrunnen have expressed their disappointment with the low volume of water flowing do…

Iseltwald -Brigadoon by the Sea

The village of Iseltwald is a quick 15-minute bus ride from bustling Interlaken. But those few minutes through a winding, one lane highway that manages to squeeze two vehicles going in opposite directions, make all the difference in the world. I felt like I arrived in Brigadoon as fog hovered over green hills that roll down to the lake. Yes, the setting of the musical, Brigadoon, is the Scottish Highlands. And I´m in equally magical Switzerland.

Lake Brienz is like a mirror reflecting the surrounding mountains and valleys that is home to a few hundred residents.

The streets were so quiet as I walked around the village in early afternoon. Were the locals taking a siesta? But this is not Spain! The only noise I heard was from my camera as I clicked away, trying to capture this sleeping beauty that will awake in winter when skiers descend upon the village. How lucky I was to observe the smoke curling out of the chimney of this wooden church without the selfie crowd!

Chalets line the water´s…

The Storybook Village of Annecy

After a few days with family in Paris, I had to decide where to go next. My first thought was to travel to Carcassonne via Provence for a week of wandering in the region. While studying my options, I came across a photo of Annecy similar to that above. I took the fast train to Annecy the following day and lost no time in exploring the Vielle Ville (old town). 

The Palais d’Île was constructed in the 12th century on a rocky island on the Thiou River. It has served as a prison, a mint in the 14th century, the residence of the Dukes of Savoy in the 15th century, a courthouse and now serves as a museum for Architecture and Heritage Interpretation.

Lake Annecy What I liked best about my visit to Annecy were the daily walks I took along the lakeshore. The backdrop of mountains and fall foliage made the stroll even more pleasurable. I felt invigorated after spending time by the crystal clear waters of the lake.

Pont des Amours (Lovers Bridge) The Pont des Amours over the Canal du Vassé connects t…

Boracay Rejuvenated

White Beach Two days prior to the scheduled reopening of Boracay, we had the chance to take a day trip to what was hailed as the best island in the world for 2016 by Condé Nast's Readers Choice Awards. And we found this beautiful stretch of powdery white sand with nary a sunbather.
The island had been closed to tourists since April 2018 after the President of the Philippines remarked that it had become a “cesspool”. Unchecked growth and the 1.7 million visitors annually had left environmental damage to the tiny island. Nearly 6 months after the closure, Boracay was getting ready to receive visitors again.
We took an electric tricycle from the jetty through dusty backroads to get to a drop off point close to White Beach. These e-trikes are a welcome addition to island transportation.     
White Beach It was nice to see White Beach free of stalls and vendors. We weren't allowed to eat nor drink on the beach. So we sat under the shade of these palm trees and stared out to sea, took oc…

Zero Visibility and Disappointment

Lake Thun Interlaken as the name suggests, means between lakes. So I was watching the passing view carefully as the train raced closer to the valley between the lakes. And suddenly the shimmering, crystal clear waters of Lake Thun came into view. Heaven!
Jungfrau It was fascinating to watch paragliders drop anchor on the Höhematte under the shadow of the Jungfrau. They make it look so easy to land on the green lawn of the park.
Two Lakes Bridge, Harder Kulm The opportunity to see all three peaks, the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, from the summit of Harder Kulm was something I felt I couldn't miss. I had been observing the funicular climb up the steep side of the mountain from my hotel doorstep. It takes approximately ten minutes for the ascent to the summit (1,322 meters above sea level) by funicular. But in those 10 minutes, the clouds rolled in and swiftly wiped out the view. 
Coffee anyone? After waiting for thirty minutes in the cold mountain air for the fog to disperse, I decided to wa…

The Season for Sea and Seafood*

Beyond the sea-to-table cuisine that Capiz is famous for, the province serves a plateful of surprises to feed your wanderlust.

Gugma Beach Aptly named Gugma (Love), this off the grid stretch of warm grey sand in Sapian ticks all the right boxes for a splashing good time with its expansive views of the coastline and striking rock formations by the shore.


The White Sand Beaches of Ivisan Speaking of beaches, the town of Ivisan has fine white sand beaches bordered by palm trees. The laid-back vibe of Basiao, Ayagao and Patio beaches will please the consummate beachgoer. Pumpboats are available to explore the tiny shoreline of Maba-ay Island, just minutes from Basiao beach.

Ruins of Railway Bridge Once upon a time, there was a railroad connecting Capiz and Iloilo. Buses eventually replaced the trains which were finally put to bed in 1985. There are remnants of the supporting approach to a railway bridge in Dao, about thirty minutes from Roxas City. Hardwood pylons cut dramatically across the f…

A Rainy Afternoon in Geneva

Chapel of the Maccabees How much independent sightseeing could one pack into an afternoon in Geneva? Factor in the rain and the early sunset and the answer is, not much. But it has been decades since I first visited Geneva and got lost in the city on the way to meet a friend who had our rental car. That was a nightmare! Yes, we did find each other eventually and drove on to complete our grand tour of Europe.

I really wanted to see Geneva again and I had two things to check off on my itinerary. The first one was to go up to the old town and the other, to walk along Lake Leman. Trying to do more would have been a challenge with my bad knee. I didn't realize though that the Cathedral of Saint Pierre was up on a hill so I had to work my legs a little harder but thankfully, it wasn't as steep as the other hills I climbed in Annecy.

The highlight of the Cathedral is the colorful Chapel of the Maccabees which was the tomb of a cardinal when Saint Pierre was a Catholic Church. It is in…