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Showing posts with the label travel

The mountains are calling

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The Swiss Federal Railways makes it easy for visitors to travel anywhere in Switzerland with its vast and efficient coverage of the country. Even the remotest villages in the mountains can be accessed through a network of trains and cableways. So it was an easy decision to combine my trip to Lauterbrunnen with Wengen and it turned out to be a good decision.

It was warm and sunny in November when I captured this view of the Jungfrau (above).


Wengen sits at the foot of the Jungfrau mountain range, 1,274 meters (4,180 ft.) above sea level. It is a quiet, car-free village with less than a couple thousand residents. This count balloons to 10,000 or so during the ski season when the alpine village hosts the annual International Luberhorn Downhill Ski Race. Wengen is the gateway to the Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe at 11,333 ft.


A cable car dangles above the valley on its way to Männlichen where spectacular views of the Eiger and Mönch await. The Eiger is famous for its treacherous North Face whi…

The Names of Zurich

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How much of Zurich can you see in an afternoon in late fall? The surprising answer is, a lot! I was in Zurich to catch a flight back to the U.S. and had a few hours to sightsee. After checking in at the hotel and reviewing the city map the receptionist gave me, I hurried down to Bahnhofstrasse and followed the busy shopping street towards Lake Zurich. My first stop was at Augustinergasse, a cobblestone street with overhanging balconies. It is in the Alstadt or Old Town which is the historical center of the city. Some of the most important landmarks like the Fraumünster, the Grossmünster, Peterkirche and the guild houses are found in the Alstadt. 

The stained glass windows by Marc Chagall in the Fraumünster was at the top of my "must see" list. As luck would have it, a rehearsal for a music concert was in progress during my visit so I lingered and enjoyed the performances of two gifted singers while studying the works of Chagall and Giacometti. An added bonus was the crypt whe…

Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn

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Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn rises above the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. Its spires are symbolic of Mount Meru (center of the world in Buddhist cosmology) and are richly trimmed with ceramic tiles and fragments of Chinese porcelain.

The Khmer style central prang or spire is about 79 meters high (259 ft).

There are four smaller towers surrounding the central spire, an architectural feature that pays homage to Mount Neru. Notice the ornamented figures of Chinese soldiers that seem to support the tower.

These prangs glitter in the light from the ornamentation that define the temple complex.
A gilded door leads to one of the halls in the temple complex.
The Niramitr Buddha sits calmly in the ordination hall
How to get there:
Take the river express ferry to Tha Tien near the Grand Palace and Wat Pho then transfer to a shuttle boat that crosses the river or take one of the more pricey tourist boats that stops at Wat Arun. Entry fee to Wat Arun is 50 baht.

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie


Spirit Houses in Thailand

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Spirit houses are found in many countries in Asia. Some spirit houses are meant for the appeasement of spirits who dwell in the land and others are for the veneration of Phra Brahma, the Lord Creator in the Hindu religion. Sometimes a spirit house becomes a shrine when worshippers believe that their prayers were answered after making an offering at a particular spirit house. 
The image of the four-faced Brahma dwells in this open-sided spirit house. Each of Brahma's faces is symbolic of kindness, mercy, sympathy and fairness. Offerings of flowers, fruits, rice, bottled water and red Fanta fill the dais of the altar. Why red Fanta? The answer could be, according to some sources, the color red is the symbol of blood and red Fanta replaces sacrificial blood. It is also sweet and the spirits like it. Glittering glass and mirror mosaics adorn this spirit house with Brahma surrounded by figurines of people and animals.
This wooden spirit house resembles a Thai house and stands behind a gli…

Where to go in 2019

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Egypt
Where are you off to in 2019? Have you made any plans yet? If not, here are some of the places recommended by travel experts from various magazines, newspapers and travel book publishers to inspire your wanderlust. Puerto Rico is the favorite place to visit in 2019. And the Azores is gaining recognition as one of the best "new" destinations. 

Check out my travel article about Puerto Rico, Love of Art Enriches Life.
https://www.travelswithcharie.com/2005/11/love-of-art-enriches-life.html
New York Times 52Places to Visit Puerto Rico ranks first on this list followed by Hampi in India, Santa Barbara, California and Panama. Read more about these 52 places to visit in 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/travel/places-to-visit.html
Condé Nast Traveler 19Best Places to go in 2019  Among the places recommended by Condé Nast editors are Japan, Egypt, Istanbul, Siargao in the Philippines, Singapore, and Puerto Rico. To read about these exciting destinations, click on the link…

The Reclining Buddha

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The Reclining Buddha or Phra Buddhasaiyas is 46 meters long and 15 meters high (150 ft by 49 ft). Sihasaiyas refers to the sleeping/reclining posture of a lion.  

Phra Vihara, the hall of the Reclining Buddha was built in 1832 during the reign of Rama III. The figure is made with lacquered and guilded stucco over a brick-based corpus.

The Buddha’s head rests on two box pillows inlaid with glass mosaics and is supported by his right hand.
The feet of the Buddha is 5 meters in length and 3 meters in height (16 ft by 9.8 ft). Notice his toes which are all even in size and height.
The soles of the Buddha's feet are inlaid with mother of pearl and have 108 panels showing the auspicious symbols with which he is identified. These auspicious symbols can be grouped into three categories: symbols of fortune and prosperity such as the lotus, attributes of greatness of the king such as the throne, and religious cosmology such as the ocean and heavenly forest. There are two circles, one on each fo…

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

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Two hours south of Bangkok is the bustling floating market of Damnoen Saduak. Visitors can't wait to get on a small boat to shop along a narrow and short stretch of the khlong (canal) where boats jostle for position and vendors display their offerings to eager buyers.


The most attractive offerings are the fresh fruit, steaming bowls of soup and local delicacies. I watched from the platform as soup was prepared by a vendor in his paddle boat. His sign reads: boiled rice soup, noodle soup, pasta soup at 30 baht per bowl. It was fascinating to watch the steam rising from the pot as he prepared the soup. It smelled so good and I became hungry watching him cook.


This lady is making sticky rice in a rainbow of colors. Mango sticky rice is a dessert staple in Thailand as is the rice black pudding.


This boat is laden with bananas, macopa (mountain apple), guava and young coconut trees, among others.


Leather goods are a hard sell when customers are busy eating.


Stop the boat! These folks need h…

Paris in Autumn 2018

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Remember the song, I love Paris? 
“I love Paris in the springtime
I love Paris in the fall I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles I love Paris every moment Every moment of the year.”

Found myself in Paris in early November with someone who has never been to Paris. How wonderful it is to see Paris from fresh eyes. I had so much to show her but since she only had 36 hours in town, it was a short and sweet visit. She wanted to see the Tour Eiffel, first and foremost, so we went up to La Terrasse at Galeries Lafayette Haussman for her first glimpse of the tower.
And lucky for us, the much awaited Christmas tree at Galeries Lafayette was up. This year the tree is right side up. Last year's tree was candy themed and was upside down. At the Lafayette Café on the sixth floor, a window seat affords views of the Tour Eiffel and the back of the Opera Garnier. This is a good spot for scanning the Parisian skyline while indulging on a piece of cake.
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