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Showing posts with the label womenwhotravelsolo

The Rocky Wall of Lauterbrunnen

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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

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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

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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…

Zero Visibility and Disappointment

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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…

A Rainy Afternoon in Geneva

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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…

Waiting for the bus in Ostuni

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Ostuni is a whitewashed hill town in Puglia in Southern Italy. It is referred to as La Citta Bianca or the White Town. It has narrow, often steep alleys that challenge both legs and knees. But the rewards are pure delight for the resolute traveler. Imagine door frames that seem to have time traveled to the 21st century, mesmerizing views of the sea and olive groves which produce some of the finest olive oil in Italy!
The Aragonese defensive walls in the photo above are remnants from the reign  of Isabella of Aragon, the Duchess of Bari and her daughter, Bona Maria Sforza (Queen Consort of Poland) who succeeded her. 

Getting to Ostuni was as simple as taking the train from Bari, the capital of Puglia, for the two-hour ride that provided glimpses of the Adriatic Sea. I found no taxis nor buses outside the station when I arrived in Ostuni. I asked an elderly gentleman standing around if a bus would be passing by and he kindly informed me that there would be one shortly and that it would go…

Kiss my Turku

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Nothing can truly describe the wonder of seeing the Art Chapel for the first time. I was at once drawn to the blinding light at the end of the proverbial tunnel as soon as I entered the chapel. But rather than walk up to the altar, I opted to sit awhile on one of the plain pine pews to slowly take it all in and savor the peace and beauty of my surroundings. I enjoyed precious few minutes of blissful contemplation (as I was the only visitor then) until a couple arrived and the missus asked me to remove my handbag from the bench so she could take a perfect photo of the Chapel. :( 

The architect, Matti Sanaksenaho, wanted to incorporate three symbols in his design. One of them is light, in this case, the idea of "the path from darkness to light". The visitor emerges from the shadows at the entrance and is led toward the light at the altar under exquisitely arched Finnish timber.

The model for the design of the Art Chapel was a block of wood inspired by a fish which the architect…