Monday, October 31, 2016

Pumpkin Patch

Nothing says fall like a patch full of pumpkins. Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Critters from my vacation

I am having a hard time identifying these ducks (at least I think they are ducks) that I photographed sitting on Lake Geneva in Lausanne, Switzerland. I would appreciate some help. I think they are beautiful!

Update! I'm pretty sure this can be identified as a Red-crested Pochard thanks to the kind comment below from one of my blogging friends at ifthethunderdontgetya.

A swan with what I think is a Eurasian Coot begging for food from us as we waited to board our boat for a cruise on the lake in Geneva, Switzerland.

One of the bears in the Bear Park in Bern, the capital of Switzerland. I took this picture from the bridge over the Aare River.

A view of three cows huddled together as we were passing over them on our gondola ride down from Mount Pilatus to Lucerne, Switzerland.

Chickens in Yvoire, France. I think that rooster was not pleased with me for taking their picture.

I saw this cat washing its face when we stopped to take pictures in the Brünig Pass on our way to Interlaken, Switzerland.

I think this is a Swiss Black-Brown Mountain Sheep resting in the medieval village of Grùyeres, Switzerland.

I took this picture of a swan parade passing by while we were eating dinner outside next to the Reuss River in Lucerne, Switzerland while the sun was going down.. That is the Chapel Bridge with Mount Pilatus in the background.

Linking to Saturday's Critters, Camera Critters, and The Bird D'pot.

Friday, October 28, 2016

More Paragliders

We stopped in Interlaken, Switzerland one day during our trip for a mid-morning snack and enjoyed watching these paragliders in the park next door.

It is hard to see it because of the way the morning sun was hitting the snow, but that mountain in the middle is The Jungfrau, one of the main summits of the Bernese Alps at 13,642 feet.

My view as I left the restaurant where we had some delicious pastries.

This is where we ate, the Grand Café Restaurant Schuh. We were told by our guide that they have the best pastries in Switzerland and I believe it.

You didn't think I was going to end this post without showing a picture of my pastries did you? A chocolate eclair and vanilla cremeschnitte.

Linking to SkyWatch Friday.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mont Blanc and Chamonix

After leaving Yvoire, the town I showed in yesterday's post, we drove to Chamonix, France where we were able to get a good look at Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps at 15,777 feet. That is a glacier cascading down the side of the mountain in the foreground.

This sculpture in Chamonix shows Horace-Bénédict de Saussure with Jacques Balmat on the left pointing at the summit of Mont Blanc. Balmat completed the first ascent of Mont Blanc in 1786 and collected the reward that had been offered 25 years earlier by Saussure.

Casino Chamonix Mont Blanc

Church of Saint Michael.

Chamonix is one of the oldest ski resorts in France and was the sight of the first Winter Olympics in 1924.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Lake Geneva cruise to Yvoire, France

Lake Geneva from our boat.

I think this is the French side of the lake.

Leaving one of the villages on the Swiss side of Lake Geneva.

Yvoire Castle dates from the 14th century and is the first thing you see when get off the boat in Yvoire, France.

This cute chef figure was moving around as she was cooking and ringing her bell above one of the restaurants in Yvoire.

Of course there were macarons to remind us that we were in France.

I loved looking at all of the charming old medieval buildings while strolling through town.

When we were staying in Geneva, we took a morning cruise on Lake Geneva. We stopped at several little towns along the shore to let passengers on and off as we cruised along. Switzerland was on one side of the lake and France was on the other. The scenery was beautiful. At the end of the cruise, we docked in the medieval village of Yvoire, France, which dates back to the 14th century. This is another town where there are no cars allowed so walking around was very pleasant.

A side note to my blog readers who are around my age (i.e. went to college in the early 1970's). As we were cruising on the lake, I got a certain song by Deep Purple stuck in my head and was singing it to myself, especially since we had passed through Montreux, Switzerland on this trip. My daughter-in-law thought it was hilarious. Can you guess which song I'm talking about without going to the link?

Linking to signs, signs.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Did I mention that I love mountains? That's me down there on the viewing terrace in the blue jacket looking up at my daughter-in-law with my arm on the railing and the Bernese Alps behind me. We took the cogwheel train up to the summit of Mount Pilatus when we were staying in Lucerne, Switzerland. Once again, the weather was perfect and the views were spectacular. This was my second time on Mount Pilatus, but when I was there last year the weather was foggy and we couldn't see much. I'm so glad I went back.

In addition to the glorious views, it was fun to watch all the people paragliding around the summit.

Some of the paragliders swooped in very close to the terrace.

A view from the other side of the mountain. That is the Chapel Klimsenhorn perched on the edge of that cliff down there.

I zoomed in on the Chapel Klimsenhorn. I'm not sure how those people reached that area, but there were a lot of hikers that day.

We took the gondola back down to Lucerne and this dog and her owner enjoyed the ride with me. Her name is Dinka. We passed by the chapel from my previous pictures and you can see it there in the upper left corner of the gondola window.

Monday, October 24, 2016


After showing so many pictures in my last two posts of the mountains surrounding Zermatt, Switzerland, I thought a few pictures of the town would be interesting. To prevent air pollution, the town is a combustion-engine car-free zone. Almost all vehicles are battery driven with exceptions being made for taxis or delivery trucks, which are electric.

Zermatt is very compact and you can walk almost anywhere within 30 minutes.

I took this picture from a bridge over the Matter Vispa, the river that runs through town and rises from the glaciers at the foot of the surrounding mountains. The river passed right by our hotel and since we slept with our windows open, it was a welcome sound, especially at night.

I took this picture as we stepped out of this bakery, where we ate lunch.

This house is located in the old part of Zermatt known as the Hinterdorf which consists of houses, barns, stables, and stores built between the 16th and 18th century. Many sit on flat stone slabs balanced on stilts to keep out mice. Considering the fact that they have been standing for hundreds of years, these buildings must be more stable than they look!

A close-up view of one of the flat stone slabs as I stood underneath it. Sorry it is a little blurry, but I was trying to keep my balance while standing on a hill and looking up to take the picture!

The clock tower of St. Mauritius Church.

Just behind St. Mauritius Church is Mountaineer's Cemetery, which is reserved for climbers who have perished on the Matterhorn or on the nearby mountains. Some of the graves have impressive memorials, are beautifully maintained and some even have artifacts like climbing ropes and ice axes attached.

A particularly interesting grave marker in Mountaineer's Cemetery.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Klein Matterhorn

With the weather being so perfect during our stay in Zermatt, Switzerland, we decided to make the trip by cable car up to the Klein Matterhorn (sometimes called "the little matterhorn"). We began at the Valley Station in Zermatt, which was right next door to our hotel. I took this picture while we were waiting our turn to board one of the gondolas for the first part of our trip.

View from the gondola as we were leaving Zermatt on our way up. You can see the top of the Matterhorn peeking over the mountains in the upper left side of the picture.

Next we stopped at the Furi Station, where we switched to a larger cable car for the second part of our trip up.

Looking through the front window of our cable car while heading up to the next station. That other car is on its way down.

The next station we stopped at was Trockener Steg at an altitude of 9,643 feet. I took this picture of the Matterhorn from the viewing platform at that station. We stayed there a little while we adjusted to the altitude.

Looking back at where we came from, I zoomed in on the village of Zermatt down there in the valley.

Looking up through the cable car window as we were headed up to the Klein Matterhorn.

One of the many glaciers we passed over on our way up.

We finally arrived at the Glacier Paradise station at 12,740 feet and again took a little time to adjust to the altitude before climbing to the viewing platform where I took this picture.

Here is another picture I took from the viewing platform. That is the Matterhorn behind and directly to the right of the cross. In the lower left of the picture is a construction crane. We saw many of these cranes on the way up and sometimes it was hard to avoid getting them in my pictures.

Located near the Italian and French border, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is the highest place in Europe that can be reached by aerial tramway, as well as by any other means of transport, offering views of the highest mountains in Italy, France and Switzerland. The weather was so perfect that I was able to zoom in on Mont Blanc (in the center of this picture) in Chamonix, France. Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps at 15,777 feet and Chamonix was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924. We had been lucky enough to make a side trip to Chamonix and see Mont Blanc up close earlier in our trip.