Life’s A Beach in Germany!

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Go to Germany to relax at the beach? Why not when the town’s as beautiful as Warnemunde. It is how we decided to close out our vacation.
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There are miles of unspoiled beach!
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There are sand art competitions.
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These two pieces have an early explorers theme, but there was so much more amazing sand art!
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There are wonderful restaurants.
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Street musicians are around every corner!
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Quaint streets with very old buildings are just waiting for you to browse and explore.
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Lovely shops are everywhere!
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And of course, fabulous German food! What more could anyone one want? It’s a perfect and relaxing way to end our trip!
Auf Wiedersehen and cheers to you from Wonderful Warnemunde~

“Lake Leman Lies by Chillon’s Walls”

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Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley visited Montreux Switzerland in 1816 and sailed on Lake Geneva, then called Lake Leman. Byron toured Chillon Castle which stands on the lake, and wrote his poem, “The Prisoner of Chillon,” about Francois Bonivard who was imprisoned in Chillon’s dungeons from 1532 -1536.
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“There are seven pillars of gothic mould,
in Chillon’s dungeons deep and cold.”
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“There are seven columns, mossy and grey,
Dim with a dull imprisoned ray”
(The dungeon is below.)
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“They chained us each to column stone,
And we were three, yet each alone”
You can see the columns and just make out the iron loops for the chains towards the bottom of the closest one. A class of bored school children were listening to their teacher. She droned on way too long. If one just read the more gruesome lines of Byron’s poem and let the kids explore the dungeon, I bet they’d be hooked on poetry for life! I speak terrible French, but I swear I heard the teacher, say, “Listen Johann, you will be tested on this!” Laughing, there was nothing that would have made me listen less, but I digress…..
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Chillon castle was home to the counts of Savoy from the mid 12th century.
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The oldest bedroom in the castle has 14th century medieval murals.
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Montreux and Lake Geneva are beautiful. There is an old city center that is fun to explore and lots of wonderful restaurants. We bid farewell to Switzerland now, as we head back to Germany.
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Cheers to you from Sweet Suise!
Quotations from “The Prisoner of Chillon,” Lord Byron 1816.
For more on Bonivard check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Bonivard

The Little Birds Said, “This and That.”

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I have never seen such plump little birds! People everywhere in Switzerland make feeding the wild birds part of their daily routine.
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There are entire shops like this one devoted to the feeding and housing of wild birds.
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Do they smell a rat? A common foe in Montreux makes for a delicate alliance. Even the street cats like this one are fat and healthy.
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Maybe it’s the wine that makes everyone so mellow? Of course it could be the beer….
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Or maybe it’s all the exercise? The Swiss like to bicycle up the Alps. I like to sit in the train and take their picture. These last shots were taken from The Glacier Express train.
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Of course it could be the continuous hits of Alpine beauty.
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The lucky Swiss!
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Who knows what it is? Maybe it’s in the water…..
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I’m heading off the train now to go eat some Rosti with Swiss cheese!
And at the request of my good blogging friend Yellowcable, I have added a late addition, Rosti with Swiss cheese, minus a bite or three taken before the photo. I can’t help it. I’m powerless over rosti.
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Cheers to you from well-fed Switzerland~

Inside & Out: The Traditional Swiss Chalet~

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The mountain regions of Switzerland are covered with thousands of old chalets, making for incredible scenery in the already magnificent alpine landscape. Some of the restored old chalets in Zermatt’s Old Town are over 300 years old. Many are being used today as apartments or shops.
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These buildings in the Valais region are made of larch wood, with stone roofs, and were originally farm dwellings. They were two-story buildings where the farm animals lived on the bottom floor, protected from the cold climate and providing heat for the second floor.
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Many farms in the Valais countryside are still working operations.
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The newer chalets are pure charm, and although I have been to Switzerland several times, I have never stayed in a traditional chalet. This trip I intended to remedy this deficit. This was our hotel in Zermatt, the Belle Vista.
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Here are some other beautiful chalets.
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Some are private homes and others hotels. We are staying in several and I am wondering why I never did this before.
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They are utterly charming inside and out, like this one in Zermatt,
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and this one in St Moritz.
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Had to close with one more pic of the mighty Matterhorn!
Cheers to you, and happy weekend from Klosters Switzerland~

Sweet Suisse!

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Oh Switzerland, you are so beautiful.

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Gorner Gorge, Valais, Swiss Alps, Zermatt Switzerland.

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Hiking in The Alps is justifiably world famous.

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The catwalks up this gorge were constructed in the 1800’s and make for quite an impressive hike for those who are not acrophobic.

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This rarely photographed mountain is here too!

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There are delightful wooden Swiss chalets everywhere. Zermatt’s old town was built between the 16th-18th century. I will post some photos of these incredible wooden chalets soon.
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The Matterhorn is particularly lovely in the evening when the clouds move in.
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After an exhilarating day hiking, it’s time to relax and have some fondue and Swiss bier!
Cheers to you from ethereal Zermatt~

Astonishing Estonia!

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The old city walls of remarkable Tallinn, the capitol of Estonia.

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The first fortresses in Tallinn were built in 1050 and the old city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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The stunning Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral is the the largest in Tallinn.
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Tallinn is visually charming at every turn.
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As visitors we felt warmly welcomed, making the city a delight to visit.
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The Nevsky Cathedral is astonishing.
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As if all this isn’t enough to make you fall in love with Tallinn, it is rated one of the top ten digital cities of the world along with Tokyo and Singapore, because of it’s widely available and free wifi, and it’s general public spirited digital saavy. As a person who travels a lot each year and is addicted to wifi, this is massively appreciated. Thank you Estonia!
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For more on the top ten digital cities of the world check out:

http://www.popsugar.com/tech/Top-10-Digital-Cities-World-325012

Cheers to you from the very fast wifi of Tallinn Estonia!

Breaking A Rule in Russia~

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Check out these fascinating old fortifications in the Gulf of Finland, off the coast of St Petersburg.
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These abandoned fortresses provide eerie silent testimony to Russian history.

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They are quite beautiful,

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like man-made floating islands in the massive gulf.

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Catherine the Great’s Palace has some remarkable architecture. In Empress Elizabeth’s time these statues were gilded in gold.

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The over-the-top, huge, amber-room in the palace is entirely covered in amber, and taking pics is strictly verboten, probably to entice people to buy some picture books. I did my James Bond best and quickly and secretly, purloined this pic for your enjoyment! It was my Bond moment in Russia……

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The Chinese wall paper and Delft stoves in the palace were very beautiful.

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Catherine’s bath house and reflecting pool were lovely too.
If you are interested in Catherine the Great, you may want to check out: http://cindyknoke.com/2012/07/28/386/
We leave tomorrow for Switzerland, but until then, it’s still…..
Cheers to you from Russia!