Inside & Out: The Traditional Swiss Chalet~

DSC09384
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.
DSC09593
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.
DSC09812
Many farms in the Valais countryside are still working operations.
DSC09373
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.
DSC09395
Here are some other beautiful chalets.
DSC09779
Some are private homes and others hotels. We are staying in several and I am wondering why I never did this before.
DSC09473
They are utterly charming inside and out, like this one in Zermatt,
DSC00179
and this one in St Moritz.
DSC09549
Had to close with one more pic of the mighty Matterhorn!
Cheers to you, and happy weekend from Klosters Switzerland~

Sweet Suisse!

DSC09732
Oh Switzerland, you are so beautiful.

DSC09734

Gorner Gorge, Valais, Swiss Alps, Zermatt Switzerland.

DSC09753
Hiking in The Alps is justifiably world famous.

DSC09742

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

DSC09693
This rarely photographed mountain is here too!

DSC09647
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.
DSC09801
The Matterhorn is particularly lovely in the evening when the clouds move in.
DSC09687
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!

DSC07739
The old city walls of remarkable Tallinn, the capitol of Estonia.

DSC07710

The first fortresses in Tallinn were built in 1050 and the old city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
DSC07639

The stunning Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral is the the largest in Tallinn.
DSC07657
Tallinn is visually charming at every turn.
DSC07674
As visitors we felt warmly welcomed, making the city a delight to visit.
DSC07640
The Nevsky Cathedral is astonishing.
DSC07663
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!
DSC07726
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~

DSC08624

Check out these fascinating old fortifications in the Gulf of Finland, off the coast of St Petersburg.
DSC08615

These abandoned fortresses provide eerie silent testimony to Russian history.

DSC08618
They are quite beautiful,

DSC08625
like man-made floating islands in the massive gulf.

DSC08301
Catherine the Great’s Palace has some remarkable architecture. In Empress Elizabeth’s time these statues were gilded in gold.

DSC08268
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……

DSC08278

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

DSC08315
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!

From Russia with Love~

DSC07907
It is a delicate time to visit Russia due to the crisis in the Ukraine. Wifi is difficult to access.
DSC07913
Check out the interiors of the Hermitage in St Petersburg. It has 22 miles of interior corrirdors!
DSC07997
The Russian Orthodox Church of the Spilled Blood is amazingly beautiful!
DSC08040
The interiors are solid mosaic.
DSC08031
A visual feast!
DSC08458
The Peterhof Palace Gardens designed by Peter the Great, has a channel connecting the palace to the Gulf of Finland.
DSC08467
The Gardens are lovely!
DSC08480
We covered a lot of territory, and I will post some photos of typical Russian homes in the city and countryside when I return to better wifi. Until then, excuse my inability to follow your blogs. I miss them!
Cheers to you from Russia with Love~

At Sea~

DSC07068
Off the coast of Norway.
DSC07059
So pristine and lovely in the fall sunshine.
DSC07056
There are scores of islands off the coasts of Norway and Sweden, all reachable only by boat.

DSC07319
The patrol boats are impressive and fast.
DSC07304
Our boat leaves quite a wake!
DSC07302
Smaller boats need to be careful not to get too close to the wake!
DSC07316
The coast of Sweden is remarkable too!
Internet service is few and far between. Please excuse me for not being able to follow your blogs and cheers to you today from the coast of Germany!

København i Solskin~

DSC06565

Copenhagen is beautiful in the sunshine!

DSC06714
The Ny Carlsberg Glypotek Museum built in 1888 has a glorious winter garden.
DSC06690
The architecture and design are stunning.
DSC06711
I didn’t notice the swastika below until after taking this photo. I was appalled and Googled the explanation for this. It was reportedly the logo for the Carlsberg beer company that built the museum in the 1880’s having no connection to the Nazi swastika, instead representing good luck.
DSC06708
The Glypotek has a world class collection of art. The Egyptian antiquities are remarkable. I will post some amazing wooden, painted art from 2700 BC soon!
DSC06775
The museum has an substantial collection of impressionists, including three Van Gogh’s.
DSC06621
The stunning blue Fredericks Church built of marble was founded in 1740.
DSC06619
It’s interior dome is almost blinding in the summer sun!
We are leaving today for Finland and internet will be much more constrained. I will blog and catch up on your posts when possible!
Cheers to you from beautiful and sunny Solskin~