All posts tagged: photography

Parting shots of winter in the charming village of Zermatt

I loved Zermatt the first time I saw it during a one-day stopover almost 30 years ago. I continued to love it every year for ten years when my husband and I celebrated his birthday with a ski-week vacation every mid-January. We saw its fortunes rise and fall and rise again and with it the opening and closing and opening again of shops, bars, restaurants, hotels and luxury villas. The last few years, as foreign money rolled in, it was hard to view an unobstructed skyline free of construction cranes. It was worrying, but somehow through it all, the village maintained its charm and authenticity even as free green spaces were eaten up, prices climbed, and the slopes became more crowded (especially with the new ski lifts). So what would we find — or not, I wondered, after a five year absence devoted to the needs of a house and garden and two adorable cats that were unable to handle our absence for more than a few hours at a time. Good to be back — and reassured Happily, we found that many …

hiking through Swiss vineyards

Walking Switzerland’s breathtaking Lavaux terraced vineyards. + Discover Swiss Heritage’s “Loveliest Walks”.

The terraced vineyards of the Lavaux region, stretching from Lausanne to Montreux, offer breathtaking views over land and lake that can be enjoyed on foot with relative ease. First terraced by monks in the 11th century, the region received UNESCO World Heritage-site status in 2007 and doubtless is one of the country’s most beautiful to explore. Together with my friends in the Internation Women’s Club of Nyon (IWCN) I walked the very popular portion through the vineyards that stretch from St. Saphorin to Cully. The journey took approximately two-and-a-half-hours at a leisurely pace and offered only a  few steep but shortlived inclines. Meandering paths cut through charming medieval villages and took us through vineyards where day-workers picked grapes and wine was available to sample and purchase. Easy to reach by public transport The Lavaux walks are easily reached by train: we boarded in Nyon, changed trains in Lausanne and uncamped at St. Saphorin, a one-hour journey in total. We descended to lake level shortly before Cully and walked along the beach towards the village, where we headed for …

Traveller’s tip: When in Lugano, Switzerland, remember to look up!

I have been longing to get back to Lugano in the southeast, Italian-speaking part of Switzerland since I last visited it about 23 years ago with my sister Virginia, who was visiting us at our home in Basel in northwest Switzerland for Christmas. It was only a 4-hour train journey each way, which was part of the fun. Lots of time to shoot the breeze, enjoy coffee and croissants, and watch the scenery and architecture change from German to French to Italian (always a revelation in such a small country). Oh those pesky Alps! Ironically, even though we’re now located further south, just outside Geneva, the train journey is six hours each way due to a little thing called the Alps getting in the way. (Flying is faster but you have to go via Zurich, and I just can’t be bothered with all the airport stress. Apparently, direct Geneva – Lugano flights start very soon.) Anyway, we like train travel…it’s a good way to relax, listen to music, or finally get to that book or …

A Sunday afternoon winter walk that never fails to delight, heal and inspire

At this chilly time of year it’s easy to hunker down at home and not cross the threshold except when I have to, especially on a Sunday afternoon free of the usual obligations of a weekday or shopping Saturday. Yet I’ve developed the habit of putting on my no-frills clothes and good walking shoes, free of makeup and sometimes hair askew (or hidden under a sensible woollen hat) and getting myself out into the beautiful countryside near my home in Vaud canton, just outside Geneva. It’s sometimes hard to believe that I’m only a ten-minute train ride from a busy city, yet that’s one of Switzerland’s many charms and particularly of this area…you’re never too far away from open spaces. The views are reassuringly familiar, yet endlessly reinterpreted depending on the season, the weather and the time of day. They are consistently captivating and endlessly inspiring. I often return home less burdened by worries and negativity, and often with a new perspective on how to overcome any challenges that might have been blocking my progress. Usually, …