Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nyon, Switzerland - Ancient ruins nestled next to Lac Leman

Nyon Switzerland - May 15-20, 2011.

A town originally settled by the Roman Empire between 80-20 A.D. Some fortification walls, columns, pieces of a broken frieze, pottery, and the ruined foundation of an amphitheater remain. Many other medieval buildings remain and are being used for homes, businesses, and museums.

The Chateau is certainly the most unique roof line in the town. The castle is built on the foundations of an anterior fortress dating from the 11th century and was modified by its occupants -- the Archbishop of Besancan, Lords of Prangins, Counts of Savoy, and the Bernese -- over several centuries.

The ruins and remnants of bygone times were striking, but my favorite part of Nyon were the gardens and fountains. Fountains were tucked into retaining walls along sidewalks, in every plaza. The oldest fountain in town dates from 1761. While we were here the public gardens made their transition from spring to summer. I watched them being replanted from our hotel balcony one day. My favorite pairing -- the bright poppy blossoms against the steely blue of Lake Geneva.
Click on the post title to see more pictures of Nyon.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lubeck, Germany

On Saturday, May 14, we traveled to Lubeck, about a 40 minute train ride northeast of Hamburg. Both Hamburg and Lubeck were part of the Hanseatic league in the Middle Ages. The league controlled the trade of northern Germany at that time.

Lubeck is a well-preserved city with many examples of Gothic brick architecture, including cathedrals, hospitals, and town hall. Due to its location in the middle of the Trave river, there were also very interesting city gates.

The city invented marzipan, or niederegger, in German. For those of you who haven't tasted it (like me until today), marzipan is a confection like nougat, but has a very different texture sort of like a thick, floury cookie dough. People like Martha Stewart and a lot of German folks make decorative candies and cake decorations with it. I saw some in the shop where we purchased the candy bar below -- very pretty stuff that has been hand-painted.

See more photos of Lubeck in the linked title of this post.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Water-Light-Music Show - Planten un Blomen, Hamburg

Friday evening, after climbing to the top of the "Michel," St. Michael's Church, and eating at the Hofbrauhaus with its live Bavarian folk music, we walked to Planten un Blomen, one of Hamburg's larger parks. Located near the Alster, it contains a Japanese garden, two lakes, and nice walking and bike paths. Since it stays light until late in the evening, we could see the flowers when we walked through at 9:30 p.m.

At one of the lakes, we watched a lovely colored water and light show set to live music performed by a water organ and euphonium. We heard The Moldau (Arr. Héctor Gonzáles-Pino/Tanja Naini) performance. The event was free and the music changes every two weeks. If we lived here, I would be a junkie, er, regular.

These are two of the better pictures. See more (fuzzier) pictures.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Photos from Hamburg, Germany - May 8-14, 2011

Click on the title link to see the photos (unedited, not even the bad ones deleted). I'll try to post in more detail soon.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The William Tell Overture - Hamburg Shopping Mall

After exploring some of the Hamburg Hauptkirchen (City Churches), I heard these street artists performing the William Tell Overture in one of the plazas between shopping malls on the Moenkeburgstrasse in Hamburg. They were just across the street from our hotel (Park Hyatt). Next they played Minnie the Moocher. Quite a varied repertoire. The artists hailed from St. Petersburg, Russia, and were selling recordings by their former orchestra.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Hamburg Harbor's 822nd Birthday

Click on the linked title of this post to see professional photos and learn more.

When we arrived in Hamburg on Sunday, May 8, we stopped by the hotel to drop off our bags and then headed out to see the last day of the Harbor Birthday Party. Thousands of of people. They sailed old ships (or rather tug boats pushed them) out of the harbor -- a parade at sea. After this, we wandered back to the hotel and unknowingly passed many of the important sights in Hamburg. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Lausanne, Switzerland

Switzerland is like a little jewel box -- lovely, charming, and expensive! We stayed in Lausanne for two nights at the Alpha Palmier. The view of Lake Geneva (or Lac Leman in French) from Ouchy (pronounced like OOH-she, not like a scrape ;^) was stunning. Ouchy is the lake district of Lausanne. The Olympic headquarters and museum are there. We also explored the medieval city center. The photo is of the cathedral. The rose window contains images of the seasons and the zodiac. Click on the title link to see more photos (unedited) from Lausanne.

Carnival Lausanne

After crazy travel with redirected planes at Dulles and missed flights, I arrived in Switzerland late in the afternoon on Friday, May 6. The next day, Arlin and I explored the city and stumbled into this celebration - the 27th Carnival of Lausanne. This is a little video I took of the band we listened to for a while.