Month: September 2019
Greece is incredibly striking due to the contrast between desert and the beautiful clear waters of the Aegean Sea.
Our friends, Alex and Jen, were kind enough to let us stay with them in Athens, and during that time, one of the places we explored was the Temple of Poseidon. On our way there we drove along the coastline and came to a gorgeous beach. The water was calm and cool and a perfect breeze dried the perspiration on our faces. We watched as elderly people made their way into the water on a lift that gently slid them into the turquoise Aegean Sea.
We knew we wanted to swim at some point but decided that it’d be best to wait till after walking around the Temple of Poseidon, but I did want to stroll the shore just for a second first. Perfect smooth pebbles in a variety of colors, littered the shore, and the water felt so wonderful on my legs. I wandered past where people were swimming and once secluded, stripped down to my underwear and plunged in. I simply couldn’t resist! Danny commented that he knew all along that I wouldn’t be able to as he smiled at the wet patches seeping through my clothes.
Many ruins still stand tall across the country side, keeping the rich feeling of history, sacrifice and hard work, in the forefront.
The Temple of Poseidon is on a hill overlooking the Cape of Sounion, and was considered a sacred area dating back to the Bronze Age, but the structure was built between 444 and 440 BC.
The large marble columns are about 20 ft tall and 3 ft in diameter, and the entire structure is approximately 90ft X 40ft. It is difficult to imagine the amount of work that went into cutting away and forming each of the huge blocks that are stacked as foundation as well as walls around the grounds, and the detailed carving on each column.
The view from the temple is exquisite. The deep blue of the Aegean Sea surrounds two thirds of hill, and the town of Sounion lays peacefully at its base.
After hiking around and admiring the temple, Danny and I walked down to a little restaurant below, and enjoyed a simple yet incredible meal of freshly baked bread, mounds of tzatziki and bowls of blood red tomato, thinly sliced green bell pepper and purple onion, kalamata olives and a fat slab of fresh feta.
The view from our comfortable seats in the shade were of the Temple of Poseidon, and I could just imagine the Greek God and his brother Zeus, wrestling in the surf , breaking boulders and shifting dirt, creating the beautiful alcoves we admired as we drove in.
The craziest thing happened! Without knowing, my wonderful friend Elayne, traveled to Zurich within just a few hours of Danny and I. She didn’t know – we didn’t know, and we hadn’t seen each other in five years.
So, we found each other, finally met her wonderful sweetheart, Eric, and spent the day exploring Luzern (AKA Lucerne), which is a 45 minute drive from Zurich.
Luzern is the most populous town in central Switzerland, and is so picturesque on the Reuss River. One of it’s famous landmarks is Chapel Bridge, which was built in the 14th century.
Part of the bridge, is an octagonal 113ft tall Wasserturm, which translates to water tower. The tower existed about 30 years before the bridge did, and has been used as a prison, torture chamber, and municipal archive as well as a local treasury.
The beautiful bridge Kapellbrucke, is a footbridge that spans the Reuss River, overflowing with red geraniums, and was named the Chapel Bridge because St Peter’s Chapel is on the river close to it.
In the distance behind Luzern Jesuit Church, is Mount Pilatus which is part of the Swiss Alps.
Construction of the baroque Jesuit Church began in 1667, and was consecrated in 1677, though some parts of the interior were not completed yet. Upon entering the front doors we became speechless, as our minds and vision were whisk away by angelic choirs and intricate art.
Rich milk chocolate wood pews neatly lined the floor and various shades of peach paint rose up from floor to ceiling in breathtaking detail, accented with gold.
Every inch of every detail molded, filed and painted to perfection, and brilliant chandeliers illuminate each masterpiece as if each were the only treasure.
Our eyes were drawn heavenward and found above us a ceiling covered in perfectly framed murals – each containing detail and color of scenes like the Glory of Saint Francis Xavier, who was a patron of Luzern’s Jesuit Church.
Marble side altars – each a perfect work of art, are displayed within each of the arches on either side of the main chapel.
The streets and alleys of Luzern are also works of art. Lush ivy and cobblestone streets frame each scene.
Incredible rich paintings decorate the exterior walls of already amazing architecture – an overwhelming buffet of color and texture creating a mood of reverence even in the streets.
Many of these beautiful buildings have quaint restaurants beneath them, serving nothing but deliciousness like fondu, baguettes, hundreds of cheeses, Raclette and Älplermagronen, accompanied by fines wines and freshly brewed beers.
Clock towers, hotels that look like castles and ancient steeples add to the romance,
each with their own perfect door and threshold.
Our day in Luzern is one that will be fondly remembered and spoken about years from now…and one day, we will bring our grandchildren and walk the same cobbled streets and they will feel the beauty and be left standing in awe, too.
Remember the scene in Mary Poppins where she jumps into a painting and is instantly immerse in a magical scene…well, the countryside in Switzerland, actually everywhere in Switzerland, feels that way. Everywhere you look is beautiful. Greens are greener, the sky has more character, flowers are fuller, and crops growing are large and healthy. It’s jaw dropping. Overwhelming. Breathtaking.
Danny and I went for a drive just a few miles out of picturesque Zurich, and found ourselves in a the countryside. Most of the fields were so lush it just seemed unreal! Old farm houses were like those from picture books with splashes of color in every scene.
Beautiful homes with bulging window boxes filled with geranium, sweet potato vines and aster, complete each glance in a thousand directions, so magically.
Tiny villages dot the landscape, each with their own history of families living and working together to create their bliss.
Churches with beautiful steeples stand proud and tall, holding within them memories of beautiful brides, grand sermons and weeping mothers.
Even a lonesome weathered cross seemed perfectly placed…the spot where a loved one lays overlooking the endless beauty.
Though three quarters of cultivated areas are flowing with thick meadows and pasture, sugar beets, wheat, apples, grapes, carrots and potatoes are the main crops of Switzerland. Like patchwork quilts, we looked over fields of varying color and texture of leafy greens and onions.
Just around the bend we were met by a thick grove of hornbeam trees, forming an irresistible tunnel leading to a perfect light.
The feeling of peace in the woods was overwhelming, and just when we emerged on the other side feeling like our surroundings couldn’t be any more peaceful or beautiful, a farm immersed in flowers lay before us.
Endless rows of gladiolus reached heavenward like a rainbow of angels, and sunflowers gathered in a congregation of yellow heads humbly watching their sermon from the sun.
Switzerland is a spiritual experience. Its the whole meal including appetizers, drinks and a delicious dessert. I love this place. Where else, does a bicycle leaning up against a home complete an already perfect picture?
Not even 48 hours before leaving for Switzerland, did I know I was going. Danny received a last minute email requesting he fly the BBJ to Switzerland for maintenance, so he booked me a ticket to meet him, and the two of us are celebrating our birthdays a month early by exploring this beautiful country, and then flying on to Greece to explore it too.
Zurich is so picturesque! Every street we wander down, is overflowing with beautiful architecture,
perfectly placed window boxes and cascading vines,
Incredible exterior paint jobs…
and perfect attention to detail around every corner.
I have fallen in love with Switzerland. I love the vibe, the history and the people, and everything makes sense and is peaceful and relaxed.
Zurich is a global center for banking and finance and is sprawled out along the Limmat River.
It was settled over 2000 years ago by the Romans, who named it Turicum, but some settlements in the are date back over 6400 years.
German is the official language of Switzerland but the main language spoken is a variant of an Alemannic Swiss German dialect.
We walked the streets admiring quaint alley ways,
Bookstores that looked like they had been in business for centuries,
and enjoyed brat with delicious fresh bread and mustard. For dinner we feasted on fondu.
I feel so at home here as I walk through places where just maybe, some of my ancestors walked before crossing the ocean to Africa in 1652.
I told Danny I just want to stay. Live in the country and have a cow for fresh milk. Make my own cheese and butter, sew quilts, bake breads and grow vegetables, and go on a photo expedition every day!
It’s comforting to know that no matter how crazy things get in the world, there are still calm, peaceful places like this existence…