Here are a few snippets of Christmas past spent in various parts of the World. The spirit remains strong and the family connections, despite whatever corner of our globe we live in. May your Christmas be Merry and Bright!
Glædelig jul – Christmas in Denmark
God jul – Christmas in Norway
Frohe Weihnachten! An Austrian, German and Swiss Christmas
And in Australia, we celebrate too even though it is hot and humid…. but we try to stay cool!
I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.
Each Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking.
I hope you will too.
There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is still the same.
– Chinese proverb
This Chinese proverb is reassuring to those who sit outside the box, to those who don’t fit the mold, non-conformists who are so often cast aside from the mainstream, as being less valued.
We all, every single one of us, ends up in the very same place There is no immortal life on earth. Death is a leveling experience. The thought that we are racing headlong towards the end of life has slipped the mind of some, has run past many others, whilst a few appear hell bent on getting there before anyone else.
To paraphrase a song lyric: “The race is long, but in the end, it is only with yourself.”
“How abundantly do spiritual beings display the powers that belong to them! We look for them, but do not see them; we listen to, but do not hear them; yet they enter into all things, and there is nothing without them.”
Confucius has many profound things to say, and this strikes me as pertinent, both from a religious and secular angle. The human race is not convinced about the existence of supernatural beings or extra terrestrials, strange metaphysical happenings, ESP, intuition, citing the need for tangible evidence before any acknowledgement is publicly given, yet religion heavily relies on intangible belief and imagination from the flock.
Not as elegant is this Bush Turkey that is nesting around the Rainforest park at Maleny in South East Queensland. A native largeless flightless bird, the male tends a large moulded heap of composted leaf litter into which the females lay the eggs. To regulate the temperatur,e so that it is optimal for the eggs contained within the heap, these turkey remove or add leaf litter to the heap as necessary. Pretty cool that they can detect these temperature changes.
Lastly, here is my old pet Sulphur crested cockatoo. Now about 29 years old. Two years ago she went to live in Sydney, with another male cockatoo, who is much much younger than her. They has a large outdoor aviary and the run of the house!! Paradise for a pet bird bred who has lived, completely in captivity, its entire life. I do wonder what she ponders about these days.
Crossing the Swiss border and heading for Zürich where my sightseeing included the imposing Grossmünster, elegant Fraumünster, and winding alleys of the old town alongside the river Limmat.
After visiting so many Christmas markets in Germany and Austria, Zurich’s ‘Christkindlmarkt’ touted as the biggest indoor Christmas extravaganza in Europe, at the main railway station, was off the mark.
It did offer 160 wooden chalets and a three story Christmas tree, dripping with Swarovski crystals, but I could find nothing that interested me enough to purchase, and the smell of roasted chestnuts was quite overpowering. (That can be good or bad, depending on your preference).
The atmosphere was friendly and festive and that, alone, made the trip into the city from our hotel, Movenpick, worthwhile.
Besides giving us a free upgrade on our room, a great thing about the Movenpick Hotel, is its proximity to the airport. There’s also a free shuttle, running at regular intervals, to the Airport’s undercover shopping centre. A range of clothing, food, camera, and tourist souvenir shops are a good option if the weather is inclement. I found several bargains on walking boots on a day when it was too wet to venture further.
Do I have a hankering to return to Zurich?
I adored the old buildings arcades and churches, the surprise decoration on a cantilever balcony, but the city itself seems too cold and business like. I don’t think I spoke to any Swiss native, in any store, and the language barrier didn’t appear to be the issue.
Asking to have a hot chocolate or coffee at a restaurant, as opposed to a whole lunch, was met with stares of disbelief and a courteous, and somewhat clipped, “No, we are booked out.” Perhaps the Christmas season is too busy for drinks only.
Zurich did not offer me much, except I can say I window shopped til I dropped on the Bahnhofstrasse, considered by some to be the richest street in the world, but bought nothing more than a few gourmet chocolates and a scarf.
A large department store did have a good quality cafeteria, that was packed to the hilt at lunchtime. An experience I won’t ponder about for too much longer.
Michelle’s weekly pet challenge week 10 is open. If you’d like to take part, here is how:
Just simply do a post of your pets, or pets of your friends or family. You can also post pictures and stories of animals that come and eat food you leave out for them. Eg, you may have a bird feeder in your garden. Pictures taken in the wild are also very welcome. Link back here and head your post as “Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge.” Display the logo on your post or on your sidebar.
Most importantly, have fun!
Not my pet this week!! But something from my travels in Switzerland.
Once a week A word in Your Ear dips into the dictionary and picks a word that the page falls open at, and the challenge is to post a picture or use whatever genre you prefer to share what your take on the word is MISTAKE
The following photos were from my time in Lucerne, on the lake, where my daughter had tried to line up one of those classic photos, but it did not come off…..clearly a mistake. Still a nice memory. Mistakes are a great way to learn, and ponder about how you would change things the next time.
If you are taking part don’t forget to :-
Create a post and add a link/pingback to this one so others can follow the trail and join in or check out entries of other bloggers.
Add a tag ‘A Word A Week Challenge’ in your ‘tags’ box so others can find your post easily if you would like a chance to reblogged
You have a week to post if you would like to take part – A Word in Your Ear normally posts a new word each Sunday. More entries here.
and as I have finished the January Photo challenge, I thought I would join in. Also a great opportunity to showcase some of my amateur ( but I love them) photos of mountains. One or two may be reposts, but worthwhile reposts….
This is something quite relaxing when sitting in the peace and quiet gazing at a mountain scene ( preferably with snow atop) especially where the mountain meets the water line.
The top of the World… From Mt Pilatus, Lucerne, Switzerland. From there, one can see the Bernese Oberland, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland…fabulous. And this is was our destination this morning, by Cable car and Gondola.
Once upon a time, citizens thought it would bring bad luck to climb Mt Pilatus, but now, millions of tourists visit every year, without any kind of disastrous consequences. In winter, one might see snow at this altitude, but not this year. There was no snow to be seen in early December, at least.
Nevertheless, the views are still spectacular in weather such as this: it was sunny, mild but not cold! Ordinarily, the mountain is covered with fog in the morning, but not so today. The vistas were ours, to be seen.
The entrance to the Mt Pilatus Gondola attraction…
Our gondola’s wheels whirled and bumped along the track taking us higher and higher. Below, we could see quaint Swiss style houses with ever so neatly packed timber piles, and a summer toboggan run.
Several fellow passengers started to get a bit nervous with the ever-increasing height…. but this was not a time to opt out, so up we went, higher and higher. “Just look out, not down, or up”, I reassured them.
Up ,UP, UP, the Gondola went until we came to the end of the Gondola cable..
But the ride was not completely over, as we weren’t yet at the summit of Mt. Pilatus.
Now we had to squish 40+ people into another cable car, that had the maximum capacity of only 40. Slightly disconcerting to say the least, as it swung back and forth, like the pendulum on a clock, in mid air. It reminded me of thes cene in one one of those James Bond movie scenes. Was Roger Moore going to pop his head through the roof to rescue us?
And then, the thought struck me, we have to go down in this thing, again with 40 + people.
Don’t you just love the shadow Mt Pilatus throws in the next photograph?
It looks like some ancient mythological giant..
The incline suddenly became EXTREME, but it was only moments later that we arrived at the summit…
The American did a version of Planking: T- balling at 7000 feet. Weird.
However we still weren’t standing at the actual summit. That required a short walk, about 50 steps, that took us to the very highest point possible, where a small hut, possibly containing metereological instruments, is located.
This is where the incredible photo opportunities abound.
A small cafe and souvenir shop is located inside the building, where you alight from the Cable car. It was here that I bought a rather lovely Swiss watch, one that had a leather band with edelweiss and the Swiss emblem embroidered on it. And no surprise: it keeps great time! Well, I confess I also did HAVE to get the mandatory T – Shirt, to say I had made the 7000 ft Ascent. Possibly my highest ascent to date. (We don’t have too many high mountains in Australia).
On the way down, I pondered why the return journey passes ever so much quicker. Then just a short coach ride took us back to the Astoria hotel in Luzern itself.
The breakfast we had earlier,that day, provided by Hotel Astoria, in the building next door, was nothing to write home about, (so much for Swiss cuisine), so we headed straight for the Bakery, opposite Bucherer.
And yes, we did collect both THOSE souvenir spoons, on the way.
What did I eat? I could not resist a Berliner donut, deliciously decadent, and so incredibly unhealthy, don’t you agree?
Sitting on the shores of beautiful Lake Lucerne, in the glorious sunshine, temperature an almost perfect 6 degrees. The moment so fabulous, I decided to text my work colleagues back home in Australia. Just thought I should share. I did not think afterwards, it was the middle of the night and probably woke some of them up. Oops.
SHOPPING in LUCERNE
If you arrive in Lucerne late on a Thursday night, you will find the shops open til late, but remember many shops such as Casa grande, one of the main souvenir shops, closes during the daytime, around lunch, for 2 hours.
The Swiss are quite protective of their midday siestas. As for what to buy here: it is expensive, but if you stick to locally made goods, (ie. Swiss made), you can snag a good buy.
Souvenirs to buy include: Swiss knifes, Swiss watches, Swiss army knives, one for each of my family, with a variety of gadgets suited to their particular needs. I also purchased one of the very best kitchen knifes you could possibly get, at Bucherer.
It is fine quality, not hideously expensive, perfectly weighted, and will last forever! I love it. Also a great souvenir. I made a mental note not to forget to declare it to Customs, as I did not want to tell my husband I would be late home as I had been arrested!
I am repeating something from the previous post, but feel it warrants a seondary mention: You simply must try a Swiss fondue which I had tried the night before