Posts Tagged With: nature

Room with a view

view from the front gate

We went to Italy last month, and it was one of the best

vacations we ever had!  I will start off with the first place we

stayed:  Positano.  We rented this lovely apartment

from www.vrbo.com called Villa Fior di Limone.  We

had the best view from our balcony.  I would make tea

every morning, and just sit out there and enjoy the

boats on the water, or the village below.  At night, we

could hear music from one of the restaurants.  One

night we even heard a party boat in the water.  They

were blasting dance music, and I am sure the whole

town heard it!  Positano is a vertical city, with many

levels.  One day my husband decided to count the steps

up to our apartment from the main street level (the beach is

a few levels down), and there were 443 steps!  I can walk

on flat ground forever, but I was never good with uphill, or steps,

so it was a little challenge for me.  But the view was so worth it!

If you go to the Amalfi coast, I recommend this place, or at least

this town!

me enjoying the view

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Categories: Beach, fun pics, Italy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An unexpected surprise-Volterra

Volterra street

Sunset over Volterra
Jim on a Volterra street
Volterra up ahead
View from Volterra, Italy

As my countdown to Italy continues, I am looking back at our first trip

together to Italy in 2006.  We were staying in Siena for a few days, and decided

to rent a Smart car to explore Tuscany.  We headed north to Pisa, and on the way

back, took a route closer to the coast.  We were driving along and saw this town

high in the hills.  We decided to stop and check it out.  Wow, Volterra is a

beautiful little town overlooking Tuscany.  We parked in a garage and started

walking around.   Above the town, we saw a really cool  building and wondered

what it was.  It turned out to be the Medici Fortress, a high-security prison.

I found out later, that on Fridays, a gourmet restaurant inside is open to the

public served by inmates!  It is quite popular, and reservations are required.

But we ate a different restaurant, and it was one of the best meals I had in Italy.

Volterra is known for selling items made of alabaster. Personally, I was not

interested in those souvenirs, even though they had some really nice things.

My favorite part was being able to see the sunset over the hills of Tuscany.

Some of the best things that happen on a trip were never planned!

high security prison in Volterra

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Cinque Terre, Italy

Portofino, Italy
Vernazza, Italy
sun shining through the clouds
walking the Cinque Terre
Corniglia, Italy
Cinque Terre, Italy
Rapallo, Italy-view from our room

I have Italy on the brain!  In two months we are off for our second trip to Italy!  The first

time was in 2006 where we toured northern Italy, and these are some photos from the

Cinque Terre, also known as the Italian Riviera.  We stayed in a town outside of that region

called Rapello, and took a train to see the villages of the Cinque Terre which consists of

Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.   There is hiking

along the coast that connects these small, picturesque villages.  The cliffs overlooking

the Ligurian Sea are pretty rugged.  But people live here with their vineyards, and even

have roosters!  One day we took a short boat ride from Rapallo to Portofino.  I believe

people with money hang out here 🙂  We saw many large yachts.  Some people were  doing a photo

or video shoot with some model walking around the upper deck of one of those yachts.

And the stores were all high-end designers.  I did not get any souvenirs there 🙂  When we

go back, we will be doing the Amalfi coast, which I believe will be even more beautiful.

Categories: Beach, fun pics, Italy, Nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Swans!

available at etsy.com

When we went to Switzerland a couple years ago, we saw a lot of swans in Zurich and Lucerne.  I was very excited.

I really don’t remember seeing a swan before, and didn’t realize how beautiful they are.  I think part of the reason I was

so fascinated by them, was they were acting as substitute pets.  I have 2 cats, and I missed them terribly, so I kind of

“adopted” all the swans we saw over there.  I loved feeding them, and took lots of photos.  My favorite was seeing the swan

family in Zurich.  We were walking to the lake, when across the lawn come the mom and her gray chics (I guess more

like teenagers).  I have never seen anything so precious!  The all walked in  a single row, and went into the lake.  I love

ducks too, and am I always happy to see ducks anywhere I go 🙂

upside down swan in Lucerne
Lucerne
swans in Lucerne, Switzerland
swans in Lucerne, Switzerland
swan family heading to Lake Zurich
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Sunset over the bay

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When we went to San Diego last fall, the weather was beautiful.  Since it was clear

in San Diego, we were excited to drive up the coast to La Jolla and take some sunset

pictures over the ocean.  That didn’t happen.  We learned a new term that day, “marina layer”.

While its sunny inland, the coast is all cloudy, and kind of depressing!  So we went back to

Jim on the observation deck

the city before the sun set, and got some nice pictures overlooking the bay.

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Hang gliding in the Alps

in the air
hang gliding over Lake Thun, Switzerland

I love heights!  I have been skydiving a couple of times, so hang gliding was on my list.  When we were planning on visiting Switzerland, a friend who goes there frequently for business mentioned paragliding.  I thought what would be cooler than flying around in the Swiss Alps?  I did some research, and found something better: hang gliding.  Paragliding uses a parachute, whereas in hang gliding, a rigid wing is used.  I am not sure, but I think you could possibly go longer on a hang glider.  We were staying in Murren, a small village over 5,000 ft. in elevation.  The place where we flew was in Interlaken, about a 15 min. train ride away.  I contacted Interlaken Hang gliding , and when we arrived at our hotel in Murren, they called for us and set up a time the next day to go.  They picked us up at the train station, and drove to a park in town.  We loaded up the wing in a van and drove up a hill, or maybe a small mountain to where we were going to jump from.  After we put on our suits, and practiced running with Bernie, the pilot, we were ready for take off.  We jumped off at a point near Lake Thun.  A beautiful turquoise colored lake you can see in the photo above.  We hovered and flew around that lake for what seemed like 20 minutes!  It was very easy to just relax and let Bernie do the flying.  He had a long pole extend out in front of us with a camera attached to it, so that was how he took pictures of us while in the air.  I love just flying around and looking at the scenery, but when Bernie decided to do some tricks, I had to close my eyes, or the flight was not going to end well!  Both my husband and I had a great time.  We were the last flight of the day, so Bernie and my husband had a beer!  I recommend splurging on this adventure, if not here, do it somewhere in your lifetime!

me hang gliding in Interlaken, Switzerland
Categories: fun pics, Switzerland, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Monet’s Garden

Water lily pond, Monet's gardens

flower in Monet's gardens

Claude Monet's house, Giverny, France

sign for lily pond in Monet's gardens

Monet's gardens, Giverny France

While visiting Paris, we took a day trip to Giverny France, home of the Impressionist artist Claude Monet.  He is our favorite painter.  Right now is the perfect time to go, as the gardens are breathtaking, looking just they do in his paintings.  We took a train to Vernon, leaving from the Gare St. Lazare station.  We then took a short bus ride into Giverny.  There really isn’t much there except Monet’s house.  Photography is not allowed inside.  I found it fascinating though, that the artwork covering his walls were of Oriental nature.  There is a gift shop at the end of the house tour where you can buy prints and other souvenirs.  Walking around the grounds, you find hundreds of kinds of flowers, including the famous water lilies.  I personally believe his best water lily paintings are housed in the Musee de l’Orangerie.  These painting span several feet across the wall!  For information on getting to the gardens, you can visit this site.  Enjoy!

Categories: Nature, Paris | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Going down a mountain is harder than you think

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Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
sitting on wall in Murren, Switzerland
Staubach Falls, Lauterbrunnen Switzerland

We went to Murren, Switzerland which is a cute village above Lauterbrunnen (elevation 5412ft).  We stayed at the Eiger Guesthouse for 5 nights, which was wonderful.  On the last day, the weather was beautiful after a few overcast days, and we decided to hike down to Lauterbrunnen.  I thought how easy this would be, because climbing up a mountain certainly is not easy (at least not for me).  It was actually difficult.  Walking downhill for that length of time is pretty strenuous.  And it was slippery from the runoff from the snow at the very top.  I actually fell a couple times, almost breaking my precious camera! The photo with the sunray coming through the clouds was taken about 10 am, in Murren before we headed down.  You can also see this photo at etsy.com.  The waterfall is Staubach falls which starts a little below from where we hiked from.   The photo with the buildings is the main street in Lauterbrunnen.   This part of the Swiss Alps is so beautiful, I bet even more so in the winter!

Categories: Nature, photos for sale, Switzerland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Falling water

Burgess Falls, TN

Living in Tennessee give you access to beautiful scenery and ample opportunities for hiking and camping.  I don’t camp, but I love to hike.  Now is a great time before it gets really hot, and the waterfalls are fuller due to the spring rain.  A small, but beautiful place to go is Burgess Falls, TN.  I took these pictures when my camera was still new, and I really liked the results.  I now know I need a tripod next time, but I think these aren’t too bad!

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A Sepia Sunrise

available at etsy.com

We stayed in Edisto Beach, SC last fall where the weather was more than perfect.  I woke up early every morning and took some colorful sunrise photos.  But I love the tones of this barrier on the beach without color.  You can also see this at etsy.com

Categories: Beach, Nature, photos for sale | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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