A new season – a new place: Lucerne

I discover the first SIGNS OF AUTUMN in Ascona,

signs of an ending and a new beginning,

it’s TIME TO MOVE ON

from the South right INTO THE HEART of Switzerland

to LUCERNE.

The NEW SEASON brings

a NEW place,

new DISCOVERIES.

A moment where all good things come TOGETHER,

urban MEETs rural,

tradition meets STATE-OF-THE-ART,

the SWISS meet the World, the WORLD meets Switzerland,

dynamic places are COMPLEMENTed by peaceful, silent ones,

MOUNTAINS meet LAKES,

old trees SURROUND US here and NOW.

Once upon a time…

Outdoor laundry. Walking along Ascona‘s lungolago, I come across this testimonial photography. In a time not too long ago, women were washing clothes in lakes and rivers even here in Switzerland. It brings back memories of many other places in the world, where I have seen women (and even men) doing their “outdoor laundry”.

The history of a valley. The Onsernone Valley (Valle Onsernone) is a special place. It has somehow an attraction on me since I visited it for the first time, I have come back more than once; it has lush and tropical green forests covering steep hills, palm trees, flowers, an old charming architecture and a peaceful tranquility – it is wild and beautiful. Currently, the museum in Loco tells 50 years of the museum’s history and with it allows insights into the valley’s story. What impressed me is the fact that from more than 3’500 inhabitants, nowadays there are only 715 left. People were mainly farmers and stone-made stables that are fallen apart are a testimony of it. You can come across stables while walking along any of the hiking paths that lead through the forest. And then you might wonder – where are those meadows? This place is also one on this planet, that has never seen more surface covered by trees than today.

Isole di Brissago – Brissago islands: Two days ago, I finally visited the Brissago islands. I can see them when sitting on the sofa in my little apartment. The islands are located in the Lago Maggiore. There are two and I went to the bigger one. An enjoyable boat ride brings me in about 15 minutes from Ascona to the island. I hop off and as I read the slogan – I smile – “Around the world trip – on an island” 🙂 Sometimes you don’t have to go too far to immerse yourself into different places of this planet – be it on a botanical level. Then that is what the island offers: a beautiful botanical garden with plants from all over the world. And compared to the other smaller island that was already gaining autumn colors, this one was still totally green – tropical. It felt like being in a different world, as if time stopped for a while, and everything became quiet. It was then also to no surprise that people who purchased the island in 1885 found ruins of a monastery on the island.

A more intimate sunlight

“Here the sun shines more intimately…”

“Hier scheint die Sonne inniger…”

…wrote the most famous German author Hermann Hesse about the Ticino where he lived for more than 40 years.

I just found this quote and I think it suits very well the pictures I started putting together. Pictures from the past weeks, taken during dawn and dusk, sunrise and sunset from Ascona. Enjoy the impressions.

Postcard from Ascona

Buongiorno da Ascona!

Ascona is a sunny, calm and colorful place in the Southern Part of Switzerland, in Ticino. It spreads a peaceful atmosphere with an artistic flavour along the lungolago – circus artists, painters, actors and musicians brighten up the scene during the evening hours. While meandering through the narrow alleys you can visit cultural heritage, galleries, the modern arts museum, enjoy coffee and icecream or a meal in one of the many restaurants. Stroll along the lake side or climb the Monte Verita to walk in the shade of trees or spend a silent moment in the zen tea garden.

Enjoy below a selection of photos (taken with my mobile phone) of what I call “beautiful little corners” or photographic still life:

 

 

A little bit of Myanmar in Locarno

Spending days in the beautiful Ticino allows me to discover Switzerland’s South during summertime. It’s wonderful. There are plenty of things to do and see and a bit of dolcefarniente to live. In a very spontaneous moment, I look at the program of the international film festival in Locarno and discover a perfect movie for me, starting in one hour. This means, quickly finishing lunch, grabing my stuff and jumping on the bicycle to get there on time. I am lucky and get one of the last tickets, only a few minutes later the event begins.

It starts with a short introduction of the movie called The Monk and the film maker The Maw Naing from Myanmar as well as a reference to the Democracy without Borders initiative from the Swiss Department for Foreign Affairs. Then the room gets dark and the movie starts. The film maker has chosen beautiful photo-like scenes, the rhythm in the country side is perfectly reflected in the slow and calm way of using the camera and by using little dialogue. But he also shows the challenges and the movement of the youth to the big city, the attraction of Yangon for a potentially better life and more opportunities. Which though, not all know to take or find and some get lost in the fast pace of a growing city. Even a young woman breaks up with her traditional role, courageous she ventures into the city to make her way with a business. All the scenes come together in the main leading story about the monk Zawana, the monastery and the future of the monk and the monkhood in general in Myanmar.

At the end of the movie, there is a round table with the film maker, a journalist from the Yangon Times and the Head of Swiss Development Cooperation in Myanmar. It is an interesting discussion around the political and social transformation process in Myanmar and about the future of the country. It is a very open and honest Q&A, the speakers do not shy away to stand the truth – the transformation, the change, will require time but at the same time nobody would wish to turn back the wheel and everybody hopes for a peaceful future for Myanmar. As I am leaving, at the open doors, I grab another spontaneous moment to congratulate the film maker and the journalist in person and thank them for bringing a little bit of Myanmar to Locarno. I am glad and touched. Since my time in Laos, even these pictures from Myanmar feel a little bit like home.

Story of change: From Ventry dance hall to Penny’s Pottery

We can not only observe change in people but also in buildings. The Ventry hall on the Dingle Peninsula is one such example.

It was built by a family Martin and opened in 1935 as a dance hall. It was only one of several dance halls that were built in that time on the Dingle Peninsula following needs and trends of the local population. Later it was also used as a simple version of a cinema with a 16mm projector and wet batteries since electricity hadn’t arrived until the late 50’s. By then, the hall was starting to fall into disrepair and so was used, amongst other things, as a boat builders yard and as a cowshed.

It was in 1962 when the Sheehy Family bought the hall. They converted it into a tea-room and a showroom for their pottery products. That’s what it is till today – a pottery shop and a cosy cafe – using furniture (for example the benches and pulpits) of an old church that was closed down. It invites passerbies to stop, appreciate and buy some nice souvenirs and to enjoy a peaceful moment with tea or coffee and with a slice of a tasty homemade cake or scones.

Should you ever be in Ventry, don’t miss Penny’s Pottery & Cafe!

Website: http://pennyspottery.com/

Beautiful days on Dingle Peninsula – Ireland

A ten day experience. From Dublin to the South West, with a little sidestep heading north to Newgrange. This “starter” to Newgrange was organized by a friend I met 12 years ago in Argentina when a café owner from a little village put us in contact for a day trek ! Thanks Bren, for a great start in this beautiful country!

After this welcoming, I continued on my own to explore and discover the place. Dublin by rain. Perfect weather for an art exhibition at the National Gallery, a tea or coffee with a good book and, a train ride to the South West coast – to Dingle Peninsula.

Dingle Peninsula offers everything I was looking for – vastness, nature, ocean, dramatic light, beaches, colours, walking opportunities, lovely B&Bs, nice pubs with live music, a small but beautiful town called Dingle, friendly people and a peaceful atmosphere.

The pictures speak by themselves – beautiful Ireland!

Vastness – Landscapes – Light

Dingle – Town – Colours – Details