Swiss Swan Gliding Down The Rhine River

Swan in Switzerland On The RhineYou Can Clearly See This Native Mute Swan Was Delivering A Message…

THE MUTE SWAN is a native of Europe – though over 9,000+ exist in the northeast US alone.

Here, this Mute Swan “flexes her muscle” with an impressive display of feathers. (We weren’t even close to her nest but she certainly disagreed!)

In a secluded spot back of the Rheinau Abbey, she seemingly came out of nowhere, crossing the river, to show us we were close enough for her comfort.

Swans defending their nests or young can injure people so we were more than happy to give her a wide berth.

She sure is beautiful, though…the hi-res of this image will probably end up framed on my wall.

–Lisa Lirones

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Switzerland Is Famous For Their Flowers…

Rheinau: Swiss Flowers…and for good reason. Just look at these beauties!

A BEAUTIFUL SPRAY IN A LOVELY DISPLAY with the sun landing just so.

Again, the flowers in summertime in Rheinau are all over the place. Seemingly everywhere I turned. It made for one of those special early evening walks that will stand out as a pleasure moment that lasts forever.

–Lisa Lirones

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Swiss Summer Sunshine And Ubiquitous Flowers in Rheinau

Swiss Summer Sunshine and Ubiquitous Flowers in Rheinau
Idyllic sunshine in an idyllic setting – casting long shadows and strong contrasts

DRINKING DEEPLY OF THE BEAUTY only nature can bring in such a verdant country as Switzerland, I simply turned my head and snapped this off without missing a beat.

Can you believe places like this still exist – villages with peaceful beauty so ubiquitious you see it everywhere?

–Lisa Lirones

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Goodbye, Lugano…

Cable Car in Lugano on the Funicular

As we were leaving, I popped off this parting shot
of the cable car on the funicular railway…

THE BRIGHT RED MAKES IT EASY TO FIND the Funicolare (the funicular railway, a railway that operates with counterbalanced ascending and descending cable cars).

It seemed to sum up the fondness we felt for Lugano as well as the reluctance that our departure brought – even though we were teeming with excitement towards the next leg of our journey: The Italian Riviera.

Hope you get to enjoy Lugano yourself someday…it’s well worth a visit.

–Lisa Lirones

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Last Stop Before Italy: Lugano

Lugano: Nightlife on the Via Paolo Reggazzoni.

Nightlife on the Via Paolo Reggazzoni…

THINGS WERE WINDING DOWN on a cool saturday evening in Lugano, Switzerland near the Funicolare (the funicular railway, a railway that operates with counterbalanced ascending and descending cable cars).

Imagine my relief when we arrived by rail, walked a few feet to the west entrance of the Funicolare, rode it in its easterly decending direction, got off and walked our tired, aching feet less than one minute to our hotel.

At the lower, eastern entrance to the Funicolare we took a left onto a street named Via Paolo Reggazzoni where I squeezed out this “noisy” shot employing solely ambient twilight (and without a tripod no less! We realized at this moment that we had forgotten it in Hotel Gasthaus in Andermatt. Oh well…if that’s our greatest loss on such a long and wonderful journey, then so be it. I count us fortunate.)

We were warned that Hotel Acquarello would be noisy (due to it’s close proximity to the Funicolare) but that was not the case. We booked ahead with plenty of time to request a quiet room and were graciously accommodated. And one cannot beat it’s economical rates and convenience when enjoying what was primarily a vacation by European rail. (If only the US had a rail system like Europe! There is no comparison. Europe – and especially the Swiss – have an excellent rail system well worth the ride.)

Hope you get to enjoy it yourself…

–Lisa Lirones


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Morgarten: An Evening Stroll On Ägerisee

The Agerisee in Morgarten, Switzerland The skies cleared just before sunset…

AN EVENING STROLL along the northern banks of Ägerisee (Lake Aegeri), the glacial lake whose shores are shared by Morgarten, Oberägeri and Unterägeri, yields spectacular views.

This is a highly recommended, low stress hike that will yield pleasant and beautiful surprises. (I won’t tell you what as I don’t want to spoil it for you. Suffice it to say that even though I lost a lens cap to a charming and delightfully swift-moving stream, I’d return here in a heartbeat.)

The area is the sight of the historic Battle of Morgarten which was fought on November 15, 1315 on her shores.

This was when a 1,500-man force of the Swiss Confederation infantry archers, led by Werner Stauffacher, ambushed a group of very unwelcome Austrian soldiers (of the Holy Roman Empire) near Morgarten Pass. These infrantry archers completely defeated the Austrians who were under the command of Duke Leopold I of Austria.

This victorious battle marked the beginning of Swiss independence being realized.

It all boiled down to those in power coveting the area of Gotthard Pass – as it was the shortest passage to Italy. And yes, the notorious House of Habsbergs were involved. (They were well known for being the origin of all the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors from 1438 – 1740, not to mention rulers of the Austrian Empire and Spanish Empire and several other countries but the Swiss were having none of it).

The disagreement came to a head as the Confederates of the Swiss cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden possessed imperial freedom letters granting them local autonomy within the empire but in 1314, Duke Louis IV of Bavaria (later to be known as Louis IV of the Holy Roman Empire) and Frederick the Handsome (a Habsburg prince) each claimed the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor.

Of course, this created quite a flap as the Swiss Confederates backed Louis IV as they, correctly so, feared the Habsburgs would annex their countries as Habsburg property – which they’d already tried to pull in the late 13th century.

In the end, the Swiss prevailed handsomely and we all now enjoy and admire (and, perhaps at times, envy) the richly fertile, insanely beautiful and well-established country we call Switzerland.

To see Morgarten and Ägerisee today, you’d never know there was such a battle. It’s beautiful. It’s peaceful. It’s verdant. It welcomes you with an aesthetic uniquely Swiss in nature. (And I hear the fishing is good, too.)

–Lisa Lirones

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Fledgling Eagle On Gemsstock Peak

Eagle on Gemmstock Peak – Andermatt, SwitzerlandSay “Hello” to this beautiful fledgling eagle…

WE STARED IN AMAZEMENT when we came across this beautiful (and very young) eagle clinging to the cable car lift halfway up to the top of Gemsstock Peak in Andermatt, Switzerland.

The local accompanying us told us that while they do frequent this area, they do so rarely. And hardly ever this close-up. The little darling just stared at me as I snapped off this ECU using my trusty Canon – with my husband holding my waist fervently – as I leaned out over the edge of the man-made precipice that our young feathered friend was clinging to below.

We were about halfway up Gemsstock: a mountain that overlooks Andermatt, Switzerland. It’s a part of the Lepontine Alps (mountain range in central part of the Alps). The Gurschenfim glacier lies over its northern flanks. Gemsstock is also part of the Gotthard Oberalp Arena. (See also this blog’s other posts on the Gotthard Pass and Gemsstock Peak – just click on this same category, Switzerland, at right. You’re in for a real treat!)

–Lisa Lirones

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