Midwinter 2018

On Friday 21 December
it was the Winter Soltice, also known as Midwinter.
The next day was a full moon although the sky was not clear enough for me to see it.

It's also the time of the year when candlelight brings in a warming cosy atmosphere
and there is a wish to decorate with delicate seasonal things.
This tiny crystal snowflake is perfect!

This festive red candle represents the return of light which has just begun
with each day increasing by a few seconds!
The reflection can be seen in my window against the night sky!

The same window in the daytime brings in softness created by the winter's sky.

There have been rainy days and sunny ones and even snow flurries which didn't settle for long.
A few leaves hang on and make pretty silhouettes against the sky.

Like fingers which hold
fuzzy balls against the sky
touching tenderness.

Whenever the weather is dry and not too blustery, I go walking to be
amazed by nature in this wintry season.
These catkins tell me that spring will follow in good time.

I take one of the dried hydrangea flowers from my plant on the balcony.
It remains beautiful even as in this state of maturity.

Now we're leading up to Christmas which can be a little overwhelming
with the stores pushing us to buy and then buy some more
with lights that are a little over the top and a bit too bright!

I do love to keep things rather simple and really liked this elegant balsam wood
hanging decoration with a shiny crystal ball.
The night sky shows up the details the best.
I saw them at the Christmas Market in Lucerne when I visited at the beginning of  December.
You can see it here

A Christmas tree bauble speaks of Christmas which will be in two days' time.
It's a time when families like to be all together.

This year, I made a Christmas garland to hang up in my living room!
It looks very festive!

You can see them better here.
The different patterns have been collected over time from different sources.
The four blue snowflakes on the bottom row are a smaller version of the one here:
The yellow stars are from here:

whatever this present moment holds for you, embrace it,
enjoy it or learn from it.
As often as you can, keep smiling - it can make someone's day
and it embellishes our whole attitude to life
and the world around us!

Please click on each photo to enlarge them so they fill the screen!

Lucerne in December: Part 2

Let's look through the glass door to discover more of Lucerne's
lovely festive atmosphere in December in the Hotel Wilden Mann.
This double doorway is the entrance to the hotel's breakfast room
It's so welcoming!

So is the decorated tree next to the breakfast buffet.

As soon as you get out of the lift to go and have breakfast,
you walk past these beautifully decorated rooms
like these little 'salons' (sitting rooms).

This one has another lovely Christmas tree.

The warm lighting and attention to detail
makes it a joy to walk through every morning.

Being an early bird, I can take a photo of the breakfast room 
before other guests arrive.

But now it's time to go outside again and enjoy the town itself,
especially as we were blessed with blue skies on this particular day.
The jagged edge on the upper left is the overhanging roof
of the Chapel Bridge from where I took this photo.

The immense charm of Lucerne is the River Reuss which is a beautiful setting
whatever the weather.
Though I have to admit that blue skies and night-time shots are  especially beautiful.
Two buildings seem to stand out among all others.
One of them is the City Hall with clock tower
and the other is the Jesuit Church with twin spires on the preceding photo.

On the hill against the horizon,
there is a rather grand looking light-coloured building called
Château Gütsch which is another well-known landmark of Lucerne.
This is a luxury hotel and has a spectacular view over the historic city of Lucerne,
the Vierwaldstätter Lake and the mountains.

It would be nice to go up there on the hill just for the view,
but that can be for another visit!

The River Reusse running all through the town creates gorgeous reflections
even when the sky is grey.
The bridges join one part of the old town to the next.
Many of the trees are cobbled so I was glad of my comfortable walking shoes.

I especially loved this beautifully decorated house.

This view shows the bottom half of the church on the left
and a small pedestrian street which leads to our hotel.

In the late afternoon.
the atmosphere changes and the reflections deepen.

Lucerne is a town that I am planning on visiting again in the warmer months of the year,
it will look very different without all the beautiful Christmas lights and decorations,
but there will be further afield to discover and a cruise on the lake to look forward to!

Lucerne in December: Part 1

There's something very special about windows
especially warm and welcoming ones like this.
The Christmas lights are artfully arranged behind the sheer curtains
and that is perfect for my first photo of this blog entry.

A birthday gift from my daughter was a voucher for an Historic Hotel
in Switzerland this year!
What a great idea!
I chose the lakeside town of Lucerne as I hadn't been there for many years.
There is a very charming old part of town with paved streets
and many interesting and beautiful buildings.
This is the hotel called 'Wilden Mann',

Here is the outside sign.

Lucerne's most famous landmark is certainly the Chapel Bridge
or the Kapellbrücke as it's called in this German-speaking part of Switzerland.
This bridge stretches across the River Reuss and is almost 203 metres.
It was built in 1365 and is the oldest covered wooden bridge, still standing, 
in Europe.

Here is a different capture after the mist cleared,
to show the mountains behind above the lake.

The Christmas market stands were already open.
Some of them had lovely hand-crafted gifts.
I bought a few for Christmas presents.

My usual travelling companion was celebrating a birthday at the beginning of the month,
so it seemed perfect to spend a few days away to coincide with that celebration.
We travelled by train to our destination
and on the very first evening, there were lovely traditional celebrations
which started in the afternoon and went on till the evening.
The photo above shows a procession of cow-bell ringers!

There was also St.Nicholas walking round the streets with gifts for the children.

It rained at the start of our stay, but luckily not all the time
and we were able to walk in the streets and enjoy the architecture.

Here's one of the other bridges and we crossed several different ones
just for the fun of it!

The Christmas lights looked lovely as the evening came in.
Here is the Jesuit church of St. Francis Xavier
which is in the Baroque style.
The river shows off the reflections so prettily.

I took so many photographs, that I didn't quite know where to begin.
So here are the first ones and I will be showing you more in a few days!