timeline

Sustenpass & Austria

  • October 21, 2018

The Susten Pass links the Reuss Valley at the foot of the Gotthard Mountain with the Hasli Valley in the Bernese Oberland, and the village of Wassen in Canton Uri with Innertkirchen in Canton Bern. The Susten Pass road was only opened in 1945 and is the first pass road to be purpose-built for vehicular traffic.

The architecturally spectacular Susten Road mainly serves tourism and is therefore one of the last to be cleared of snow, often remaining closed from the beginning of November until June. The route begins in Wassen on the Gotthard axis, where it negotiates the jagged estuary gorge of the Meienreuss River via several tunnels. At the beginning one sees the Swiss Federal Railway’s (SBB) boldly designed Gotthard line, which runs through several switchback tunnels to overcome the steep climb. At the head of the valley the Sustenen Road leads to Meien Valley, where the characteristic peaks of the Fünffingerstock come into view. Near the rear of the valley, the road climbs again in several tight curves to the top of the Pass in the short summit tunnel. Shortly before the tunnel, a sweeping view extends over the vast basin of the Meien valley to the Sustenhorn.

On the Bernese side of the tunnel, a large parking lot and the Susten Hospiz, located a few meters above the Pass road, invites you to rest awhile. During the ride through the valley the stunning panorama of the Gadmen Valley and the Steinen Glacier comes into view. During the two-hour hike on the glacier trail one can glean interesting information from the thematic markers. The starting point is the Hotel Steingletscher on the Pass road.

[See more...]

Lauterbrunnen

  • October 15, 2018

Lauterbrunnen is situated in one of the most impressive trough valleys in the Alps, between gigantic rock faces and mountain peaks. With its 72 thundering waterfalls, secluded valleys, colourful alpine meadows and lonely mountain inns, the Lauterbrunnen Valley is one of the biggest nature conservation areas in Switzerland.

The very name ‘Lauter Brunnen’ (‘many fountains’) suggests the magnificence of this landscape. There are 72 waterfalls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, the most famous being the Staubbach Falls. Plunging almost 300 metres from an overhanging rock face, they are one of the highest free-falling waterfalls in Europe. In 1779, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visited the valley, and was inspired by the roaring waters to write his well-known poem ‘Spirit song over the waters’

Another deafening natural phenomenon are the Trümmelbach Falls in the ‘Black Monk’ mountain, hidden behind mighty rock faces. Up to 20,000 litres of water per second cascade over the ten glacier falls from a total height of about 200 metres. This spectacle can only be reached in summer by tunnel lift.

[See more...]

Autumn atmosphere

  • September 15, 2018

Sandwiched between blazing summer and chilly winter, autumn is the “cooling off” season. Nighttime arrives earlier, temperatures begin to drop and most vegetative growth decreases. Animals begin to prepare for the dearth of food that generally comes during the winter, gathering supplies or traveling to warmer climates.

The season is often regarded as a melancholy time and has inspired many writers and poets. Here are some quotes about autumn:

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” — Albert Camus

“Autumn … the year’s last, loveliest smile.” — William Cullen Bryant

“Now Autumn’s fire burns slowly along the woods and day by day the dead leaves fall and melt.” — William Allingham

“Summer ends, and autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night.” — Hal Borland

“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence.” — Thomas Hood

“Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.” — Samuel Butler

[See more...]

Autumn begins

  • August 12, 2018

As summer ends and autumn comes
Days get shorter, misty and cold
And in this spectacular season
Nature’s beauty graciously unfold

Trees get ready to slow down
And in autumn take some rest
And show amazing colors of love
That are all at their best

Green fades away quickly
And yellow and orange appear
To show off their vibrant hues
And warmup their surrounding dear

Sunlight and cool nights of autumn
Help leaves to turn orangish red
And combine all things smoothly
To add magic in season’s lovely bed

And all this shedding and replacement
Of leaves continue throughout the year
And trees only shed leaves in autumn
To prepare for another winter dear

This is God’s spectacular display
Of beautiful colors of the fall
During which many changes occur
Including yellow, orange and red of all.

Reuss

  • August 5, 2018

The Reuss is a river in Switzerland. The length is 164 kilometres (102 mi). The drainage basin is 3,426 square kilometres. It is the fourth largest river in Switzerland (after the Rhine, Aare and Rhône).

The upper Reuss forms the main valley of the canton of Uri. The course of the lower Reuss runs from Lake Lucerne to where it connects with the Aare at Brugg.

[See more...]

Sardinia

  • June 3, 2018

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and before Cyprus), with an area of 24,100 square kilometres. It is situated between 38° 51′ and 41° 18′ latitude north (respectively Isola del Toro and Isola La Presa) and 8° 8′ and 9° 50′ east longitude (respectively Capo dell’Argentiera and Capo Comino). To the west of Sardinia is the Sea of Sardinia, a unit of the Mediterranean Sea; to Sardinia’s east is the Tyrrhenian Sea, which is also an element of the Mediterranean Sea.[12]Lake Omodeo, the largest reservoir in Italy
The nearest land masses are (clockwise from north) the island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia, the Balearic Islands, and Provence. The Tyrrhenian Sea portion of the Mediterranean Sea is directly to the east of Sardinia between the Sardinian east coast and the west coast of the Italian mainland peninsula. The Strait of Bonifacio is directly north of Sardinia and separates Sardinia from the French island of Corsica.

The coasts of Sardinia 1,849 kilometres long are generally high and rocky, with long, relatively straight stretches of coastline, many outstanding headlands, a few wide, deep bays, rias, many inlets and with various smaller islands off the coast.

The island has an ancient geoformation and, unlike Sicily and mainland Italy, is not earthquake-prone. Its rocks date in fact from the Palaeozoic Era (up to 500 million years old). Due to long erosion processes, the island’s highlands, formed of granite, schist, trachyte, basalt (called jaras or gollei), sandstone and dolomite limestone (called tonneri or “heels”), average at between 300 to 1,000 metres (984 to 3,281 feet). The highest peak is Punta La Marmora (Perdas Carpìas in Sardinian language)(1,834 m (6,017 ft)), part of the Gennargentu Ranges in the centre of the island. Other mountain chains are Monte Limbara (1,362 m (4,469 ft)) in the northeast, the Chain of Marghine and Goceano (1,259 m (4,131 ft)) running crosswise for 40 kilometres (25 miles) towards the north, the Monte Albo (1,057 m (3,468 ft)), the Sette Fratelli Range in the southeast, and the Sulcis Mountains and the Monte Linas (1,236 m (4,055 ft)). The island’s ranges and plateaux are separated by wide alluvial valleys and flatlands, the main ones being the Campidano in the southwest between Oristano and Cagliari and the Nurra in the northwest.

Sardinia has few major rivers, the largest being the Tirso, 151 km (94 mi) long, which flows into the Sea of Sardinia, the Coghinas (115 km) and the Flumendosa (127 km). There are 54 artificial lakes and dams that supply water and electricity. The main ones are Lake Omodeo and Lake Coghinas. The only natural freshwater lake is Lago di Baratz. A number of large, shallow, salt-water lagoons and pools are located along the 1,850 km (1,150 mi) of the coastline.