A little piece of Heaven on Earth is right here in Guilin, China. Unspoiled by development. Peaceful.
Sunrise on the Li River where the karst rock formations rise from the soil like the backs of sleeping dinosaurs.Meet Mr. Haung – 61 years old and considered amongst the youngest to know the ancient ways of the cormorant fishermen. Sadly, these days a mostly extinct fishing method. River pollution, mass fishing with electrical charges and motorized boats have depleted the fish population.
The cormorant bird – trained to dive into the water, capture a fish in its bill and dutifully return it to the raft. If not for the snare tied around the birds neck it would swallow the catch whole.The raft – long and sturdy. Mr. Haung splashed the water for effect. The birds accustomed to the rocking commotion on the raft remain unfazed.The art of cast net fishing – the large net is meticulously coiled in his left hand while an edge of the net is secured between his teeth and the remainder grasped in he right hand. Winding up like pro golfer, whilst swinging the net, the net is released high into the air. The splash – circular in formation – is a testament to his skill.
Wintering in Charleston (home B) conjures images of warm days and swaying palm trees. It’s the South – right?
The last couple years we have spent a good part of the winter in South Carolina. Loving the temps but quietly jealous of the snow storms in Northern Nevada (home A). Our fav – snow. Particularly snow storms.
A week ago today – the stars aligned and Charleston hit the jackpot. 5 plus inches of snow! The community came to a screeching but quiet halt. Downtown businesses and the airport closed for days – the schools for a week.
It was a peaceful, renewing calm that hit us like a marshmallow.
What a treat! Miraculous.
Palm trees and snow! Yin and yang – juxtaposition- whatever you want to call it. Southern living and mountain living weather converge into a medley of photos.
We visited Mrs. Zhang in Longtan Ancient Village in Yangshuo County, Guilin, China. A retired farmer, now widowed (approx. 8 years) and childless.
She lives independently, cooking and caring for her home with her niece and nephew providing groceries. It’s not an easy life with modern day conveniences. Cooking requires a wood fire and the bathroom has no running water.
A church pew type wooden bench that sits perpendicular to her front door and she and her two lady friends pass the day visiting – as they were upon our arrival. Watching others playing cards is enjoyable as well.
A proud woman, she insisted on sitting tall with a pensive look and I found her most adorable when I could get her to smile – capturing her youthful past in her twinkling eyes.
A large bag of recently made dried persimmons and sweet potatoes rested on the long wooden farm table. Upon leaving, with her infectious girlish smile, she filled bags for us to share.
The train ride from Milan to Zurich was picturesque to say the least – Lake Como, Lake Lugano and the snow swept Alps. Simply striking.
Switzerland may be the most beautiful country in the world according to this author.
Zurich, in northern Switzerland, is the third most expensive city in the world (CNBC) and all lit up for the Christmas season.
Brrr… it’s cold and it’s only the beginning of December. Lured by the Christmas lights on the famous Bahnhofstrasse (one of the world’s most exclusive shopping areas) we bundled up and headed to Central Altstadt (Old Town) on the Limmat River to find the Christmas market. Charmed by the historic buildings, the silvery river and lit up bridges we walked until our toes froze like little marbles.
Also known as Most Serene Republic of San Marino, it’s one of the richest countries in the world, the world’s oldest surviving sovereign state and its oldest republic (since AD 301), the 5th smallest (4.5 miles long by 5 miles wide) and completely surrounded by Italy.
The capital, also named San Marino, a UNESCO World Heritage site, sits proudly at the top of Mt. Titano. It’s chock full of castles with breathtaking views that reach from the Adriatic Sea to the snow-covered Apennines.
It was deserted and oh so cold. The wind was whipping through the narrow streets and rocked my tripod. Our refuge was a cave like restaurant for vino and the first steak we’ve had in a month.