Rainy day part 2

The day that I captured my rainy street scene in Geneva that I posted a few days ago started out foggy, and I took advantage of that to begin my day at the city’s lakeside, at the Quai Gustave Ador, where I found these impressive vessels. I didn’t realize at the time that I could walk out towards the iconic Jet d’Eau and that access was just a little further down the quay or I would have jumped at the opportunity to capture images of the city in the fog from that perspective. Ah well.

Pictured above is the bow of the Neptune, a traditional barge built in 1904, sail powered, that was used to carry rock and sand between various points on Lake Geneva (Lac Leman). A beautiful vessel under sail, she is now used for weddings and other special occasions. Unfortunately I wasn’t lucky enough to see her in action.  The second image is  a view across the harbor from next to the paddlewheeler Genève,


Rainy day here, rainy day there

rainy Geneva street scene

While I was in France last winter we had weather much like we’re having here this winter. Lots of grey days and rain. This was captured this time last year during a rainy day in Geneva, Switzerland. An appropriate image for a day like we’re having here today…downpours from yet another pineapple express that’s supposed to be keeping things super-soggy for another day or so.


Gruyères Part 2 & Monochrome Madness

I’m combining my second post on Gruyères with this week’s Monochrome Madness submission which – unusual for me – doesn’t feature an animal! Don’t get used to it! 🙂 I liked the way the top of the gate – arched, with a thingamajig on top – echoes the shape of the mountain behind. And then there all the different straight line textures as well. It was surprising to me, when looking at a map or seeing the castle and town from a distance, to see how far away the mountains actually were…on site it felt like they were looming over my shoulder all the time, it felt as if I could almost reach out and touch them.

Anyway, back to MMC, to see everyone else’s great submissions head on over to Leanne Cole’s blog, click here.

Click on each image for larger view.Gate to Gruyères castle grounds, black and white


After lunch the rest of the family opted not to climb up to the castle (this was not their first trip to see it), so I made a whirlwind tour of it, just capturing images that caught my eye on the way around. I wish now I had images of the interior, but I didn’t have a tripod with me and I only saw a few of the rooms. Finding extensive history of the castle is difficult, so I resorted to Wikipedia, which has this to say about it.

“The castle was constructed between 1270 and 1282 in the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. The end of the 15th century stands out as the golden age in the history of the counts. In 1476, count Louis takes part in the Burgundy war by the Confederates’ side. Following this deed of valour, modernization works were undertaken. The castle loses its fortress appearance to become a stately residence.”

Below: the entrance to the castleSteps to Gruyères castle entrance

The next 3 images show the forecourt of the castle.

Looking east from Gruyères castle forecourtLooking east from Gruyères castle forecourtLooking east from Gruyères castle forecourt

This small chapel, below, was also located in the castle forecourt next to, but outside the castle keep, which you can see next to it. There were tiny rooms, possibly cells (?), inside that tower that forms part of the keep wall, and it must have been miserably cold in there.

The small chapel in the Gruyères castle forecourt

Below are various views of and from the castle ramparts and include the French gardens within the castle walls…you can see the maze which in summer is filled with flowers.

Looking northeast from Gruyères castle ramparts

The maze garden in Gruyères castle from the ramparts Looking along Gruyères castle garden ramparts Ramparts next to Gruyères churchLooking east from Gruyères castle ramparts

Looking north along Gruyères castle garden ramparts

Looking down into the castle keep’s small courtyard. This part of the structure is the main living area.

Overlooking the courtyard in Gruyères castle

Looking out over the town from one of the castle windows, over top of the town towards, I think the southwest.

Looking west from inside Gruyères castle

The archway that leads into and out of the castle looking more or less southwest or SSW. The town is to the right, the church that you saw in yesterday’s post to the left.

Looking southwest from Gruyères castle entrance


Gruyères, Switzerland – Part 1

This time last year, while visiting family in the French Alps, we visited the picturesque medieval walled town of Gruyères, famous for its delicious cheese, cream and meringues. Gruyères is located in the foothills of the Swiss alps a couple of hours or so east of Geneva. The night before we drove there it had snowed lightly in the area, which made it even more beautiful.

The day we were there, most of the shops were closed. Only a single restaurant, a souvenir shop and a deli were open. On the plus side, there was a mere handful of other tourists which was wonderful. There were no crowds or lineups and I didn’t have to worry about people obscuring the subjects I wanted to capture in my images. My brother in law was disappointed that his favorite restaurant was closed, but it worked out just fine. We had lunch in the one restaurant that was open, thoroughly enjoying a totally delicious cheese fondue in the style of the region and we all ate far too much! Afterwards I was able to buy meringues and a large tub of Gruyères cream to indulge in at home, lol! I did a whirlwind tour of the castle before we all headed off to nearby Broc for a tour of Maison Cailler, the factory that produces superbly yummy chocolate, where we were treated to decadently rich hot chocolate and far too many chocolate samples! Definitely NOT a diet day!! Afterwards I felt like a beached whale! 🙂 🙂

I’m going to split this post in two, the second post will be featured tomorrow. Today’s images will show the walled town, and tomorrow we’ll take a look at the 13th century castle.

Images below:

1.  The walled town and the castle (off to the left) with the Alps in the background
2, 3.  Gruyères castle from the north.  The main entrance to the town (not accessible to vehicles)
5.  Looking west along the town’s only street, castle is behind me
6.  Dog lounging outside one of the town’s shops
7.  Seasonally-decorated window alcove
8.  View of the church
9.  View of the castle from the north side of the church
10. Looking the other way, the Chemin des Morts, whereby the dead were brought in from the surrounding area for burial in the town cemetery
11. The church from the castle’s easternmost ramparts
12. The archway leading from the castle to the rest of the town
13, 14, 15. Descending from the castle into the main part of town

Click on the images for larger view.


These are wild greylag geese that live in the area in Geneva, Switzerland where Lake Geneva empties into the Rhone River. I captured this image just before returning to Canada in September.

Click on image for larger view.wild greylags taking flight from water


Geneva from the water

A few days before I returned home from France, I was in Geneva one more time with my sister to take a short, 2-hour cruise on Lake Geneva. It was perfect weather…warm and sunny with gorgeous big fluffy clouds. It was lovely.

Paddlewheeler Savoie entering Geneva harbour
The paddlewheeler “Savoie” entering Geneva harbour. Paddlewheeler Savoie in Geneva harbour
And churning across the harbour to pick up passengers. These elegant paddlewheelers are  a common sight all around the lake, carrying passengers on sightseeing cruises.


These little yellow boats are called mouettes, and they are waterbuses, part of Geneva’s extensive public transit system, ferrying people from one side of the harbour to the other.
Geneva's jet deau wth mouette waterbus in front
Pont de Mont Blanc
The second image shows a mouette about to pass under the pont de Mont Blanc, where the lake empties into the Rhone River.
Mouette waterbus with pont de Mont Blanc behind


The famous Jet d’Eau.
Geneva's jet d'eau with old town behind Close up of Genevas jet d'eau from the lake 2 Geneva's jet d'eau from the lakeTop of Geneva's jet deau with birdsBase of Geneva's jet d'eau from the lake
One of Geneva’s mute swans flying into the spray from the jet d’eau. Swan landing in spray from Geneva's jet d'eau


Looking back at Geneva from outside the harbour…
View of Geneva from the lake, with a sailboat and jet d'eau in front Geneva's jet d'eau with city behind Returning to Geneva's harbour along the north shoreGeneva's harbour entrance


A few scenes outside the harbour…
Looking east from Geneva's harbourLarege clouds over the shores of Lake Genevamarina in Geneva's harbourSailboat on Lake Geneva A chateau on the north shore of Lake Geneva


Click on the images above for a larger view, or click on the gallery below to view these and a few more images.


Geneva grebe family update

For those of you who enjoyed the images of the Great Crested Grebe family in Geneva, here’s a follow-up. A few days before leaving to return home, we were in Geneva for a short boat ride on the lake, and visited l’ile Rousseau for lunch. Mama Grebe was there with just one now much larger chick. After we’d had lunch there was still only one chick, and we thought sadly that one of them hadn’t survived. Then, just before Papa Grebe showed up with a fish, the second chick swam out from under the willow branches that drape into the water! We were so relieved!

The first image shows Papa Grebe with a fish for the chicks — look how big those chicks had become! Then he left to go fishing again. During past visits when he dived, he disappeared from sight almost immediately even tho I was on the bridge looking down at him and the water was clear. On this day, for some reason, he remained visible for several seconds, giving me a great opportunity to get a couple of shots of him underwater. Check out those wild flippers he calls feet!