Thursday, May 18, 2017, Crossing the waters to Victoria / Butchart Gardens

SPOILER ALERT: Not interested in flowers? Skip this post… it’s going to have lots of flower photos….

The first challenge was getting out of the parking garage, which proved far easier than getting into it and parked.

This seemed really tight to me...

This seemed really tight to me…

We’re off on an adventure: taking the ferry (with the rental car) from Vancouver to Victoria, going to Butchart Gardens, and sailing onward from Victoria to Port Angeles, Washinton, Friday.

Using Google Maps on my iPhone we had a terrific tour of San Francisco and traffic congestion on the way to catch the ferry at Tsawassen, apparently close a First Nations facility. BC Ferries did a great job of getting the 200+ cars loaded (and unloaded) quickly. Note to self: these types of trips are best reserved in advance, not the same day.

View from the ferry, crossing from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

View from the ferry, crossing from Vancouver to Vancouver Island

Islands and boat through the window of the ferry to Victoria

Islands and boat through the window of the ferry to Victoria

We decided to spring for the CAD 12.00 a person and ride in luxury in the more private area. It was a great deal: quite, more comfortable seats, and all the coffee or tea and breakfast you wanted to eat.

Comfort area on the ferry to Victoria

Comfort area on the ferry to Victoria

The 1.5-hour ferry trip left us in Port Swartz. Thanks to my phone, we found Butchart Gardens, though signs seemed to be lacking. Also, it wasn’t on the map, though it’s a very major attraction. We’re still trying to figure that one out.

Flowers at Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island

Flowers at Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island

More painted daisies

More painted daisies

More purple flowers

More purple flowers

More painted daisies at Butchart Gardens

More painted daisies at Butchart Gardens

Painted daisies at Butchart Gardens

Painted daisies at Butchart Gardens

You may have guessed I like purple, and I went a little crazy with the photos of the purple flowers.

I’ve grouped the photos — the garden is huge, and this “tour” is in no particular order.

There’s a view of boats and water from the gardens:

Butchart Cove Lookout

Butchart Cove Lookout

Butchart Cove Lookout, without the trees

Butchart Cove Lookout, without the trees

Now for more flowers. I was fascinated by the variety of tulips.

Red/yellow tulip with yellow fringe

Red/yellow tulip with yellow fringe or spikes

Yellow tulip with red highlights

Yellow tulip with red highlights

Several purple tulips with little yellow spots.

Several purple tulips with little yellow spots. They all seemed that way, so I don’t think it was a disease….

Tulips in several shades

Tulips in several shades

Red tulips with fringed white edges

Red tulips with fringed white edges

Funky yellow tulips

Funky yellow tulips

Pink tulips

Pink tulips

Actually, there were lots of other flowers in bloom, too:

Narcissus

Narcissus

Canada is celebrating 150 years

Canada is celebrating 150 years

 

Interesting yellow flower

Interesting yellow flower

These leaves sprout flowers

These leaves sprout flowers

Lilacs

Lilacs

 Lilacs of another color

Lilacs of another color – I’d never seen this color before….

I've seen these before in orange.

I’ve seen these before in orange.

Most flowers that are blue aren’t really, really blue. But this one is:

Again, the rhododendrons were huge…

White rhododendron, among the largest I've ever seen

White rhododendron, among the largest I’ve ever seen

And had some colors I didn’t recall seeing:

Purple and white rhododendron

Purple and white rhododendron

Yellow rhododendron

Yellow rhododendron

Here and there we found glass:

Stained glass sign for ice cream at Butchart Gardens

Stained glass sign for ice cream at Butchart Gardens

Gorgeous fused glass piece in the artisan shop at Butchart Gardens

Gorgeous fused glass piece in the artisan shop at Butchart Gardens

Glass flowers, ones you can take home

Glass flowers, ones you can take home

And more flowers, with fountains:

Waterfall with flowers at Butchart Gardens

Waterfall with flowers at Butchart Gardens

Frog fountain

Frog fountain

Changing fountain

Changing fountain

Fish fountain

Fish fountain

Dragon Fountain

Dragon FountainLots of trees:

Trees in the garden

Trees in the garden

An interesting tree in Butchart Gardens

An interesting tree in Butchart Gardens

Up close , maybe a Japanese maple?

Up close , maybe a Japanese maple?

Sunken Garden at Butchart Gardens

Sunken Garden at Butchart Gardens

The merry-go-round cost a couple of dollars extra and had lots of less-than-traditional critters, such as this cat with a fish in its mouth.

Merry-go-round

Merry-go-round

Outside is a bronze merry-go-round horse, “Annabelle”:

Bronze merry-go-round horse, Annabelle

Bronze merry-go-round horse, Annabelle

And there’s a boar:

Bronze boar in the gardens

Bronze boar in the gardens

We can’t forget the totem poles. The gardens offers more, but here are two that lent themselves to photos:

Totem pole in the gardens

Totem pole in the gardens

Another totem pole

Another totem pole

And as we leave, some more of the painted daisies:

Painted daisies...more purple!

Painted daisies…more purple!

After about two hours of wandering the garden, snapping about 200 photos and having a gelato cone, we headed for the hotel.

Our stay in Victoria will be in the following post, though it’s the same day.

 

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Tucson, Arizona, June 12, 2016

June 16 was a big day for a lot of people. Nancy Elliott, owner of Katy’s Cache at Monterey Court / super seamstress and designer / singer and guitarist, put on her first fashion show.

Nancy Elliott, with beaded necklace by Gale Thomssen of Cactus Wren Artisans Too

Nancy Elliott, with wonderful beaded necklace by Gale Thomssen of Cactus Wren Artisans Too

Nancy had five models: Andra, Bobbi Jeen (the most famous of the group), Cory, Martha and Sherry. With Nancy’s creations they wore jewelry from Cactus Wren Artisans, creations by Gale Thomssen, Emily Hall, Pam Conner and me. Since this is my blog, I’ll just show my work (except for the photo of Nancy, with Gale’s wonderful beaded piece). The models were super; I found, though, that fashion photography is not my calling. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to show the models alphabetically.

Nancy talked about doing another fashion show in the fall. To find out more, sign up for the Monterey Court newsletter at montereycourtaz.com.

Andra in red pendant

Here’s Andra in a red pendant on red cord. I’d pretty much given up on this piece, but it worked wonderfully with this dress of Nancy’s.

Andra in aqua vertical necklace

Andra selected a 3-piece vertical necklace in aqua (I would call it “teal”, producer CBS calls it “aqua”) for this bright piece by Nancy.

Andra in iridized white pyramid pendant + earrings

For this mainly-red-and-white dress, Andra picked the iridized white version of my upside down pyramid pendant on a gold wire, with matching earrings.

Andra in purple pyramid

Andra wears the purple dichroic version, which goes well with this dress.

Bobbi Jeen in gold pyramid plus earrings

Bobbi Jeen, the real professional of the models, selected the gold version of the upside down pyramid pendant and earrings for this outfit. The dichroic glass started out “salmon”, but for some reason fired gold.

Bobbi Jeen in 5-piece red glass necklace and earrings

For this blouse, Bobbi Jeen picked the 5-piece red necklace with matching earrings. My camera and I weren’t fast enough to get really good shots of her.

Corey in green pendant

Cory, Nancy’s daughter, found a multi-hued green pendant on a copper neckwire to go with this purple dress with sheer, multicolored covering.

Corey, same pendant, different outfit.

Cory, same pendant, different outfit.

This shot of Cory, in a red/yellow/lime green pendant, was done by professional photographer Robert Block.

This shot of Cory, in a red/yellow/ lime green pendant, was done by professional photographer Robert Block.

Martha in magenta pyramid necklace

Moving on to Martha, who picked the magenta version of the upside down pyramid pendant. I could have gotten a better angle….

Martha in beige earrings with salmon dichro

Martha matched one of  Gale Thomssen’s beaded necklaces with my beige + salmon dichroic clip earrings.

Martha in multi-barrette

Martha pulled her long hair back in one of my black barrettes with multi-colored dichroic glass highlights.

Sherrie in 5 pc red necklace w matching earrings

A serious Sherry picked the 5-piece red necklace with matching hanging earrings to highlight this blue-and-white dress.

Sherrie in 5-pc red necklace

And again for this outfit… I’ve heard that red jewelry is difficult to find.

Sherrie in lime green

This time Sherry picked a lime green / yellow pendant and hanging earrings.

herry in 5-pc multi necklace w earrings

To add a little pizzazz to the white blouse, Sherry selected a 5-piece black necklace with multi-colored dichroic centers and matching earrings.

Coburg, Germany, October 14, 2015

The hotel is right on the market place, and this morning was the market.

The Marktplatz in Coburg

The Marktplatz in Coburg

Painted pumpkins in the Marktplatz, Coburg

Painted pumpkins in the Marktplatz, Coburg

The Marktplatz in Coburg

The Marktplatz in Coburg

 

One of the oldest pharmacies, on the Marktplatz in Coburg

One of the oldest pharmacies, on the Marktplatz in Coburg

This morning we looked around Coburg a little, then went on a walking tour of the old part of town. I found a glass studio that seemed to make fused glass windows plus Vero Vetro, a nice stained glass studio with some really nice fused bowls, as well. We chatted with the owner/artist for a few minutes. Kaisu ended up buying some intersting painted globs.

Stadt Theater in Coburg

Stadt Theater in Coburg

After cake and coffee, we set off by taxi to the Vesta, the fortress on the hill with a selection of Venetian and Venetian-like glass, as well as some more modern pieces. we spent about three hours,with glass and a variety of other exhibits in the buildings that pre-date the US….

Near the Vesta

Near the Vesta

Henkelschale, 2nd half of the 17th century at the Vesta

Henkelschale, 2nd half of the 17th century at the Vesta

Venetian chandelier at the Vesta

Venetian chandelier at the Vesta

 Bowl by Daum, from around 1920, at the Vesta

Bowl by Daum, from around 1920, at the Vesta

Galle, Vase w anemones, around 1900, in the Vesta

Galle, Vase w anemones, around 1900, in the Vesta

Tiffany, bowl, around 1900, in the Vesta

Tiffany, bowl, around 1900, in the Vesta

Vase by Witwe / Peche, around 1920, in the Vesta

Vase by Witwe / Peche, around 1920, in the Vesta

 

Lots of Glass in Northern New Mexico – Taos

During April and May I received several emails from Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, announcing an invitational glass show opening on June 5, 2015. Curator for the show is Preston Singletary, who shows at the gallery and whose work is very unique: blown glass and then carved, with Pacific Northwest themes. Of course, I had to go.

I left Wednesday, June 3, and spent the night in Las Cruces with friends. Bonnie is a super ceramics artist who makes her own tiles and then assembles them into mosaics. Her husband, Wall, is working on collages and assemblages these days, often with social statements. Thursday I went on to Santa Fe via Cedar Crest (where I renewed a friendship from 40 years ago with Denise) and Madrid, a mining town turned ghost town turned artist colony. The beauty of Santa Fe is my friend Judy, whom I met through an environmental group in the mid-1970s. I stay with her, so Santa Fe is affordable.

Friday I took off first to check out Taos, which I hadn’t seen for at least 40 years. I wanted to check out a gallery whose calls to artists sound interesting. In walking around on Kit Carson Road, I found the Copper Moon Gallery and a glass event whose call to artists by the Taos Institute for Glass Arts (TIGA) last year I missed. The gallery has some blown glass pieces by Tony Jojola (from the Heard Museum show in Phoenix) and fused pieces by Michelle Rial, who is also a member of the National Capital Art Glass Guild, along with some unique cast pieces by other artists. The gallery owner was very nice, but I didn’t think to ask to take photos. After a long conversation, she sent me to the David Anthony Fine Art / DAFA gallery, where she said I’d find a lot more glass.

DAFA / David Anthony Fine Art. 132 Kit Carson Road, is a relatively large gallery with some wonderful furniture and, thanks to this TIGA event, lots of glass. The gallery seems to represent a couple of glass artists, but had several more. Here are some shots:

Hiroshi Yamano,Japan, blown glass

Hiroshi Yamano, Japan, blown glass

Lachezar Dochev, Bulgaria, Urban Sites of Dreamland, kilncast

Lachezar Dochev, Bulgaria, Urban Sites of Dreamland, kilncast

David Helm - USA - Expression One

David Helm, USA, Expression One, cold worked and bonded

Sini Majuri, Finland, Tulilintu, blown glass

Sini Majuri, Finland, Tulilintu, blown glass

Peter Wright, USA, Blown Glass Battuto Jar 2 with furniture by David Mapes

Peter Wright, USA, Blown Glass Battuto Jar 2. Note the furniture by David Mapes in the background.

Linda Ethier, USA, If I Let You Out, cast/pate de verre/found object

Linda Ethier, USA, If I Let You Out, cast/pate de verre/found object

Herb Babcock, USA, Cool High Plane, cast glass/steel/stone

Herb Babcock, USA, Cool High Plane, cast glass/steel/stone

Jane Bruce, USA, Ribbon Blocks, kilnformed and cold-worked

Jane Bruce, USA, Ribbon Blocks, kilnformed and cold-worked

Gerry Newcomb, USA, Blue Spire, cast glass and steel

Gerry Newcomb, USA, Blue Spire, cast glass and steel

This artist appears to be a regular and not part of the TIGA event:

Marty Kremer, detail from Large Bowl, black with insets

Marty Kremer, detail from Large Bowl, black with insets

Seichamps / Vannes-le-Châtel, January 20, 2015

To catch up from last night, here’s a photo of Jacqueline taken at the meeting last night. At the end we had cider and galette, the special pastry for mid-January. Jacqueline did a really good job of running the meeting.

Jacqueline talks with supporters talk finishing refreshments

Jacqueline talks with supporters after finishing refreshments

This morning the world was pretty white, from snow and frost.

View from Jacqueline's kitchen, complete with white trees

View from Jacqueline’s kitchen, complete with white trees

View from Jacqueline's kitchen window. In the distance you see the small town of Seichamps

View from Jacqueline’s kitchen window. In the distance you see the small town of Seichamps.

After making the dough for tonight’s crèpes and some specialty with mirabelle liqueuer, we set off for Vannes-le-Châtel and the Maison des Arts Verriers. This is aimed at research and glass blowing, but the shop has a lot of fused pieces. Jacqueline called in advance to find the director and arrange a possible meeting. I took along some of the pieces I’d brought (and will leave with Jacqueline). By chance the regional person for the arts was there, as well, so I had two people looking at the wall pieces I’d brought. The director said it’s difficult to do demonstrations of fusing, fusing isn’t that well known in France, and those who know it think it’s a hobby thing and not something really professional…. At any rate, I left my card.

This group has quite a nice shop and some displays by glass blowers. The shop, the director explained, is trying to develop affordable glass pieces (plates, etc.) to compete with the likes of Ikea, so people buy local artists instead of “made in China” at the local store.

Fused glass sign at the Maison des Arts Verriers in Vannes-le-Châtel.

Fused glass sign at the Maison des Arts Verriers in Vannes-le-Châtel.

We stopped at another huge shopping center on the way home, where we each bought a long-sleeved top on sale. Then on home and dinner of crèpes with mirabelles (sort of a cross between cherries and plums, a local specialty).

Tomorrow I catch a TGV from TGV Lorraine, in the middle of nowhere, changing once and arriving at the airport for my 1:55 flight home. It appears to be on Air France, not Delta, which will be another experience. I haven’t flown AF for a number of years. I’ll be curious to see if there’s more security. The French keep finding more people who may have been involved in the attacks on “Charlie Hebdo” and others.

Seichamps, January 18, 2015

At breakfast Jacqueline gave me the local newspaper with an article about the exhibit that included a short blurb about Dyane Taylor. I guess that’s better than being Diane Tucson….

Today was day 2 of the Exposition of artists from Seichamps (and elsewhere), with hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I’ve been pleased with my exhibit, largely because Jacqueline has provided some strong guidance. I have my laptop, with a little fan under it to keep it cool, and I’ve run a slide show of a bunch of my pieces. Some people actually stood and watched it for a minute or two. Others remarked on some of the enlarged photos, especially the one of the bowl with the apricot that’s also on the website. It helps to have professional guidance (a professional photographer in one of my groups was kind enough to pass along a few tips last year).

Stand, with mannequin and laptop, Sunday

Stand, with mannequin and laptop, Sunday

The morning was slow; the whole group moved to a different room for lunch. This took a little longer than I expected — an hour and a half. I went out after an hour to see what was happening and found two or three people looking and NO artists or others around. But nothing seemed to disappear.

Friday Jacqueline introduced me to Renée, a woman at the framing and cartonnage exhibit across from me. We’re now fast friends. She took me under her wing, directed people over to me, explaining I was from Arizona and generally helping me. Today she saved me a place at lunch, so I was with her group, which was nice. The man next to me spoke some German and some English, Renée was on the other side. The man across from me was quite nice — everyone was kind about repeating or explaining when necessary.

About 3:30 what appeared to be all of Seichamps began showing up. This continued through 5. The people who stopped to talk were quite nice and patient with my slow French. I got good at explaining, “it’s not enamel, it’s glass, fired in a kiln at 700 to 800 degrees (Celsius)”.

Sunday afternoon we had a sudden surge of visitors.

Sunday afternoon we had a sudden surge of visitors.

Many people seemed familiar with cloisonné, enamel on copper. Some seemed to know fusing, many seemed unfamiliar with it. I’m not sure what that means (recalling that some folks on Kinney Road in Tucson were unfamiliar with it, yet every other person in Tucson fused glass, or so it seems).

Jacqueline and André helped me get my stuff together, and that was it. I’ll stay in touch with Renée, who will be taking a tour of the western US with her husband in October, and maybe with a painter who talked to me quite a bit. When I thanked the organizer, she said maybe I could come back next year, so I guess my work and I were fit in OK.

As I write this, I have the company of Iso (pronounced “ee-zo”), André’s hunting companion. I asked about his name; André worked with ISO standards for highways and confirmed that’s where the name came from. The dog is part Spaniel and pointer (according to the dictionary).

Iso, André's hunting companion, keeping me company

Iso, André’s hunting companion, keeping me company

Seichamps, January 17, 2015

Entrance to exhibition hall in Seichamps

Entrance to exhibition hall in Seichamps

I’m pleased to report I survived day 1 of 2 of the exhibition by Seichamps artists. Even better, the predicted snow did NOT arrive.

I set off early with Jacqueline for an appointment in Nancy. Then it was back to Seichamps in time to set up for the visit by Mr. Mayor and other special guests at 11 a.m.

View across the exhibit hall. My stand is at the very end and not visible here.

View across the exhibit hall. My stand is at the very end and not visible here.

Shortly after noon, we were all called into a central room, where the mayor and the woman who organized the event spoke briefly.

The mayor of Seichamps (left) welcomes the artists, as the organizer/his assistant listens.

The mayor of Seichamps (left) welcomes the artists, as the organizer/his assistant listens.

Mr. Mayor mentioned Diane Tucson, a glass artist (as reported twice in the local newspaper). The assistant/organizer informed him I was Diane Taylor of Tucson. After a short “apperitif”, complete with champagne and juice, cherry tomatoes, cheese cubes and mostly little dough goodies, people took off for lunch. I stayed and read. Some 25 artists — regional, not just Seichamps, are taking part. I’m the only fuser; we have a glass painter, several more traditional painters, a sculptor, potters, framers/cartonnage makers (boxes of cardboard, covered with fabric) and a calligrapher.

The event opened to the public at 2 p.m. I got pretty good at explaining what “fusing” is(looks English, needs a French accent to be correct). This is the third variation of what I do (as opposed to “verre fusé” and “verre fusionné”). I had some interestin g conversations, some of which I almost understood. One young guy, decked out in cowboy boots and cowboy hat, was looking for the American artist so he could buy something typically American. He was most disappointed to find pins and picture frames of the French flag (as requested by my friend Jacqueline). Turns out his mom is the really good watercolorist almost across from me.

Straight across is a group that does “encadrement et cartonnage”. I know cartonnage (making boxes, covered with fabric) from a French woman in Tucson. “Encadrement” is framing, including matting. Most of the pieces are just spectacular — I’ve never seen matting like this — odd shapes, five and six mattes, special cuts. My framer is really good and she does some creative things. But I’d say these folks may take a few steps beyond. I’m not sure how well this photo will show the artistry…

Wonderful example of matting (with frame) of floral painting. Each color in the circle represents a different color of matte used.

Wonderful example of matting (with frame) of floral painting. Each color in the circle represents a different color of matte used.

At any rate, I had some interesting discussions, met some new people and survived, all in French. People are quite nice about supplying words, so even when I stumble, I don’t fall. The show ended at 6 p.m. Jacqueline picked me up. André took a quick photo to show the new necklace and hanging earrings I recently came up with.

I'm wearing my newest creation: a necklace of dichroic triangles in gold, silver and magenta, tacked on to black. Hanging earrings match.

I’m wearing my newest creation: a necklace of dichroic triangles in gold, silver and magenta, tacked on to black. Hanging earrings match.

I almost fell asleep before and during dinner. I’m yawning as I type this. Tomorrow begins at a humane 10 a.m. I hope the weather holds.

Seichamps, January 16, 2015

I still can’t get used to total darkness at 8 a.m. and again about 5:30 p.m., but that’s how it is in Seichamps in mid-January. An exciting piece of news: a rather weird message from Capital One indicated that my credit cards would work again. We’ll see….

It’s still cold, cold, but rainy, so no snow yet. Today Jacqueline and I went to Galerie Raugraff in Nancy in the morning. Because it was raining, we drove and parked in a municipal garage, instead of taking their streetcar. Once again, I saw how far behind we are in the US, at least in Tucson. Yesterday, I experienced wonderful highways and streets. Today it was a parking garage. You drive in, it tells you how many spaces are free in the garage. Once you’re in, you see at the beginning of each row how many spaces are free in that row — and lights above each space tell you whether it’s occupied (red) or available (green). Wow! And it wasn’t terribly expensive — 2.60 euros for about two hours.

Online Galerie Raugraff had some really cool glass and some really super glass artists. However, it was closed until spring, working on a new installation. Of course, its website didn’t mention this.

So, we walked around the heart of Nancy a little. We visited the huge indoor food market, where the first thing I saw was a sign for something new: horse sausage.

New: Horse sausages in the indoor market in Nancy.

New: Horse sausages in the indoor market in Nancy.

We saw lots of fruits and veggies, some I had never seen before.

Fruits and vegetables in a large stand at the indoor market in Nancy.

Fruits and vegetables in a large stand at the indoor market in Nancy.

When we came out, we saw the large empty plaza across from the church.

The church in Nancy across the plaza from the indoor market.

The church in Nancy across the plaza from the indoor market.

We were parked by a large shopping center. In C&A I got a turtle neck that may work with one of the new pieces of jewelry I brought. Really exciting: my Capital One Visa card worked. However, the six euros I spent on the top weren’t enough to qualify for free parking. We visited some other stores, I got some paper to see about e-mail addresses (I forgot this when I was packing), but we didn’t get enough anywhere to get the parking ticket validated. Ah well.

Then it was home and lunch and on to the Seichamps City Hall to set up. WOW! Three grids, covered in black fabric. Two spotlights, and chains and “S” hooks for use by all the artists. I’ve never had such a good setup before. Bruno, the maintenance person, spent several minutes putting hangers and wire on the back of my photos. One of Jacqueline’s friends lent me a straw mannequin that’s pretty cool. I was pretty much set up in an hour and a half. My display is probably the best one I’ve ever had — with a lot of help from Jacqueline, Bruno and the display person. I don’t have piles of stuff the way I usually do, and the spotlights bring the glass to life.

Red, fused glass by Diane C Taylor, with a spotlight on it.

Red, fused glass by Diane C Taylor, with a spotlight on it.

My display, without the spotlights on.

My display, without the spotlights on.

We walked around and greeted some of the other artists — Jacqueline, who spent a few years in the French Senate, knows everyone and his/her dog (literally).

One piece needed some lighting behind it, Jacqueline decided. We went to the local flea market shop, where she’d taken me before. For three euros I got a little lamp, white porcelain with a white shade. It was in pretty good shape, just needs to have the shade cleaned, the price label and dust removed and a light bulb. I checked it with a borrowed bulb to be sure it worked.

Back at Jacqueline’s, we had tea. She went off to a reception, André helped me get the lamp fixed up, and I’m working on the blog. André has a meeting this evening, and Jacqueline and I will have dinner when she gets back.

Snow is expected tomorrow, for the event. This is an art exhibit by “amateur artists”, whatever that means. Most of the people I saw today appear to be retired. Some of the paintings are excellent, some less so. One woman near me does cartonnage, making boxes and covering them with fabric, as well as embroidery. Her pieces looked quite professional. I should add, in Europe, I have the feeling that if you didn’t study something and do it all your life, then you’re an amateur. I’ll find out more tomorrow, I hope.

Switzerland — Wädenswil (Zug), October 25-28, 2014

My final destination for the day is Wädenswil, a little town overlooking Zurich Lake. It’s about 30 minutes by train from Zurich. My friend Kaisu, whom I met in a German course in 1983, meets me at the station.

After we drop my suitcases and grab something quickly to eat, we’re off to the opening of one of her friends, a painter by the name of Francine (Franzi) Laux. Franzi is showing in an old industrial building with a couple of other artists. The venue is very cool, but way off the beaten path. I’ve met Franzi before, and Kaisu has several of her paintings.

Franzi's self-portrait

Franzi’s self-portrait

Sunday, as is their custom, Kaisu and Urs (her husband) go for a Sunday walk. They take along their energetic dog. a Lagnolo-Romagnolo named Haki. We drive to Zug, a pretty town on the Lake of Zug where Urs has his office. Kaisu and I take a bus and a little train to go up the Zugerberg (Zug mountain). From there Kaisu and I take an easy walk, since I only have sandals with me.

Diane above Zug

Me, on the Zugerberg. Photo by Kaisu. Scarf by my daughter, Amy.

Meanwhile, Urs and Haki take off for a more strenuous walk. We eventually meet up and have lunch on the patio of a restaurant on the mountain. Urs and Haki walk back to where they left the car, while Kaisu and I take the train back down the mountain. We wander around the old part of town, where we find another art opening. This is in the Altstadthalle. Four artists are exhibiting: each artist has her own floor. It’s an interesting old building, from the 1400s or so, with some interesting paintings. I collect cards and plan to look the artists up on the web, only to find that they don’t have websites….

Along the way I find this stained glass light.

Stained glass lamp in Zug

Stained glass lamp in Zug

Across the street from the art exhibit is a glass store. Among the interesting fused pieces is this angel.

Fused glass angel in glass store in Zug

This fused glass angel was one of several interesting pieces in the window of a glass store near the art exhibit in Zug

Then it’s back to Wädenswil.

Zurich Lake from Kaisu's house

Zurich Lake, from “my” bedroom window at Kaisu’s in Wädenswil

Monday we go shopping. I was tasked to find a shirt with a hedgehog on it for Mikey, age 4 1/2. We find some pajamas (which turn out to be way too big). Twenty years ago, hedgehogs were everywhere. Now it’s penguins and polar bears.

Tuesday, it’s all over. Kaisu takes me to the train station, where we find her son Michael, also going towards Zurich, so he helps me with luggage. Wädenswil is convenient because this train stops at the Zurich main station, then ends at the airport. This means I don’t have to change trains, though I do have to deal with early-morning rush-hour commuters.

It is a challenge to get on the train in Wädenswil. You have to climb up several steps, and because of the angle of the track in some places, it’s difficult to reach the first step of the train (like where I happened to stand).

The flight back from Zurich is via Washington-Dulles to Tucson. I worry about enough time in Washington, but we arrive alone (not at the same time as other giant aircraft). With the machines that read your passport, I go through passport control, get my luggage, go through the agricultural check, recheck one bag and go through security in less than 30 minutes. A note: I am TSA-prechecked, thanks to United Airlines, but Washington-Dulles is NOT set up for that.

It’s been a great trip, but I’ll be glad to get home.

Switzerland — Zurich, October 25, 2014

Zurich is just about an hour by train from Bern these days (when I lived in Bern, it was 1 1/2 hours). I arrived a little early for my coffee with Brigitte, also a former colleague from Washington (I worked for the Embassy of Switzerland there in the early 1990s). Wandering around the main train station, I found a lot of art. The flower shop where we were to meet has some cool metal pieces.

Rusty metal bird in train station flower shop

This rusty metal bird makes its home in the train station flower shop

Downstairs was this fountain.

Fountain in Zurich main train station

This fountain is downstairs (underground) in Zurich main train station

No visit to the main train station is complete without a quick look at this angel by Niki de Saint Phalle, a French sculptor.

L'Ange Protecteur, sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle in the Zurich main train station

L’Ange Protecteur, sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle in the Zurich main train station

A quick walk down Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich showed this innovative sign in one of the department store windows. This is a still photo of gigantic figures walking…

WIndow of PkZ department store on Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich

WIndow of PkZ department store on Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich