Saturday, 25 February 2017


In many countries when one wants to really see what this country looks like, it is required to travel away from the capital city. Russia is par excellence an example of such a country. So today I will take you to a city located around 200 kilometers from Moscow so that you can discover a more realistic view of Russia. My friends, welcome to Ryazan.

Ryazan has around half a million inhabitants. It has of course some public buildings, like this representative office of the Russian Federation.

It has also numerous churches, most of which are orthodox, which you can immediately spot by the sets of golden domes. 

They have monuments devoted to famous poets, like Sergey Yesenin.

But they have also monuments devoted to public officers, like the one standing in from of the fire station.

Actually, large monuments are one of the items that are difficult to miss in Ryazan. Especially those devoted to soldiers.

The eternal flame commemorates those who perished in World War II.

But here comes another one.

Devoted again to Russian troops.

With special commemorative plates for all major battles fought, again, during World War II. My Polish family would not like this one. You may only guess in which country Brest was located before 1939.

Obviously, the history of Russia did not start in 1939 or 1941. Any of you can read the cyrillic alphabet? The signs lead a square and a street dedicated to the same man.

And yes, we have seen the Mausoleum of this gentleman three weeks ago. It is Vladimir Lenin.

The buildings that you can find in the city can be old-fashioned but in good shape.

They can also be more modern and quite shabby. Pretty saddening in case of a post office.

But the item that will for ever define my memories from Ryazan was the public transport. If I would have to guess how old is this trolleybus, I would guess its first driver was Fred Flintstone.

Not all the cars seem to have proper breaks.

So be careful, because the emplacement of the pedestrian crossings is only shyly suggested.

Better not risk to walk around on our own. Let's jump into the trolleybus and I will take you to the biggest attraction in town.

See you next week where the red dot is.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Aletsch glacier

Last week we have been skiing and hiking in Fiescheralp. But the real reason why we came here remains to be discovered. Follow me, we need to catch the cable car. And no, we are not going down, back to Fiesch. We will be going further up.

Here it comes. Have you noticed that all cable cars are basically red?

Off we go. When you look down you can see the ski-highway below us.

On the left we pass the high rocky walls.

Finally, we arrive to the top, 2,893 meters above sea level. My friends - welcome on Eggishorn.

The view is spectacular whichever way you look. Just behind the cable car station, you will recognise the Zermatt region.

With Matterhorn in the middle of course. 

When you turn left, you will see the Alps on the other side of the Rhône valley. Down there lies Fiescheralp and Fiesch.

The top of Eggishorn is delimited by red ropes, next to which you will find these signs. They are not there without reason. I have seem lots of people going off piste here. Some were even having parachutes.

To be honest, I do not really understand them. The black ski run leaving Eggishorn seems frightening enough to me.

When you turn left again, you will finally see the main reason why we came to canton Wallis. The UNESCO World Heritage site called Jungfrau-Aletsch.

Aletsch is the largest glacier in the Alps. Nowadays it is about 23 km long. But during glacial period it went up to the city of Solothurn, being roughly 200 kilometers long! Due to global warming the Aletsch glacier gets shorter and thicker almost every year.

Jungfrau is the mountain in the back, slightly covered with clouds. It is possible to reach Jungfraujoch, the saddle between the Mönch and the Jungfrau, with a cogway railway. It is the highest railway station in Europe.

On the right, you can spot the Fiescher glacier.  A bit smaller but still impressive because it seems much steeper.

A bit on the left again comes the Aletschhorn. Just as impressive as its cousin.

Our cable car is coming. But to be honest I do not feel like going down yet.

Why don't we get ourselves a hot tea and some nice rolls in the little cafe on the top of the world, with a world-famous glacier just behind us.

Let's sit for a moment and simply admire the beauty of the planet we were entrusted with.

Saturday, 11 February 2017


Over the last two years I was trying to learn to ski. After the classes I have had in Brunni last year, I decided to try to ski on the top level, in the Swiss Alps. I invite you to share with me a few days of skiing and hiking around the village of Fiescheralp in canton Wallis.

Fiescheralp lies on 2,200 meters. To get there, we need to take a cable car in the village called Fiesch.

When you look down, you can see the tiny houses in Fiesch.

On the left and on the right come the huge pines, covered with snow.

Up there you can already see the top station of the cable car. The wooden structures next to it belong to a system that is designed to stop avalanches.

Unfortunately the weather today is not too good since Fiescheralp is covered by a heavy could.

I though we could go for a walk but the visibility is quite weak. I propose we park it for today and get back to our hotel. Just watch out for the skiers!

Those of you who brought their equipment and are willing to ski can of course jump on the lift.

When you are back, remember to park your ski properly.

And your helmets as well.

Let's hope tomorrow the weather will be nicer.

* * * 

And yes, the world belongs to those who have faith!

The sun shines brightly, the Alps show their most beautiful side.

And on the right hand side ...

Did you recognise them? Yes! It is Matterhorn ...

... and his best friend Weisshorn.

The slopes are ready for those who enjoy a good ride.

Feel free to go up.

After giving it a second thought I have decided to give up on skiing and to do some winter hiking today on the Panoramaweg (Panorama trail).

The view today is really spectacular, though the clouds are already coming on the horizon.

We leave the village behind us. The hiking trails is crossed by many ski lifts.

On top of the other hill comes yet another ski lift, this time with seats.

It starts down there.

Those who need some rest can always enjoy an après-ski in one of the many hütten.

On the sunny side of the hiking trail you can see that the sun wa really shining brightly today. The snow started to melt and then the water has frozen into icicles.

I think it's time we return to the hotel, I do not like these clouds. And we need one hour for our way back.

We will stay in Fiescheralp one more day. I want to show you the biggest treasure of this region. Sleep tight.