Kiawah

Return of the Osprey!

We spent a long weekend at Kiawah, to join some family celebrations in nearby Charleston. I took the opportunity to do some photography, as I often do here, out on the beach and along the winding roads of the island neighborhoods. Indeed, I just switched to a new camera, the Canon R5 – about which I’ll write later – so this was a great chance to learn how to use it.

The full gallery includes a variety of photos, but the highlight was a visit to an osprey nest (the same one we photographed last June). Mama Osprey and two fledglings peered out from the nest, while Papa Osprey watched closely from a nearby tree.

Mom and two chicks in an Osprey nest, Kiawah.

Post Mills Balloon Festival

A colorful delight for photographers.

Finally, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Post Mills Balloon Festival has returned. This is one of my favorite events every spring, when hot-air balloon enthusiasts gather at the tiny Post Mills Airport for a weekend of ballooning and fellowship. The term ‘airport’ hardly fits, because it is a simple grassy airstrip nestled between a forested wetland and the town cemetery, but the lure of these graceful, vibrantly colorful balloons on a cool spring morning brings me back every year. Read on, and check out the gallery!

Some of the 21 balloons I saw launching this morning.
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Provost Dungeon

A historic site recognizing another use of the term ‘provost’.

I spent the weekend in Charleston, SC for a retreat with provosts from several peer institutions. Just a few blocks away was a historic building, c.1771: The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon.

David visits the Provost Dungeon at The Old Exchange in Charleston, SC.
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Happy new year!

Time to head home.

After two weeks with family here in Kiawah Island in South Carolina, it’s time to head home. We’ve had beautiful weather, allowing time to explore the sands and lagoons of this beautiful island. I’ve added to the gallery more photos of birds and scenery. It was foggy on the beach at sunrise this morning, so I’ll share this photo from Christmas morning.

Christmas Sunrise at Kiawah.

Foggy morning

Fog at sunrise.

Kiawah Island has been sunny and warm every day, but one consequence is the dense fog that settled over the island this morning. I was out on the beach at sunrise, but it was invisible. After a long walk I found driftwood to provide some foreground interest, just as a jogger passed by.

Driftwood on the Kiawah beach.

Alpine view

All the Alps in one view.

Zürich woke to yet another cloudy morning, as the sun rose on winter solstice. On this, the shortest day of the year, we hopped on a plane to Washington, DC, following the sun to the west. Flying high above the clouds, we enjoyed daylight for 15+ hours, though inside the plane we never really got to enjoy the sunshine. When I checked out the window, soon after we reached cruising altitude, I was blessed with a grand panoramic view of the Alps – the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps – spread out beyond a sea of clouds.

The Alps, seen from the airplane leaving Zurich… with low clouds covering all the lowlands.

Zurich departure

Scenes from the past week.

After 10 days in Switzerland it is sad to leave, hard to part with the opportunity to explore both new and unexplored areas of the city and the country. It was a pleasure to be back, to revisit old colleagues, to return to my favorite shops and viewpoints and morning walks. I certainly hope I can return again soon! Today’s gallery includes snapshots from various days and scenes in Zürich, including several from the Christmas markets and from the illuminated evenings.

St.Peter’s church seen from across the Limmat river, Zurich.

Zurich again

Our final day in Zurich.

On our final full day in Zürich, I took my usual morning walk to Zurichberg. The sky was cloudy and the valley foggy, once again, but at least this time the fog was a bit above me and I could see across the lake. Not much to photograph today, but as I lingered at the viewpoint and was passed by every morning jogger and dog-walker, I noted a familiar sight approaching. An old gray lady, and her even older gray dog, approached slowly along a parallel path. I recognized them immediately, having encountered them almost daily on my walks two years earlier… but not yet on this return visit. The woman now needs a walker, and moves slowly while the old gray dog follows even more slowly behind. I admired their persistence in their daily outing, and am glad I had a chance to see them again.

On my way downhill, picking my route randomly through the residential streets while aiming my internal compass toward Honold for my daily dose of heisse schokolade and butter gipfeli, I noted this little gnome standing by a tiny little tree, on a curb near trash and recycling bins.

A gnome and a Christmas tree, left out by someone’s trash bin.

It is not uncommon for people to put items out for free use by passers-by; indeed, we gave away many things when we were preparing to leave in July 2020. This little fellow seemed lonely, so I decided to bring him home.

Later in the day, Andy and I made a pilgrimage to Sprüngli chocolatier, on Bahnhofstrasse, for a stay at their sidewalk tables and for a taste of their grand cru hot chocolate, which comes with a mousse light enough to spoon on top but rich enough to sink you for the afternoon.

Sprüngi hot chocolate, grand cru, with accompanying chocolate mousse.

Despite the chilly weather, the outdoor tables filled quickly; it is a wonderful spot to sit and enjoy a warm drink as the holiday shoppers bustle by.

Skiing Zermatt

Glorious scenery, fabulous weather.

Three days of skiing in Zermatt, surrounded by gorgeous scenery and in perfect weather. Sunshine, no wind, temps around the freezing point. Good snow conditions. 40 open lifts, 211 kilometers of open slopes. No crowds, no lines. The Matterhorn in view nearly all the time, flanked by incredible snow-covered peaks and dripping with ancient glaciers. It doesn’t get much better than this. Read on, and check the photo gallery!

The Matterhorn, seen late afternoon from the ski slopes at Zermatt.
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