12 August 2016

Switzerland's Biggest Street Music Festival

The 13th annual amazing Bern Busker's Festival is going on this weekend. I got to cover it for Le News. Here are some more photos.

28 July 2016

Alps Art Expedition Goes Above and Beyond

Pantelis Makkas needed a location to shoot a video art project. "I want to rewrite that Aesop fable, the story of the battle between the Sun and the wind. This time, the wind will win."

Pantelis, iconoclast to the last.

He is one of 15 international artists who've been invited by an avant-garde Greek fashion designer to contribute a video to be shown at the debut of her weird new tunic. 

I suggested to Pantelis he shoot somewhere in the Alps above Gstaad, because it wasn't far from us in Geneva, and because, yeah, it looked perfect. 

We hoped and found above Rougement.

Afterwards, we returned below by cable car to the village of Rougement. 

It's a place to see and be seen. 

Come and see for yourself. Pantelis says he's going back

08 July 2016

Ohio 4th

Almost by accident we found ourselves in heartland Ohio, U.S.A., during the 4th of July Independence Day weekend.

Marietta, Ohio has a cemetery filled with Revolutionary War veterans and their descendants.

 The town of some 14,000 stands at the confluence of the muddy Muskingum River and bluer Ohio.

Marietta began as a small outpost within the Northwest Territory that eventually comprised six states. In the 18th-century, fur traders from France and Britain lived uneasily by each other and native tribes, leading to the French and Indian War.

During the American Civil War this area was part of the Underground Railroad smuggling Southern slaves to "freedom" in the North.

Long before that, between about 800 BCE and 400 CE, this area was home to tribes who built mounds to bury their dead and for other reasons we may never learn.

Today you can still touch Marietta's history, its red brick buildings, clapboard homes and streets shaded by grand old trees.

And always the rivers.

Sometimes we travel to see a particular place, sometimes to see friends or family. And sometimes, yeah baby, both.

11 June 2016

Into the Bowels of the Jet d'eau, Geneva's Famous Landmark

Thanks to an assignment from Le News, I got to descend below the waterline of Lac Léman in Geneva into the room housing the pumps that push the Jet d'eau high into the sky. A few more photos not in the article: 

The nozzle is only 10 cm in diameter. The water jets up from the outer circle. The narrow inner circle mixes in air, giving the fountain its distinctive white color, making it visible from far away.

Gérard Luyet, who oversees operation of the Jet d'eau, leads the way into what he calls "the bowels" of the huge fountain.

Yes, it's this easy to turn the this amazing fountain on and off. 

28 May 2016

Food Truck Traffic

OK, now we know it's really definitely officially summer in Geneva.

The second annual Street Food Fest is just finishing up this weekend, a pop-up caravanserai of delicious street dishes from all over, including Japan, Venezuela, Mexico, Bulgaria, Palestine, India, Italy, Spain, Vietnam, Thailand, the U.K., the U.S., and even Switzerland (fresh perch -- the longest line we saw was at that truck!). Plus fresh juices, beer, wine and completely out-of-place techno music, which was at a blessedly low volume, so could be easily ignored.

Not to be ignored were the food trucks (and carts and wagons).

But we wouldn't come just to gawk at the cool trucks.

I tasted two dishes. My crispy-juicy, chicken tacos were made by DeliMex. Their truck pops up all around Geneva.

Then there was this wonderfully sloppy wonder from an Austrian truck, Fische Futter ("futter" means "fodder") -- salmon with salad and caramelized onions with a teriyaki honey mustard sauce on a black bun that I'd really not know too much about.

MF had Palestinian hummus from Hummus & Friends, and Bulgarian pastry from Poushe.

Then we waddled toward home through Old Town.

Where we spied one last marvelous "truck."

22 May 2016

The Night of Museums

Tonight and tomorrow, Geneva is taking part in La Nuit des Musées, like many other cities and towns around Europe this weekend. Museums around the city are open into the night, some with special exhibitions. Like Le Musée d'Ethnographie.

There were three concerts back to back -- a Moroccan band of men sitting, singing and clanging hand cymbals, a Haitian Voodoo percussion band, and a Syrian group with Whirling Dervish dancers. 

We didn't even need our passports.

17 May 2016

Steampunk Fantasy in Nantes

Sometimes the extraordinary suddenly appears to prickle our imaginations. Like in Nantes, France last week when we visited (and rode on) the league of extraordinary machines at the permanent exhibition, Les Machines de l’île

The enormous elephant and other yesterday-tomorrow steampunk mechanical animals are a revelation.

And to think that in a few years, these amazing animals will all live under, around and above a stupendous mechanical-botanical tree. For now they wait, not always patiently, in their home, the exhibition halls and workshop where they were born.