E: Descent to Zermatt – Switzerland

IMG_3277Struggling to hold my resilient eyelids open, I awoke to silence, disrupted only by the infrequent sounds of bed sheets brushing frantically against the mattress as our fellow hostel room-mate’s re-adjusted their positions. Thankfully Alex’s snoring had been much improved, yet this failed to even marginally contribute to a better quality of sleep for myself. Surrounding our bunk bed were tightly packed mostly empty beds. The room was cold and the itchy mud coloured blanket that I huddled under hardly covered me.  I mumbled “Alex, you awake yet?” peering down to the bunk below whilst clutching dearly to the grey blanket in an attempt not to lose any of the little heat which I had struggled so dearly to collect around me.

We were in Zermatt! The famous skiing resort flocked to by the rich and famous during the winter season. We clearly weren’t here to ski though as there was hardly any evidence of snow around us. Instead we were here to adore the many different angles and viewpoints of Switzerland’s unrivalled king of the mountains the ‘Matterhorn’. Despite being one of the tallest peaks in the Alps the mountain is special for more than just one reason. In the 1920’s the Matterhorn was selected to be placed on the packaging of the globally renowned chocolate the ‘Toblerone,’ this solidified it as a geological iconic, and rightly so.

IMG_3107Our backpacks returned their weight on our shoulders and our legs were ushered into action slowly beginning to accustom themselves. Zermatt’s most distinguishable feature is its plentiful supply of agreeable oversized chalets constructed from darkly varnished wood, most complete with balconies brimming with flowers in vibrant shades of white and pink. Underneath these alluring structures lie shops catering for two very obvious markets, either keen sports enthusiasts or the very luxurious clientèle looking for that perfect Swiss watch.

We boarded the Gornergrat railway which has roots all the way back to 1898 and began our ascent. The characterful red carriages overflowed with rustic charm  and entertainment came in the form of the Japanese tourists beside us echoing each others oohs and aahs whilst gazing at the evolving scenery behind the glass panels as we ascended the mountain. I was very tempted to join them but as I  felt slightly woozy whilst I adjusted to the altering oxygen levels I felt the better decision would be to stare outside quietly. I waited wide-eyed with anticipation to catch a glimpse of the frosted tips of the famous Swiss Alps that I’d admired for so long, usually on the endless boxes of Muesli I had previously consumed.

IMG_3022As we neared the summit, the impressive silhouette of the ‘Gornergrat Telescope’ came into view. The summit was a very peaceful area, the thinned air due to the height of the mountain seemed to drown out the voices of the other visitors that stood around us. The chilled air felt clean. It was uncomplicated allowing yourself to be absorbed  into the scenery thanks to the numerous ridges, all positioned like works of art displayed around a room, each wall offering something different to see.

Alex outlined which ones the glaciers were and described her memories of how they had changed since she was small. We had some people approach me talking in Swiss German asking for help or a photograph, their surprised faces were always a treat when Alex would be the one to address their questions. Having spent a decent amount of time soaking in the surroundings we began our hike in the direction of the Matterhorn, our ‘descent back to Zermatt’.

IMG_3098

Thrill-seeking mountain bikers spring bolted past us, chipping the rock beneath them with each turn of their wheels. Smiles illuminated their faces which were homogenised by to their uniform UV sports glasses. The nearby scenery that introduced us to our trek was rather barren to begin with. The ground here must only see the sun for a very short period of time each year making it difficult for it to harbour life. However an interesting shade of maroon lichens inconsistently blanketed the dark rock. The biologist in me came out here as I tried to recall a thing or two I remembered about succession to Alex.

We discovered some piles of stone, which now lay as relics to the old mountain houses that once stood there, taking advantage of these for a photo opportunity. Every so often we’d be greeted by waving newcomers passing us by on the railway, considering the time of the day these were probably the lazier folk who had the privilege of a warm bed and breakfast, giving them reason to delay their start to the day. (Only joking)
IMG_3077

Stopping for lunch we unpacked our sandwich baguettes that we had purchased earlier that morning and kicked back on some boulders facing a lake reflecting the tip of the Matterhorn. The lake was cleverly placed, almost as if it had been done on purpose. The terrain really did flourish as we got closer to the valley. First  lush grasses appeared hiding the fumbling Alpine Marmots as they played and scurried between their burrows. Later came vivid forests almost growing out of the nearby streams which spilled down towards the valley. The ground was now harbouring interesting mushrooms of varying sizes and colours and among these beetles and butterflies appeared to be making themselves at home.

Reaching our last stop I was sad that our hike was over. What started as a cold winter’s day had ended in me now complaining I was too warm as I sat with red cheeks in my T-shirt waiting for the next train to arrive. I felt very spoiled having got to experience this famous Swiss region and the trail had never failed to intrigue me with its changing landscapes. It’s visible through the foliage how drastically the place must change with the seasons; I guess I’ll have to make a return to find out and perhaps even learn to ski when I come back in the Winter!

Thanks again to Alex for showing me around!IMG_3271


Advertisements

C: I’m Back Home!

IMG_8823In case you haven’t noticed I’m back home in Limassol for the next couple of days. If you’re here too you’ll probably catch me on my daily walks/jogs by the beach front and in the old town taking photographs around 2-5pm.

So far I’ve seen the new works on the seaside park and I have to say I’m impressed. It doesn’t have that rustic charm anymore but I guess you could say the rest of Limassol town makes up for the lack of ‘rust’ by the beach. The weather is a little different to the extreme heat waves I’m used to experiencing but days are an equivalent to British Summer, probably hotter.

Anyway keep a lookout for new photographs which will be up soon. Here are some teasers.

(Please do not use these without linking back as some websites have been doing)

IMG_8462

 

 

C: Snowfall in the North

IMG_7730Finally we got a thick coating of snow up in the north, mind you this was a while ago when the pictures were taken. Had a great couple of hours out in the snow before returning inside to complete work. I have been going through a bit of a mental block lately creatively and academically. Perhaps it’s because I’ve got ‘used to’ life again. Anyhow enjoy the photos of a very fun and very cold day~

IMG_7665IMG_7629IMG_7628 IMG_7738IMG_7615IMG_7668 IMG_7632 IMG_7645IMG_7649

S: So We Freeze

523872_10151190937028927_1442606898_n

A few years ago I went to a friend’s baptism. The ‘pastor’ made a variety of comments I didn’t approve of. One of which was “We must have control over our emotions.” I thought to myself surely a person is at their peak when their emotions overwhelm and inspire them. You only understand when looking back across past experiences why you change and harden as a person. You ‘freeze’ to avoid reliving anything close to those negative experiences. Yet when those emotions somehow find you even for a second, it strikes you throughout, damages your trail of thoughts, claims your breath and tugs on your insides.

544039_10151190940668927_1343957563_n

Not to forget it’s important not to freeze all emotion. I know I have a tendency to over freeze my emotions. So I’m guessing a little rein on your emotions must be a good thing for a relatively stable set of mind.

That concludes another segment of ‘deep’ by yours truly, now I hope you enjoy the photographs of a beautifully frosty morning. I took these while still under the influence of alcohol and surprisingly enough I think I’m going to drink more often before taking photographs. It definitely helped me ignore the strange looks by passers by I was getting~

P.S. I hope you are all enjoying the end of the world

154448_10151190938738927_207151668_n

425592_10151190936303927_1753056090_n

37068_10151190935838927_1717608118_n 61369_10151190940498927_2087685659_n 67820_10151190935263927_651690426_n 155401_10151190940473927_311231207_n 23889_10151190940758927_140742166_n 316622_10151190942153927_1342641294_n156116_10151190940978927_151871262_n721_10151190935548927_925926644_n

 

E: Durham Christmas Excursion

481423_10151178493278927_883700610_n

Last weekend I had the privilege to go see the small but very vibrant and historical town of Durham. There was some tension considering my heart now belongs with York yet I didn’t let that ruin my journey. What I found was Durham was a very charming city.

479962_10151178495163927_1262270814_nIf it makes sense, Durham feels very English. While walking through it you pass through defining moments of British architecture, modern and old. Most streets are cobbled and there are plenty of picture perfect bridges however upon wondering around it won’t be too soon before you find a signature British Iceland store tucked under some retro 60s building.

What makes Durham so special is the way the light filters through it. It’s embossed in trees and winter nature, the buildings are densely packed and this makes it incredibly difficult for the sun to illuminate small nooks and crannies. Yet I insist this doesn’t make Durham seem unfriendly at all, quite the opposite you can feel the northern charm among the bustling streets of people. The space possess a dark romantic yet comfortable vibe.

479748_10151178488428927_2067072473_n309275_10151178488163927_1135586577_n483465_10151178494363927_879336647_nAt some points it’s easy to forget your in a town. The building isolated from the city centre are shrouded in hibernating stalks. Small parts of ice flow along the rivers. The trips purpose was to go see the market which I have to say was much better than York’s own. The Christmas Decorations were suttle but brought some festive feel to the place.

A lot of the more modern building in Durham are how I would imagine some German towns for some reason. It does feel very detached from the rest of England, like a parts of history taken out of Britain’s puzzle and placed together somewhere hidden. 556675_10151178495373927_914600684_nThe Castles and Cathedral left a lasting impression on me. The architecture of the main cathedral left my jaw wide open. It was in a Gothic style much like the Notre Dame de Paris. The black soot marks gave off an even darker appearance. The inside was a complete contrast. The space seemed very well lit for such a huge space. Unfortunately no photography was allowed inside.

Although the outside may look impressive I was even more enchanted by the gigantic columns with tiny detailing and the stained glass windows. We walked in roughly at sunset and the tint caused by the lighting was phenomenal. My finger continually itched for the shutter button but I managed to pull myself together and respect the rules.
68798_10151178492368927_1738787993_n381690_10151178493643927_2071027715_n598339_10151178494458927_1385284525_n68834_10151178495208927_1888804088_n

Some more UK travelling to come perhaps? I’ve always wanted to see Edinburgh 

No more posts.