Lords of the Arctic

After a productive morning with ample bear sightings, we stopped by the bay for a quick picnic lunch.

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Outside, the temperature was -17°C . Continue reading “Lords of the Arctic”

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Fête des Lumières – Cont’d

The best show of festival 2013 was at Place des Terreaux, where lights were projected on two historical buildings around the square – namely Lyon City Hall

And Saint-Pierre Palace, a former Benedictine convent turned Museum of Fine Arts.

The award-winning show transformed the square into a remote planet where the “Prince of Lights” was the only inhabitant, who plunged into darkness by swallowing the light. The facades of the buildings swung and swayed as he explored exotic regions on the back of a giant insect, amidst sprawling plants, and under the starry sky. Continue reading “Fête des Lumières – Cont’d”

Fête des Lumières – Lyon, France

At night fall, the festival begins.

According to the program, there are 78 performances, displays and light shows around the city of Lyon. It is daunting, if not impossible, to see all in one night. So we decided to focus on one area and see as much as possible in that area.

Since we were already in Vieux Lyon, we started the walk from there…

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Encounters @Saint-Jean Cathedral As you arrive to the square lighted at 360° from a mysterious monolith, you will enter into a flood of light and discover the architecture of the cathedral and the buildings around the square in a new way. Variations in colors, intensity and patterns trace pathways across the city to the accompaniment of interweaving musical compositions.

Then we moved across the Bonaparte bridge, following the opening theme of Lawrence of Arabia (see video recording below), to this grand symphony show on the banks of the Saône river. Continue reading “Fête des Lumières – Lyon, France”

Nice, France

I still remember the first time we visited Nice in November 2005.

We stayed at Hotel Beau Rivage, where the famous painters and writers – Henri Matisse, Scott Fitzgerald, and Friedrich Nietzsche – once frequented back in their days.

Looking out the window, we spotted a bell tower and red tile roofs that are evocative of nearby Italy.

Continue reading “Nice, France”

Shirakawa-go in the Snow

After spending a cold and somewhat uncomfortable night in our farmhouse, we woke up to a pleasant surprise!

Looking out the window

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The snow was coming down like feathers… Continue reading “Shirakawa-go in the Snow”

Sake Brewery Tour

Hida Takayama (飛彈高山) has what it takes to produce the best sake: an ideal climate, pristine mountain stream and high quality local-grown rice.

There are six breweries in the city opening to the public. They are easy to identify – just look for the giant cedar ball hanging outside the entrance.

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Continue reading “Sake Brewery Tour”

Red-crowned Cranes -Part 1

Japanese red-crowned cranes(丹頂鶴 Tancho) were almost hunted to extinction at the beginning of the 20th century for their stunning plumage. Miraculously, in 1926, a group of 20 resident cranes was discovered in the marshes around Kushiro. Since then, various conservation efforts, including artificial feeding during winter, hunting prohibition, and habitat conservation, have brought the population back to over a thousand.

We arrived at Akan International Crane Center one hour before feeding time. A dozen photographers had already set up their equipment along the two level observation desk.

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Juvenile crane resembles adults but had brownish head and neck Continue reading “Red-crowned Cranes -Part 1”