On top of the mountain by convertible

On top of the mountain by convertible

In September, we had a chance to to go the top of Stanserhorn, a mountain in Central Switzerland not too far from where we live, on a very clear day with beautiful weather.  What makes the trip so unique, apart from the stunning views at the top of the mountain, is that you go to the top with the world’s first convertible-style cable car.

The double-decker cable car has an upper deck that is outside so that you can really enjoy the beautiful surroundings and feel the fresh mountain air as you go up the mountain.  The photo below shows you how the cable car looks like from the outside:

Stanserhorn cabrio cable car

As you can see in the photo, you can ride on top of the cable car. To give you an impression on what the experience is like, check out the interactive panorama below which I took during this trip. Click on the image for a larger version.

Stanserhorn Cabrio Panorama

Check out the interactive version below by clicking on the photo:

 

Taking the panorama was very challenging as the cable car moves remarkably fast and in order to make the panorama, I need to take a series of four shots in all directions. This made the stiching of the photos difficult. I am, however, very happy with the result. The photo was selected as an “editors pick” on 360 cities and received over 2000 hits to date.

Once you reach the top, you can enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. You can also go for some nice walks from short and easy ones to more challenging and difficult ones. Many people also use Stanserhorn as a base for paragliding and towards the end of the day, the cable car is full of paragliders.

This panorama was taken at a viewpoint right by the top station and shows you some of the stunning views. As always, click on the photo to see a bigger version:

Stanserhorn lookout point

Click on the interactive version if you want to have a look around in this fully immersive panorama. Have a look at the sign at the bottom for more information on the mountains you are seeing:

 

A very short walk away from the top station you can see a very different view of the surrounding mountains with views of Pilatus, Rigi, Titlis, lake Lucerne and lake Zug:

Stanserhorn walkway lookoutYou can explore this interactive immersive panorama here:

 

Of course, we took some regular photos as well. You can find a selection of the photos we took in the Album below:

Stanserhorn 2013 Album

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The cows, they did come home!

This year, we had an opportunity to visit the 10th annual Entlebucher Alpabfahrt (descent from the Alps) at the end of September 2013 in Schüpfheim, Switzerland.

Every year, farmer families take their cows into the mountains in spring and they return in the fall. Traditionally, different families came back at different dates depending on the weather and the pastures, but for the last 10 years, several families have co-ordinated when they return and the date is announced in advance so visitors can join in the festivities.

The custom of going up and down the mountains has always been filled with tradition. In the photos you can see some of the traditional clothing and decoration of the cows. The event is also very popular and crowded as you can see in the photos. And of course, there were lots of cows – about 200 in total!  Not just any cows, this is where the Emmentaller cheese comes from (“Swiss cheese” to you Americans). These are some of those very cows. Give these ladies a toast with your next ham-n-Swiss.

As usual, we took some panorama photographs. Click on the photo to have a closer look:

Alpabfahrt in Schüpfheim, Switzerland

Alpabfahrt in Schüpfheim, Switzerland

Or look at the interactive version by clicking on the image below:

A second panorama:

Cows coming home in Schüpfheim, Switzerland

Cows coming home in Schüpfheim, Switzerland

Click on the image below to interact with the panorama:

The sound of the cows coming by is very loud due to the large cowbells they have around their necks. Have a look at the video below to get an impression about the sound:

At the event, we also saw a Jodling choir performance on street. Jodling is a specific type of singing that is typical for the Swiss and Austrian mountains. You can see a brief video of the choir singing here:

Of course, we also took tons of photos! Click on the link below to have a look at some selected photos from the day.

Alpabfahrt Album

Alpabfahrt Album

 

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Lunch with the hippos, weaving weavers and a cheetah with a shoe fetish!

Lunch with the hippos, weaving weavers and a cheetah with a shoe fetish!

A typical Sunday in East London Album

A typical Sunday in East London Album

Living in East London can sometimes be quite exciting. The other Sunday, we decided to go to the nearby Mpongo game reserve and stop at the nearby Lion Park on our way back. Mpongo park has a special 3 course Sunday lunch which is served in the restaurant right next to a lake with three hippos. They also feed the hippos (some kind of bread) at 1pm. Lunch was decent and observing the hippos, turtles and birds definitely made the exerperience very pleasant.

While we were leaving Mpongo park, we noticed a weaver (bird) who had just started a new nest and was in the process of building it. It was fascinating to see this and we got some lovely pictures of the busy weavers.

On our way back, we stopped at the lion park. Apart from the lions, they now have a young cheetah (about 7 months old or so) that you can pet. It was a bit shy at first but once Karl started talking to it and it had some food, it became much more alive. The cheetah, named Chinx, loves to chew on feet. Luckily we put on shoes before our visit, otherwise we may have had some very sore feet!

Although the trip was only a few hours, it was great fun and we ended up with some lovely pictures of hippos, weavers and cheetahs´s. Click here or on the picture to visit the gallery! As always, make sure to check out the captions for additional insights!

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A whale of a time in Hermanus!

The last weekend of August we flew to Cape Town for a long weekend (3 days) and visited Hermanus, which claims to be “the best land-based whale watching” location in the world. A very tall claim that we needed to check out!

The trip was amazing! The weather was sunny with summery temperatures of 26C/61F, after it had been miserably cold and wet for a few days. Hermanus is a nice town where you can easily walk around the towncenter and next to the ocean. The accomodation was great – we stayed at a self-catering apartment right by the ocean that gave us great views over the bay (If you visit the website – select the left hand section for 45 marine drive, not the right hand section for the Esplanade). And Hermanus MUST be the best place to see whales – we saw many, including some close to shore, some breaching (this is where they jump out of the ocean), some sailing (this is where they stick their tale out of the water for an extended period of time), some waving (where they stick one of their fins up and seem to be waving) and we saw some mothers playing with their youngsters! We also heard the whales making noises as if they were calling to each other.

This must be one of the nicest experiences we had, yet, in South Africa. Definitely worth a visit during whale season (July-October)!

As always, we had our cameras with us and took some great pictures of Hermanus and surroundings as well as the whales. Click here or on the picture to go to the album.

Hermanus Album

Hermanus Album

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