Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Having left Murten I'm cycling 15 miles to Estavayer-le-Lac, another walled-in medieval town overlooking a lake. Passing through the village of St. Aubin I come upon this roundabout. The brown sign on the bottom reads "Chateau de St-Aubin". (Don't forget you can click on the image and it'll enlarge). Small towns and villages are always trying to get tourists and people passing through to linger. Me, I love visiting castles and in French the word "chateau" means manor or country house but, it can also mean castle.
Finding the castle involves cycling up a steep hill and midway I stop to fill my water bottle. These fountains usually have the date they were installed and this fountain is stamped "1754". I'm in the canton of Fribourg. In the USA we have states and in Switzerland they have cantons. Fribourg is the most catholic of all the cantons with 65% of the population being catholic. So, it's no surprise to find a religious figure overlooking the fountain.
Monday, August 27, 2018
I've mentioned this before-----Switzerland has four official languages: French (spoken in the southern part of the country), German (in the northern part), Italian (in the eastern part) and Romansh (spoken by about 35,000 Swiss in a mountain area). Parts of Switzerland straddle between two regions and so some cities and towns are officially bilingual. The medieval town of Murten (German) or Morat in French with a population of 8,000 is one of those. Situated on a hill overlooking Lake Murten/Morat this walled-in medieval gem is a magnet for tour buses. One of the city gates.
Castle in town center.
Friday, August 10, 2018
Groningen, population 200,000, is the largest city in the northern part of the Netherlands. It's home to the University of Groningen (30,000 students) and Hanze University of Applied Sciences (25,000). The beautiful building below is Goudkantoor or Gold Office. Built in 1635 it's where one went to have a hallmark stamped on your gold or silver to prove it was real. Now it's home to a restaurant.
I think what's really funny is the modern 41-story Deutsche Post DHL Tower looming over the former parliament complex. Started in 2000, do you think Deutsche Post DHL, with over 510,000 employees and $64 billion in revenues (the world's largest postal/courier service), would have built the tower if they had known the government would be moving? No way Jose, I'm sure it was a matter of already having secured the funding for the building. So much for their plan of walking next door to schmooze government officials.
I visited Deutsche Telecom ($84 billion in revenues) here back in 1995 and they still call the huge building complex (located several blocks from the former German Parliament complex with over 2,000 employees ) their head office but signs say it's an employee training center.