Last Thursday was a holiday and the weather was nice with the temperature rising to over 25 degrees centigrade during the day, so I did some hiking. I had earlier decided to visit the Scheerenbachfälle, over 550 meter high falls by lake Walensee. Early in the morning I took the train to the town of Weesen and hiked from there to the town of Walenstadt at the other end of the lake.
The roughly 20 kilometer hike included some sub-tropical flora with palm trees near the lake shore. Higher up it was also very green, warm and humid, which surprised me. I thought that such flora in Switzerland, palm trees as an example of that, could only be seen in the canton of Tessin and maybe also in the Western Switzerland around Lake Geneva. This hike also reminded me how much can be found just around the corner, when you just keep an open mind, get out of the door and take a look around the next corner.
Along the hiking trail I met a lot of Swiss families taking the same route or part of it. It’s always encouraging to see different kinds of people hiking even on some more demanding trails with decent elevations: young and old, athletic and not very fit, alone and in groups. Being an avid walker also during the work week, it somehow makes me happy to see that people walk to relax and to experience the nature. Walking is such an easy and inexpensive way to get around and not just see, but also feel, smell, hear and feel the nature.
Below are some of the better pictures I managed to take along my hike.
Last week, on Thursday and Friday, when walking to and back from work, I witnessed some quite impressive and beautiful views. On both days the clouds were quite low, but Thursday was a rainy day whereas Friday was bright and sunny: the clouds seemed especially round and fluffy, surrounding the mountains with cotton candy.
Below I have tried to capture the feeling in a few pictures, presenting roughly the same portion of the mountain range on two consequent days and different times of the day. In the first and the last picture the lowest point in the middle of the picture, the saddle point, is the same one. In the second picture the saddle is in the middle but covered in clouds.
A week ago, I took a vacation in New York, my first visit since nine years. As much as I can recall, the city hadn’t changed much, but I had. The city felt much more hectic, demanding and energy draining. Mind you, I was staying and spending most of my time on Manhattan, but even the more populated areas of Brooklyn, outside the quieter residential areas, were full of action. I only stayed for a week, unlike my friends living there who were kind enough to accommodate me. Their opinion was also that New York is a demanding, difficult city to live in. In addition to the omnipresent restlessness you also have other problems like homeless, pests, excess garbage and so on. But all in all I liked my visit and am happy that I did it.
My friends said that living in New York is mentally very consuming: having impulses, information and sensory stimulus constantly and everywhere takes the juices out of you quickly. The fact that untouched nature is not in arms reach also makes life on Manhattan more demanding. The constant presence of people, no matter where you go outside of your apartment, demands your attention and keeps you alert, adding up to the mental load. I am not sure if some people can get used to it or develop some mechanisms to cope with the constant unfiltered information flow. Maybe some learn to ignore parts of it, so that they can be more on their own, even when there are lots of people around and things happening.
For me the trip showed that I wouldn’t like living in such a big city. I appreciate quietness and untouched nature so much that an urban environment would feel suffocating on the long term. Visits to places like New York are nevertheless in their own way refreshing and stimulating. Experiencing and breathing the relentless pace of a metropolis, taking in the sounds, smells, views and feelings, is invigorating, although sometimes exhausting. And after such a visit, I value the greenery and the gentler soundscape of the woods so much more.
Below I have gathered some pictures from my trip nine years ago and the one I made this year. At least I have grown more hair between the visits. When two pictures are side by side, the leftmost is from 2008 and the rightmost from 2017. Otherwise the picture is from 2008 and 2017, which one, I’ll leave to you for guessing.
My first glimpse at New York after getting our of the subway
Visiting the Amish Village (yeah, this is not in New York)
Gospel mass in Harlem
I also visited a gospel mass in Harlem on Easter Sunday. It was a great experience, but I have no pictures from it. It to place in Canaan Baptist Church of Christ, lasted for nearly three hours and was just as full of joy and happiness as I had imagined it would be. Quite a contrast to what Iäm used to seeing in a Lutheran church. If you want to visit a mass in this church, I would recommend getting an hour before start in line to ensure you get in.
Taking a walk on the High Line and back
Lady Liberty and the former immigration center on Ellis Island
A view from Brooklyn Bridge
I took a stroll over the Williamsburg bridge to Brooklyn, then walked south and west, taking the Brooklyn bridge back to Manhattan.
Since 2007 the NYSE has improved its visibility
Wall Street was kind of a must-see, just to get a feel of the finance district, although I could not smell the money present.
On and inside the Intrepid
Intrepid, a decommissioned air craft carrier, serves as a museum on the West Side. There are a lot of planes the Enterprise and even a Concorde on display.
The Empire State Building from street level and my bedroom window
Looking for Lehmann Brothers, but to no avail
The UN General Assembly had no speaker in 2008 and some random guy ranting in 2017