ALPINE JOINT PASSIONS

When winter is approaching always good to possibly escape in a cosy, stable and warm home, while sometimes even in summer snow may pass our ways not really far away.

In fact, the first snow I have seen this year was in late August when bad weather resulted in quite unusual and exceptional snow falls one day till 1,450 m altitude in the Austrian Alps.

Fortunately this strange weather in summer was a just a very short intermezzo of autumn which quickly disappeared again on the beautiful wide alpine pastures.

All photos taken in late August 2018 at Eastern-Tyrole, Austria

Photo for the Week – 17 – Mountains

 

ROOTS GORGE NEAR KAZIMIERZ DOLNY / POLAND

If you once have the chance to visit the Eastern part of Poland with the region of Lublin, you should not miss to go also to Kazimierz Dolny being regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in the country with some nice Renaissance buildings. There you also have the opportunity to attend a shipping tour on Vistula river, but the real highlight in my opinion is the fabulous Roots Gorge lying not far away from Kazimierz Dolny.


We speak about a hollow way which has been naturally created by the forces of erosion – just wind and rain forming a new path to wildness. The magical Roots Gorge has a lenght of approximately 1 km where you can now observe varied trees clinging to the edges of the spectacular gorge. The roots of the trees have been exposed over the years, now they may be admired as uncovered streets leading to the depth of soil in search of water and other dark secrets of the plants’ world eventually not known by us.

https://www.happinessandfood.com/thursdaytreelove-51/

 

GROWING ROCK OF USTERLING

During summer holidays a friendly advice and  recommendation led us to this geological quite special place and rock formation near the Isar meadows of Lower Bavaria in the small village of Usterling. The location is called Wachsender Fels, (i. e. growing rock) but this self-enlarging boulder is not situated within a stalactite cave but just outside at the end of a hillside.

The growing rock with an age of ca. 5,000 years has today a length of 40 m and a height of 5 m, each year 1-2 cm are added by the very small water runnel flowing down on its crest. The fluid from a nearby karst spring contains a lot of soluted limestone and carbon dioxide. As soon as the water reaches the surface the carbon dioxide begins to leave the fluid and the limestone is being deposited down on the rock.

We luckily reached the site late in the afternoon when the last sunbeams of the day touched and transformed the rock for a very short time to a real sculpture. A few moments later this unexpected appearance rapidly dissolved again with the approaching sun-set. A wooden stairways leads visitors easily to the beginning of the growing rock.

The German geological term for this kind of rocks is steinerne Rinne (i. e. stony runnel) but an equivalent scientific term in English seemingly does not exist for this more seldom rock formation near karst hills and mountains.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Slippery

 

HOUSES OF FALL

A rather dreamy place worth a visit is the former rehabilitation centre Beelitz Heilstätten near Berlin in Germany. It is a vast area of varied buildings being constructed in the early 20th century with a quite modern concept for healing and recovery.

After WW II it was seized by the Soviet Red Army which left Germany and this area in 1994. Nobody felt responsible for the place  afterwards or had an idea for further use so nature took over control quite easily.

Some years ago the place was changed into some kind of openair museum, and a long freestanding bridge was built for viewing the amazing ruins from the very height which requires however the payment of an entrance fee.

You will find there also a lot of other houses on the huge premises which you can view free of charge. Guided tours are offered there also inside some buildings.

https://www.happinessandfood.com/thursdaytreelove-49/

 

 

LATE SUMMER MIRRORINGS

What is nowadays more touching and impressing, a reflective artwork swimming on an apart lake and becoming part of nature or the fluid mirror image of a tree transforming to a fragile visual sculpture being only changed by cool waves and smooth breezes? 

Although these pictures show a lot of water we are still waiting for some real rain now for six months here in Central-Europe. The summer started by mid of April and has not ended so far till today making it really easy to stroll around such eye-minded finds.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Reflection

 

LATE SUMMER POTPOURRI BY BEATRICE

Here are some of my favourite photos and/or places – just a very small selection for today’s pleasant viewing:

Flowers are a great passion in my own self-raised jungle.

Late afternoon on the outstanding clear Weissensee at Carinthia, Austria

Curious wildcat (felis silvestris) at animal park of Assling, Austria

Autumn is approaching steadily now each day.

Urban still life on our green balcony

Black swans (cygnus atratus) from Australia at animal park of Assling, Austria

Old El Puertito, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

View on the Atlantic Ocean near El Puertito, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Hiking in the Valley of Montafon, Vorarlberg, Austria

View on Rhaetian Alps, Valley of Montafon, Vorarlberg, Austria

 

DAHLIAS – PLEASANT MESSENGERS OF AUTUMN

Cool winds by now signalize the approaching autumn, so bloom dahlias, night frosts will hence come round in a short while and chase away you again.


Like many other flowers dahlias originate in Meso-America. Martin Kral writes in his well-researched paper Of Dahlia Myths and Aztec Mythology: The Dahlia in History that Aimè Bonpland and Alexander von Humboldt saw dahlias growing all around them as they traveled through all Latin America. But the first recorded picture of dahlias was designed by the native Mixtecs in Mexico in the 14th century which shows a Mixtec woman using dahlias in the form of headbands as a part of matrimony (see graphic hereunder). Other daily or ritual uses  of dahlias by the Mixtec and/or Aztec culture are so far not known because only few documents survived the Spanish Conquista in the 16th century.

Mixtec woman with dahlias, Oaxaca, Mexico, 14th century

Mixtec Palace of the Columns, Oaxaca, Mexico

In 1529 Friar Bernardino de Sahagún arrived in Mexico and would later write the first Western account of the dahlias. But only in 1790 the first seeds were sent from Mexico to botanical specialists in Madrid who did successfully raise the first plants in Europe shortly thereafter in 1791. During that period the species’ name dahlias was subsequently created in order to honour the Swedish botanist Andre Dahl.

Humboldt and Bonpland at Chimborazo volcano /  Friedrich G. Weitsch, 1806

During their famous trip leading to South and Central America (1799 – 1804) Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland did a vast research on plants and nature in general. When returning home to Europe in 1804  Alexander von Humboldt brought seeds of Dahlia coccinea to Berlin while it is assumed that Aimé Bonpland had presented Dahlia seeds to French Empress Josephine for her large collection of plants. In 1805 seeds are successfully germinated and also flowered in Germany and as well in England while in 1818 the first exhibiting of dahlias took place in Scotland.

Early botanical drawing, German newspaper, 1804

Claude Monet, The Garden at Argenteuil (The Dahlias), 1872

In the 19th century dahlias had spread over all Europe, there existed for example the Czech Dahlia Society, and besides it is also known that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe raised dahlias in his private garden, while in England the illustrious Lady Holland increased the popularity of these flowers. A real center of European dahlia culture became the small Thuringian town Bad Köstritz, where the commercial raise of dahlias was established by Christian Deegen in 1824 and with great success is existing till today.

Thousands of different dahlias are today to be found, but these hybrides are often much different compared to the wild plants still to be seen in Meso-America. The best overview on this subject offer dahlia gardens which may be visited in late summer at diverse locations in Europe like Milnthorpe in England, Gera in Germany or La Source in France and elsewhere of course.

All flower photos made at dahlia garden of Hamburg, Sept. 2018

Flower of the Day – September 19, 2018 – Delphinium

PRAVCICKA BRANA – GATE TO CZECH SWITZERLAND

Pravčická Brána is the largest natural stone bridge in Europe and a natural Czech monument, truly one of the most striking natural sites in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and symbol of the whole region. It is located approximately 3 km North-West of Hrensko in the national park Czech Switzerland not far away from the border to Germany. Wandering paths are leading there both from Czech and German side where Saxonian Switzerland stretches.

Barberine Rock in Saxonian Switzerland, Germany
Postcard from 1906 showing the very first ascent

So this gate and bridge is connecting both countries in a beautiful and stunning landscape and may be visited during opening times for an entry fee. In 1826 an inn was constructed by the gate, and in 1881 Prince Edmund of Clary-Aldringen built there the romantical hotel Sokolí hnízdo (English: Falcon’s Nest) with 50 beds which you can see in the photo hereunder. 

Jo’s Monday walk : A tale of three castles- 2. Alnwick