Tag Archives: roses

Polish connection in Rapperswil

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Rapperswil

Old Town Rapperswil

As a ferry slides along the glistening blue crescent of Lake Zurich, steeples of Grossmünster and Fraumünster churches, and the arch of Quaibrücke slowly fade away in the distance… On both shores, sweet grapes are ripening in sun-drenched vineyards surrounding the idyllic villages with names like Mönchhof or Thalwil. Small motorboats dart from private quays of ridiculously expensive waterfront houses. And the sky above is as blue as the water below – a perfect day for a day trip from Zurich! About two-thirds of the way along the lake the shores narrow and the lake is spanned by a bridge between two peninsulas. On the eastern end of the bridge the town of Rapperswil juts into the lake, anchored by an impressive silhouette of its 13th century castle, Schloss Rapperswil.

Surrounded on three sides by Lake Zurich, the castle is a view to behold. Built in the shape of a triangle, each corner is defended by a mighty tower. Perched on a high hill, it rises above the medieval Old Town – an ancient beacon on the lake. Over the centuries, the castle had many owners as the tides of history changed. It also had a stint as a military base and prison before falling into disrepair in the 1800s. And that is when the Polish connection happened. Read the rest of this entry

The city of roses and bridges

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Portland roses

Thinking about Washington, DC streetcars made me think about Portland – and how easy it was to get around without a car. The Portland Streetcar, which opened in 2001, is the first new streetcar system in the U.S. since WWII. Combined with the network of MAX light rail it makes for a great public transportation system – unfortunately a pretty rare thing in this country. Portland is just such a friendly and pleasant place! Public transportation that works is just one element of it. The city also consistently ranks as one of the “greenest” in America based on a variety of economic, environmental and clean tech categories.

Portland is called the City of Roses – quite deservedly. There are several theories as to where that nickname came from but the undisputed fact is that roses have a long tradition here. Back in 1888 the first show of the Portland Rose Society took place and Portland Rose Festival has been an annual tradition since the early 20th century. Not surprisingly, the place not to miss on a visit to Portland is rose related: the International Rose Test Garden. Read the rest of this entry