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Seewis is in the Prättigau/Davos Region of Switzerland. The language spoken is Swiss German and it is located high up on the green pastures of the alps. Homecoming of the cows in September/ October is celebrated with great fan fair, cow bells, älpen horn, folk music and local specialties such as bundnerfleisch (air dried meat), raclette, alpen kasse, the regional cheese. It is a traditional event played out throughout Switzerland. Small family run farms blanket the alps and this festival highlights local traditions, costumes and the spirt of the alps.
I joined in the festivities and created a video I hope will give you a little bit of the atmosphere of the Vehaker, the return to the barns from the upper alps.
The day started with some rain and then the sky opened up with bright sunshine on Wynwood’s colorful wall art.
The international community has descended on the streets as artists and visitors alike speaking many languages open galleries and take paint brushes to the walls of buildings.
Connecting collectors and introducing new collectors with galleries and artists is in full swing.
It isn’t surprising that art fairs spread in satellite exhibitions around Miami with artsy Wynwood being one of the most popular.
The transformation of what was once a manufacturing district into an artist canvas with painters creating colorful images on everything from cars, buildings, walls and even garbage containers.
Photography, sculptures and experiential art have attracted an international community of artists and collectors.
Basel House and other pop up galleries displaying emerging artists draws tens of thousands of art lovers and opens up a world of “must see” art.
As the show begins and the parties start until the wee hours of the morning, I took to the streets to watch and join in the excitement.
What people are doing on the streets of Wynwood.
Brickell has grown into a major cultural area with theaters, such as the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House, the Carnival Studio Theater, Adrienne Arsht Theater and other Performing Arts centers. Also found in the area is the Perez Museum, under construction the Miami Museum of Science & Planetarium and nearby the Children’s Museum and many others. Creative and exciting architecture and public areas beautifully adorned with palms, flowers and parks provide leisure spaces for visitors.
Brickell Village is a small neighborhood in the middle of this beautiful area overlooking the sea where many restaurants and cafes cater to locals w ho enjoy evenings and weekends with friends. As a photographer what fascinates me is the way the contemporary architecture mingles with the “Miami Style,” as I call it, which is a combination of Spanish and Art Deco buildings.
Buildings of glass reflect architectures that seem to be alive with the flavor of the Latin music that is heard in the clubs and restaurants. The shapes, lines and colors dance to the rhythms of the culture of the area. Recently I have taken images of the buildings that show how these architectures reflect the style of the area.
The first Miami Summer Music Festival began with a performance by young talented musicians from around the world selected to study in Miami. They are challenged to perform in symphony, opera, chamber concerts, piano recitals and competitions in order to develop their ability to adapt to the world stage.
The opening program under the direction of Conductor – Michael Rossi, and Stage Director – Robert Dundas was captivating. The program of Richard Strauss, Don Juan, tone poem for orchestra, Op.20, Franz List, Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major and Giacomo Puccini, Sour Angelica was beautifully performed.
Ryo Kaneko, winner of Miami Summer Music Festival Piano Competition was commanding. And Suor Angelica performed by Marinel Cruz was captivating. Along with a cast of vocalist and young musicians, these students will take the stage in performances with world-renowned orchestras well prepared due to the dedication of music professionals and incubators such as the Miami Music Festival.
Last nights performance was at the New World Theater in Miami. Designed by Frank Gehry, the theater is a unique ultra modernistic design that embraces high tech acoustics and visual accessibility in the round.
Miami is a culturally rich and diverse city that embraces a dynamic artistic environment. This program started by Michael Rossi along with FIU and MSMF Opera Institute is worthy of the publics support.
Some images of the theater.
(Stop the slideshow bymoving the cursor over the picture)
Scary, crazy and tons of fun, Lincoln Road put on their Halloween Party that was a wild and fun evening. From infants to seniors and pets, the costumes were innovative and crazy. The crowds had a wild time interacting with each other and photographing the craziest of them all.
Some photo’s I managed to take surrounded by crowds of goblins, witches and really way out creative homemade and wird outfits and characters.
Yesterday some hundred photographers participated in the Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk. These walks were scattered around South Florida but The Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk is organized every year at locations around the world. I choose to go to one of my favorite places in Miami, Wynwood Art District. Several models arrived with outfits from th 80’s, the theme for the event. Our models did a great job modeling for this group in the sun until late in the afternoon. It is always difficult to take photo’s with such a large group, but meeting photographers from around Florida and dinner at one of the local restaurants makes it worth the effort.
There is one woman that I have photographed before who arrive with an unexpected guest. She managed to make being pregnant look wonderful and sexy. She is colorful and full of fun, so forgive me if I added a few more photo’s of her then anyone else.
I’m always looking for the perfect Latin look.
And there always has to be Black & White.
This little guy just could’t wait until it was over.
Surrounded by Pilatus, Birgenstock, Stanserhorn and Rigi mountains, Lucerne is the capital of the Canton of Lucerne. Steamboat traveling along the lake float by deep green hills, villages with half-timbered-houses and grand mountain views. Ancient guildhalls, churches and frescoed buildings create a romantic and colorful cityscape.
Covered bridges span the River Reuss that flows through the town. The most famous being the medieval Chapel Bridge, the pride of the city and one of the oldest covered wooden bridges in Europe. In the summer white pink and red geraniums run along the entire bridge on both sides and swans swim gracefully along making even the tourist activity and bustling city seem moody and peaceful. The bridge was restored to its original state after a fire destroyed some of the medieval paintings that adorn its wood ceiling.
The Swiss Museum of Transport (Verkehrshaus) is one of the largest transport museums in Europe. Switzerland is well known for its efficient transport system and the history of it can be viewed in this modern attractive museum. It offers many hands on activities for children both inside and on the grounds. Next to the museum, in the same complex, is the Hans Erni Museum, one of Switzerland most prominent artists. He celebrated his 100th birthday in 2009 and is still painting. I have heard that sometimes he can be seen strolling around talking to visitors.
Cafes are scattered all along the cobble stone streets of the city and the lake, a favorite place to have lunch or dinner in the summer time. We ate at the Old Swiss House known for its schnitzel cooked in a pound of butter. I was reluctant to order it, as I’m not a fan of butter, instead I ordered venison, which was outstanding. After tasting my husband’s schnitzel, I knew that I would have to go back. It was tender without a strong butter flavor, fresh farm butter makes a difference. The restaurant was built in 1858 and the interior is cozy and formal with carved wood, stained glass and paintings. The prices are steep, but the quality is worth it. www.oldswisshouse.ch
Lucerne with its ancient buildings is a modern city hosting many business events in its large conference center. It has an active nightlife with bars and restaurants offering entertainment with international, as well as traditional menus. Restaurant prices run the gamut from very expensive to reasonable.
Only about 1 hour from Basel and Zürich, it can be a day trip or better yet stay a few days to get the full experience of this stunning city.
Photography Miami had a photo shoot at the Little Havana Festival, which is held the last Friday night of each month. I thought, well we will go for about an hour and then go to dinner somewhere, a good excuse to go into Miami. We arrived at 5:30 PM and left at 10:30 PM and probably would have stayed longer if it were not for an hour ride home.
Typical of the Latin culture, it was electric with music and dancing in the streets. As we have found in the past on our excursions to Little Havana the people are great and ambassadors for their neighborhood. Take time to talk to the locals, artists and vendors displaying their work on the streets and visit the galleries.
Around 8PM 1,000 bikers came rolling down Calle Ocho some wearing costumes, music blasting from their bikes, hooting and waving all the way. It was an amazing site and for a minute I thought I was in Beijing again.
We went to a Cuban restaurant with our group who helped us select a typical Cuban dish, with the waiter chiming in to help us make our selection. Later we were back out on the street listening to the Latin beat and watching people dancing.
The crowds got larger towards the evening, so I suggest getting the full flavor, go about 7PM and be sure to visit one of the many restaurants and galleries for a memorable evening in Little Havana
Some Street Photography
I felt like Paparazzi clustered in with a hundred photographers clamoring to photograph models in Wynwood. The Meet up Group “Shoot Miami “ arranged the shoot for their members. As word got out young and aspiring models arrived. It was a win, win for everyone. The models were offered the photos to create their portfolios and we worked on our skills shooting them.
The challenge for us was to work around the colorful art covered walls to set the scene for the models that worked along with the photographers to create interesting shots.
The models can view and select the photographs on the website and hopefully it will help to promote their career. Business cards were passed out, which gave both models and photographers the opportunity to make contacts for further shoots.
Wynwood, the art district of Miami was a perfect location as galleries line the streets, the coffee shop and restaurants were buzzing and music added to the colorful atmosphere.
Authentic French cuisine prepared by chef owner Madame Caroline Poussardin in the style of Aix-en-Provence is a sweet find. The food is beautifully presented and an evening at Côté Gourmet is as if you are sitting in a lovely little village in the Provence. It is a family owned establishment where her husband runs the front of the restaurant making people feel as though they are in their dinning room. Côté Gourmet is a little bit of France in Miami Shores. As in many small restaurants in France, the chef and her husband enjoy talking to guests and making their dinning experience memorable. If you speak French, a big smile will come over their face and they will be delighted to communicate with you in their native language.
Fresh ingredients of the season are prepared by Chef Caroline in typically French country style with specials prepared such as crêpes on Wednesday evening and a special soirée dinner on Thursday. Serving lunch and if you should show up early in the morning and would like breakfast, she will accommodate you. A small menu is complimented with with daily specials and is a nice selection. When I tasted the polenta soup with shrimp, I was in France. The soup was seasoned perfectly, smooth and light, amazing for polenta. The lamb chops were prepared exactly as I had requested, rosé with chèvre sauce. And I couldn’t resist dessert; a warm pear tart with chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream on a beautiful flaky crust was a perfect ending. The wine selections compliments the menu and you can enjoy it by the bottle or glass. I almost never order a three-course meal, as it is often too much food. But I made an exception in this case.
Madame et Monsieur ran two restaurants in Aix-en-Provance before moving to Miami to start a restaurant with their daughter. They have been serving their guests for 5 years in a very small local in a neighborhood adorned with interesting restaurants in Miami Shores. The atmosphere is typical of many small restaurants found all over the French countryside. Space for about 30 guests, it is decorated with white crisp tablecloths, white napkins tied with a large golden ribbon, fresh flowers and candles burning, creating a warm romantic atmosphere. When you walk into Côté Gourmet, you walk into France for an evening and you walk out feeling you have returned to your favorite little neighborhood place.
Having lived in Europe for many years, I must admit that finding a good French restaurant that doesn’t compromise itself and is unmistakably French was not easy to find. When it comes to maintaining the meaning of Provence French cuisine, Madame Caroline delivers exactly what you expect.
Côté Gourmet French Restaurant
9999 NE 2nd Avenue
Look for them on Facebook
The South Florida Fair will showcase the agriculture of Florida and offer many exhibits. This is a typical state fair with fun events from pig races, a petting zoo, rides for the kid and lots of food trucks to keep you interested, fed and entertained.
There will also be a Washington D.C. exhibition of Air Force One, The White House and other monuments.
I had the opportunity to visit the fair grounds as they were setting up the event and the following are some photos of the workers who get lost in all the excitement but are an important part of the event. The Fair runs from January 18th-February 3rd.
The Latin beat, aromas and vivid colors greeted our arrival in Little Havana. My friend Joan and I were invited by Miami Culinary Tours to join one of their walks in Little Havana led by Mirka Harris.
You can not pass a coffee bar without taking in the warm aroma of sweet cafecito and chatting with the locals. Venture into a cigar shop to watch the able hands of an experienced cigar maker, stretching, layering and rolling the deep brown subtle tobacco leaves and comfortable seating areas where cigar smoke fills the air as locals relax with their favorite brand. The sound of dominoes being tossed onto the table draws you to Domino Park as people play this game with intensity and friends stand around anxiously watching and playing along with their eyes as each move is made. The atmosphere is electric and game after game continues all afternoon. Little Havana is colorful from the murals painted on buildings, the vibrant works in art galleries to the Cuban culture and friendly people who are always willing to have their photo taken.
We started at the gallery of Midlrey Guillot, who was there to greet us and give us a little story of her life and how she came to paint mostly women and what they are passionate about. She says “after all it is what I know best as I am a woman”.
We visited several restaurants where we sampled Cuban food as our guide Mirka explained the traditional way it is prepared and eaten. We moved on to bakeries and markets, discovering the beautiful colors of the ingredients used to prepare these famous Cuban dishes. Like many Latin cultures food is what brings families and friends together from happy occasions to sad. It is about the deep sense of life and connections between them that make up their social world.
We tasted a cold sweet drink made with sugar cane, flaky pastries filled with guava fruit, typical Cuban sandwiches and plantain cups filed with chicken and beef. The final stop was Azurcar, the famous ice cream shop where we had the dilemma of selecting one of their many flavors. A very good way to end a culinary tour after walking around Little Havana on a sunny afternoon.
A lucky mistake landed us in Northwood Village and after a short stroll we were making plans to come back. A Palm Beach restoration project brought this neighborhood back to life and it belongs to everyone who visits. Home to Art, antique, interior decorating shops and galleries filled with items that reflect the style of the 1940’s – 1960’s. I felt that I had truly missed but found a period in time that brought out not only the elegant life style of that period, but when color and beautiful furniture decorated the homes throughout the region. Shops are stacked with decorative items that I just wanted to spend hours sifting through. Being an Art Deco fan, this was my candy shop. If my husband didn’t prod me to move on in every shop, I probably still could be found searching in some corner.
When you need nourishment between searches, there are many restaurants, café’s, coffee houses and bakeries ready to feed you and keep you going. At “Bistro, Bistro, The French Bakery” you can have an authentic pâté served with real French bread by friendly owners who are thrilled to speak French with you. This little French Bakery cooks up the real thing and you can easily put together a French picnic to take to the beach or on a boating day or just take home for a French light evening meal maybe with some nice French wine. You know, the French love picnics, and a variety of pâté and country terrine are perfect. I wish this bakery were right next door so that I could just walk over and fill my French food desires anytime. They also have specials, soups and desserts.
We stopped in at Jade Kitchen for dinner and almost walked into the open kitchen. White tables and comfortable white couches fill the small space with views of the busy kitchen activities. The food is fusion with specials from Asian to Mediterranean.
Sunset Bar & Grill constantly changes the tables around so that you never get board with the surroundings. There are Jamaican, Chinese and Italian restaurants ready to fulfill your food preferences.
After dinner we stopped in a coffee-house to listen to jazz and drink an espresso. People sat around on comfortable chairs, someone was sketching the singer, another danced to the the sultry voice of a jazz singer and base musician. Strangers became neighbors enjoying a few nice moments together.
This friendly neighborhood has an “Art & Wine evening every time a new business opens welcoming their new friends in style. Street artists, musicians, craft vendors line the street to entertain you as you stroll in and out of the little shops. The historic neighborhood of Northwood Village is located just one mile north of downtown West Palm Beach between Broadway and North Dixie Highway.
Delray Beach Florida is a community that knows how to have fun and that includes the pets. On Saturday an Easter Egg Hunt and Pet Parade attracted some curious customers! The kids as well as the adults who haven’t given up on the Easter Bunny gathered for the annual Easter Pet Parade. Some of the pets were a little unconvinced, but enjoyed all the attention.
Here are some of the cute participants who I’m sure loved all the attention.