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Front Entrance of Cathedral and View of Both Spires

 

One of the attractions in Basel that everyone recommends is the Meunster Cathedral.  I love going into Cathedrals and old churches so this was definitely on our list of things to see.

 

 

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One of the Stained Glass Windows

 

We were able to tour much of the Cathedral, which was absolutely beautiful.  This particular Cathedral has 2 spires and we were able to climb one of them – 250 spiral steps.  We stopped at several points on the way to the top and walked around the spire on a narrow walkway.  The view from the top was breath-taking.

 

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Just starting the climb

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Part way up and looking up at the other spire

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At the very top and looking directly across at the other spire

 

It was amazing to see the entire town of Basel from this vantage point as well as looking straight across at the other spire.  Luckily I have no fear of heights so it was sheer joy and pleasure for me.  The walk down was tricky at times, but we made it back to the main sanctuary safely.

 

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The organ…AMAZING!!!

 

After coming down we discovered there was an organ recital about to start so we took a seat and waited for the organist to begin.  As we waited I noticed an elderly gentleman sitting across the way talking and gesturing to himself and my first thought was that he must be a little senile.  After watching him for 30 seconds I realized that he was praying – having an honest, heart-felt conversation with God.  He was experiencing deep emotion and it was very evident that he does this often.  He didn’t care who was around him or what they thought – he was spending time with his Lord. It was clear that his prayer was very earnest and he was listening as well as talking.

As the organ music began he closed his eyes and I could see that he wasn’t just hearing the music, but he was FEELING the music.  He would lift his hands at times and move them to the music much like a conductor would.  He was still moving his lips at times and putting his hand to his head as if overwhelmed by a thought/emotion.  He was enjoying the music with the one he had come to spend time with.

At the end of the recital people began to clap and he put his hands over his ears.  Only the Lord knows why he did this, but I couldn’t help but think that either the sound of the clapping was interfering with his worship or he was offended that people were giving praise to the organist instead of the Lord.  As everyone began to leave I watched him slowly rise from his chair and walk out of the church holding on to his cane and he was fairly stooped over.  He had a look on his face like he had just had the most wonderful time communing with someone he loved very much—the God of the Universe.  He may be feeble of body, but he has an extremely healthy soul.

 

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Empty chairs after he had left

 

Often just being in a cathedral and sensing the Holiness brings tears to my eyes, but watching that man was more beautiful than any grand tower or stained glass window. I can’t help but think that I’ll never see a sight as beautiful as that no matter how many cathedrals I tour.  I hope to someday have that kind of relationship with God that I can freely worship in whatever way I am moved, regardless of what others think.  I guess when you are staring into the face of someone you truly love everything else fades away.  I’m going to keep praying that God will help me to feel that kind of love for him/her.  I hope you might pray the same.

 

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View of Swiss Alps from top of Mount Pilates

I’ve just started my first trip to Europe and I’ve already seen and experienced many new and exciting things.  We spent a day in Lucerne, Switzerland where we saw breath-taking views of the Alps from the top of Mt. Pilates.  We ascended the mountain on a cog railroad,  walked around the top of the mountain and then descended in a gondola.

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Riding up Mount Pilates on Cog Railroad

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Descending down Mount Pilates in a gondola

While many of these sights were astoundingly beautiful, there was one I will always remember…..the Lion of Lucerne.  The Lion Monument is a giant dying lion carved out of a wall of sandstone rock above a pond at the east end of the medieval town. It was designed as a memorial for the mercenary soldiers from Switzerland who lost their lives while serving the French king Louis XVI during the French Revolution.

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The Lion of Lucerne

While I did find the history of the statue interesting, I had no idea that a piece of stone could evoke such strong emotion.  As I walked up to the lion I was immediately drawn to the details which the artist had been able to render in stone, but when I looked at the lion’s face my heart broke.  The look of pain and agony was so real that tears began to flow out of my eyes.  I found myself wanting to wade through the pond and wrap my arms around the lion.  I know, a bit crazy considering it’s a piece of stone, but the power of the lion’s expression is unbelievable.

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The face of pain

Mark Twain described the Lion of Lucerne with these words:   “the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world” and  I have to agree with him.  As I stood among a crowd of strangers staring at the lion, I finally had to look away….It just hurt too much to keep staring at that look of pain.

***If you want to know more about the history of the monument, click on this link: Lion of Lucerne

 

 

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Screams on a Volcano

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HAPPY Midle-Aged Woman on a Zipline in Haleakaka, Maui

 

My screams could be heard throughout the rain forest which was at 5000 feet on a dormant volcano .  These weren’t screams of terror, but ones of pure joy and excitement.  Something I had dreamed of doing for many years had finally become a reality at age 53.  Anyone who knows me well is aware that I enjoy a certain amount of adventure and even some danger.  One thing I’ve always wanted to do was to ride a zip line.  My husband and I were fortunate enough to be in Maui for a business event and there are a plethora of zip line courses available.  I chose to do one that had 5 different zip lines as well as a rope bridge.

 

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Before ‘zipping’…giving the Shaka hand sign—meaning ‘hang loose’

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My experience began by signing all of the standard waivers one has to sign when doing any kind of activity with risk of injury.  Then I was instructed to sit on a bench while a young man helped me step into a harness which he pulled up to my waist and cinched tight.  Next he attached a heavy clasp and hook and gave me a helmet.  After I was all “geared up” we walked a short distance through a forest of Euculyptus trees to a platform which overlooked a 40 foot ravine.  After some basic instruction  on how to hold on to the harness and how to steer, one of the guide zipped across the ravine to the platform on the other side of the ravine.   (His job is to make sure you get stopped without slamming into a tree. 🙂 ) This line was approximately 150 feet and I would reach a speed of roughly 15 mph.  Then it was my turn to step up onto the platform.

 

I hopped up onto the platform where the guide hooked my harness up to the cable and I looked down into the 40 foot ravine.   I then grasped the strap and handle of the harness and took a running leap off of the platform.  WHAT A RUSH!!!!  It wasn’t  all that scary, but was extremely exhilarating.  Each line after that got a bit longer and faster.  Then we walked across a rope bridge. (while also clipped onto a cable.)

 

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Crossing the rope bridge

 

Finally we got to the 5th and final zipline which was definitely the most exciting.  It was a 750 foot cable stretched over a deep ravine.  It was considered a pendulum line because after flying the entire way to the end of the cable you actually zip back in the other direction and after a few passes through the middle finally stop by one of the guides grabbing your feet.  On this line I reached a speed of approximately 45-50 mph.  As I jumped off of that platform and picked up speed it felt as though I was really flying.  I was hooting, hollering and laughing.  I was having the time of my life.  I loved the feeling when I reached the other end knowing that I was about to begin rushing back the way I had just come.

 

IMG_20150501_132947Feeling very confident before taking the final plunge

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I guess I must be a bit of an adrenaline junky because as the guide was removing my hook from the harness I asked him where the fastest zip line is and he said he thought it was in South Africa and that it went up to 100 mph.  Hmmmm…….

 

When we got back to the station the I was told that they could hear the shrieks of delight from there.  I guess I really let it rip.  🙂

 

PS–before the 5th zip line the guide took a picture where I was supposed to look ‘scared’.  This is the best I could do.

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“Road Work”

What do you picture when you hear the words ‘road work’? Workers in bright yellow vests, orange cones, traffic delays….? Well, for me it has an entirely different meaning.

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I design and make jewelry for a living. Anyone who knows me is aware that I not only do it as a job, but thoroughly enjoy it and am very passionate about it. I have a work bench at home where I make most of the jewelry, but I almost always have several trays ready with projects to take with me wherever I may go.

 

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My husband and I have taken many long trips in the car and for me, many of those hours in the car have been spent with a tray in my lap and tools in my hands. I have been able to make things I needed for upcoming shows as well as fill orders from my Etsy shop.  I’ve even come up with new designs during a few of the trips.

 

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( I often find time to work in the hotel rooms too. )

“Road work” is a win-win situation for me. Making jewelry makes the time pass more quickly, which REALLY helps on the extremely long rides. It also enables me to stay caught up on work that needs to get done while we travel. Luckily my car has a very smooth ride and I’m able to do many different things.

 

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I’m notorious for working in the car, no matter how short the trip may be. My son has actually joked that if get one of the cars that drives itself sometime in the future, I could even make jewelry when I’m the driver instead of the passenger.

So, I may not wear a bright yellow vest, but I do a LOT of “road work”.

PS—I’ve also done this quite often on airplanes. Hmmmm…..maybe I should start a jewelry-making ‘mile high club’.

 

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OK, you may be wondering what earrings and redwoods have in common…let me explain.

 

I recently took a trip to California with my husband and after landing in San Francisco, we drove to one of the California Redwood State Parks to hike. We went there directly from the airport so we wound up changing out of our ‘flying clothes’ and into our hiking gear in the restroom of the ranger station.

 

As we began our hike I realized that I had forgotten to remove my earrings and they were not exactly the kind of earrings I would normally wear to hike. They were my large open spiral earrings that are simply wire coiled round and round in a spiral of rings. Well, if you know me, I’m the kind of woman who likes things to ‘feel right’…..and these earrings simply did not. I thought about putting them in my pocket or my pack, but was afraid of damaging or losing them.

 

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 Large Open Spiral Earrings

After hiking a short while we came to a redwood tree that had fallen across the path and the section that blocked the path had been cut away. This enabled us to see the inside of the tree and all of the rings. Suddenly it dawned on me that my earrings were perfect for this hike. They represented the many rings inside of the beautiful redwood trees. My earrings then ‘felt right’ for this hike.

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Smaller Open Spiral Earrings on Etsy

As you see in the pictures below I couldn’t resist having my picture taken and realized that I may be the only woman to have her picture beside one of the fallen redwoods in order to highlight her earrings. I admit that this may seem odd to some, but as a jewelry designer, I’m often thinking of what my designs ‘feel like’ to the women who wear them and I was thrilled to find a connection between my earrings and my surroundings. Believe me, this isn’t the weirdest thing I’ve done. …………

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