The carnival carries on in Lucerne until the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The history goes back to the fifteenth century and the guilds in the city. The city is alive with parades, music, costumes and revelry. Photographing the people and gatherings is overwhelming but fun and colourful.
We travelled by train from Lauterbrunnen and Murren area to Lucerne to join the festivities of Carnival in Lucerne. This city is beautifully located on Lake Lucerne and when we arrived the streets were filled with celebrations and costumes as fitting the traditions of this area for Carnival. Our hotel was centrally located and, as always, the service was impeccable and very helpful. When we returned in the evening, the owner and manager, Oliver, was attired in an elaborate outfit and green lipstick. We had dinner in a local pub type atmosphere and it was a joyful and celebratory/noisy event. Part of our time was centered around a very old bridge which crossed the river in a very central area. There was a very strong chill in the air by nightfall. It is winter here with snow falling intermittently.
We travelled by train and Postbus from Bern to Blatten up in the Alps. Our hotel for the night is in Ried and very Swiss style, rustic and welcoming. We took a private bus to the Tschaggatta tonight in the next village of Blatten. We arrived early to photograph the monsters in masks and fur with mitts that are used to rub soot or snow on the faces of women. This is a tradition from many years bygone and hundreds of locals and visitors line the streets to see the parade and follow the participants who formerly were young men of the villages but now include young women and some children.
Kanazawa, Japan. We took the bus early in the morning through mountain tunnels and passes to the charming and wonderful small city of Kanazawa located on the Sea of Japan. We had the day to wander through the tea district with traditional old wooden buildings and many restaurants and charming sights. Many Japanese young women dress in traditional clothing and travel in the country to see the sights.
Koya-san is the centre of Buddhism and located high up on a mountain. There is a very large and special cemetery just steps from the monastery where we stayed for two nights. We had an evening cemetery tour and also viewed a fire ceremony one morning.
Kyoto. We had a fabulous evening in Gion with a Geiko woman aged 27 and a somewhat younger Maiko-san. The dinner was on low tables Japanese style with the women dancing accompanied by traditional music. The red collar and painted neck have very special significance.
Old capital city of Kamakura located one hour from Tokyo by train. We had rides through the narrow streets on rickshaws and then had an evening to browse the shops with a light rainfall falling. The umbrellas are fun to photograph and the young women in traditional clothing are an added visual delight.
Meiji Jingu Shrine is one of Tokyo’s most important shrines. There was a wedding there and we had an opportunity to witness the departure event.We had been to Yoyogi Park with bands and performers, walkers and runners previous to this location. We headed to Shibuya crossing after this quiet interlude.
With friends for the day. We visited the Sensoji Temple. There was incense burning in the square in front of the temple. People waft the smoke over their bodies and hope to bring good spirits and good fortune to their lives.