Weekly Photo Challenge: Season ( Up on the Swiss Mountains)

Our Spring is still cold ( by our standards).

As one who lives in the subtropics, Switzerland always seems cold to me except in the Summer months.DSCF8573

Here are a couple of photos taken some years ago.

It was Spring; there was quite a contrast between the bleak snow covered hills and the grassland down below.DSCF8556

It looks as if there are two seasons there in the picture; Winter on the hills and Spring in the valley below.

Maybe the snow there never melts, even in Summer.

Travel Theme: Edge

It is a bit late for the Travel Theme: Edge, which is the theme for last week.

However, it is better to be late than not to post at all.1731077060_33b9da061e_b

Here are a couple of photos showing a snow covered edge, taken at high altitudes in the Er Mei Mountains of China.1730194571_b7741720d7_b

In Winter, the peaks of Er Mei Shan are cladded in snow, forming a definite edge against the lower blue mountains beyond the edge.

Both photos were taken by my friend CP Chan to which credit is due.


Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route – From Foliage to Snow

We were at the base of the Tateyama Kurobe mountains. The hills around us were transformed by the beautiful colors of the Autumn leaves. In Japan, the leaves are called, “kouyou” or “momiji”. The Japanese admire “kouyou” just as they admire cherry blossoms in spring. We were delighted at the sight of the colored foliage.

Heading up the mountain, we were to ascend 1,975m and would experience a temperature drop of 10 degrees when we reach the top.

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is just 37 km in length, but to tackle this route, there are no other ways but to use 7 different public transports with 5 different modes, namely funicular, bus, trolleybus, aerial tramway, and walking.

On the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, as we ascended from the foot of the mountain, the autumn leaves display a wide range of colours including  Yellow Minekaede (one of maple varieties) and Dakekamba (Erman’s birch) as well as red Nanakamado (Japanese rowan) could gradually be seen as we proceed to the summit.

As usual, the best sights you saw were the sights while you are moving. While the funicular railway was making a steep climb, with all the trees seemed slanting, the views outside the funicular window were just picturesque. The fact that the funicular was quite full and that it was making a steep climb did not stop me from taking some photos from the funicular’s windows.

Not bothered with giving an impression to the fellow passengers on the funicular that I am sort of camera bug, I took a few more photos of the colored foliage on the way up the mountain.

As we proceeded higher up, we changed to a tired Trolley Bus with snow chains. The autumn spectacle of the multi-coloured leaves disappeared and gradually gave way to a snow scene. Snow was falling. The fall of snow that has completely turned the area to white, really compelled us all.

We were finally at 2,450 meters above sea level, at Daikanbo, the highest point of the Alpine Route. Daikanbo is located between Murodo and Kurobe-daira stations, where visitors transfer from the Tateyama Trolley Bus to the Tateyama Ropeway, or vice versa.

For the first time in many years we experienced  a snow world with different shades of black on the mountains.

We were thrilled by the marvelous snow landscapes.

Daikanbo is arguably the best viewing spot on the Alpine Route. An observation deck outside the precipitous offers the splendid view of Ushiro-Tateyama Mountain Range and Lake Kurobe.  Here we have a beautiful view of the mountains and the Lake Kurobe down below.

So, we have experienced the  beautiful colors of the fall foliage and the drastic change to the bleak and white and black of the snow capped mountains.   We made our way down, taking the ropeway (mountain cable car).

On the way, we have a great view of the beautiful Lake Kurobe.

We walked the whole length of the tallest dam in Japan at Kurobe and were happy to see colored foliage once again on this other side of the mountain  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .