Vallée de Joux, the “watchmaker’s strip”

Written on March 19, 2015 at 8:49 am, by streamer

SWITZERLAND - SUMMERLeaving Geneva, and following the Watch Route toward North East, one arrives in Vallée de Joux, the place where the first watch workshop was established way back in 1740. This area, situated at an altitude of about 1,000 meters, was completely isolated from the rest of the world in winter (still is today), and the production of clocks provided an important source of income to these industrious farmers. The trip from Geneva to the Vallee de Joux takes no more than an hour, but it’s one intense hour. After about 30 kilometers on the highway, the road winds among rolling hills, vineyards and meadows animated by the famous Swiss cows. The story of the valley’s isolation becomes more and more understandable, since the tight curves and narrow road pose problems even in the 21st century. Settlements on the road are small and scattered, and Vallee de Joux is no different. After passing the Hotel des Horlogers Guignard, on the left is the first manufacture, Audemars Piguet, an austere building which hides true treasures inside.

800x600_eh_museueeThe Piguet Watchmaking Museum is located in the former residence of the brand’s co-founder, Jules Louis Audemars, where the first workshop was established in 1875. The watch models are arranged by their complexity. The tour begins with ultra thin watches, many variations of the legendary Royal Oak model, special tourbillon models, and in the end there lies the icing on the cake, the Grandes Complications room, with a view to the workshop in which these pieces were created. The Museum can be visited on the basis of appointments by phone.

There follows the Jaeger LeCoultre manufacture, the first of the Vallée de Joux, founded by Antoine LeCoultre in 1833. Currently, access to the manufacture is done through the same spot as in 1874, though the entrance was enlarged and modernized with the development of the brand. Jaeger Le Coultre opened its own museum, the Heritage Gallery, in October of 2007.

The brand, recognized as one of the most important manufacturers of watches in Switzerland, takes pride in over a hundred years of history that produced over 1,000 mechanisms. And one of the most spectacular parts of the Museum is a wall of glass 4.7 meters tall and 5.4 meters long where they exposed about 300 mechanisms. As soon as you walk in the room the ticking prepares you for what follows.

Jaeger-LeCoultre-White-Gold-Reverso-Triptyque-Grand-Complication-watch-410Because the clock wall is only the beginning, the “pieces de resistance” only then get revealed. The visitor is taken on a row in between four-yard tall glass displays where several items are showcased: the Caliber 101, then the smallest mechanism ever designed, pocket watches with complications, then a model inspired by the clock that Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom wore at her crowning, various Reverso models (a true symbol of the brand), samples of Haute Joaillerie, pieces of gold studded with diamonds and rubies. The Museum also sports models that have recently made waves at the luxury watchmaking shows from Basel and Geneva, as well as the Reverso grande complication triptyque, the first watch in the world with three faces. And in the attic are exhibited different variants of Atmos, a wall clock with perpetual movement that the Swiss Government-designated as the official State gift. Officials say that the Jaeger LeCoultre Museum has bookings until March of next year, and those who fancy to visit the Heritage Gallery must make an appointment via phone.

IWC_Big_PilotAmong the most spectacular exhibits are pocket watches from 1874, a Portuguese model, the first hand watch from IWC equipped with a pocket watch mechanism, produced in a limited edition of 304 items, or The Big Pilot Watch produced in 1,000 copies in the 1940s for the German aviation, the precursors to tactical aviator watches, the largest hand watch built by IWC (diameter 55 mm) and the predecessor of one of the best selling lines of the Swiss manufacture.



What is the Perfect Vacation Combination?

Written on February 20, 2015 at 11:14 pm, by streamer

There are a number of different reasons why people take vacations. For some it is to just take time to relax from the hustle and bustle of every day life. Others plan trips that will provide educational experiences for them and their families. While others like to experience new surroundings and different cultures. Whatever, the reason, the time we take for vacations should be one that offers us the most for the time we have.

An interesting combination for a perfect vacation is camping and hiking. Some people like to camp out. This entails packing up the RV and spending the weekend at a local campground. They can prepare their food inside the RV or outside using a camp stove or over a campfire.

The more adventurous outdoor person packs up the RV or car and camps out in a tent under the stars. They prepare the meals over an open fire. During the day, they take short hikes to observe the beautiful spectacle of nature surrounding them.

Why is this vacation a great combination? Hiking trails are usually found in areas that have been established as hiking parks. These parks, especially the large ones, often have their own campgrounds. You will also find that most public campground parks have at least one or two hiking trails. Outdoor experts pair hiking and camping together hiking4as a perfect combination for a truly adventurous experience.

Camping and hiking are perfect for people of all ages. This is important if you are looking for a different type of experience for you and your family. Children, as well as adults enjoy this type of vacation.

When planning your vacation, you need to look at places that offer experiences for the various ages of your family members. Some hiking trails have a level of difficulty associated with them. This means that there are trails for beginners which may be ideal for young children or seniors. Make sure however to carry adequate equipment. Here’s a Backpacking checklist from REI, and here’s the best daypack for hiking page from Rangermade.

Camping and hiking is an affordable vacation. For example, if you make a reservation at a public campground, you will probably find that you can hike an onsite trail free of charge. Some of these campgrounds may offer free overnight parking. You have to check with the various campgrounds and parks to determine what fees you may need to pay.

Arrangements for this combination vacation should be made in advance. These are popular activities in the United States. You may find after a couple of trips that you are meeting the same people each time. You may not have to pay for hiking in most establishments but you may have to pay a parking fee. Most parks can handle a certain number of vehicles at a time. Another consideration is that if you make reservations early, you may be able to pick out the camping spot you desire.

Sleeping out under the stars or being miles away from the local mall may not be the type of vacation you envision. It can be a romantic getaway for a couple and it can be a fun, as well as an education experience for families.

The Mosque of Cordoba

Written on February 12, 2015 at 10:32 pm, by streamer


Visiting Spain and its history-laden cities is an exhilarating experience!

The Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba is one of the most important monuments of the Spanish-Muslim architecture. It was the third biggest mosque in the world, overshadowed only by the Casablanca and Mecca ones but its artistic importance, from the very beginning, was well-known everywhere.

The ancient Mosque of Cordoba, a former Christian-Visigoth basilica, turned in the 13th century into the current Santa Maria de Cordova Cathedral. It is the key monument in Cordova, and also embraces this importance in the whole Andalusian architecture, together with the Alhambra from Granada.

It was built in the 8th century, upon a Visigoth basilica known as San Vicente. During the Caliphate it witnessed some enlargement projects, and after the Christian conquest in 1236 it was turned into a cathedral, and because of that, several modifications took place.

The Puerta del Perdon (Door of the Forgiveness) provides access to the mosque, which has a Mudejar style (1377), overlooking rows of orange and palm trees, fountains and horseshoe arches that surround the place.

The door of Las Palmas leads to the interior part of the mosque where there is a “forest” which houses 1300 marble columns, jasper and granite upon which 365 two-color horseshoe arches rest.

The mihrab is a jewel made of marble, stucco and Byzantine mosaics magnificently colored on gold and bronze made backs, in addition to copper and silver. Although it should have been placed by facing the Mecca, it faces the south. According to a legend, it was an Abderramán’s will to build the place overlooking the river because he felt as if he were still in Damascus and not in exile.

One incident happened here, that was about to cost us dearly: two of our backpacks were about to get stolen by some Maroquese young boys. Two of them engaged in a mock fight, while everyone nearby got nearer to them to find a solution to the quarrel. While another handful of boys were skilfully “operating” the inattentive tourists’ backpacks. Lucky us, we caught notice in time and tended to our belongings. But if you need good backpacks, here’s the top hiking daypacks page where we shopped ours.

This is one of the hypotheses, but today there is a more recognized theory which tells us that the main nave of the mosque continues the orientation of the main street (cardo) of the ancient Roman Cordoba (Patrician Cologne), as it has been witnessed in the archaeological excavations that have taken place in the city.

The Treasure of the Cathedral is in the “Chapel of Sta. Teresa” and attached rooms. Within this chapel, the “Tomb of the Cardinal Salazar y Gongora “(an authentic figure from Cordova, during the 18th century) is outstanding.

It underwent numerous enlargements by commission of four Omeya leaders; this column-based building which was created for the prayer and delight is, undoubtedly, a unique piece belonging to either the Islamic or Christian world.

Keep warm this winter with some “unusual” boots

Written on January 1, 2015 at 9:24 pm, by streamer
Did it occur to you that you could use military boots to server you in winter time? Sometimes they are cheaper, but even when they are not, they are a lot more durable.

To boost your trust, here’s how military boots are manufactured.

winter-military-bootsMilitary boots nowadays can be found on the market in a wide range of designs, colors and materials. In the past, military boots could be found only at the army staff, but ore recently they came to be available to any civilian interested in such equipment, and, moreover, tend to become an integral part of men’s fashion and even for women.
This kind of shoes has become well known among men due to its exceptional qualities, “army” like “design and durability.
When you intend to buy a pair of military boots, you must pay attention to a few details and also to consider in which season you will wear those boots.If you need a pair of military boots for the summer, an ideal product are the desert boots. For a pair of winter military boots check out this page:
If you’re curious to see more on tactical military gear, go to
Until a few years ago military boots were made of leather, thick, which made them difficult to wear, especially on diverse terrains. Nowadays, some of the models of army boots are made of high-quality cordura and leather. The combination of the two materials has led to the creation of an exceptional product: cordura plus leather gives the foot comfort, stability, and safety.
Cordura is used in the more flexible parts of the boot, and leather for the harder parts, so the finished product gets to have a long life span.
Most of military boots are relatively tall, so as to protect the foot and the ankle and part of the leg. On rough terrain and during conflicts it is necessary as good protection to the foot, so that the soldier does not feel any kind of discomfort in his feet.
Military boots made nowadays are equipped with rubber soles designed to adhere perfectly on almost any surface, giving the person that wears them an increased level of safety and also great comfort and confidence. Also, certain models of military boots are equipped with a metal insert in the sole, and at the toe as well. This insert in the sole protects the foot from direct contact with sharp objects such as nails, etc.

Here’s a video review of some great military winter boots.

Choose your hiking backpack with caution

Written on December 26, 2014 at 9:30 pm, by streamer

Long question short, how do you choose a suitable mountain tactical backpack?

511-rush-72-tactical-backpackChoosing a mountain tactical backpack that’s suitable for outdoor activities can sometimes become a chore if you don’t  have in mind some elementary rules for taking your trip in optimal conditions.

In order for purchasing a backpack to become a fun action that could lead to the planning of more future excursions, here’s what you need to take into consideration.

The criteria for the choice of a proper tactical backpack:

  • duration of the trip (if you decide to spend nights on the mountain for a day, a few days, a week or more)
  • personal style (do you put emphasis on comfort or weight loss)
  • body conformation (the length of the upper part of the body, not height)

What capacity is right for me?

Capacity refers to the volume or the storage space of a backpack. This is expressed in liters and is regularly shown in its name. This varies depending on the person and on the type of trips you make most often.

For 1 day or 1 night use a 20-50 liter backpack, for a weekend (2-3 nights) 50-60 l, for more days (2 to 5 nights) 60-80 l, and on extended trips (5 + nights) 80 l. These values are expressed for longer stays in the spring and autumn, but in winter you need a more bulky backpack.

For those who have learned how to pack things efficiently, using the strictly necessary equipment that fits perfectly in the backpack, they can use a tactical backpack of 20-50 l, for 2 nights, or 2-3 evenings with 50-60 l … more information on best tactical backpack is here: Or check out this Wikipedia article about a reputable US brand of tactical backpacks:

Keep in mind though that you’ll achieve this skill in time or with a very thorough planning and what is important is to take things that are really necessary, without unneeded stuff.

A backpack of 60-80 l for extended trips of 2-5 nights in the mountains, is the right choice for warm weather, generally in the summer.

For trips of even greater length than 5 days you need a tactical backpack of 80 l or more. We know too well that it fills up pretty quickly and more often than not we’re tempted to fold everything we may possibly need in it.

This last category are preferred for winter mountain trips of more than 1 night and if you want to conduct a family outing when parents are frequently those who carry the needed things for kids, to give them freedom to have an enjoyable experience on the mountain.