A Swedish Christmas
A wonderful week in Karlskrona visiting Jessica and Neil at their lovely home. So fun to partake of a Swedish Christmas. Tree decorations, Flowers, Smorgasbord, pepparkakor (ginger bread), lots of laughter and fun.
Two of my favorite things together, Astronomy and Jewelry. Best of all it was a surprise. I almost didn’t go in I thought the show was a fancy restaurant. Then I went in and what did I find; Afterparty, Celebration of 65 years of Danish Jewelry, from the now closed Goldsmith Institute. The round tower, Rundetaarn, built in the 17th centry. It is europe’s oldest functioning observatory, open some nights, they have astronomer at the telescope. But I was sorry, it was cloudy and raining so I missed out.
All the photos in the captions have the artist and dates of the Jewelry below. Love the mixed metals. Ingenuity and play.
As I was walking through Christiansborg Palace I got relly excited about the huge and ornate chandeliers, I also realized they look like snow flakes. Fitting for this time of year.
Tivoli a majical garden with rides in the center of Copenhagen. Opened in 1843. For me alot of the majic is that it is surrounded by the city, creating a interesting boundry with reality. Bells toll in the neighborhoods surrounding, as a fake train whistles and blows steam. Walt Disney came to the park several times and you can see where he got a lot of great ideas, the gardens, the themed areas. It is easy to get lost, tiny alleys of games and rides.
There are a few things you wouldn’t find in disney land, like the bar sign. But the attention to detail is what makes it specail. Man hole covers in the asian area with chinese characters. Hand painted signs. Detailed flower planting. Fake snow, heart shaped lights, street lamps that spin, Hanging lanterns that glow, Light shows and rides. Tons of different foods form hot dogs to high end dinning. My hot coco came with a souvenir mug and appleskivers. This has been the one place where traveling alone was not as much fun. No one to share it with, jump on a ride, drink mulled wine, try to win a prize. Sometimes even when a place is special, sharing it with someone else would make it more fun.
While traveling I go to as many markets as I posible can. I love the interaction with people, exploration of new sites and sounds. But more and more our world is getting smaller. We all choose Ikea furnature and the same hat made in China, is avalable at every other market stall.
To find original, hand crafted pieces, “work having soul” as Chandini put it, (see artist below). I need to explore deeper. In all the mass produced objects, I am reminded of why I love hand crafted things, they have a soul. I hand touch each piece, forming with presence, love, attention and feeling. All other artist who are hand crafting their own work give of themselves in each piece. While walking around Copenhagan there are 2 big Christmas markets in the center of town, all selling the same goods on a mass level. Evey 3 stalls the same. Luckily I did some research and found the Christiania Jule Marked, in Grey Hall. The space was alive with people and music, food and laughter. There are booths of hand crafts from around the world and some massed produced things, but not many. Each booth is created and manned by the artist for 13 days (I usually want to die after 3 days). I do not know how they have the stamina.
It was a highlight of my trip. Sitting sipping coffee and having a cookie, talking to my neighbor at the table. Who also was sporting a new red hat! I had just bought a red hat too. I wish I had a photo. He was sitting with his elderly mother as his brothers, sisters and nieces all shopped. We had such a fun conversation about how he went to burning man to make an art piece and where he lived west coast. One of the things I love about traveling alone, people are more willing to open up and chat. A lovely afternoon of connection and art.
Grey Hall is an amazing timber fram building, industrial and beautiful, there are about 100 stalls.
Lilian Alder, a potter has a studio in Copenhagan. I love her attention to detail and whimsy. She had writes each business card, for each person who asks for one. She is on instagram at lilianalder and lilianalder.dk
Chandini is the next Potter I connected with, She moved to a small Island 1.5 hours south of the city Mon. Playful and fun- you can find her at chandini.dk Her card says “For Special Appreciation of our daily lives” I get great joy is drinking and eating out of hand crafted pieces.
I also stumbled on a flower market. So beutiful the colors and textures. Lovely
Back to Iceland
Remembering to begin again and again, getting into the rythum of travel. And fall into Jet lag, instead of fighting it.
As I was driving north on my first day in iceland I was taken surprized how much the landscape reminds me of the Dalles. Basalt rocks, warm golden grasses, rolling hills to powerful snow covered mountains, waterfalls in every direction. So familiar, I feel at home in this wind swept lava landscape. I lucked out with weather in the 40’s and light rain.
My first stop, after a $20 bagel with smoked trout breakfast, was Laugardalslaug Pool. I was so tired but wanted to keep going so did the hot pots and hung out in the sea water pool at the end. I love the soft Icelandic voices as darkness turns to twilight. I didn’t last long but what a great way to embrace Iceland by soaking my sore body after the flight. My favorite image was a group of people doing water aerobics. Colorful swim caps bobbing in the pool. As the fully clothed instructor in winter gear, hat, gloves and boots shouts out directions and demonstrates what to do.
Sorry Cameras are not allowed, use your imagination and laugh.
With only a few hours of light, darkness surrounds, but is very cosy with lights in windows, advent lights and snow flakes, makes all the tiny towns sparkle. Even the cemeteries have lights at night. All the rooms I stay are almost to warm everything heated with thermals gothermal.
May last day in iceland I ended up at a national park in the Golden circle with 5 huge buses and tons of people tromping through. After 2 day of mostly being on my own in wilderness is was a bit of a shock. And aware how there is even more tourism than 3 years ago. It was lovely to have a car and get away. One of my goals was to get to the Christmas markets to see what artist are producing. But found out most venders were not selling there own works, but of china and abroad. I did meet a wonderful Printmaker, but when I went to her site www.ikorninn.com It didn’t have her name. See her print below, The Space Traveler
Wonderful landscapes caught in twilight is what I will take away this trip. Rich yellows, warm deep browns, clear blues of cold water, greens of moss and Violet light. Layered Violets is what I am most aware, that space between. On the flight I was so excited to see the Aurora dancing across the sky green, with 3 shooting stars. That thin veil between worlds, visible magic dancing.
Iceland a way to shift into the unknown and begin again.
In Tanzania lovely days chasing Dung Beetles. While others want to see Lions, Elephants, Rhino, Cheetah, and Leopard, which I have had the joy of seeing, I love the dung beetles, the are fast moving, almost hard to catch on film. But worth the laughs and fun, Lyimo our guide and driver thinks I am a bit batty.
Hippos rolling in their mud puddle, Zebra's from behind, a journey of Giraffe, the Lilac Breasted Roller; Lyimo's favorite and Lion Paws, so big.
Breakfast a cute little art nouveau cafe for Caffe Lattes and Croissants. An amazing view out to the tuscany landscape beautiful small homes on surrounding hills. Our neighbor in the morning woke Jessica with Italian soap operas at 6:30 am playing it at top sound, seeping through the stone walls.
We drive out on small roads to look at hill towns and tree lined drives, headed toward Lake Bolsena. We are on a great road headed right on, when it is closed and off we are on tiny small roads winding through the country side most likely adding another 40 mins on to the drive, ops.
But the road and entry into lake Bolsena is lovely as well as the castle on the hill that we drive around on the way to Civtia. We park and walk on a path to the small bridge that takes you over to the beautiful hill town overlooking canyons on colors and small farms. So beautiful. WE see an old well, rain water collected and eat in an old well.
The town now looks very touristy, but when we were there there was only Italian tourist. Nice, When I was there in 1986 there were 3 older people in the town square and that was it, now it is 8+ restaurants and places to stay plus shopping. But in the winter everything is very down played and simple.
We drove on to stay near the Airport at a great little B and B we found on booking.com, which I had never used but jessica had and liked it, it worked great. We were greeted warmly and had the whole place to ourselves.
I can’t believe how fast the trip went.
Wow, We slept in and had a nice breakfast and then Jessica was off to the Airport and I went on to Ostia. On the way to the airport a whole flock of sheep had their own overpass, I kept noticing sheep in the fields and thought how romantic they made the landscape look. Sheep, how romantic.
Ostia Roman ruins from the 2nd century in the flight path of the Rome Airport, a strange juxtaposition. The umbrella pines are fantastic,
so beautiful on a slightly drizzling kind of day. I walked toward the main gate imagining all the goods coming and going by cart back in 200 CE. Huge baths and mosaic floors. Shops and people at the major Roman port. I love the “bar” restaurant where I could serve you up a nice Vintage,
Just laying about….. And again why winter visits are so amazing, 4 cars in the whole parking area.
Now it is off to Tanzania for a whole new Adventure…..