Open face sandwiches is what they serve in Denmark, a little fish, hard boiled egg, some pate, all served on thin slices of rye bread. They are so delectable. You just go up and look at the cabinet and see what they offer, pick out what you want and presto, lunch! It wasn't expensive, I don't remember what I paid.
After the turkey feast of last night, we, Americans, go and clamor for stuff in the malls. Why? Sometimes the lack of peace and joy in our hearts forces us to do it. We can't sit still, we need to be in constant action. We need new ideas for living, new gift ideas which does not require us to get into debt. The bible says, 'be still' just be still, have peace in our heart and joy will come and satisfy our soul. The wrappings and packaging from the stuff we just bought isn't going to give us peace or joy. In fact it will do the opposite.
Life is a feast or a salad. Pick and choose what you'll have or just heap it all onto your plate. Its been a fantastic year and if you really know what happened to me and my career exactly a year ago you won't understand why I've been so upbeat. My world crashed exactly a year ago but I had a great year and I'm thinking hard on how to make next year even better!
Lets go somewhere soon. I've been doing my writing at the Santa Monica public library because there's too much distractions at home. I've noticed someone is checking out the guidebooks on Scandinavia. Someone is planning a trip? Good for them.
Lovers at the Musee de la vie romantique, oblivious to the world around them. To them there is only the two of them. C'est la vie! Every time there is a violent incident, we, immediately wonder if we should travel again. A friend of mine just mentioned that she'll not travel because its so dangerous. The planes were empty after 9-11 but I flew anyway, I went places anyway. That was 14 years ago. If we decide to stay at home, how long do we intend to do so? For decades? I'd go to Paris tomorrow if I hadn't been there in a while. I was there last August, very close to the places where the terror attacks took place. I was in between gate l'est and gate du nord, very close to Canal St Martin, I had dinner on the terraces a couple of nights. I had a great time. It doesn't matter what you do in Paris and you don't have to do anything, it'll still be fun. When Hitler first saw Paris, he decided not to destroy it. He said,'its going to belong to us anyway and besides we will build another to rival its beauty. The Nazi forces occupied Paris and it became the play ground for Nazi officers. Can you imagine a life with no Paris? I can't. I need Paris to heal my broken heart, to restore me after life's many disappointments. A trip to Europe always involve a swing into Paris, just to walk by the Seine, linger at any cafe and smile a lot.
Fall is finally here. We've been so hot in Southern California. The heating in the house has just been turned on and the nights have been really cold. I have a few layers of bedding on the bed, it felt like sleeping under an armor. Its almost time till Thanksgiving and what a year it has been. I'm looking forward to next summer when I'll get out there again.
I've been busy writing about my trip getting ready to turn the information into Kindle ebooks. This means looking at photos I took and remembering the days spent on the trip. Norway in the summer is so beautiful and I regret having put off visiting till now. I'm forced into reading about the people who made this country great, Ibsen, the playwright whose house I visited while I was in Oslo. I'm now reading about the Norwegian shooter who killed 77 of his own people, Anders Breivik. The thing about this book is it gives an idea on the social system in Norway and its judicial and correctional system. When I wrote on Finland (its still a manuscript) I read the biography of Tove Jansson. It gives details on life in Finland for the common people during the war years. Finland went through a lot of wars. I would never care for these things if not for the fact that I'm writing about visiting these countries. Here in Flam at the end of the very long and deep Sognefjord, there's this beautiful river of rushing water. On the left side is Flam hostel and camp ground and on the right, the fjord, a big cruise ship can be seen docked there. You've got to visit Norway, try next summer.
They don't call the Finns 'the silent man' for nothing. They like to find a remote spot, build a sauna, a house and an outhouse and lived there all alone. Families do it too. Artists and composers like Jean Sibelius moved his family to a remote spot outside of Helsinki. Other artists and writers followed him and before you know it there is this community outside of Helsinki. I had the pleasure of taking a commuter train one morning to head out to Ainola, out in the woods, where Jean Sibelius built his house, sauna and outhouse and where he and his wife lived out their years and were buried here. Even today it felt like the middle of nowhere but a beautiful 'middle of nowhere.' After a day or two in any congested city, I crave the sanity of the countryside. In Finland, one is never far from a country spot and that is so refreshing. If you are like me, and you find yourself in Helsinki, do take the commuter train out to Ainola. There is a stop for it, get off and follow the signs for Ainola. You might have to walk a bit but its well worth it. You'll come to a wooded spot that till today is a little 'far from the madding crowd.' In summer it is so pleasant and you'll wish you could stay forever. There will be people doing their morning walks, there are people who do live around there, not many. You will be envious. There's a beautiful garden and a cafe. You'll wish you live there.
From the restaurant window at the Petroleum museum in Stavanger, Norway, I watched the world go by. This was part of the huge harbor that stretched for miles. I see little sail boats on a weekend pleasure trip. I see this monster doing maneuvers on the water. It was fascinating to watch as how agile this ship was, quite like a car that could almost turn on a dime. The sea and shipping is so much a part of Norwegian life.
Its easy to put together a little trip to Norway and get most of the major experiences in. One can have a fjord experience, a glacier and a fantastic rail experience.Oslo, the capitol of Norway is easy to get around in, using trams and the underground and the trains. There are ferries to everywhere also.Oslo has some of the world's major museums, it has Munch! The Oslo-Bergen train is a fascinating experience going over some of the highest terrain. It is a very popular train and the first train sells out fast. Bergen is among the prettiest city in the world. Again it is compact enough as not to overwhelm but has enough sites as not to underwhelm. From Bergen, take the ferry up Sognefjord. There are many other fjords and ferries but if you are rushed for time, I think, Sognefjord is plenty. One can opt to stay the night at one of the small villages on the way before reaching Flam, at the end. I stopped for the night at Balestrand, a sizable village which is very popular. From Balestrand I was able to take another ferry to Fjaerland fjord and to the Jostalen glacier. The glacier is retreating up the mountain but it left behind a glacial lake. It was an incredible sight and a wonderful experience. A glacier and a fjord, what a trip!
I prefer the countryside in any country. Sometimes after a few days in the city, I have a deep longing to be out and about in the countryside. The English countryside is so sumptuous, its hard to beat. Here at the North sea coastal town of Whitby, near York, the day was so lovely. I came with a coach tour of the Yorkshire moors and ended up here for lunch. Its still a fishing village and the menu was fish in all ways.
While this is not exactly a wild flower meadow, it is a trend in major gardens in England to leave a patch wild. But in other areas, huge swathes of land are left a wild flower meadows and it is possible to visit some of them. Just as hedgerows are important, wild flower meadows are increasing not just in popularity but in necessity. They form a habitat for butterflies and especially for bees. Successful and sustainable farming depends on having a healthy and vast bee population to pollinate the crops. In the USA farmers have to hire truckloads of bees in hives to come and pollinate the crop. This happens because we have eliminated the habitat for the bees and/or we have poisoned them with insecticides. During my visit to Europe in Summer, I came across so many bees, each time I tried to stick my nose into a flower, I find a bee has already beaten me to it. This never happens in the USA where I live. It was exciting to experience it and to see wild flower meadows.
Its a story of the Bloomsbury group. While the second world war was raging, the French government was having a fire sale of some of their impressionist paintings. A few English officials went over to Paris to buy some paintings for the National gallery. John Maynard Keynes worked for the same department and he went with them to Paris. He tried to get them to include this painting but with no success. So he bought it with his own money, 500 pounds. Upon returning to England, he got a lift to Charleston farmhouse and was dropped off on the main road. He still had to walk the muddy lane up to Charleston. He couldn't carry all his stuff, so he left them including this painting on the hedge. Upon reaching the house, he told the occupants, mainly Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, that if they should walk down the lane to get his stuff, they would find, 'a Cezanne in the hedge.' This painting hung on the wall above his bed in Charleston. Upon his death it was bequeathed to the University of Cambridge. When I was in Cambridge in June this year, I had to go see it. Its at the Fitzwilliams museum in Cambridge and this is a photo I took of it.