Swedish midsummer is all about dancing around the maypole to live music.
This year, we arrived at the local farm a little too late —
We could hear music in the distance;
But when we arrived at the maypole —
Slender against the cloudy sky —
The musicians were already putting away
Their instruments for the day.
We stopped to admire each ring of the maypole
Bedecked in flowers (woven there by hand).
The day did not go as planned,
But it’s how you roll with life that counts.
For more midsummer stories, please visit: Our World.
When I was in New Jersey in April, I visited Liberty Park.
It’s home to the Empty Sky memorial
And the outdoor waiting area and old railway station
That used to take immigrants to their new homes all over the USA.
Both places are near each other — and it struck me
How they are almost opposites: the one being all about destruction and loss;
The other (in need of renovation – see last photo) a reminder of an age of tolerance and understanding.
Now that there is a harder attitude to refugees and immigrants and otherness
Around the world – it is somehow comforting to think that once the sky wasn’t empty,
But filled with open arms for people looking for a better life.
There was less ‘we and them’ and more ‘us’.
It’s my hope that there will be less hate and more love in the world.
For more stories, please visit: Our World.
The small bus chugs up the winding roads of Sintra —
And then after a steep uphill climb on foot,
You gasp when you finally glimpse the fairytale outline
Of Pena Palace:
A beautiful example of 19th century
Gorgeous tiles and lemon walls
Are a breathtaking reminder
Of how amazing the human imagination
Coupled with architecture can be.
For more incredible sights, please visit: Our World.
June was a time of misty greens
And magical tunnels of leaves.
It drizzled a lot,
Meaning that everything
And slightly out of focus.
But you know what –
I love it!
For more misty greens, please visit: Our World.
Midsummer’s Eve is the second most important
Celebration in Sweden after Christmas.
It’s a time for dancing
Around the midsummer maypole
With flowers in your hair
No matter whether you are male, female or child.
The folk dancers
Wear their traditional costumes —
(They start them off young…)
As do the musicians:
It’s hard work though!
And everyone has fun
No matter colour, age or belief system.
And that’s what is important in the world:
Love and tolerance.
For more celebrations, please visit: Our World.
You know you live in Sweden
When you’re not totally surprised to see Viking warriors
Camped outside a tent.
Viking heritage is celebrated around the country
In different events.
This two-day festival took place near my home
And the guest of honour was this beautiful
100-year-old replica of a Viking boat.
Families often dress up
And attend these Viking festivals
Using clothes and equipment that reflect how life was back then —
Even sleeping out
In these comfy-looking tents.
Talk about making history come alive!
For more celebratory moments, please visit: Our World.
The tradition of Lucia is my favourite time of year:
When the darkness is lit up with candles and song.
The light comes in many forms —
Whether it is the hope
For better times to come
Or as a metaphor for love and compassion:
Those two metaphorical candles that drive out the darkness.
For more light, please visit: Our World.
Since the 1800s, Venetians haven’t been allowed to bury their dead in Venice.
Instead, they come out to Isola di San Michele — two islands joined together to form a floating cemetery.
The first thing you see as you arrive
Is one of Venice’s first Renaissance churches.
(I took the photo through the ferry window.)
You can find graceful courtyards
And hidden-away sunny spots
Full of graves.
The rich families could afford
To honour their sleeping beauties in marble.
Even the more humble resting places
Are taken care of with love.
There are crosses as far as the eye can see —
A sobering reminder of what awaits us all.
The cemetery island is the burial place of many famous people,
Including Ezra Pound, Doppler, Stravinsky and Diaghilev.
Our visit there was both life-affirming and moving.
For those of you who want to know what happens when the cemetery gets ‘full’: the bodies are allowed to lie here for about 12 years, and then they are taken back to Venice and kept in an ossarium to make room for more burials.
For more histories, please visit: Our World.
The kids and I spent a wonderful, long day in London recently —
And they had to pull me away as the sun was setting over the Thames.
The lamps were lit up by the golden glow of the sun
And the man seemed blissfully unaware of the seagulls flying up behind him …
Even the double-decker buses looked romantic
As the molten carpet of light flowed over the water.
However, I’m not really a big city kind of person
And am always grateful to be back by ‘my’ lake —
To enjoy its golden beauty.
The sunken boat in this photo reminds me of Rumi:
“Where there is ruin, there is hope for treasure.”
For more treasures, please visit: Skywatch.
I’m celebrating six years of blogging with a look at the Tate Modern – a fabulous museum housed in the former Southbank Power Station – that I visited on my recent trip to England.
The old turbine hall is now the dramatic entrance of the art gallery.
The themes of space and light
Are also present in the art galleries themselves. (They used to be the boiler rooms of the power station).
Even the back of the turbine hall
Is full of light and enormous space.
(That round ball shape on the right is actually a small child.)
As the gallery was closing,
The sun created its own artwork
Of light and shadows and beauty.
For more artistic shots, please visit: Our World Tuesday.