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Showing posts with label scandinavian living.
Showing posts with label scandinavian living.

10 June 2013

Today I offer you a breath of cafe air from one of the most artistic neighborhoods in Oslo - Grünerløkka.

Welcome to Grünerløkka Kaffehus where you can drink coffee from South America, buy healthy fresh bread from their own bakery or enjoy the extravagant interior in the underground level where coffee courses are also taught to educate and inspire about the ways the best coffee is being prepared and served.

Here is to a creative and unusual summer!

15 May 2013

I am not a shopping kind of person. My mother never instilled in me the craving for shopping (thanks, Mom) and I often find myself one topic short when I converse with ladies.

Nevertheless, I too have my moments of wanting, contemplating, considering and deliberating between needs and wants.

I try not to buy the thing I like straight away. I prefer thinking about it first and the simpler my lifestyle becomes, the more I deliberate. I am aiming for a moment when there will be less thinking of buying. Then I will know in my heart that I have truly simplified my life.

Until then, I have decided to show you objects that have been tickling  my fancy but yet I have decided I could live without them.

Living in the forest was easy. I didn't have many shops around and so deciding whether I needed those red flats was absolutely off the list.

But the challenge of simple living cannot be confronted while  hiding in the wilds where there is no temptation.

True simplification can be achieved right in the midst of the shopping center, in front of the sixty-first pair of shoes you crave, next to the lady who just bought that ridiculously expensive clutch...

So, back to civilized life.

From the forest I found myself in a walking distance to the largest shopping center in Scandinavia. I don't like its 190 shops. But it's there. I avoid it because I hate the artificial air along its almost 1 mile of corridors and 8 floors. The amount of people is unbearable and yet, simply because of its proximity I happen to walk in it from time to time.

And so today, here is what I could have bought but I didn't.

NB. This is not a shopping fast. I am not even challenging you to buy nothing for a month or a year. I am simply sharing with you the way I live and my thoughts, hoping that I might encourage you to think twice before you spend your money next time on something that will never be used.

The first thing I saw today is that extra travel bag from Lucky Duck I can easily slide on the handle of my suitcase. It looks so lovely and it's orange (my favorite color), plus I am traveling in less than 10 days. Why not travel in style!

Do I really need it? Actually no. I have enough bags and rucksacks to fit all my hand luggage for the flight.

Well, the shoes. Touchy topic. ECCO is an outstanding Scandinavian company that produces some of the most comfortable shoes ever. They are also actively reducing their environmental impact and are employing the principles of reducing, reusing and recycling in their production process.

I've had an eye on exactly 3 pairs on this table for a very. long. time. I look at them every time I pass by the shop, just like today. But I still haven't bought a pair. The price confirms my belief that the shoes I have on my feet are good enough. At least for now.

Healthy bread rich in fibers. It is on offer but the plastic bag spoils the health effect for me. Blatant juxtaposition. Plus, all the E additives and colorings listed on the back destroy the effect of the spelt sourdough, rye flour, flax seed, oat bran, sunflower seeds. Not really healthy, if you ask me.

Finally, cherries! My favorite fruit. I can eat nothing but pounds of cherries the whole summer. These particular ones come all the way from Fresno, California. The number on the front of the plastic bag tells me that at least they are not GMO. Numbers on fruits starting with 4 means they are conventionally grown, i.e. sprayed with weed killers and chemical pesticides.

The amount of cherries in this plastic baggie would cost me about  $10. I'd rather wait for the season of Norwegian fjord cherries. They will be cheaper and I will know for sure where they come from and how they were raised.

Did I just save $191.60? You could certainly say so. But I don't view it from that perspective. I don't beat myself for wanting things either. I try to be objective and weigh my opportunities and decide how to spend my money so that it makes me feel best. Sometimes it takes a lot of deliberating.

How about you? What are your shopping habits? How often do you stop yourself from buying on a fling?

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March came to Norway as capricious as I've always known it. It snowed and rained, and blew and hissed through the naked branches. I kept seeing spring photos from around the world. But spring still hasn't come to Norway. Today I went for a walk on the beach. Oops, I meant on the ice. It is still deeply frozen and it seems like the whole town is hiking along. People with bicycles along with skiers and dog walkers, and kid walkers and fishermen. It is so lively on the ice, like it is the most natural place to hang out right now.

So, hang out with me on our March ocean (yup, ocean, not lake) ice.

The white snow seems to enhance the ensemble of colors on this house.
The fjord is so long and we are right at its end. The sea, even in winter is as calm as a frozen lake.
No boats until spring. Instead, a lot of footsteps on the sea ice.
A red boat and a red ouse in the distance. The perfect combination to warm your blue winter day.
On a sunny day you can find people sunbathing all over the ice.
Skiing on the sea ice between islands and walking your dog? Sure!

I hope the fisherman has luck, look, he has started a second whole in the ice, I am sure his boys are impatient already.
The most whimsical of post boxes. Wouldn't you gladly live in it?
Although our March is cold at least it is sunny, so our spirits are high.

How about you? How has your March been? Let us know in the comments.

21 December 2012

It is December already. The streets are covered with ice and my steps produce the dingle, jingle of Santa's sleigh. They're singing a song of frozen asphalt met by shoe spikes. Each steps takes me closer to town. It's been 6 months since we left our tiny paradise on Earth and moved to the big city. The bird songs are replaced by motors roaring and trains passing. 

We are adapting but that doesn't make me happier. I miss my forest, I miss my beaches. I miss the Great Tits that used to wake me up with their songs or even visit me at home.  My on this blog was about the birds! And now they are nowhere to be seen. 
We used to have this lovely feeder on the balcony where Great Tits and other song birds came to feed a few times a day
I bet you know how I feel. I bet you have all dealt with loss, be it just the loss of a very favorite place. Christmas and snow; lights and cookies are all so very festive but they cannot make up for my lost forest. I cannot even bear to see the thousands of photos I have taken during the past couple of years. 

Today I am going to show you how December looks like in the city. It is still beautiful even though it is very different from the rawness of nature. Hope you are preparing for a very warm and bright Christmas.
There are apples on the trees and the first snow makes them even more beautiful.

The town is getting festive

There are Christmas trees everywhere
And the Christmas markets are abundant.
Here is a smiling angel on yet another Christmas market. This lady is clearly walking the talk!
A lady dressed in the traditional costume of the - the indigenous people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia,
Christmas is so much about chocolate, isn't it. A lovely chocolate shop is full to the brim with all types of sweets.
While everyone is busy with Christmas preparation the nearby ski run gets a facelift. Soon we will be skiing again.
And a distant memory of a peaceful place I used to call home. The most popular beach in Norway.
How has December been in your part of the world? Are you getting ready for Christmas and how different is it from last year's?

30 October 2012

To browse a full year of Scandinavian seasons, click .

October is a fiery month in Norway. The trees are brightly lit in the warm colors of the sunset and hay is being gathered quietly. The graceful magpies seem to become the only birds playing around in the yellow leaves. Apples are abundant and elks drop by in people's gardens to feast on them.

I seem to find more and more reasons to go out and photograph that most fleeting of seasons and the momentary colors of its dress. I wish I could keep the warmth of the stunning colors to make it through the cold winter. 

This iron bridge was painted by Claude Monet in 1895 in his painting "Sandvika, Norway"

The skies are heavenly in October, probably because the reflect the beauty underneath.

High winds and bleak skies happen too, though I try to avoid them.
Idyllic view enhanced by the low sun.

The leaves seem to emit light!

Wild chestnuts bring me back to my childhood years when we used to make tiny dolls with them.

Tasty red apples are usually left to rot under the trees.

I could watch this for hours. Look at the way the colors on the tree melt into one another!

How are you celebrating autumn?

25 July 2012

July in Norway is vacation month. But you won't feel that in Oslo - the streets are alive with excited tourists from around the world, enjoying the unexpectedly warm Scandinavian summer. When you stroll around that tiny capital of 500,000 inhabitants, you will feel the exquisite blend of cosmopolitan and small-town.

Come, walk along with me. Today is guided.

The building of the national opera, finished in 2007 allows people to walk on its roof and enjoy panoramic views of Oslo. Very much appreciated on a lovely day.

You can see the emblematic Holmenkollen ski jump stooping above Oslo - it's a city of sports and culture, where both are equally accessible.

The streets around the Royal palace are packed with joyful pedestrians.

Aker Brygge is a popular meeting place for shopping, dining, and entertainment. As many as 12 million visitors a year make Aker Brygge Norway's biggest destination. You can see the two brown towers of the city hall in the distance.

Across from Aker Brygge and beyond the water -  the calming view of Akershus Fortress - a medieval castle that was built to protect Oslo.

Meanwhile in the fjords...

Hardangerfjord is considered Norway's orchard. In late spring the slopes around the fjord are covered in blossoming cherry trees. But it also can be a dream place for romantic tourists.

Idyllic view over Romsdalsfjord where people are rarely to be seen but beauty is abound.

Geirangerfjord is one of the most visited tourist spots in Norway. Since 2005, the Geirangerfjord has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ålesund has a population of roughly 43,000 people and is situated on the north-western coast of Norway. It is considered the Norwegian center of Art Nouveau architecture but the mountains around it are what take my breath away.dolly parton without makeup and wig

This post is part of the series. All photographs are taken by me.

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28 June 2012

June marks the end of school and the beginning of summer in Norway. The grass is greener after there are no more homeworks, right? 

June is the month of summer solstice, which we celebrate on June 23 - a magical night also known as Sankthans or Jonsok (John's wake). The tradition comes from pre-Christian folklore, but it, as well as many others, was adopted by the church in the 1st Century.   

The whole night is lively and festive, lit by the colors of a never-ending sunset and the flames along the coast. Traditionally, it is believed that this is a time when the normal laws that govern the world of brightness and the world of twilight are suspended, it is a time when trees speak, trolls and goblins run in the forests and the "little people" come out of hiding and goof around with mortals, playing pranks and stealing food...

June is also the month of endless beach wanderings, long days, ladybugs, fishing, and swimming. 

Spend a June day with me, in the cool summer air of Norway. 

all Seasons in Scandinavia photo series.

How has your June been?

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