When not writing elaborately long-winded posts about my travels through Scandinavia, visits to German wine fests and long weekends in NYC, I like to sit on hay bales in the German countryside and watch the sun set.
No. That isn't just a line from my on-line dating profile.
Though, the number of "hits" I've gotten with that one has been more than impressive. My in-box is full-up. Unfortunately, the responses have all been from violent offenders in maximum security prisons...I knew I shouldn't have added tattoos and knife-play to my interests!
Following up travel posts can be difficult. After the majestic fjords, it's difficult to know which direction to take one's readers. Then, it came to me. I will show you one of my latest crowning achievements. Only this can stand alone with the Norwegian fjords.
A new front door wreath!
A closer look:
Yes. That is a hedgehog. And, yes. There are approximately 57 trillion mushrooms placed throughout the wreath.
I searched and searched for a front door wreath. Nobody, anywhere, carried hedgehog-mushroom wreaths. I know! I mean, what? What??
So far, the response level to my wreath has been lukewarm, at best. Apparently, I live with those who cannot appreciate the best things life has to offer...hedgehogs, mushrooms, gnomes and maximum security prisoners. Sigh.
Not to overwhelm you with even more excitement, but this is my new desk work area. And, by 'desk work area' I mean this is the place where I update my Goodreads books, send Facebook friend-requests to strangers after I've had too much wine to drink and surf the web for photos like this:
It may possibly be one of the most beautiful spots in the world, western Norway. I defy you to find some place more dramatic. Even Germany cowers in its Lederhosen when it thinks of the fjords of Norway. In fact, as I said to Mr. Lush, Norway is pretty much Germany on steroids...only...a lot further north...and...a wee bit colder in the winter...and by a 'wee bit,'--I mean a whole hell of a lot.
It must be noted, however, that Norway doesn't have Schnitzel--or Frau Müller and her golden chariot filled with flaky pastries--and THAT is why I could never live there.
We left early in the morning from Oslo on a five hour train ride up, up, up above the tree-line, through high mountain passes.
Along the way, we marveled at the gorgeous scenery. I daydreamed about living in little Norwegian villages. When it comes to daydreams and views from the train like these, the loyalty I have to my own nationality begins to waver. One look at the charming views, and I was ready to instantly give up my citizenship.
It was a cool, overcast August morning. The fog rose high into the mountains.
We changed trains in a little mountain town called Myrdal, where we witnessed what may be the world's weirdest lip-synced opera, at the Kjosfossen Waterfall. The woman you see down there in the photo was played by about five or six different women. After singing her part, one woman would duck down behind the rocks--and then, suddenly reappear hundreds of yards away, in a completely different spot...still singing opera! It was...Norwegian magic! And pretty creepy.
After the show, we continued on to the harbor in Flam.
Inside the beautifully decorated homes at the Folk Museum, children re-enacted rural life in Norway. This particular bucolic scene had me spell-bound. The light coming in from the windows, the painted furniture, the silent needle-work, the adorable children, the costumes...it was all fabulous-ness to an extreme.
This 75 acre park is filled with the life's work of Norway's most famous sculptor, Gustav Vigeland. He made a deal with the city of Oslo in 1921--in return for a studio and support from the state, he'd spend the rest of his life filling this park with his sculptures. From 1924 to 1943, he made over 600 figures--all nude.
Norway was, by far, one of our best vacations ever. We loved Oslo. We also loved getting outside the city and traveling westward into the fjords. We took the most breath-taking train ride one day, followed by a wondrous boat ride, and ended up in what can only be described as a little piece of heaven.
My next post will show you our trip to Flam, Norway and the gorgeous scenery there. It will make you wish you, too, were Norwegian...at least in the summer time.
We spent a portion of our summer vacation in beautiful Copenhagen, Denmark, where we explored the city and its sights. I did wave once or twice toward Malmo, Sweden where Anna lives. It's only 35 minutes by boat from Copenhagen! So close! Hello, Anna!
We were lucky enough to be in town during both "Fleet Week" and "Fashion Week" in Copenhagen...this translated to lots of cute Danish sailors wearing olde-timey-looking uniforms in search of beautiful models with whom to fall in love. *Cue old, romantic French music.*
We had one rainy day, part of which we spent searching for the little mermaid, one of Copenhagen's most famous residents.
(Photo courtesy of Google)
We searched. And we searched. And we searched. Only to find, what seemed like hours later, that Copenhagen's most famous mermaid was in Shanghai, China for their Expo 2010! The only time she's ever left Denmark! We stood in the pouring rain, staring at the wet rocks where she should've been, and laughed and laughed and laughed! What a funny day! Then, we walked away through sloshing puddles and pouring, wind-slanted rain and I cursed the Chinese under my breath.
On to happier times...
Copenhagen has one of the world's oldest amusement parks, Tivoli Gardens, which first opened in 1843. The kids enjoyed their time on the rides, while their mother went in search of her own amusement:
After a few days in Copenhagen, we boarded a ship and sailed overnight to Oslo, Norway.
View of Copenhagen as we began our journey toward Oslo
The first Saturday in September found us in nearby Bernkastel-Kues, two rather tragically unattractive, un-picturesque cities joined by a bridge spanning the slow-moving Moselle River.
We were in the heart of German wine country, surrounded by sunny hillside vineyards. Afternoon light sparkled on the surface of the Moselle. A light breeze pushed the lazy clouds across the sky, and settled in the swaying branches overhead. In the distance we could hear the sound of music floating through the air. The smells of roasting meat beckoned. It was all unbearable.
A picnic blanket and basket were placed along the grassy banks in Kues, across the river from Bernkastel and Castle Landshut. The view was awful.
We quickly abandoned our encampment in search of headier sustenance.
Drinking wine in the Moselle Valley is a hardship many of us living in Germany have to put up with. (Click the panorama below for a closer look.)
We hiked up into the steep vineyards nearby...which was made slightly more difficult by wine-consumption and inappropriate dress shoes--Hilariously dangerous! Of course, it was necessary to sample some grapes straight off the vines. Sour! So very, very sour! Nicht gut! Hock-tooey!
After our vineyard foray, we watched some local marching bands...and I was smitten with the young, scowling baton-twirlers. They were perfect. I do believe I have found my calling.
It's back to the daily routines around here. Quiet morning walks through the farm fields--with lots of sniffing. Feeling the first signs of fall in the cool, crisp breezes. Noticing the small changes around us as summer begins to fade--changing colors in the trees, shorter days...and apples!
It's nice being back.
This antique German linen table runner I made while visiting my parents, from the large bolt of linen I bought at the flea market in June. My mom soaked it for a long time in her special secret laundry soap solution-- until all the years of dirt were lifted. She then ran the linen through her electric mangle ten times in a row, until it was ironed to perfection. From the bolt I bought, I was able to make five table runners--one for each of my sisters, one for my parents...and one for me!
Mom and I had a great time sewing together this summer. She made the little wall-hanging below for my German neighbor, Tanja, who has what may possibly be the cutest baby in Germany.
She also made me these adorable placemats and matching napkins.
We made more stuff together...but I'll get to that in another post.
While I was gone, Mr. Lush found some more gnomes at the flea market. You can see them over by the window. He knows me too well.
A book-reading gnome?
With a mushroom? Aaaah, life is good.
Tex would like you to know he's settling-in to the daily routine again, himself.
His vacation in Atlanta was filled with many moments like this one:
It really took a lot out of him. Of course, while he was sleeping--he was most likely dreaming of this:
Whereas, I was dreaming of our upcoming family trip here:
It was a busy summer. More on our travels in my next post.
Wherever you are, I hope you, too, will find a patch of sunshine to nap in today.