Category Archives: Photos

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France is always a good idea

Purple is my new favorite color

Purple is my new favorite color

I’ve been following a blog called My French Heaven for quite a while, it’s written by a Frenchman named Stéphane. Stéphane lives and runs a Chateau (B&B) in a small town outside Bordeaux. All of his posts are written in both French and English. I can’t remember how I came across the blog but what attracted me most, were the photos. Stéphane takes the most beautiful photos of people, scenery and food! Pictures that draw you in, and make you want to get on the next plane to France.

That’s why when recently planning a trip with friends, I suggested we fly to Bordeaux, drive out into the French countryside and stay at Stéphane’s Chateau. After showing my friends his photos, they were in total agreement. All info about the Chateau and surrounding area can be found on his blog.

Tucked between vineyards and not far from Saint Emilion, the Chateau was the perfect place to stay. It was especially nice to finally meet one of my many blogging buddies (I wish I could meet you all). Stéphane was a friendly and very helpful host.

Although I’m not quite the photographer Stéphane is, here are some photos from our trip…

Chateau St. Jaques Calon

Chateau St. Jaques Calon

Stéphane’s Chateau

An early morning shot from the balcony of my room

An early morning shot from the balcony of my room

A trip to the Farmers Market in Libourne

I haven't seen tomatoes this big since I left New Jersey

I haven’t seen tomatoes this big since I left New Jersey

I kept thinking how lucky these people are to have a market like this. There was nothing you couldn't find...

I kept thinking how lucky these people are to have a market like this. There was nothing you couldn’t find…

The charming city of St-Emilion

Steep cobble stoned roads

This quaint little town was built on and out of the limestone hill it’s situated on

St-Emilion

St-Emilion

A tour and wine tasting at Chateau Cardinal-Villemaurine

Touring the winery was both informative and fun!

Touring the winery was both informative and fun!

Tasting the wine at the end of the tour was the best part!

Tasting the St Emilion Grand Cru wine at the end of the tour was the best part!

A bicycle trip

A bicycle ride through the vineyards is a must!

A bicycle ride through the vineyards is a must!

On both sides of the road and around ever bend there were vineyards and old stone houses with shuttered windows

On both sides of the road and around every bend there’s nothing but vineyards, dotted with old stone houses

The vineyards

I've never seen so many grapes!

I’ve never seen so many grapes!

We couldn't help but sample...

We just couldn’t help but sample…

Les Macarons

I can't forget to mention this delicious treat

I certainly can’t forget to mention these delicious treats

The only thing missing from our trip was the sun and we hardly even noticed.

Magical evenings

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Evening is almost always the best part of the day here…

No matter how windy or rainy the day has been, it always seems to settle down in the evening.

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Most of the pictures I take are in the evening, right before the sun goes down.

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It’s a magical time…

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Time for a nightcap.

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Music to my father’s ears

When I was young my father desperately wanted me to learn how to play the piano. I gave it a try but it just wasn’t my thing…

Flash forward and none of my four, plus one (stepson) seemed any more interested in playing an instrument than I did.

Then our sixth (and last!) child came along. This one was different or should I say Unique, he’s quiet and always keeps to himself. At three-years-old he was diagnosed with autism. Unable to participate in team activities, he started piano lessons. He unenthusiastically played for about three years before moving on to the guitar. A few years went by and he lost interest in that as well.

Sorry Dad, it doesn’t look like the grandkids will be playing for you either.

You can only imagine my surprise when last summer this son, now eighteen came to me and asked if he could start playing bagpipes!

Bagpipes in Norway? Who would teach him? Where would we buy them? And how much do they cost?

I calmed down when he told me he could take lessons online and we didn’t need to buy bagpipes (yet). The first step in learning to play the bagpipes is on a chanter. A chanter by itself doesn’t cost much.

He stuck with it for a whole year, didn’t lose interest and was really starting to sound good. Now convinced that he was serious, off to Scotland we went. We bought bagpipes, ordered a kilt and he attended an intensive bagpiping course in Glasgow.

That was two months ago. He practices everyday and I think he sounds great… Have a listen for yourself.

The first song is Corkhill, the second is Itchy Fingers and the third is Amazing Grace.

This is for you, Dad…

Somewhere above the Arctic Circle

 

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Every year it’s the same story… Where should we go this summer for a suntan?

The reason is simple, we live in Norway.

Here in Norway, you can never-ever count on good weather.

Not even in summer!

Most Norwegians head south but not us. We go west, towards New Jersey. The Jersey Shore is a great place to spend summer.

This year, with my granddaughter coming over from the States we decided to stay right here in Norway. We were invited to a friends place, way, way up in the top of Norway and so while everyone else was flying south, we flew north…

I promised the locals I wouldn’t give our exact location, because they don’t like tourists wandering around while they’re trying to skinny dip ;)

I will tell you this… We were above the Arctic Circle and no one was more surprised than me at how beautiful it was.

It was a perfect, Norwegian summer!

Flyers

flyers

tea-time

tea-time

This was towards the end of  july and even though the sun set, it didn't get dark

The sun would set behind the mountains but that didn’t mean it would get dark

This picture was taken after the sun set, around midnight

This picture was taken after the sun set, around midnight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace and tranquility

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Norway at its best!

A love story

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Imagine if you will -the most perfect summer day. A warm sun, a gentle breeze and a clear blue sky.

Now try to visualize -the ultimate outdoor theater. Hundreds of people sitting on a grassy hillside overlooking a natural stage set in Viking times. Behind the stage, magnificent mountains and a sparkling Norwegian fjord.

A perfect setting for the timeless and tragic legend of, Viking Hagbard and Princess Signe.

Hagbard and Signe were from the same village, played together as children and fell deeply in love as teenagers. Hagbard is sent off to war and Signe promises to wait for him. Three years later thinking Hagbard is dead, Signe’s father has arranged for his daughter to marry a Russian prince. Hagbard comes back and Signe who is still very much in love with him, refuses to marry the prince. Her father is enraged and insists she honor her commitment, for the good of the village and to protect his reputation as a leader, and man of his word.

He bans Hagbard from the village and locks Signe up. Hagbard disguises himself as a woman and sneaks into the cabin where Signe is being held. The reunited lovers make plans to escape and runaway together, but are caught in the process. A fight breaks out and many people are killed.

Hagbard is captured, tried and sentenced to hanging. A distraught and desperate Signe begs for his life, but to no avail. On the day of Hagbard’s hanging a brokenhearted Signe sets her cabin on fire and also dies.

Singne’s father is grief stricken over the death of his daughter. Her mother, who had also begged for the lovers freedom leaves him.

He is left broken and alone.

Although sad and tragic, the play was also filled with music, dance and sword fighting. There were horses and a witch. They also carried in what looked like a real lamb (my husband assures me it was not) and slit its throat as a sacrifice to the Viking God, Odin. I found myself totally seduced by the surroundings and captivated by the Norwegian history. This production, bringing both tears and smiles, was absolutely mesmerizing!

Hagbard and Signe

Hagbard and Signe

the orchestra

the orchestra, and the small cabin where Signe dies in the fire

the witch

the witch, and Hagbard dressing as a woman so he can sneak in to see Signe

the sacrifice

the sacrifice

children singing and dancing

the village singing and dancing, in happier times

Hagbards trial

Hagbards trial

Hagbard and Signe's last goodbye

Hagbard and Signe’s last goodbye

the stage

the stage

the view was as dramatic as the play

and the view, which was every bit as dramatic as the play

Finding treasure

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Did you know…?

Northern Norway lies above the Arctic Circle and is a wonderland of treasure…

The Northern lights illuminate the dark skies of winter, and the midnight sun provides endless days of summer.

The midnight sun also gives extra energy making it very easy to forget to go to bed at night.

A landscape of skerries, boat-houses, lapping waves and the cries of gulls ease away tension.

Would you like to see the treasures I found on my recent trip north…

boat-houses

boat-houses

sea-cabins

sea-cabins

crabs

crabs

sea urchins

sea urchins

starfish

starfish

shells

shells

coral

coral

cloudberries (moltebær)

cloudberries (multebær)

wildflowers

wildflowers

reindeer moss

reindeer moss

Nobel prize winner Knut Hamsun's childhood home

The childhood home of 1920 Nobel Prize in Literature winner, Knut Hamsun

relaxation

relaxation

and the midnight sun

and the midnight sun

A little visitor

Maren

Maren

I’m taking a summer, blogging break.

My eight-year-old granddaughter, Maren is flying, by herself (with assistance) from America to Norway. I was eleven the first time I flew to Norway without my parents, and her mother was twelve the first time she did it. That makes Maren the third generation of adventurous little girls. She is staying for three weeks and I can’t wait!

Pop Pop Harry and I are taking her on a trip to Hamarøy, which is an island up in the north of Norway. Friends of ours own land there and we will be staying with them, in a two hundred-year-old farm house. They have a daughter the same age as Maren, so it should be fun… the only problem is Maren doesn’t speak Norwegian and my friend’s daughter, Hannah doesn’t speak English! I guess I’ll be doing a lot of translating :)

Hamarøy is a place where where the sun shines twenty-four hours a day in the summer. Maren can play all night and sleep during the day, because it really doesn’t matter. She can go fishing, crabbing and has a good chance at spotting a whale. She’ll climb mountains, run through fields, pick berries and wild flowers. She’ll sleep in a lavvu, eat dinner in a lighthouse and cook hotdogs on the end of a stick, over an open campfire. She will also be able to explore the ocean floor when the tide goes out. It doesn’t matter how wet or dirty she gets, for this week, she will be one with Norwegian nature.

I hope you’re enjoying your summer too!

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