It was a very hot day in the southern Terai. We were few kilometres from the Indian border. We had left the hills behind us and reached the flat area and the temperature had gone up considerably. It was dry season and the main color my eyes could see was the light, dry, brown of the barren fields. The weather has become more erratic over the last few years, they told up at the meeting in Tikapur. Dry and wet seasons have changed in their intensity and duration. This makes life very difficult for farmers.
“By prostrating before a stupa, we turn our face away from our egos and toward our enlightened nature. By circumambulating—walking around the stupa in a clockwise fashion and reciting prayers—we keep the image of enlightenment at the center of our attention.”
Boudhanath is a stupa in Kathmandu. Located about 11 km from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa’s massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal.
The Boudha Stupa dominates the skyline; it is one of the largest stupas in the world. The Stupa is on the ancient trade route from Tibet which enters the Kathmandu Valley by the village of Sankhu in the northeast corner, passes by Boudha Stupa to the ancient and smaller stupa of Charumati Stupa (often called “Little Boudhanath”). It then turns directly south, heading over the Bagmati River to Lalitpur – thus bypassing the main city of Kathmandu (which was a later foundation). Tibetan merchants have rested and offered prayers here for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many decided to live around Boudhanath. The Stupa is said to entomb the remains of Kassapa Buddha (Wikipedia).
We had about 15 km behind us. We followed the cross-country ski track through forest and miers covered under a deep layer of snow. At one point the track made a long gentle turn to the right. It was the Northern tip of the Pyhäjärvi (Pyhä Lake) and of the ski track we were following around it. At the end of the turn the track started to follow a long series wooden electricity poles in a straight line. The track run between the village of Pyhäjärvi on our left and vast snow-covered frozen lake on our right. We stopped when we saw a young boy selling warm coffee and juice to skiers. While I was sipping from my paper cup I looked around. Up on a gentle slope the wooden houses where deep in the snow. I imagined the dark months of December and January. How many hours of light do they have up here? and when the summer arrives, does the sun set belows the horizon or not? what jobs people have? are they all working in the tourism sectors? what other work exists so up north? do young people stay here or do they move when they finish their studies? how is it to live so up north?
We finished our drinks and skied for about 1 km to the cafe Mummola to have something to eat before the last stretch of 8 km to get back to our cottage. Temperature -14C. Blue sky. Not a cloud.
One thing you do when in Lapland during the winter is to go out in the night and look up to the sky. And so I did. I also found an app (there are many) that given 30 min forecast of the northern lights: how weak or strong they are. It give time to get ready. Put the winter clothes on. Read a some blogs about the camera set up for taking photos of the Northern lights. Switch on the head torch and get out. There are northern lights every night, but they are never the same. I learned that they come in a scale from 0 to 9 (9 being very rare and being visible also in central Europe). So, I got out at nights during our trip to Pyhätunturi and look up at the sky. The first night they were barely visible. The second night they were a faint greenish cloud at the horizon. The third night they were a bit more visible, between 2.5 at the horizon. The last night they were up above our cottage. Like a cloud of fine dust, very high up in the sky, that moves along a wind stream and slowly changes shape as it moves.
At the start I follow the track with my eyes. Two parallel lines in which the cross-country skis find their way forward. It takes me few kilometres to get into a rhythm and be able to see the landscape around me. When I do, I can fully realise where I am. When I stop to catch my breath I see sky which is totally blue. Not a single cloud. No wind. The temperature is -15C, but I do not feel it. I feel warm from the sun and the exercise. I listen to my breath slowing down and realise that around me nature is totally silent as if I were in a landscape painting. I start again moving. First the right ski, then the left one, then again the right one. And so on and on. I try not to push too much with the sticks and let the legs to the work. In half an hour I will be up at the cabin and look forward to the coffee and the wood-fire stove warming up the room.
The classic cross-country skiing style is often used on prepared trails (pistes) that have pairs of parallel grooves (tracks) cut into the snow. It is also the most usual technique where no tracks have been prepared. With this technique, each ski is pushed forward from the other stationary ski in a striding and gliding motion, alternating foot to foot. With the “diagonal stride” variant the poles are planted alternately on the opposite side of the forward-striding foot; with the “kick-double-pole” variant the poles are planted simultaneously with every other stride. At times, especially with gentle descents, double poling is the sole means of propulsion. On uphill terrain, techniques include the “side step” for steep slopes, moving the skis perpendicular to the fall line, the “herringbone” for moderate slopes, where the skier takes alternating steps with the skis splayed outwards, and, for gentle slopes, the skier uses the diagonal technique with shorter strides and greater arm force on the poles (Wikipedia).
Stockholm has many museums. The one I love the most is Fotografiska, the Museum of Photography.
Fotografiska is the largest photography museum in the world. We celebrate photography, but beyond being a simple museum we offer inclusive spaces for conversation and community. We believe in creating a common ground that invites everyone in, where our guests can listen to lectures, stay for dinner, or meet friends. Our mission is to inspire a more conscious world.
The Stockholm Underground (tunnelbana) opened in 1950, and today the system has 100 stations in use, of which 47 are underground and 53 above ground. Traffic in underground moves on left-hand side, because cars still drove on the left in Sweden when the underground system opened.
In 2017, the underground carried 353 million passengers, which corresponds to 1,2 million in a normal weekday. The 105.7-kilometre-long underground system has been called ‘the world’s longest art gallery’, with more than 90 of the network’s 100 stations decorated with sculptures, rock formations, mosaics, paintings, installations, engravings and reliefs by over 150 different artists. (Wikipedia)
The train was riding smoothly. Not too full. Only few people standing. It was difficult to tell the age of the man sitting few rows from me. he was probably younger than he looked. Scrappy beard. Worn out baseball hat. Oversize jeans. Old jacket. Metal rings to his hands. A bottle of beer half full in his right hand.
The was talking aloud but not anyone in particular. The other passengers let him speak. At one point he put the bottle between his feet and kicked it. The beer started to flow on the floor of the carriage. Passengers lifted their feet and took their bags. He began to speak with a loud voice. Getting angrier. The people next to him stood up and moved away which made him apparently angrier. He pointed his hands towards some of the other passengers and shouted things I could not understand.
All the seats next to him were empty now. Only one person remained sitting. A young girl. Who had taken the earplugs off and began to talk talk to him. He first shouted to her btu stopped almost immediately looking almost surprised that a young teenager would not be scared by his behaviour and anger fit. She spoke with a soft tone. No judgment. No anger. The train stopped. Two security guards appeared and took the man out from the train. He did no resist them. Before leaving the carriage he gave a last look at the young girl who was still sitting alone and was putting the earplugs back on.
The Bologna railway station bombing massacre was a terrorist bombing of the Bologna Centrale railway station in Bologna, Italy, on the morning of 2 August 1980 which killed 85 people and wounded over 200. Several members of the neo-fascist terrorist organization Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari (Armed Revolutionary Nuclei) were sentenced for the bombing, although the group denied involvement.
At 10:25am, a time bomb hidden in an unattended suitcase detonated in an air-conditioned waiting room at the Bologna station which was full of people seeking refuge from the August heat. The explosion collapsed the roof of the waiting room, destroyed most of the main building, and hit the Ancona–Chiasso train which was waiting at the first platform.
The station was full of tourists that Saturday, and the city was unprepared for a major disaster. Many passers-bys and travelers provided first aid to victims and helped rescue people who were buried under the rubble.
Due to the large number of casualties and an insufficient number of emergency vehicles available to transport the injured to hospitals, firefighters used buses (particularly from the #37 route), private cars, and taxis. Some doctors and hospital staff returned early from vacation to care for the victims, and hospital departments which were closed for the summer holidays were reopened to accommodate the casualties.
After the attack, large demonstrations were held in Piazza Maggiore (Bologna’s central square). Harsh criticism was directed at government representatives who attended the 6 August funerals of the victims in the Basilica San Petronio. The only applause was reserved for President Sandro Pertini, who arrived by helicopter in Bologna at 5:30 pm the day of the massacre and tearfully said: “I have no words; we are facing the most criminal enterprise that has ever taken place in Italy.”
The #37 bus and the clock (stopped at 10:25) were symbols of the massacre. The attack was the worst atrocity in Italy since World War II. (Wikipedia)
The church was founded in 1137 on the site of another church from the 8th century dedicated to St Mary, which had been in turn erected over a Roman temple of the Clemence. The high altar was consecrated in 1185 and in 1187 the presbytery and the transept wings were completed. Due to financial troubles, the works dragged for the whole 13th–14th centuries. The bell tower was built from 1436 (being completed around the end of the century), while in 1481–1491 a new sacristy added after the old one had been destroyed by Bartolomeo Colleoni to erect his personal mausoleum, the Colleoni Chapel.
In 1521, Pietro Isabello finished the south-western portal, also known as Porta della Fontana. The edifice was restored and modified in the 17th century.
Ricordo che era Dicembre e che era un giorno di pioggia. Una pioggia fine che non si decideva a trasformarsi in nebbia. La città di Sapa era avvolta nelle nuvole invernali. Il cielo era grigio ma nelle strade c’erano i colori del mercato pomeridiano. Un uomo controllava una rete da pesca da usare in uno dei piccoli laghi della zona. Sua figlia gli stava vicino e osservava le persone che camminavano lungo la per strada.
I remember it was December and it was a rainy day. A fine rain that could not be turned into fog. The city of Sapa was wrapped in winter clouds. The sky was gray but in the streets there were the colors of the afternoon market. A man controlled a fishing net to use in one of the small lakes in the area. His daughter stood by him and watched the people walking along the street.
The takeoff was smooth even though we had to climb through thick rainy clouds. The fields and trees on the ground disappeared very quickly. The clouds were very low. I looked outside the window and saw just fog. All of a sudden it all disappeared and we flew suspended over the clouds as the sun was setting.