I wander in these busy streets and ask myself where do the shop owners will put all the things they have hanging outside their shops. Is there enough space inside to put everything they display outside? I enjoy these buzzing streets. I watch people negotiating prices. Shop owners counting their revenue for the day on calculators. People stopping to chat or arguing about the quality of some fabric. It’s all very lively.
It is getting late. The sun has set and the sky is turning quickly to dark blue. Soon it will be night. The street lights are not yet on. The shops are small. One next to each other. Few steps up from the road where cars, motorbikes, bicycles go to and from. The man in white was going to pick up his wrist watch. He had left it for repair a day or two before. During those couple of days he was constantly checking with his right hand the left wrist as if all of a sudden realised he had lost the watch his father gave me many years before. So, he was in a hurry to pick it up and feel again the familiar reassurance that old watch gave him.
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.
“The street looks really nice with all these candle lights”, I said. “The atmosphere suddenly changed as soon as the sun set”, she said. “Just before sunset there were all these people walking quickly towards Boudhanath, to start walking around it and recite their prayers. They all see a bit in a rush. Now that is dark, they are quietly walking in the narrow streets near the pagoda where they stop to light these candles.”
“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).
I was back in Kathmandu last April. I had not been back for many years. I lived there of a year in 1999-2000 when I started working in international development in food-for-work project funded by the German agency for international cooperation (GTZ at that time). This is why Nepal and Kathmandu are special places for me. The first night I was back, I went for a walk to Thamel to take some street photos. I stayed in Nepal for three weeks for work and will post over the next week or so some of the images I took.
On our way back from Lapland we had a stopover in Rovaniemi. We had enough time to visit the Arktikum, the science centre and museum about northern nature and culture. In one of the side rooms the museum has a photo exhibition about the 60 years of the city of Rovaniemi. It is a very simple display. One TV screen shows a slideshow of black and white photos about the 60 years of the city. I sat and started to watch it. I took my camera and started to take photos of the photos I was seeing. They are very nice images of everyday life, people and their jobs, sport, music, concerts. A great set of images about the city and its citizens.
You can see the images below. The images are straight out of the camera. The only edit has been the change of format from RAW into JPG. I have not cropped any image nor changed resolution or contrast.
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.
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)
Millesgården can be termed a work of art in its own right, a nicely balanced stage design of terraces, fountains, stairways, sculptures and columns, coupled with a diversity of vegetation and an immense vista across the waters of Värtan from the rocky heights of Herserud.
It was in 1906 the sculptor Carl Milles bought a plot of land on the island of Lidingö, and in 1908 he had a house and a studio built here. Carl and Olga remained in this lovely home until 1931. A magnificent donation by Carl and Olga Milles established, in 1936, the Carl and Olga Milles Lidingöhem Foundation. Millesgården was first opened for the general public in the closing years of the 1930s.
Millesgården is still run by the foundation, which includes representatives of the Swedish Government and the Municipality of Lidingö. This unique setting, one of Sweden’s foremost tourist attractions, welcomes thousands of visitors every year. It is open all the year round and the intention is for the museum, aided by exhibitions and activities of various kinds, to continue in the visionary spirit of Carl Milles himself (Link).