Maybe not really wordless today. Puzzling is what I am doing right now, but please visit Cindy Knoke for expert help to handle the pandemic situation we are in!
Last weekend I went to Umeå with my son – to visit the daughter/sister. We all love this city, and its famous white birches. We hoped to have some fun in each other’s company, and to finally get some winter. As you can understand we got more winter than down in Skåne – but not much snow. Usually they have 75 – 100 cm. Too much jumping temperatures this winter, rain and snow taking turns. We did some tough walking!
We were lucky with the weather though – sun and temperatures between – 14C and – 3C.
Naturally we had to go to the big game shop with every game you can think of – we bought some new ones with us home. The evenings were filled with laughter and fun while playing – or trying to understand the new rules…
And, we went to the movies to see Parasite. All of us agreed it was worthy of every Oscar it got. I do recommend watching it – clever and entertaining, thrilling and fun. Really Something Else! Be prepared – the ending is a Tarantino one.
As always we visited the famous book cafe’ from where our most prestigious TV program on cultural events is sent. As we all love this place – I could not resist getting the most out of the visit by merging two of the rooms into one…
…and the bicycle, standing in another window in another room!
I hope you had some fun too, reading about our adventures. Just being together is a great joy, and playing board games is a wonderful way of using your spare time!
We arrived in Bhutan during Paro Tsechu – one of the many colourful dance festivals in honour of Guru Rinpoche, one of Bhutan’s most important historical and religious figures. He visited Bumthang in AD 746, and is said to then have introduced Buddhism to Bhutan. Read more about Tsechus here.
Rinpung Dzong is beautifully situated in the valley. It was built in 1644 to defend the Paro valley from invasions by Tibet. Like most dzongs, it houses the monastic body, district government offices and the local courts.
During the Tsechu festivals, people come from near and far, all wearing their most beautiful kira (women) and gho (men). It is compulsory for all Bhutanese to wear national dress in schools, government offices and on formal occasions.
The cloth is made from cotton or silk and the patterns are very colourful. The only patterns forbidden are flowered ones, but solid reds and yellow colours are also avoided, because these are colours worn by monks.
When we arrived, there was not much room for sitting close to the dancers…but some shots are acceptable. I spent most of the time helping little old ladies and children to a better view. And taking in the atmosphere!
There are many kinds of mask dances, but I remember clearest the one preparing you for the meeting with fearful creatures the first 49 days after you die. This dance will help you facing them without fear.
There are many pieces included in the dress code, but a very significant part is the scarf: Ordinary male citizens wear a kabney of unbleached white silk, but there are different colours for different ranks. The king, for example, wears saffron. The women wear a cloth sash called a rachu over their left shoulder.
If you look closely, you will see that it is very often the men who are taking care of the little children, carrying them or holding them. Bhutan is very particular about equality.
The Buthanese believe they will create merit by attending the tsechus and watching the ritualized dances. They share their food, exchange news and are surrounded by Buddhist teachings. The highlight is the unfurling of the thondrol, a giant thangka, before sunrise the last day. It is believed that your sins are washed away upon viewing this.
Unfortunately we were not at the festival on its last day – so my sins are still with me…
In a week or two from now, I will go up north to visit my daughter. Last year we went in February as well, and visited the Sapmi market, Kiruna and the ice hotel too.
This time we will only visit Umeå, where Emma is studying. Umeå is called ”The city of birch trees” and is a very lovely city even when the birches are covered in snow. Looking forward to going there again! Umeå is a city of culture and has hosted many spectacular events. This February we hope to see the famous snow sculptures.
I happened to overhear this couple in a store in Dublin, Ireland – about the difficulties of choosing the right cap… Somehow, this is of course a human dilemma that hits us all sometimes…which one should I buy?
In Sweden almost everyone my age is familiar with a famous humour dialogue with Gösta Ekman and a newspaper salesman, about which evening paper to buy: Aftonbladet eller Expressen.
Unfortunately Gösta Ekman passed away recently, but his legacy is that of a giant in the Swedish comedy genre.
I cannot post the dialogue, since it is only in Swedish, but chose this clip instead. Among all his movies and comedies, Ekman invented his own, middle aged, clumsy figure called ”Papphammar”. Papphammar is the average man, who sometimes wants to try new things…with not so very great success.
Gösta Ekman did all his ”stunts” himself, and his body had to take a great deal over the years. Our greatest comedian, actor, director. We are grateful for all his unforgettable gifts to us.
Tres Hombres Art exhibits Scandinavian and international art everywhere in the hotel. Mostly modern and photographic. Right now there is about 400 works of art here, and several of them you can buy.
Here is a short gallery with a few of them. Notes under the pictures.
Per Gessle has really put his mark on the hotel design, and downstairs is the large bar with records and posters from his long career with Roxette (Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson) and Gyllene Tider.
During our four days in Sofia, we had some delicious food. Eating Bulgarian was of course a must – and here is a short view of our favourite restaurant!
Hadjidraganov´s Cellars in the centre of Sofia, close to the main street Vitosha, is indeed worth a visit. Excellent Bulgarian food and not expensive at all. Rustic furniture, lovely people and live music in the evenings as well. A must if you visit Sofia!
For five years Łódź has been hosting the Light Move Festival, and last year there were 50 000 visitors. I can understand why. Let us count down…and walk with the crowd!
Many planets and clouds moving –
And, let us count down again…and have a spooky walk in the park…with wild animals, hanging tree witches and other creatures!
What about giant shining flowers made of plastic bottles? Or the traditional balloons!
In the big square we enjoyed the Grand Finale – The Rossman Building and the cathedral, dancing and moving in spectacular light shows …The short movies are on my Facebook and on Instagram – it is not possible to transmit the feeling with only photos…
My favourite birds though…over there to the right. Then we finished off with our own ”Rosegarden”, sparkling in the darkness. It has got a special and very touching story – go to Viveka at Myguiltypleasures to read it! Good night to you all!
The Light Move Festival – the name says what it is about. Moving lights, dancing, changing – together with catchy music. The first night we went out only on our own street. And we loved it.
The gear and the people guarding it were very friendly and helpful – they even tried to walk us to the restaurant we could not find…
I was happy to see our own Sven Nykvist in the street!
This first night, before the big crowds, we could stroll and only enjoy. Saturday night there was really too much people around, and Viveka and I lost each other several times.
So, photographing is not the best thing to do here…instead I filmed some with my phone. Spectacular – but as my site does not let me show movies, I put the films on my Instagram and on Facebook. That is where you should go if you want to really understand what this festival is all about!
There are other things to show than the street lights though…I will be back with more glimpses of light inventiveness and fantasy from the parks and alleys!