On top of the world

A new found friendship took me up a path I haven’t travelled for many years. This sentence sound metaphorical, but it isn’t, in fact it is not at all. A visiting colleague opened for the opportunity for me to work as a mountain guide for a day. In the company of a wonderful lady I walked the few kilometres to the Pulpit Rock on a sunny weekday. The Pulpit Rock is a peculiar rock formation of a nearly flat, square mountain plateau situated 604 metres above sea level. Under the Rock there’s a vertical mountainside which ends in  a scree slope, an accumulation of rocks and fragments of rocks which again runs into the fjord a little further down. 

We started our walk from the parking lot above the Preikestolen Youth Hostel where I have spent many of my summers cleaning and cooking. Im in no better shape then I was while doing the climb, and my pulse reached new heights. The first part of the hike is quite steep. The bad thing about that is of course that me being in such bad shape will have trouble keeping my pulse down, I feel flushed, and I need to take many small breaks. The positive side is that when you stop and turn around the view is stunning; where stunning is indeed an understatement. We could see across the fjord to the city and beyond. 

We climbed a few screes, passed a few Spaniards, laughed at a few Germans, and followed the path thread by hundreds of thousands every summer. When we had finished climbing, we sat down for lunch. We found a decent plateau where we had a wonderful view of the fjord, a lake, the forests and the surrounding mountain tops. How wonderful it is to sit on top of the world, enjoying a nice meal with good company, with the heaviest part of the walk behind us, and the best yet to come. We sat down in isolation, though with quite a few tourists passing by a few metres away, but when left we left behind a group of about 30 people who had been inspired by our lunch break. 

A few minutes’ walk later we rounded the mountain and came out to the steep slopes running down into the fjord. A few balancing acts and a few metres of plain walking we saw the Pulpit Rock. 

The view is surreal, better than any postcard. I can not begin to describe and will instead leave you with these few photos a mere attempts of showing the magnificence of the goal of our hike. 

Evening creativity

I was quiet for a few days. The reason I have been quiet is that I have been so loud. I have not been embarrassingly loud, but I have been talking a lot, and I have been very social. The need to blabber digitally has thus not been as strong. Everyday life has returned, while extraordinary life has also made a brief visit, hence the real life blabbering.

Now, for a wee warning. As everyday life now seems to be back on track I also have time for some spare time activities. Consequently there might be a bit of creative input on the blog. The creative input will simply be me sharing what I spend my evenings working on. You see, I scrap: scrapbooking, cardmaking and various papercrafting (a few questionable gerunds there, but hey, I’m not a native speaker, leave me alone :P). These function as a creative outlet for me, where I get to make something simply be tearing or cutting paper and gluing it back together. A wee bit creative, a wee bit easy, and something to make gifts a wee bit more special.

Earlier this week I gathered four lovely ladies around the kitchen table. I made a proper mess, talked a lot, found some inspiration and ended the night with two simple cards. A very successful evening.

The old mill

Some time back I took you on a hike in the forest and mountains surrounding the town in which my parents live. However, as I stopped to drink from the river, there was a small gem I hid from you and would now like to show you.

As I mentioned then there was a small farm near the river. In connection with this farm there used to be a small mill by the river. The mill is long gone, but the mill stones were left  where the mill used to be to tell the stories of the former activities. In 1995 a small hut was built in place of the mill. The hut looks so picturesque where it sits near the river, just beneath the forest, with a grass clad roof. Unfortunately the mill stones are now gone, most likely due to the a new, small, road which now makes it possible to get a car only a few metres away from the hut.

The hut is built much like the original mill. On the walls inside are small panels from the older mills with signatures and dates from when they were built. A pretty little thing to be found a few metres off the beaten track.

Krakow, Poland

Krakow is a beautiful city, there is no doubt about that. However, after four days both my husband and I felt like we’d seen what there was to see. The city was affected by the massive amounts of tourists visiting, and though beautiful it seemed to lack some of its soul. I find a city a lot more interesting if you can blend in with the inhabitants and see the city as they do. This seemed difficult in Krakow, as tourists dominated the urban picture. The city centre appeared to be abandoned by its inhabitants. As we visited in July, we shouldn’t have expected anything else, still it’s sad to see the city not being used as anything but a giant museum.

Most shops in the city centre must owe their existence to tourists looking for cheap and inauthentic memorabilia. The book shops had a good selection of books in English and other foreign languages, and books about Poland and Krakow were on every shelf. We visited two of the three major shopping centres in the city, and were pleasantly surprised by the atmospheres there. This seemed to be where the locals went. Polish was spoken everywhere, and not everyone understood English. 

The shops varied from the typical brand stores; Puma, Nike, and the like, to similar shops with a lower price setting; the make-up store Inglot for example, seemed to compare well in quality to many of the high street brands in Sephora. Prices are ridiculous compared to prices in Norway, for most things, however, certain brands (again Puma and Nike) seem to have the same prices all over Europe. We did, however, find a few treasures hidden in the Jewish district.

We did try proper Polish cuisine, the restaurant could probably have been better though, though it seemed to be among the better at first sight. What we ordered sounded good, but looked worse, it was also very plain, both in taste, presentation and variation – Husband had a piece of meat and rice covered in gravy – with no salad, vegetables or anything to spice up the visuals or the taste. Food elsewhere was very good. Restaurants had varied menus, and the quality of even the cheapest locations seemed to be rather high.

Language was never a problem and most who were in contact with tourists spoke English quite well. I did however have an encounter with a shop assistant in a shop in one of the shopping centres. The assistant only spoke Polish, but pretended to understand everything I asked about. We actually held a long conversation, or it might be considered two monologues, between the two of us.

Near Krakow is Auschwitz Birkenau, a concentration camp from the second world war. We did not visit. Tour companies offer daily trips at quite a low cost from most hotels and also from the city centre. We visited the salt mines Wieliczka, which I have already talked about here.

I was a little disappointed by the city, but can only blame that on myself. We visited in July, when the city is crowded by tourists. I would have liked to go again, but then not in the worst tourist season. We walked and walked for hours every day, and even while moving away from the city centre, were unable to find the soul and spirit of the city, which I hope and believe would have been more easily found in October, rather than July.

Given time

It’s been a month. A month since the lives of so many were changed so abruptly. They say an entire nation was changed in that moment, because of one extreme, right-winged psychopath. People were killed, most of these politically curious (rather than politically active – as many still weren’t old enough, and many we still only exploring this interest) and intelligent, young adults. The lives of their loved ones are changed forever.

I wrote some thoughts about the terrorist attacks earlier. Love and respect were words I used to describe the people around me at that time. These words are still relevant, very much so, even though we no longer speak of what happened. I say we’ve gone back to where we were, but stronger this time, because we now know what we can expect from those around us. We now know that we can rely on others, and that we are not alone in what has been going on. We don’t talk, but we think, and we know, and we don’t forget. 

Time is said to heal all wounds. Maybe it does, but wounds still leave scars. Scars are visible, they show, and everyone can see that they’re there. But a scar is also a thicker layer of skin, tougher than the unhurt skin that was torn apart, or away. The area of the scar is less easily bruised.

The weeks after the attack were exceptional. All those who spoke up, spoke for the same cause. Everyone stood together. I would like to have kept on those pink shaded specs that made everything look so blissful and peaceful, but now there are other voices as well. I hear what they say, I listen, I learn, but I think, and I know, and I am not alone. I watch them with my deceiving blue eyes, and turn my scar towards them, and I am not alone. Democracy means there will always be minorities, but the majority rules.

Berries in the backyard

As mentioned some time ago, my parents live in a rural town not too far from here. They still live in the house I grew up in, which is surrounded by quite a big garden. I’m not talking farm-size, but big enough for some fruit trees, bushes with different types of berries, a small play-house, and more than enough space to roam around.

Black currants

Every year around this time the garden is full of berries. I tell myself every year that I will take advantage of this and gather the fruits and berries. But for some reason it is never first on my to-do list when the season comes around. This year I have a few gooseberries in the freezer, as well as a few red currants, all picked my parents. Time will show what I’ll use them for.

Red currants

Plum season is here now, which is a true sign that summer has come to an end, and autumn is taking over. We bought, and ate, almost a kilo of them today. Opals, the best kind. Soon the fruit vendors in the city will display a vast variety of delicious plums and apples. I can’t wait.

Gooseberries

Garden design

Interior design is popular these days, that much I have noticed. And especially in this area, the dominating style seems to be shabby chic, French country style, or something similar to a palette of white and pastels having exploded in a room, together with loads of lace and linen.

Now, I don’t mind the style, it’s just that too much of it makes me barf. I assume there’s absolutely no reason to, but I pity the kids I see dressed in pastels in order to match their parents’ (read: mother’s) interior design. I thought of doing the same to Son. Dressing him up in white, pale blue and light shades of grey. Shoot many photos, before taking him out in the forrest to pick blueberries. Now, that would be a sight!

I have posted about my kitchen earlier, and I probably will again soon (if Ikea will do as they’ve promised). And I have mentioned my bedroom, which I will probably also do again. But except for a few things every now and again, I promise I won’t turn this blog into an interior design blog. And especially lace will be a rare sight! However, there are a few things I would love for my garden. I have spotted a few things while out travelling, and I just have to share them. So instead of going all interior blog on you, I’ll go exterior blog on you! Because I think this would look brilliant in my garden:

Now, this isn’t all that unusual, and doesn’t really stand out (well, it would in my garden as it would cover the entire front lawn). But take a look at this peaceful lion’s wee brother:

Now, that would make a statement! Don’t you think?

This is to be found btw in the city centre of Cracow, Poland