Thursday, August 30, 2012


I'm back in Florence.  All myself. My agenda is this: Prepare the group tour this october by visiting some more places and "walk up" my itineraries. Then comes research for my writing project. (Which is very much about Florence) and, of course, write. 
I also get to work on my Italian, by listening, talking to people, and trying to learn and improve all the time.
Then it is this other, more hard to describe, aspect, which for me go with all traveling: Just going, and just being there. 
To travel - go somewhere -  and then be there, in another place. Just being there. 
Realizing and enjoying the fact that our senses get sharpened whenever we are removed from our own,  familiar zone.
I need it once in a while. I think we all do. I need it for many reasons, and it fuels me for my everyday life.

The Norwegian poet Helge Torvund has written it beautifully in this poem: (Translation further down)

Igjen dreg eg ut for å finna attende
Igjen reiser eg for å koma bort
frå alt kvardagen kan klare
like godt utan meg
Eg vaskar meg i nye landskap
Skyler pupillane i fontenar
i andre hovudstadar
og kjenner augene klarna
Eg sym i folkemassar
og kjenner folk venda attende til meg
med ny kraft, kroppsleg tilstades
Eg dreg ut og kjem attende
til tidlegare dagar
Då eg sat godt aleine
på eit framandt torg
og forstod så mykje
med bare augene
utan å vite
at eg var lykkeleg

Then, an English translation by me.  I feel it's very close to Torvund's Norwegian words, and hope he will agree:

Once again I leave, so I can find my way back
Once again I leave, so that I can get away
from everything that everyday life can manage
without me
I wash myself in new sceneries
Rince my pupils in fountains
in other capitals
and feel my eyes clear up
I swim in crowds of people
and feel people coming back to me
with new power, bodily present

I leave and I come back
to earlier days
When I sat well alone
on a foreign city square
and understood so much
with only my eyes
without knowing
that I was happy

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Drawing borrowed from Count Sneaky's Journal
I'm writing these days. Almost nonstop now, when I'm not parenting or working as a photographer.
And before long, hopefully, there will be a finished manuscript. I'm reading and re-reading and I'm constantly re-writing my text. The hard part will be how to know when enough is enough, when I can push the baby bird out of the nest and see if it soars or falls to the ground...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First day of real work - or not...

Yesterday was back to school - day for my three oldest children, and my youngest was going to preschool, as he does three days a week. I had lots of stuff sitting on my desk, and most importantly, I was going to write a lot, more specifically go over this project I've been working on for a while. Well, after about two hours, I got (for the first time ever!) a call from my son's preschool: He wasn't feeling well, and he was complaining of stomach ache and nausea. Now he was lying on the floor, not wanting to play. 
So, I quickly left my home office to pick up a little boy who was very happy to ride in a stroller all the way home and then rest on the couch for a while. He explained that his pain was "a five" (out of ten, he his really good about describing pain!), and then, after a while, it was "a one", and then "a zero"
Last night he felt all good,  and today, as it was one of  his "stay at home with mommy-days", he went for a walk with me, talked, smiled and was back to his normal, playful self again. Maybe I'll get to do some writing tomorrow?
(Picture taken about a week ago.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sommerslagere / Summer Hit Concert

In our small town, we have a yearly show filled with song hits from various decades. 
Sommerslagere på Gjøvik Gård celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, and what a show! Wonderful singers and musicians, backed by a highly highly competent crew and management provide for a great music experience in the town park. This has high, international quality, and can be recommended!

I vår lille by er det et årlig sommershow fylt med kjente sanger hentet fra mange tiår. 
Sommerslagere på Gjøvik Gård feirer 10 årsjubileum i år, og for et show!
Fantastiske sangere og musikere, og med svært dyktige folk i ryggen sørger for en flott musikalsk opplevelse i parken som ligger midt i byen. Dette har virkelig høy, internasjonal kvalitet og kan bare anbefales på det sterkeste!

Trond Nagell-Dahl, pianist and artistic director of the show

Knut Anders Sørum

Ingvild Nagell-Dahl

Trond Lien

Leif Anders Wentzel

Per Strand and Trond Nagell-Dahl

Leif Anders Wentzel and Knut Anders Sørum

Ingvild Nagell-Dahl

Jørn Fodnestøl and Knut Anders Sørum

Ingvild Nagell-Dahl

Skibladner - The World's oldest Paddle Steamer

Skibladner on lake Mjøsa, just outside Gjøvik. Photo: Odd Roar Lange.

The paddle steamer Skibladner is a Norwegian icon. Built in 1856, she is the world's oldest paddle steamer still in timetabled service. In the beginning, her mission was to bring people from the train station in Eidsvoll to the three towns around lake Mjøsa: Gjøvik, Hamar and Lillehammer.
Almost 160 years later, with railway and roads all over the country, she still shuttles between the Mjøsa towns all summer long.
This year we took a roundtrip with the ship, from Gjøvik to Hamar and back. A beatuiful journey on Norway's largest lake.

Waiting to board the ship.

Reading while waiting

And, we're off!

Will we fit under that bridge?...

Reading, writing, having a snack on the deck.

The captain 

 Three young skippers! 
(They really got to steer the vessel!)

Everybody got to visit the machine room downstairs. Hot, noisy, but fun!

In Hamar, where we went of the ship for a little while.

Back home.

Bye, Skibladner. See you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Julia Child 100 years

Well, while doing research on the internet, I saw today's Google Doodle, and I learned that it is Julia Child's 100th birthday today.
I didn't grow up with her TV shows, as did many Americans, but I've learned to know her through this book: My life in France, her cookbook: Mastering the art of French Cooking and the book and movie bearing the same name: Julie & Julia
So, here's to you, Julia Child!
An American in Paris (and other places), whose life and work have given and continue to give wonderful experiences to several generations of people.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Enjoying Summer

This little guy is simply enjoying summer. Running around barefoot in the backyard, picking flowers, eating wild strawberries, playing with water.
Being four years old is wonderful. It's still early childhood, so much lies ahead, but still old enough to probably remember many of these things.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Country Café

Another Stay-cation destination: Skafferiet, a charming country-romantic café and clothes/interiour design store at  Helgøya, a beautiful l island in the middle of  lake Mjøsa. After a scenic drive along the lake shore, we had cake, juice and coffee served to us between the old apple trees.
The place is a really historic one. People inhabited this island as early as year 2000 BC, and during the viking period, the site of the café used to be home for the local kings as well as a pagan sanctuary. Later, during the Middle Ages, the area became property of a Christian monastery.
The Norwegian word for holy is hellig, and this gave the island its name. Holy island - Helgøya.
Today the island is covered with large fields of wheat and potatoes, and there is this little peaceful spot, a perfect place to spend some afternoon hours, have a cup of coffee and simply enjoy the day.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Stay-cation

If you should be wondering, I can really recommend a stay-cation.
This summer we've simply chosen to stay home a lot. After almost two months in France this spring, we wanted to reconnect with our "base camp" in Norway, and except for a few trips to visit family and some work-related traveling, we've mostly been home, having a stay-cation. 
It's in fact really nice. Long-lasting, lazy mornings, playing in the backyard, going bicycling, swimming or simply sitting down with a book or watching a a movie.
Not having an agenda, no other than hanging out, either together or  by ourselves. Taking life as it comes, even taking our time to do nothing. Spending time with family and friends.
A fun part of a typical stay-cation is the opportunity to go on smaller outings in the area, seeing places and doing things often left out, simply because it's close to home.
These photographs are from  Sveinhaug farm,  just on the other side of the lake. It was part of a summer program of "open farms" in our area, and we went there with my father-in-law, who was visiting for a week.