Some riverside reflections from a Sunday walk two weeks ago.
Borås, Sweden – along the river Viskan – mid March, 2014
Today felt like the first proper day of Spring here, with temperatures around +10°C or so – and some crocuses planted in sunny spots deciding it’s time to show their colours, at last!
I celebrated by walking into town to have a peek at the first ever Borås Book Fair. A bold move for a city of our size, as every autumn (since 1985) there is a Big One in Gothenburg/Göteborg (the 2nd largest city in Sweden, only an hour or so away from here), which has grown to be the largest literary festival in Scandinavia and the second largest book fair in Europe (after Frankfurt); with around 100,000 visitors and 900 exhibitors annually. (I have been to the Gothenburg book fair once; but it was back in the early years. It felt “big enough” even then but that was probably nothing to what it’s become since then.)
Anyway – today’s book fair here in Borås was of more modest proportions, and with focus on local authors and literature. It took place in a charming old wooden building (Hemgården) which is used for a variety of cultural events, exhibitions and courses etc.
I arrived about an hour after it opened, and found the place absolutely crowded. Together with several others, I was too late to be able to get a seat for a lecture/interview with a well-know local author starting at 11 o’clock. They had had to lock the door to that since the room was full. But they had put a speaker outside in the courtyard so that one could sit there and listen too. And as it was a nice sunny spring day, quite a few people did. (I did too, for a while, but not the whole hour.)
Indoors in the exhibition hall it was crowded too, and really not enough elbow room to take pictures. I managed this shot of an author whose novel I bought, though. Somehow her presentation hit home with me because she said she based the book on (or was inspired by) some mystery in her family history. We had a bit of a chat while she signed my copy. (The title would translate to The Only Thing That Matters. I’ll have to read the novel to find out what that is, though!)
I also found another book that was an immediate “must have” for me – and I’m so glad that I got this chance to discover and buy it! It’s a wonderful photo book about the nature reserve area close to the house that belonged to our family between 1930 and 2014 (sold after my parents passed away). I have blogged many of my own photos from this area (and all seasons) in the past. * The book combines many lovely professional photos with facts about the history of the area, and its plants and wildlife. I was surprised at first that I didn’t even know this book existed; but it turned out to be quite new – printed only last year.
I had a closer look as soon as I got back home, and I love it. As I have walked those paths so many times (ever since childhood, when visiting my grandparents), I can follow more or less “every step” described, and recall where to find the various trees and plants – especially the early spring flowers.
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* Here are a few of my own photos from April (Easter) 2014:
The meadow behind the mill, with old ash tree (April, 2014)
Wood anemones and hepaticas by the river (April 2014)
Maria’s postcard challenge for this weekend is “from a country you would want to live in if you have the chance/choice”.
The thing is, though, that I can’t remember ever seriously wishing to live anywhere else than in Sweden; and the only other country I may perhaps have imagined myself living in would have been England. And as I already postcard-blogged both those countries just recently, I wanted to come up with something else…
So for that purpose, I undertook another random search of a box of postcards from my past that I’ve been rummaging around in lately, but still don’t know how best to organize (or re-organize).
Now this one happened to catch my eye, and when I took it up for closer study, it made me think (with recent world events and terror attacks and general political instability in mind):
Yes, that’s where I want to live… On Earth, in Peace…
The card was sent to me in 1986 from a friend visiting Kiruna, the northernmost town in Sweden – situated 145 kilometres north of the Arctic circle, in the province of Lapland. The card depicts a collage made by pupils in a school in Kiruna. The photos and newspaper cuttings in the middle are all about children, war and peace. And on the back of the card this verse or quote (probably written by one of the school pupils as well – in Swedish):
“Put away all weapons – bring out peace.
Why doesn’t everyone help to make peace on earth?
[The world] must not come to an end.”
I also found a few more cards from the 1980’s on the same theme:
From a Swedish friend on holiday in Spain in November 1982; but posted in Sweden (with Swedish stamp) by her sister, who had been visiting and took the card back with her to post.
© “Los Angeles Art Projects GMBH”; and printed in Germany.
So a very “international” card!
This one, with photo of a wall tapestry (made in 1979), I received as a welcome from friends/neighbours in Borås when I first moved here to live in January 1986. The card used to sit on the noticeboard in my hall as long as I lived in that flat (22 years).
The text on the tapestry is a quote from Martin Luther:
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces,
I would still plant my apple tree today.”
My last contribution for today:
A Prayer for Peace, sent to me in 1989 from a Swedish friend;
nowadays (since many years) living in Norway.
Prayer for Peace
Lead me from Death to Life,
from Lies to Truth.
Lead me from Powerlessness to Hope,
from Fear to Trust.
Lead me from Hatred to Love,
from War to Peace.
Let Peace fill our Hearts,
our World, our Universe.
This weekend at PFTW, Maria asks us to share postcards “from a country you wish to visit”.
To be honest, I’m not really longing to go anywhere at all these days, unless I can learn to apparate and be allowed to borrow Hermione’s beaded bag. (If you don’t know what I’m referring to, you need to read Harry Potter! Instant magical transportation, and a tiny little handbag which still magically has room for absolutely everything one might possibly need…)
But if I pretend for a moment that I could do that, and was to go now, I think I might choose Spain. I have been there once, but that was 50 (!) years ago. It was in May 1967, it was our very first family trip abroad, and I was eleven going on twelve. We stayed in the small town of Sitges near Barcelona, and also went on a couple of tourist day trips by bus out of there – one to some small village up in the mountains, and one into the city of Barcelona.
In January (2017) I received this card from Ginny in the US, which brought up memories of the unique Barcelona architecture:
This park was built between 1900 and 1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. In 1984, UNESCO declared the park a World Heritage Site under “Works of Antoni Gaudí”.
I’m not sure if we visited that park, but I know we did see the famous
cathedral*basilica La Sagrada Familia and some other buildings by Gaudi. The cathedral, started in 1882, is still being built… Checking up on it in Wikipedia now, it seems they estimate completion in 2026-28! (Maybe I’ll go in 2030 or so to check?)
My old postcards from 1967 are all glued into an album together with some very blurry black-and-white photos of my own. It’s a spiral-bound album so it can’t be put on the scanner… But I tried copying some with my camera (digitally cropped and edited after):
▲La Sagrada Familia, postcard image from ~1967 (or earlier).
▼Below, for comparison, an image from Wikipedia 2009.
I do think the cathedral has kept growing…!▼
▲ Another Gaudi building (postcard from ~1967).
▲ Postcard images from Sitges ~1967 ▼
To finish off: A postcrossing card from Madrid landed on my doormat this week, reminding me of Spain again. It shows signs with street names painted on tiles, from Madrid.
Quite an interesting challenge for me to try and figure out what the names meant. The one that puzzled me the most was “Calle de la montera”. I couldn’t find montera in my dictionary, and didn’t understand what the picture was supposed to be. After a bit of internet research I learned that montera is a bullfighter’s hat:
Montera - Photo from Wikipedia
PS. I see now (Wikipedia) that I made a mistake in calling La Sagrada Familia a cathedral, as it is not the seat of a bishop. The proper name is "basilica".
After the wintry setback last week, we had a beautiful sunny weekend with blue skies and milder temperatures.
Yesterday, I went for a walk through a central part of town with many older buildings, but also new apartment blocks in between. I took some photos focusing on the variety in styles.
The goal for my walk was the Cultural Centre, which comprises theatre, library and art museum.
The tower you see sticking up in the background belongs to the town’s biggest church (from around 1900), opposite the main entrance of the Cultural Centre building.
The camera always has a struggle getting the perspective of this building right…
(The “exclamation mark” on the left in the foreground is a sculpture of which the bottom part is a terrestrial globe.)
At the Art Museum I bought a new annual museum pass, and had a stroll around the current exhibitions.
More or less every time that I visit art museums, I find myself wrestling the question What is art? This time, obviously the exhibitors had been asking themselves that too, as they had come up with this title for the main exhibition: “An artist is someone who was not able to be a cartoonist.”
Nevertheless, cartoons and cartoonists are the main focus of this art exhibition. Not really my specialist subject… But there were some familiar cartoon classics included:
If I’d been a bit more bendable I’d have been able to crawl into the Skull Cave and sit for a while and catch up on all the old Phantom chronicles that I did not read back in my childhood. (I only occasionally read some daily strips in newspapers.)
I’ll be linking to: