Tag Archives: Denmark

Picture This



Remember the ad that Kodak ran, “the moments of our lives”?  Kodak left for a while, but then turned around, came back, and took another picture of itself, this time digitalized.  And so we all became part of the world of personal photographers who chronical our “moments” for posterity, in perpetuity, forever, in “The Cloud”, wherever that really is.  We point and click, and download and upload.  There is no end to what we can take a picture of from a piece of clothing we want our friend to comment on “should I buy it?” to a street sign that captures something funny, to our children, grandchildren, or the license plate of the person who took our parking space, intentionally.   

There are the posed pictures, the imposed pictures “Smile!  Dammit!” as well as the unintentional pictures of our thumbs and the floor.  I have quite a few of those which I look at for any artistic merit before I put them in the little trash pail icon on my phone.  In my imagination, I envision a cartoon which has the Statue of Liberty surrounded by a mass of people whose faces we cannot see because instead they have a cell phone “photoshopped”  where their faces would be.  We are our iPhones/cameras.  We see through a lens,not just metaphorically, but through the viewfinders of our phones.  

The last significant scenic vacation that my FHB and I travelled was to Norway and Denmark.  The first several days of travel, I chronicled the trip through video and iPhone.  In order to actually get a sense of what I was seeing, I had to remember it via the video and still pictures.  Somehow that seemed wrong.  I felt that I didn’t actually “see” anything.  I didn’t feel the expanse of the mountains or glaciers.  I didn’t get the magnitude of the beauty of Bergen and the fjords because I was not memorializing the pictures in my mind, but rather on my phone.  

Technology is amazing and it has so many tools that we benefit by having access to.  Yet it does not replace our interactions with nature or people, up close and personal, and especially face to face.  I’ve put down the camera at times when I want to take a picture in my mind, and be part of the moment, in the moment.  A picture may be worth a thousand words, and yet some of those words are worth hearing as the person looks at you,  faces you,  and sees your response to something they say.  Something clicks inside us and we don’t need a button to see it.


The Prince and The Princess

So, we have been back from our Norway/Denmark vacation for four days.  The cat missed us as evidenced by her constant need to be attached to one of us at all times and if we leave the loft, just to put the trash down the incinerator, when we return she cries the most pathetic cry.  The laundry had to be done, suitcases put away, one personal carry-on item for each of us had to be gone through and items thrown away.  Work looms over us like the anticipation of that pesky eclipse.   Today “don’t look at the sun” was followed by “good luck going back to work tomorrow”.  I resisted the first part and spent much of the day looking at my feet while walking because my oppositional defiant behavior whispers in my ear “look up, look up at the sun” but I resisted.  Tomorrow the first day back to school will be filled with “did you look at the eclipse” and I will say “no, I was ill prepared and feared for my eyesight” and my colleagues will know that I rarely stay up for the last game of the World Series, I haven’t ever watched Downton Abbey and I don’t actually know what “Game of Thrones” is about.  I’m that person that doesn’t follow the crowd.

My FHB and I talk about our trip in glowing terms.  We bask in our memories and process the days and revisit the highlights.  And then there are the comments….real story:

Me: “Good night my Prince of Denmark”

FHB:  Goodnight my Norwegian Princess”

Me: “I think you called me a giant cruise ship”….I’m not feeling the love…

FHB: You are ridiculous

Vacation is over.   Familiarity bred contempt.  A momentary acknowledgement that life goes on, as it should.  We return to our respective corners of our world and responsibilities of our daily lives.  We work so the cat can have her food.  We take in the newspaper, we watch the news we missed while we were away,  instead having focused on glaciers, herring and people watching.  We met people from all over the world.  We dined with a family from Singapore, another family from California, a couple from Australia and a woman with the best fiery attitude from Delhi, India.  We met folks who were there to walk in the footsteps of their ancestral roots.  One elderly gentleman and dairy farmer from Wisconsin, who walked with a cane, and whose every step was clearly painful, travelled with two of his adult children to see the land his parents came from.  He said ” I have wished to see this land for such a long time and now I am here and complete”.  Each traveller had a reason to choose this trip, whether it was to find out more about themselves, or couples like us, who want to see the beauty of the land which will exist long after we are gone.  We could remain present and engaged in making memories.  For as many times as I lifted the camera to capture a picture, there were more times when the camera became a barrier between what I was seeing and what I was taking in. The best pictures were those I took to keep in my mind.  This was not a leisurely paced vacation. We were up at 6 a.m. and our luggage was put outside our door to be retrieved by 6:45.  We were on the bus within the hour and off to see the land and to listen to the stories of the history of Norway and the social culture and conscience of this country.  Much of how they live is based on all people truly having access to what they need (free health care and education) to live a good life.  The rules that the citizens follow make sense and everyone understands the rationale.  It seemed less emotional and more logical.  It seemed as the first cab driver we met when we arrived said to us “It’s going to be an overcast and rainy week ahead.  You will still see all the beauty of Norway and your enjoyment is only dampered by what you control. The weather is certainly not in any of our control. So we choose here to let the 99%  we have no control over not bother us.  ” We took those words to heart and saw past the rain and focused on the slivers of sunshine that teased us on some days.

We came home to the reality of disbelief and upended chaos.  I turn to literature and find the following line from Hamlet  ““Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”
William Shakespeare, Hamlet

And with those words…I wish you a good night. May the moon stay in orbit of the earth and the sun.

Hei There!


“To travel is to live”…Hans Christian Anderson

“Once a year go somewhere you’ve never been” …Dalai Lama

August is our travelling month.  This is the time of the year that we don’t necessarily go see anyone we know but rather get to know one another again through an adventure of our choosing, although some adventures choose us!  This year, after some medical ups and downs,  seemed like a great time to set sail, or airplane (not personal but rather commercial) and see what we can see.  About a month ago, or less than that, when I realized that time was approaching school daze, I asked my FHB where he would like to go. The question barely left my lovely lips (his words) and he said “Norway”.  Without missing a beat, I said “absolutely!”.  We had a limited window of opportunity to plan this trip but with a bit of finagling and faith in people who know travel, the plans were made and the itinerary set.  I learned quite a bit about the dynamic of setting a wishlist at the  last minute.  It is somewhat like watching the home renovation/buy a new mansion shows where the host asks the prospective client what they “must have” and then you watch as it unfolds into the what you can afford and what is realistic.  I actually think we were much more reasonable within our time constraints and the plan unfolded.  My only request, was that since Norway was really close to Denmark (about an inch away from Oslo to Copenhagen in my wonderful world atlas), that we could  go and see the Little Mermaid and the Tivoli Gardens.  And so among other places with names I have only seen as I pored over the maps and guidebooks, we will spend a few days in Copenhagen, after we visit the land of Thor Hyerdahl, Sonja Henie, and Roald Amundsen.  We will eat herring ad nauseum.  We will see the sunset later than we have ever experienced and I am told it never truly gets dark, but rather dusky.

I am trying to learn a few words in Norwegian and pack efficiently.  I have a feeling I will be better at one and not so good at the other.  The reality that we have our minds mostly intact, our spirits still strong, and our senses of humor which can carry us through customs and misadventures, makes me aware that there is a lot of world I want to see and now seems like the best time to start.  You can follow me on Instagram @bblueiris13.  I will possibly blog while we are travelling, but if not, please know that I will be back in touch with tales of Scandinavia @thoughtswhilewaitingfortheelevator/wordpress.

Have a great week.  God kveld!