My Frozen places

Snowball Zermatt

Take a tour with me –

 

Iceland – the ultimate Frozen landscapeIceland Thingvellir

 

A snow bunny in the frozen Norwegian countrysideOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Delicate frozen-ness atop the Swiss Alpssnow

 

Icy vastness in the Antipodes of New Zealandsnow

 

Even in Australia, one can find frozen Gum treessnowgums falls cree 2011

 

The snow was icy and ‘sharp’ this day. If you fell skiing, it really hurt!Beitostolen

 

A face that could freeze hearts!

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Linking to the Travel theme: Frozen

 

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Travel theme: Paths

Walking is something most of us do, and we take it for granted. Our feet take us along paths of life, paths of careers, family and nature.

Come walking with me along my the paths of my travels in this fascinating planet:

 

Vejen, Denmark
Kicking the leaves in country Denmark

 

Paths can take you to new discoveries, and invite you to experience a sensory adventure. They instill a feeling of anticipation, or mystery, of what lies beyond.

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Boardwalk in Australia
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 A Secret Garden, Australia

A path might lead to a place where each of us will imagine something different, based on on own microcosmic experiences.

Sunshine Coast
Pandanas Palms shelter the stairs to the Beaches of the Sunshine Coast
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A stairway to where?

As a child, I was completely fascinated with spiral staircases. Not often seen in Australia, they are subject to strict building regulations but regulations have no impact on a child’s imagination.

Iceland
Path to the Magical Blue Lagoon in Iceland

This was a path I will never forget – a special memory for me and my daughter. A wintry swim in the geothermal waters.

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You never know how you might meet on the path in Austria
Site of the ancient fortress
A path to Else’s house and Viking history in Norway

Do you have a favourite walking path? Is it near of far from home?

Others share their path at Where’s My Backpack.

 

 

Travel theme: Fabric

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Traveling to different places in the world gives me an excuse to investigate folk traditions in fabric design. Something I find incredibly inspirational when it comes to designing my own artwork. Fabric and furnishings can also reflect the cultural and historical nuances and traditions of a region.

Norwegian embroidery and weaving

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Where would you find a beautiful fabric motif like this, but Innsbruck?!

fabric innsbruck

Hardanger embroidery on a cafe curtainhardanger embroidery

Norway is a country, where you will find many original and distinctive fabrics in many different forms.

Click on each individual photo to see a larger version

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Norwegian National dress

If you have some fabric that you have discovered in your travels, post a link to your blog or join in with Ailsa’s photographic travel theme challenge.

 

Something to Ponder About

 

Proverbial Thursday – Proverbs from Around the World

Proverbial sml

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking.  I hope you will, too.

 

“A blind chicken will often find an ear of corn.”Austrian Proverb

Once you realise your past is just a story, it has no power over you

– Author Unknown

Something Proverbial to Ponder About

Christmas Traditions – Merry Christmas and God jul to All

Everyone has certain traditions surrounding Christmas or Juletide. Some come from one’s own heritage, or upbringing, whilst others have more modern origins.xmascollage5Likewise in our house, we have a mix of Danish/Australian traditions and some we have created ourselves like the fact that we always have lollie jars for the kids and candy ‘teeth’ sweets and bon bon hats are a must. (Nothing like pretending you have a large overbite and wear pointed paper hats for a good laugh).  Traditionally Danish Christmas eve Dinner is held on December 24th, and accordingly we open one present after dinner, and then follow Australian traditions of opening the rest of the presents on the morning of December 25. The lollie jars started out with dinner, when the kids were young, but even so, my big kids, a.k.a. men, still ask for them. 🙂

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Christmas day Dec 25, itself, might be spent visiting relatives or playing water volleyball in the backyard swimming pool, seeing relatives, or trying to keep cool in the sweltering heat. Notoriously Christmas day can be around 37 degrees celsius, so one sits inside with the air con on ‘high cool’, lying around watching old home videos that make one laugh and sometimes, cry.

There are , however, some more unusual traditions than ours. For example:

Austrian Christmas - Krampus
My encounter with the Krampus in Austria

Based on old Germanic folklore, Austrians, (not to be confused with Australians, who have the kangaroos),  start celebrating Christmas on December 5, with Santa’s evil twin, the “Krampus”, a devil like figure with horns, which roams the streets with his evil accomplice, (who brandishes a whip and stick amd threatens naughty children who’ve misbehaved throughout the year).  Traditionally, young men dress up with the hairy ‘Krampus’ masks and roam the streets creating havoc, hitting people with sticks. An excuse for outlandish drunken behaviour, methinks. But it is tradition, designed to make children toe the line for the next year. Luckily, when I met the Krampus, he was in a good mood and without his heinous accomplice!

Other strange Christmas traditions I found on openjourneys.com

In Czech republic on Christmas Eve, “unmarried Czech women practice a traditional fortune telling method to predict their relationship status for the upcoming year. If you’d like to give this a try, here’s how to do it: Stand with your back to your door and toss one of your shoes over your shoulder. If it lands with the toe facing the door it means that you will get married within the year. If it lands with the heel facing the door, you’re in for another year of unmarried status“.

In Japan, children eat Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas Day!

In Catalonia, life at Christmas is surely different:

Caga Tió, the pooping log, is a bizarre Christmas tradition. It starts with a hollowed out log, which is propped up on four little leg-like sticks and then painted to have a face. Every night, beginning December 8th, Caga Tió is “fed” and covered with a blanket (so that he doesn’t catch a cold). On Christmas Eve or Christmas day Caga Tió is put in the fireplace, beaten with a stick and ordered to “poop”. He is encouraged, along with the beating, by singing songs with catchy lyrics such as:Caga Tio, Catalonia, Spain

caga tió (poop log)
caga torró (poop turrón)
avellanes i mató (hazelnuts and cottage cheese)
si no cagues bé (if you don’t poop well)
et daré un cop de bastó. (I’ll hit you with a stick.)
caga tió!” (poop log!)

When he is done pooing candies, nuts and such, Caga Tió will then give one last push to reveal an onion, a head of garlic or a salt herring.” (from openjourneys.com)

In Caracas, Venezuela, church-goers attend an early morning mass between December 16th and December 24th. Not so strange for a mostly Catholic population. What is unusual about this practice is how everyone gets to church: on roller skates. The streets are blocked off to vehicular traffic until 8 am and children, the night before, tie one end of a piece of string to their big toes and hang the other end out the window. As roller skaters go by the next morning, they give a tug to all the strings hanging out the windows.”  That is one way to get the kids up and going to Church.

Nisse

Then there is always the Nisser in Danmark and Norway, which must be kept happy. Tradition dictates that one must leave a bowl of risengrøt or rice porridge to the little nisse/elf, that lives in the barn, so that he may bring good luck to all. Otherwise, he may play some naughty tricks on the home owners.El Caganer, Spain

Perhaps the strangest of all, is the ones found in “parts of Spain, Portugal and Italy, is to set up a model village of Bethlehem.

Along with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, a Caganer, or “Shitter” in English, is placed in the scene. The Caganer is a figurine, traditionally of a man, in the act of defecating, pants around his knees bending over with pile of feces at his heels. He is usually placed in a corner, perhaps because he needs privacy. The Caganer has been around for a few hundred years and in recent times it has evolved from a traditionally dressed man taking care of business to figurines of celebrities, nuns, politicians and Santa Claus.” (source: openjourneys.com)

And I thought my tradition of having candy teeth at Christmas time, was a little weird!!

Do you have unusual traditions at your house? Something I’ll ponder about.Blog pics 020

Whatever your tradition, may your Christmas be a happy and healthy one, full of fond memories, and love and peace. Glaedelig jul, God jul, Merry Christmas to you all.