This blue marble

– and yet it spins

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My Stockholm crib

stallisMy favorite crib in Stockholm is Stallmästaregården, an old gasthaus with creaky old wooden floors, the feeling of staying at someone’s private mansion (not a hotel), and the loveliest staff there ever was. I used to stay here every week, and returning after a year felt like taking a warm bath (the food in the excellent -reviewed restaurant helps, too).

(Stockholm, Sweden; April 2018)

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Easter lilies

daffodilsIn my mind, daffodils are flowers of old houses inhabited by sweet old ladies. In Finland they are mostly bright yellow wild daffodils. But oh, those special moments, when walking past a garden I would spot the smaller, white poet’s daffodil, with a little red crown. I could look at the intricate and symmetric architecture of a poet’s daffodil for a very long time.

In the winter garden in Helsinki, Easter was celebrated with daffodils. Perhaps partly because daffodils are also called Easter lilies in Finnish and Swedish? And what is more joyful than a sea of yellow and orange after a long, cold, dark winter?

(Winter gardens, Helsinki, Finland; April 2018)

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On the top of London

londoneye-4On my first ever visit to London, in 2000, the London Eye was brand spanking new. The lines for a spin were days if not weeks long, even if each pod takes 25 people, allowing for plenty of space to move around. Originally I remember it was called the Millennium Wheel, and the rumor was that it was going to be dismantled after a while. londoneye-3 I am glad that the London Eye is still up, 19 years later. I suppose Brits had to have an iconic, modern landmark, as the French have the Eiffel Tower.londoneye-1And 18 years after my first visit to London, I finally got to ride the thing. I excused myself from work early, took the tube down, navigated through the throngs of visitors and found myself in a nearly empty VIP lounge with a glass of champagne and the sun pouring in through the windows. Because if you wait for something for nearly two decades, you must go through it with style.

And rain or shine, London from the top is quite a sight.
londoneye-2(London, United Kingdom; March 2018)

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Helsinki from above (today)

HELfromtheairThese are the Eastern suburbs of Helsinki from above, at night. The bright spot to the far left is Vuosaari harbor. The black triangle cutting in to the top third from the right side is Vartiokylä bay. I grew up running around it and taking a plunge at the end. When my family moved to this part of town in the early 80s, our street was unpaved and ended in fields of crops and horse stables. The houses were all built right after World War II. There was an old broken horse-pulled rake of some kind lying by the side of the road for years. There were meadows and forests and a brook.

Now most of that is gone. The brook is still there, protected. But the meadow is tiny, and the forests, fields, and horses are gone. I am glad I had a childhood where I got to climb trees, jump around in ice cold water, and roll around in the meadows. The kids who grow up there today will not have such a childhood.

(Helsinki, Finland; March 2018)