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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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)

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Only ice

icewakesThis was Helsinki in mid-March, caught underneath the ever-swirling polar vortex of the winter and spring of 2018. The cruise liner looks like one that shuttles between Helsinki and Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. All cruise liners on the Baltic Sea are icebreakers, too. One has to dress according to weather, you see.

(Helsinki, Finland; March 2018)