600 Years and More – of Wisdom and Beauty

They say oak trees grow for 300 years, and stay in their glory for another 300 years, and then decay and die their last 300 years.

One of my favourite places to meet a 600 years old friend, is Gökalv in Blekinge, Sweden.

We have many things to talk about, and I have learned so much about life from him. He may be rugged to touch, but his wrinkles are mild and forgiving.

I visited last week again, and found him standing there as usual, waiting for me. This time in splendid evening light.

His advice I always follow – stay true to yourself and help others to do the same. Be kind and helpful to all living beings on this earth. That is why we are here together.

When I looked at my photos, now uploaded…I realized his voice was not just in my head or in my mind –



Muottas Muragl to Alp Languard – A Hot Hike

Switzerland, St Moritz alps. At 2456 m. we started our hike at Muottas Muragl – a panorama walk filled with majestic views and stunning flowers.

A very easy walk with no steep climbing, but still 24 degrees C…I met some wise elderly people who just walked for maybe half a mile to see the views and the flowers.

Alp clover and hikers – we all tried to stay in the shade as much as possible. Not easy in an open landscape.

Soon the views were opening up, and the valleys revealing all their secrets. And we could see St Moritz down there.

Leaving the morning dew and lovely coolness for beating sun as it rose higher in the sky.

Drinking water – fresh and clear. But also for putting our feet in. Not many degrees in glacier water – hardly for bathing. Every brook or flow offers a welcome break.

Majestic mountains and some rest in the shadows…when possible. My hat was very useful.

As this is an easy walk, many families had a delightful day out. Holding hands is a good idea when it is too steep.

Crossing an area where water had undermined the path and falling stones and mud slides made it dangerous to hike, we had to pass through a tunnel of corrugated sheet metal. Some holes were made in it for the view.

And we were richly rewarded in the end. Alp Languard in all its beauty – and cows! The end of a spectacular walk

On our way down with the lift (15 minutes), we met this lovely family…(Can you spot the dog?)

Some of the many flowers on the road…a feast to the eye. I found it rather difficult to focus my shots as the heat made drops fall onto the camera as well – but when we arrived at 1800 meters, the heat was 30 degrees C and more. So the day was well spent. I hope you enjoyed the trip too.

Edinburgh II – The Castle and… Inside

Our last day in Edinburgh we spent a bit more looking inside…windows and alleys at least. On the walk up to the castle, the sun bestowed us with its warming glory – hot!

We walked through Greyfriar’ s beautiful Kirkyard to see Bobby once more. He was a Skye terrier born in the middle of the 19th C. His Master died when Bobby was only two, and legend has it that he stayed by his Master’s grave for 14 years. A Lord payed the city of Edinburgh to build Bobby a little house and to feed him. He was buried close to his master in 1872.

Many people came to see him while we were there. The little ”hut’s” name shows some of the Scottish humour…it’s really inside the gates!

Some ”insides” too on the way…

Colourful clothes and tartans, but also a soft pink and blue tartan made especially to the memory of Princess Diana.

I love signs, and Scotland and Edinburgh has got many of those – my camera was full of them…This one close to Camera Obscura.

And – there my dream came true…to be divided into two and able to do double the things I would like to do, help, visit, create, experience…a.s.o….

Just inside the gates, they were preparing for the Tattoo. This year we didn’t make it, but hopefully next year we will be able to see it!


We’ll be back next year – for the Edinburgh Tattoo!

Going West – Dunoon, Inveraray and Oban

Leaving Borders and going westward on roads of beauty. We took the ferry from Greenock to Dunoon, then the road to  Inveraray and Oban.

Vi lämnade Borders och drog västerut. Vi tog färjan från Greenock till Dunoon och sedan landsvägen till Inveraray och Oban.

Following the rolling green hills west, we tried to imagine what Ayr would look like. Knowing we had a long way to go, we soon ruled out Burn’s Cottage and another castle.

Vi siktade på Ayr, och vägen dit var grön och vacker. Eftersom vi visste att den här dagen var den längsta kördagen, blev vi tvungna att räkna bort Burns stuga och ytterligare ett slott.

On reaching the west coast, we made a short stop and wandered along the beach to stretch our legs. Only the gulls kept us company.

När vi nått västkusten stannade vi vid stranden och sträckte på benen. Här var tomt. Bara måsarna höll oss sällskap.

Ferry to Dunoon – delightful weather and many beautiful views. The harbour too, where the houses reminded me of something Dickensian…

Vi tog färjan till Dunoon – en fin tur i vackert väder. Hamnens byggnader kändes som tagna direkt ur en Dickensfilm.

Inveraray Castle, owned by the Campbell Clan,  is very beautiful – inside as well – but we had to drive on. This was our longest driving day. A photo of the exterior was the option, but we found out that the best shot was to be had from the little narrow bridge we had to pass together with numerous cars and other heavy traffic. Impossible to stop there. In fact the photo beneath finally exists because we passed that bridge four times with me hanging out of the window…

Det här fotot har sin egen historia. Exteriörfoto av Inveraray Castle var allt vi skulle hinna med…och bästa platsen att fotografera ifrån var den smala, hårt trafikerade bron. Vi körde fram och tillbaka fyra gånger över bron med mig hängande utanför fönstret med tre kameror…

Driving on to Oban, we passed one of the longest lakes in Scotland, Loch Awe.  We made a short stop admiring the ruins of Kilchurn Castle. The castle was abandoned in the 18th century after being hit by lightning.

På väg mot Oban passerade vi Kilchurn Castles ruiner. Slottet övergavs på 1700-talet efter ett kraftigt åsknedslag.

Just before Oban there were some magnificent Highland Cattle grazing . I sat watching them for rather a long time…they are my real favourites! I was rewarded by many lovely glares and tails, and of course MANY shots. Some of them here:

Strax före Oban mötte vi de här fina exemplaren av Highland Cattle. Jag stannade en god stund och njöt av mina favoriter. Många foton blev det – några här:

Finally – Oban. Oban is gaelic, meaning ”the little bay”. 10% of the inhabitants here are gaelic speaking. Oban is also called the ”Gateway to the Isles” so the harbour is important.

Slutligen målet – Oban. Namnet Oban är gaeliska och betyder ”den lilla viken”. 10% av befolkningen här talar gaeliska. Staden kallas också för ”Gateway to the Isles” – porten till öarna.

McCaigs Tower is an unfinished attempt to copy the Colosseum of Rome. It towers above the harbour and  I later discovered that on almost all of my photos from here I can see a glimpse of it…

McCaigs Tower är en ofullbordad kopia av Roms Colosseum.  Den har smugit sig in i de flesta av mina bilder härifrån.

Of course we had to visit the Oban Whiskey Distillery before leaving. Whiskey is a gigantic industry in Scotland and this distillery is one of the oldest. Very interesting and a lovely guide. When waiting outside there were gorgeous begonias in the little square in front. Gently showered with glittering droplets…

Naturligtvis måste vi besöka ett destilleri – whiskey är en jätteindustri i Skottland. Just detta destilleri är ganska litet, men ett av de äldsta i landet. Det blev en mycket trevlig och lärorik tur. På torget utanför hade man otroligt stora begonior som just duschats fint av regnet.

…of a totally different kind from those inside the building.

Glittrande sköna droppar – av ett helt annat slag än de vi fick smaka inomhus…


Isle of Skye part II

The skies over Skye opened up more and more, revealing and enhancing the magical blue and green hues.

In the evening we decided to drive down to Elgol with or without a boat trip – we wanted to see the Cuillins in the evening light. A narrow and winding road took us there after a long drive, passing sheep and cattle and also the ruins of Kilchrist Church – where we stopped to have a sandwitch and some coffee. I have never had that before – in an abandoned graveyard…

På kvällen beslöt vi att trots utebliven båtresa åka ner till Elgol för att se Cuillins I kvällssol. Det blev en lång och vindlande resa där vi bland annat passerade Kilchrist Church, stannade och intog medhavd matsäck. Det har vi nog aldrig gjort förut – fikat på en övergiven kyrkogård…

And of course we admired the Highland Cattle grazing on the hills. This hardy breed originally comes in two colours – black and reddish.

Och naturligtvis beundrade vi de skotska Highland Cattle som betade på kullarna. De tål ett tufft klimat och kommer ursprungligen i två färger, svarta eller röda.

Elgol’s white houses were perched on the cliffs above the little harbour. The evening light was intensely beautiful, but unfortunately never reached the Cuillins.

Elgols vita hus häckade uppe på klipporna, men Cuillins undvek effektivt kvällssolen…fast vi njöt av landskapet ändå. När det gäller öar och bergsområden ligger ofta dis och moln kvar.

On our way back, we decided to return to Armadale to see this part of the road in evening sun. This and the Armadale Gardens will be the content of part III.

På väg tillbaka beslöt vi att återvända till Armadale för att se kvällssolen över de vackra vikarna. Vägen dit och Armadales trädgård och park får avsluta del III.


A walk in the soft hour

So, this is the soft hour – the stillness in the air and the busy, hot day preparing for sleep. You are welcome to join me on the walk with my friend Totti.

Hot days we have to wait until now, about 8.30 pm. His tail is up and by now he starts to come alive again…curious of what we shall find today.

The last shimmering rays of sun shows a luxuriant landscape – love and joy, life, decay and death – the glory of summer…

How we have been waiting and longing – and now it is here for us to rejoice in its beauty. So short a time, but finally here.

The farmer’s landscape II – in summer skies

Summer is here and the meadows are alive – be it with crops or cows or maybe sheep. The farmer is intent on the weather and his working days are long.

To make the crops grow faster, some fields are covered in giant plastic sheets.

Skåne is the most fertile part of Sweden, and barley is one of the most common crops grown here – together with wheat and rye.

 But, this time of the year strawberry fields can be found wherever you travel in the countryside.

Not to forget the the cattle, cows and calves, friendly gazing at you as you are passing by. Or the smart cat hiding in the grass, waiting for his prey…

The  importance of an open landscape cannot be over estimated. Without crops it will very fast disappear in weed and shrubbery. Without cows or sheep grazing, it is also lost to nature’s own forces.