LAPC #239 – Finding Peace

Learning to distance yourself from all the negativity is one of the greatest lessons to achieve inner peace.
― Roy T. Bennett

Tina is our host this week, and she wants to know how we find peace in this busy world. For me, it’s a struggle, but in short, I need alone time and to immerse myself in Nature, Beauty and Art.

A combination of architecture – old and new – and books, is just perfect. It is enough for me to enter a library – any library… But, an exquisite one, like the Long Room in Trinity College, Dublin, is unforgettable. There is an atmosphere around all these books, the authors’ aura peacefully descending on you.

Art – especially otherworldly and fantastic art, like this of Yasec Yerka, expands my mind and thoughts. Yerka’s Surrealistic art is inspired by old masters like Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel. I often sit in my armchair and wander through his books, resting in peaceful wonder.

On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.

– Jules Renard

Looking at beauty in the world is the first step of purifying the mind.

– Amit Ray

Lose yourself in nature and find peace.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Time spent amongst trees is never time wasted.

– Katrina Mayer

Wander often. Wonder always – Anonymous

Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.

—John Muir

Thank you for all your inspiring images and words on Alone time! I enjoyed every piece of them, and I think we also got to know each other a bit more. This week Tina is taking last week’s theme a bit further – hopefully we will get many ideas on how to find peace in this busy world. Please visit Tina for more inspiration, and don’t forget to use the Lens-Artist’s tag when you link to her original post.

Next week it is John’s turn to lead, make sure to visit his site for more about the challenge.

LAPC #220 – One Subject Three Ways

This weeks challenge is hosted by Patti, who once again wants us to think photographically – One subject three ways.

I am just back from Porto, and I have to post from the amazing Livraria Lello – ”The Most Beautiful Bookstore in the World”… and a bit more than three images it had to be. How do you portray a staircase like this? Hope you don’t mind, Patti! I stayed for an hour and a half to work this shot…

There were so many people in queue to come inside, that we had to try three times to find a queue that didn’t stretch all over Old Town Porto.

And I really don’t know how many books were sold or borrowed or… most people were there for the same reason as we were there – for the love of the architecture and for photographing.

My photos are all crowded, but there was no chance of shooting without people getting in the way…

…taking turns posing or just standing in awe. But for a second or two, suddenly there were only two people in the staircase!

I loved it almost more from behind …but every minute here, I was thinking ”Harry Potter”…

This is my favourite perspective and the lady looking upwards shows there is more to see up there – a beautifully painted glass ceiling for example. But that will be for another post, this one was all about the spectacular staircase!

Patti says: ”This week, we invite you to “work the shot.” Post 3 photos of the same subject–from your archives or from a recent outing. Vary your distance from the subject, try different perspectives, zoom out for the big picture, or zoom in on the details. It’s up to you. You can even experiment with processing the photos differently–in black and white or color, cropping, or trying different filters or effects.”

As usual, be sure to include a link to the original post and use the Lens-Artists tag so we can find you in the Reader.

A special thanks to Tina for hosting last week’s challenge for photo treasures. Your photos were so varied and inspiring–as always!

I, Ann-Christine, will host next challenge, LAPC #221, so be sure to visit Leya, next Saturday at noon to get all the details. We hope you will join us!

Until then, stay safe, inspired and kind.

Thursday Thoughts – Umeå Again!

Last weekend I went to Umeå with my son – to visit the daughter/sister. We all love this city, and its famous white birches. We hoped to have some fun in each other’s company, and to finally get some winter. As you can understand we got more winter than down in Skåne – but not much snow. Usually they have 75 – 100 cm. Too much jumping temperatures this winter, rain and snow taking turns. We did some tough walking!

We were lucky with the weather though – sun and temperatures between – 14C and – 3C.

Naturally we had to go to the big game shop with every game you can think of – we bought some new ones with us home. The evenings were filled with laughter and fun while playing – or trying to understand the new rules…

And, we went to the movies to see Parasite. All of us agreed it was worthy of every Oscar it got. I do recommend watching it – clever and entertaining, thrilling and fun. Really Something Else! Be prepared – the ending is a Tarantino one.

As always we visited the famous book cafe’ from where our most prestigious TV program on cultural events is sent. As we all love this place – I could not resist getting the most out of the visit by merging two of the rooms into one…

…and the bicycle, standing in another window in another room!

I hope you had some fun too, reading about our adventures. Just being together is a great joy, and playing board games is a wonderful way of using your spare time!


Thursday Thoughts – from Umeå

I went to Umeå for a couple of days to visit my daughter – my son wanted to go as well.

Listen to Sara – the voice of Västerbotten!

Umeå is a student’s dream – and was the cultural capital of Europe in 2014.

Walking this passage we can both listen to and see the work of the author Sara Lidman – the voice of Västerbotten (this part of Sweden).

Umeå (ca 90 000 inhabitants) started in the 14th century, and is called the capital of Norrland and the City of Birches. I really should visit in spring to see the fragrant green.


Gammlia is an open air museum with many old buildings for people to visit and remember the olden days. Sami people have a special place here.

The sun has returned to Norrland as well – and sitting outdoors to catch the warmth is essential.  Skiing and ice skating on the river is for every person, old and young. It is fun to watch three year olds racing like wild things – and are they skilled!

In the middle of the city they build ice playgrounds and a maze. And many roads have a built in heating coil to take away the snow.

After some 12 kilometers walking, we took a break at a lovely old book store.

And we had some delicious food as well…before walking back home – in the middle of the street like everyone else did. Too much snow and ice where we should have walked! But we did not slip or fall, despite the difficult weather.

Normally the temperature never rise above zero during winter, but now, due to climate change, it frequently jumps up and down. Last week -25 C and this weekend 5-6 plus and thaw. The Sami people and their reindeer suffer from these changes because when the temperature drops again, there will be a thick ice cover and the reindeer cannot reach the necessary food under the snow. The animals starve and the Sami people have to use state funds to survive.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Time to Relax

This week’s host for the photo challenge is Amy : ”Show us your favorite ‘time to relax’ activity, place, or moment.  It can be in any season, month, week, or day. :)”


Relax is  something we all try to do – and need to do. Sometimes they are hard to get by, those moments…but sooner or later you will learn what works for just you.

I find it very relaxing to walk along the paths of graveyards – especially really old ones. Père Lachaise in Paris, Highgate cemetery in London and the old Jewish burial places in Poland are my favorites.

At home, this place is an unmistakable relaxing spot – with or without Totti!

Summertime, I love to walk out here in the evenings to enjoy the sunset.

My flowers, pot plants, orchids – all of them need their daily attendance. They give me a very relaxing hour every morning.

No shop can compete with bookshops for my attention as well as relaxation. Libraries also offer instant harmony.

But lastly – my infallible remedy against stress and pro relaxation of mind and body – is a walk in the lush green of the forest.

If you missed Amy’s challenge for this week, click here.  For more information on how to participate in the Lens-Artists photo challenge, click here. And last but not least, remember to tune in to Tina of Travelsandtrifles next week for our next photo challenge!



Cee’s B&W Photo Challenge: Walls – Indoors or Outdoors


Walls – Indoors or Outdoors. Some of my favorite walls are covered in books. Dublin.

It Is All About… Books!

Books, books…art and culture. One of the reasons to why I love visiting the eastern countries in Europe is just that. I get my share of childhood joy and my faiblesse for books.

Inside, there are more than 8 million books. Just think about all the catalogues there must be…these were only a few. Do you remember the era before the digital boom?


This is the outside of the National Library. Slightly resemblance to…books on shelves?

The outdoor book market was a dream – even though I did not understand much and could not buy that many books. You can always look, and be tempted! As you can see in the header, many other things could be bought here as well.


The ordinary library for grown-ups had a typical touch of the communist era. (Bulgaria was not liberated until the 1980’s.) Colours, shelves, floor and …books. Almost all the books were paperbacks – no hardbacks. And they were all ”well” read.

Even the benches outside were dedicated to books!

The entrance to the childrens library had an unmistakable sign…our Swedish Pippi Longstocking. Did you know she has been translated into 92 different languages? Astrid Lindgren still belongs to the future!

The children’s library was much more modern, and the reading rooms had furniture and curtains from IKEA.

The ladies working here were very helpful and informative. We had an invigorating chat about children and books. No problem in this country with reading – most children love it. And for small children the books are free to borrow. Older children had to pay a very small sum/year.

Beware of book worms – Bulgaria is a dream country!





Cultural Café

We wanted to visit the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, but it was closed and a veritable construction site. I was dying for a nice cup of coffee along with some cultural events…but the building seemed totally abandoned.

Nothing wrong with a construction site…if you can find a place like this when you step down into the underground..

A slight drizzle, and my stomach was making sounds…but when we had totally given up on this place and walked down some steps to get to the street again – suddenly there emerged a big window with BOOKS. From nowhere. Nothing with books can go wrong, so we opened the door and stepped inside…

…a café! A place reminding me of my university years with not too expensive coffee’s, nice company and working in two’s or more. My eyes and spirits went up and I just took it in…..feeling the coziness and the warmth instead of the by now rather chilly, hostile weather outdoors.

We stayed for an hour at least and left with big smiles on our faces ;-D

It went on drizzling – but we felt good all the way home! Keep reading! And…some tea is OK as well…