Thursday Thoughts – Spring Feelings

Photosketcher for fun today. It has been a sunny day, and in my windows the flowers are coming alive! Outdoors it is still too cold, but I am in the mood.

Thursday Thoughts – Double exposures

Nothing to photograph outdoors…

In the few hours of light…

and some bought flowers.

Lens-Artists Challenge #227 – Home Sweet Home

This Earth is our only home. Together, we must protect and cherish it.

– Ban Ki-moon

Tina is our host this week, and she asks us:

”If a foreigner were to spend a week or a month traveling your home country with you, where would you take them? What sights would you tell them to be sure to see? Where have you found some of your own favorite images? What is it you truly love about where you live, or places you’ve seen in your home country?

This might be the most challenging challenge of all…because I love so many things about my home country. But I will try…starting in the Southern part of Sweden, where I live. Sweden is a very ”long” country, 1 600 kilometers from north to south and 500 kilometers from east to west. This means that it can be winter in the north while it is still late summer in the south.

Spring and apple trees – a must see. Orchards and farmland is the sign of southern Sweden, because we have the best soil in the country. I grew up in an orchard, so this is true home for me.

I would want to show some of our famous parks and gardens, where Ronneby Brunn was voted the most beautiful park in Sweden.

From south to north, we have 30 National parks and 5 342 protected areas/nature reserves. I have visited several of them, and old trees, mostly oaks, are often in my lens.

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.

– Maya Angelou

Those nature gems are indeed worth visiting – and I can bring Milo along too.

Läckö Castle, 13th century. One of the most popular ”fairy tale” castles in Sweden.

Castles, castles – we have many of them in Sweden and many in Skåne, where I live. There are often different activites around them, medieval jousting, games and markets. Hovdala Castle is situated 15 kilometers from my home. It might be ”my home castle”, as I go there about once a month for hiking or other activities.

Our capital, Stockholm, is of course a must if you want to see Sweden. Founded in the 12th century and called the ”Venice of Scandinavia” because it was built on many small islands.

Kosta Boda glass hotel might be needed after this extensive traveling…here I want to show off our famous glass (Orrefors and Kosta Boda), and the hotel and spa is filled with glass art. The bar and chairs are all in blue glass!

Home is the nicest word there is.

– Laura Ingalls Wilder

Hornborgasjön is a gathering place for migrating cranes – and for birders of course. This is an unforgettable experience in April every year. Some 20000 cranes are eating, dancing, mating. The sound is incredible…as is the very sight of them!

Where thou art, that is home.

– Emily Dickinson

Graveyards from the Viking Age has a certain mood around them. The concept of time inevitably hits you. They can be found everywhere in Sweden. This one – a kilometer from my home.

We have to visit Tännforsen, one of our amazing nature reserves that treats us to spectacular beauty any time of the year.

Jokkmokk’s market has a tradition of gathering people for 400 years in a row (not the same people of course…) – this is a place for trade and racing reindeer. Warm clothes are recommended – sometimes the temperature drops to minus 40 C.

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.

– Lin Yutang

Jukkasjärvi Icehotel, the first one in the world, is of course an experience even if you don’t stay the night…They do have famous food too, and every room is specially made with different ice sculptures.

Hiking up north to see the Linnaea borealis, Carolus Linnaeus’ favourite flower.

There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.

-Jane Austen

And so, ending our trip at the very north and Lapland, we will return home.

What about a refreshing Forest bath now? Quite an exhausting tour it was, but I hope my guests are happy with their tour!

Home is where the heart is.

– Pliny the Elder

Sincere thanks for your patience as I went through some of my favorite places here in Sweden. Now we’re looking forward to seeing your own favorites! Please remember to link to Tina’s original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

Thanks also to Jude for Guest Hosting last week’s Textures Challenge. Both her challenge and your responses were original and beautifully photographed. Thank you for joining in the fun! Our next challenge, Diagonals, will be hosted by Patti on her Pilotfish blog so be sure to check in next Saturday at noon EST. Until then, please stay safe and be kind.

LAPC #223 – Flights of Fancy

John leads this week’s challenge, and it is no surprise it involves a ”flight”…

I was a little bookworm, a girl with my head full of dreams. Many dreams of foreign countries I read about in books and saw fascinating pictures of. Mostly special places in these books, not so much whole countries. I never thought they would be more than dreams, but then I met a young man as eager as myself to see the world. We started travelling together when I was 16 and he was 21. And we never stopped. Today I am very grateful that so many ”flights of fancy” from my childhood really came to fruition. Of course I have many dreams left, but in fact there is only one more great travel dream, and that is to see the cherry blossom and the wisteria tunnels in Japan. Somehow I don’t think that dream will come true – but it feels good to still have dreams!

Please go to John’s site for more inspiration!

I have picked three different ”flights”… big and small, and in two out of three there is a real flight involved.

One of my first ”flights of fancy” was this house. As a young girl I used to spend every summer in the public swimming pool of our village. And on my way to the pool, every day I passed this white house, surrounded by a big garden with lots of birches, apple trees, plum trees and pear trees. It was built on a bit higher ground than the other houses, and I also knew that one of the most handsome young boys in my little village happened to live there…

Little did I know that my boyfriend and I would buy this house when I was only 21 – and we have lived here since then, for 44 years now. And, it is still my dream house!

This image is from quite some years ago, when we had both Mille and Totti waiting for us to come home.

Another ”flight of fancy” was going to New Zealand. I had a pen friend when I was 11 (one of many…), and this girl sent me a calender with photos from both islands, North and South. I was so mezmerised, so in love with these extraordinary nature sceneries, that I started dreaming of getting there one day. In my mind, no other country could literally have ”everything” I loved: high mountains and glaciers, volcanoes and hot springs, magical forests and jungle, unimaginable animals…yes, everything. A dream which of course sounded absolutely impossible…NZ was at the the other end of the world – the New Zealanders are our antipodes.

Then there is another ”flight of fancy” involved too. I had always loved the novels of JRR Tolkien, and especially Lord of the Rings. Our children loved it too…so, finally we arrived in NZ, North Island around Christmas 2011. We travelled the islands for a month, and of course we had to visit Hobbiton! And do you know what – it looked just like in my dreams.

Yet another ”flight of fancy” started with a novel, James Hilton’s Lost Horizon. I dreamt of the magical Himalayas and mystical Tibet, but realised I would never get there. This was literally another world. But, in 2009 my family took the train from Beijing over permafrost and the Tibetan Plateau to Lhasa. It is the world’s highest railway, 5,068 meters at Tanggula. The cars are equipped with oxygen supply to avoid altitude sickness. Still today, we all think this was one of our greatest adventures.

Over the last years, our home has become a ”flight of fancy” for birds and insects, plants and hedgehogs. I try to make it my own Shangri-La, a hidden paradise behind birches, bird cherry and lilacs. I cannot save the planet, but I know I can be of great help to make this little piece of Earth thrive.

According to John, and to, the idiom “flight of fancy” refers to “an unrealistic idea or fantastic notion, a
pipe dream. For example, ‘She engaged in flights of fancy, such as owning a million‐dollar house.’ This idiom uses
flight in the sense of ‘a soaring of the imagination,’ a usage dating from the mid‐1600s.”

I believe we all need imagination and flights of fancy to survive in this unruly world, so, keep dreaming…

A big thank you to Amy for a spectacular mountain challenge – and to you all for your fabulous entries! Now we are looking forward to seeing what was your flight of fancy (or someone else’s) that came to fruition? Please link to John’s original post and tag Lens-Artists.

Next week, Sofia hosts challenge #224 – Exposure. Be sure to visit her beautiful site for inspiration. Until next, stay calm and kind.