Our trip to Norway at the end of May has already acquired a dreamlike quality even if it was only two months ago. Revisiting our vacation pictures helps me remember that there are places in the world where the hottest topic of conversation is the weather. And occasionally Norway did make me feel like I was back in Minnesota, not least of all because it seemed all the young folk we met had a very Minnesotan accent in English.
Our first day’s travel included 3 different flights over 9 hours, Tel Aviv to Vienna, Vienna to Oslo, Oslo to Bergen. The last leg may have been the shortest, but thanks to a delayed flight from Vienna, we had 35 minutes to make our connection to Bergen after collecting our luggage for Customs; the boarding gate, perversely, was the furthest from the in-transit check-in counter. A mad dash ensued and, thankfully, both we and our luggage made it.
The older sections of Bergen, or more correctly Bryggen, is where the German Hanseatic League had a trading enclave for 400 years, the main product from Bryggen being dried North Sea cod or Stockfish. The wooden buildings where the fish were processed were in constant danger of burning down and the one housing the Hanseatic Museum was rebuilt after the fire in 1702.
We only had one full day in Bergen and used this guide as a starting point. Fortunately, the older part of Bergen is compact enough that we could cover it in a day.
After the shower overnight and before the rain this afternoon, there was a glorious, sunny window of opportunity to head out and enjoy the wildflowers that are blooming all over the country.
Following last week’s tumultuous climb out of Nahal Tavor, where the lupines were starting to bloom (my knees haven’t yet recovered from the 300 meter, 45-60° grade incline), hubby and I decided to take it a bit easier this week and head just north of us to the Iris Reserve on Netanya’s sandy dunes near the sea. The reserve is an oasis smack in the middle of what is fast-becoming another high-rise, residential neighborhood and while not currently in danger of being taken over, it was in the past. The Reserve is home to one of Israel’s most beautiful and rare wildflowers, the Black Iris or Iris Ha’argaman in Hebrew, as well as many other annuals. The perfume in the air was delicious!
The camera was misbehaving a bit because in many photos the focus was on the background rather than what I was pointing at and it was difficult to see the LCD screen in the sunlight to check (not to mention being down on my knees at ground-level for a number of shots). If there is anything I do miss about my old Oly, it’s the viewfinder!
Sky Sails Sea Wave Sand (Maybe you see more layers, or less.)
There certainly was a lot of traffic, both seaward and landward, Saturday morning along the beach. Another beautiful “autumn” day. As lovely as it might be, I truly wish winter would hurry up and get here already.
Toy Cycle is an inspirational exhibit now open though the end of the year at the Old Jaffa Museum featuring toys and artworks created from recycled materials. Among the works by students of the Shenkar School of Industrial Design and other artists, there are toys and sculptures from bicycle chains, tin cans, wood blocks and other bric-a-brac. The most interesting to me was a series of artwork/toys made by Ocean Sole, an African NGO, using the tons, yes, tons, of flip-flop soles that wash up on the beach each year. What they create from this refuse is amazing. More about Ocean Sole below.
The Med is almost in my backyard and for me is a special place, particularly when the sun is dropping down into the water at sunset. The waves and water reflect the apricot (and sometimes golden) light and turn it into something magical.