Photo (and Poetry) Blog

Day 182 of 365

Millesgården, Lidingö, Sweden

Day 182 of my "365 Days" project. Millesgården, Lidingö.

Carl Milles (1875 – 1955) was a Swedish sculptor. Millesgården, that he designed and was his home, is now a museum with Milles' antique collection, sculpture garden, and art gallery. We have an annual card and go there very often, both to enjoy the beautiful garden and to take photos, thus it's very likely you'll see lots of Millesgården photos during this project.

Millesgården, Lidingö, Sweden, Fuchsia Pots

Millesgården, Lidingö, Sweden

Millesgården, Lidingö, Sweden

Millesgården, Lidingö, Sweden

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The garden is lovely, and very well tended. It's very carefully planned, and there's always something blooming. The flower beds have new designs every year, created by well known garden designers.



No, nor a fierce hurrah

for what it does without choice,

for following the light

for the same reason the light follows it.

Just a thing rough to the touch, a face

like a thousand ticks turning their backs,

suckling at something you can't see,

and a body like a tag off the earth

so that my child hands couldn't tear it out

from the overgrown lot next door.

                             My palms raw with the shock

of quills and spines. Its hold like spite, and ugly

except when seen from a distance -

a whole field of them by highway,

an 80-mile-per-hour view

                             like a camera's flash.

All of them like halos

without saints to weight them down.

by Jose Antonio Rodriguez.

Day 181 of 365

White Flowers, Fence

Day 181 of my "365 Days" project. Fence Friday.

Day 180 of 365

Flowers, Fence

Day 180 of my "365 Days" project. 

I had some fun today, processing this photo to look like an old postcard.

Day 179 of 365

Photographer Mihaela Limberea

Day 179 of my "365 Days" project. Self-portrait.

Day 178 of 365

Queue Ticket, Nummerlapp, Kölapp

Day 178 of my "365 Days" project. Queue tickets (nummerlapp in Swedish).

One of the very Swedish things is the queue ticket system that can be seen everywhere: at post offices, pharmacies, police stations, hospitals, drugstores, Systembolaget, train stations, and so on. 

How it works: you pull your little yellow ticket from the red dispenser and wait for your turn that is announced through electronic panels scattered here and there through the room, especially for larger spaces. If there are more than one counter e.g. at the pharmacy or the post office, the counter number serving you will also be listed: "Number 45, Counter 3". This way, nobody can go before you in the line, all very democratic and fair, in the Swedish spirit. People attempting to skip the line are frowned upon, given the evil eye and sometimes even strongly talked to (Swedes tend to avoid conflicts, and altercations are rare; the evil eye is more common vs. squabbling).

Very often people would go do other things while they keep an eye on the panel to see when their number is up - e.g. browse other departments in the store, or go buy other products in other areas of the store.

Day 177 of 365

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Day 177 of my "365 Days" project. Peonies in the rain.

The rain continues, and I fear this year we won't see any peonies in bloom for too long; with so much rain, the heavy flowers will lay on the ground in no time.

Most years, the rain would start once the peonies started blooming; this year it started with the buds already.

Day 176 of 365

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Day 176 of my "365 Days" project. Systembolaget sign in Lidingö.

Systembolaget (colloquially known as systemet "the system" or bolaget "the company"; literal English translation: the System Company) is a government owned chain of liquor stores in Sweden. It is the only retail store allowed to sell alcoholic beverages that contain more than 3.5% (by volume) alcohol. Systembolaget also sells non-alcoholic beverages. To buy alcoholic beverages at Systembolaget one has to be 20 years old or older. At Swedish restaurants and bars the legal age to buy alcoholic beverages is 18.

Systembolaget used to have open Mondays to Fridays, and there were a lot of heated discussions when the stores would also have open on Saturdays until 3pm. So, if you are in Sweden, you do need to plan your drink as you cannot just walk into a store and buy it when you feel like it. Unless you go to a restaurant or bar, where the  price is likely to be at least two or three times higher.

There are other alcoholic monopolies in Scandinavia: Alko in Finland, Vinmonopolet i Norway, Vínbúđ in Iceland and Rúsdrekkasøla Landsinsin the Faroe Islands.

Source: Wikipedia

A self-service Systembolaget in Södertälje, Sweden. This is the normal layout of the Systembolaget stores since the 1990s.

Photo: by Svenf from Wikimedia Commons.

Day 175 of 365

Peony, Rain Drops, Pion, Regndroppar

Day 175 of my "365 Days" project. Peony bud close up.

Peony, Rain Drops, Pion, Regndroppar, Nävor

Peony, Rain Drops, Pion, Regndroppar

I told you in an earlier post that it usually rains when peonies bloom. No exception this year. Unfortunately. The first peonies are about to bloom, and it has already started raining. The weather forecast for next week is rain, and more rain.

The lower flowers in front of the peony bed are Pacific bleeding-heart (Dicentra formosa, fänrikshjärta in Swedish) and geranium (näva in Swedish). Luckily they stand the rain much better than peonies.

Day 174 of 365

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Day 174 of my "365 Days" project. Midsummer mini-maypole.

In modern Sweden, Midsummer's Eve and Midsummer's Day (Midsommarafton and Midsommardagen in Swedish) were formerly celebrated on June 23rd and June 24th, but since 1953 the celebration has been moved to Friday and Saturday between June 19th and June 26th with the main celebration taking place on Friday. It is one of the most important holidays of the year in Sweden, second only to Christmas (Jul).

Raising and dancing around a maypole (majstång or midsommarstång in Swedish) is an activity that attracts families and many others. Before the maypole is raised, greens and flowers are collected and used to cover the entire pole. People dancing around pole listen to traditional music and sing songs such as Små grodorna (The Little Frogs) associated with the holiday. Some people wear traditional folk costumes or crowns made of wild springs and wildflowers on their heads. The year's first potatoes, soused herring, chives, sour cream, beer, snaps and the first strawberries of the season are on the menu. Drinking songs (snapvisor) are also important at this fest, and many drink heavily.

Source: Wikipedia

Three minutes video: Swedish Midsummer for Dummies. Very funny.

Day 173 of 365

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Day 173 of my "365 Days" project. Daisies.

For once, flowers not from my garden, but from my neighbour's.

Day 172 of 365


Day 172 of my "365 Days" project. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), maskros in Swedish.

If you can't beat them, join them! I fight dandelions in my garden, but it's a hopeless cause I'd say. So, if I can't win, I'll at least use the fluffy seeds for macro photos, they make great subjects.


Haiku Tuesday

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I grow old

yet the blossoms

in their prime

by Kawai Chigetsu. Chigetsu (1634-1718) is considered the best of the women poets who wrote in the Basho school.

Day 171 of 365

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Day 171 of my "365 Days" project. Dragonfly on lilac.

Day 170 of 365

Sleeping Cat

Day 170 of my "365 Days" project. Zzzzzzzzz ….

This is how I felt today; the flight from Vienna was delayed and we got home at midnight.

Day 169 of 365

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Day 169 of my "365 Days" project. Any means are allowed for taking that perfect photo.

Street Musicians, Vienna

Street musicians on Kärtner Strasse, the shopping street. They can usually be seen during the week-ends, and the music quality is impressive. Many of them are music students.

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A fiaker ride is a very tourist thing to do in Vienna. Here in Hofburg, one the imperial residences.

Fiakers were once used as daily means of transportation in Vienna, but today they have become a very popular tourist attraction. There are even "Romantic Fiaker" tours, or wedding and event rides.

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The horses and the carriages are all very well groomed.

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A fiaker driver takes a nap between rides.

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During the week-ends, the parks of Vienna fill with people sun-bathing or just relaxing.

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Fellow photographers during a photo walk, here on Kärtner Strasse.

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The icecream is the reward after a full work day in the heat!

Day 168 of 365

St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna

Day 168 of my "365 Days" project. St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna.

St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna

St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna

St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom in German) is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna. Its current Romanesque and Gothic form, situated at the heart of Vienna in the Stephansplatz, was largely initiated by Rudolf IV and stands on the ruins of two earlier churches. 

As the most important religious building in Vienna, the cathedral has borne witness to many important events in the nation's history and has, with its multi-colored tile roof, become one of the city's most recognizible symbols.

Source: Wikipedia

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Volksgarten (meaning People's Garden) opened to the public in 1820. It lies on the site of the old Burgbastei (Palace Bastions) which were destroyed by Napoleon in 1809, near the Heldenplatz, Neue Burg, the Parlament and the Burgtheater. It was laid out as a French garden, and in 1857 the remaining fortifications were removed and the garden extended.

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A duck in the Volksgarten pond.

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You know how the shoemaker's children go without shoes? The same applies to photographers. I shoot everyhting but myself. This is one of the few photos of me, taken by my husband when I was taking a break from taking rose photos in Volksgarten. It was a really hot day, and sun lotion, hat och water were a must.

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Volksgarten is a very popular spot for both Viennese and tourists, enjoying the very beautiful rose garden, containing hundred of roses.

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And the obligatory flower photos; you know me by now, right?

Day 167 of 365

Rathaus, Vienna

Day 167 of my "365 Days" project. The City Hall (Rathaus), Vienna at sunset.

Arrived in Vienna Friday evening for a mini-break, trying to escape the dull weather in Sweden.  The Vienna weather forecast for the week-end: sun, sun, and even more SUN! 

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Rathaus, Vienna

Rathaus, Vienna

The Rathaus serves as the seat of the both mayor and city council of the city of Vienna. It was designed by Friedrich von Schmidt in Gothic style, and built between 1782 and 1883. On the top of the tower is the Rathausmann, one of the symbols of Vienna. 

The Thessseus Temple, Vienna

The Thessseus Temple in the Volksgarten. The temple was intended to be a replica of the Theseion in Athens and was built to house Theseus and the Minotaur by Antonio Canova. The statue was moved to the Kunsthistorisches Museum (the Museum of Art History) in 1890, and now the space is sometimes used for temporary exhibitions.

Day 166 of 365

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Day 166 of my "365 Days" project. Lilac "Palibin" (Syringa meyeri "Palibin"), dvärgsyren in Swedish.

The "Palibin" lilac shrubs in my garden have started blooming. They're not very tall, they would grow to maximum 1-1.5 meters, and are therefore very suitable for small gardens. The flowers look like the regular lilac, just much smaller, and as fragrant.

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Syringa meyeri "Palibin

Day 165 of 365

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Day 165 of my "365 Days" project. Dramaten - the Swedish National Theatre, Stockholm.

The Royal Dramatic Theatre, commonly known as Dramaten, is Sweden's national theatre. Located at Nybroplan in Stockholm since 1908 and built in Art Nouveau style, the theatre houses five stages; the mean theatre sets up to 770 spectators.

The theatre was founded in May 1788 by King Gustaf III.

Haiku Tuesday

Apple Blossom

As we were deaf …

the flowers arrange their faces

in the morning fog

by Chiyo (1703-1775), a female Haiku poet.

Day 164 of 365


Day 164 of my "365 Days" project. Vanilla icecream and Swedish strawberries!

Oh, this is SUMMER!

Day 163 of 365


Day 163 of my "365 Days" project. Lilac.

Day 162 of 365


Day 162 of "365 Days" of my project. NK Department Store, Stockholm.

Day 161 of 365

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Day 161 of my "365 Days" project. Travel wallpaper.

As you may have guessed from today's photo, we've gone to a local interior design store this morning. This is the next best after going into a book store, and I'm very proud to have come out with exactly what I had planned to buy, and nothing else!

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I was looking for a new carpet for the upstairs bathroom, and found this one in white/blue/red that matched the rest of the bathroom perfectly.

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We spent a lot of time there, of course. There are always plenty of things we didn't know we needed. Saw some very beautiful wallpapers, especially this one above, with small pink flowers on a green background. Perfect for the master bedroom. What's that? Is the current wallpaper in bad shape? No, I can't say it is. Is it ugly, or not matching the room? Hmmm, not really. But boring, that's what it is. Boring. Very. It's Stockholm white * and boring. When we built the house, we had no idea how we'd decorate the bedroom so we went with the safe choice - Stockholm white! It's easy to decorate the room in any way with such a neutral background, but it does get on one's nerves after a few years. I'm ready for a change!

* Stockholm White  (also called Antique White) is a very Swedish nuance, not really white, but white with a warm tone in it, more like cream. It's very popular in Stockholm, especially in the modern, trendy homes or in country style. Many stores sell it with the color code NCS 0502-Y, and it's made out of 93% pure white, 5% black and 2% yellow. Or so I've heard.

Day 160 of 365

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Day 160 of my "365 Days" project. Thank God it's Friday!

Long week, and very busy - will pamper myself and do nothing.

Tempus fugit

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Fellow fugitive

Forgive yourself

And me thereby

Thus we can live

Whatever's left

Of time for us,

Each day a gift

We take on trust

by Samuel Menashe (1925-2011). Menashe was an American poet.

Day 159 of 365

Cat sleeping on a red cushion

Day 159 of my "365 Days" project. Bagheera the supermarket cat.

This is our supermarket cat. She is called Bagheera and spends most of her time on the soft cushion at the entrance of the supermarket. Children and retired people often stop to pet her and she never minds. Nor is she shy, or bothered by photographers. That's why she's very popular and has an own Facebook fan page!

I wish my cat would pose like that! She's developped such a sharp photo radar that she's gone before I even turn on the camera!

Day 158 of 365

Swedish Flag

Day 158 of my "365 Days" project. The Swedish National Day.

National Day of Sweden (Sveriges nationaldag) is a national holiday observed in Sweden on the 6th of June every year. Prior to 1983, the day was celebrated as Svenska flaggans dag (Swedish flag day). At that time, the day was renamed to the national day by Riksdagen (the parliament).

The tradition of celebrating this date began 1916 at the Stockholm Olympic Stadium, in honour of the election of King Gustav Vasa in 1523, as this was considered the foundation of modern Sweden.

Some question the validity of this as a national holiday, as it was not observed as a holiday until decades later. However, this event does signify the end of the Danish-ruled Kalmar Union, so in a sense it is a marking of Swedish independence, though the event occurred so long ago that it does not have as strong of a presence in the social consciousness as does, for example, Norway's Syttende Mai (17 May).

In 2005 it became an official Swedish public holiday, replacing Whit Monday. This change led to fewer days off from work (more working-days) as the 6th of June will periodically fall on the weekend, unlike Whit Monday, which was always celebrated on a Monday. This has in turn led to complaints from some Swedish unions.

Source: Wikipedia

Swedish Flags

The Swedish flags on the department store NK in central Stockholm.

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An old lady wants to make sure she has a good seat, and shows up one hour earlier than the planned National Day celebration time at Millesgården.

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Swedish flags are offered to by-passers in central Stockholm.

Haiku Tuesday

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True obedience:

silently the flowers speak

to the inner ear

by Onitsura. Onitsura (1660-1738) was, along with Basho, one of the most acclamated poets of the 17th century.

Photo: by me in the Peony Garden in the Ueno Park, Tokyo.

Day 157 of 365

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Day 157 of my "365 Days" project. Very busy II.

Day 156 of 365

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Day 156 of my "365 Days" project. Very busy.

Day 155 of 365

Edvard Andesron Conservatory

Day 155 of my "365 Days" project. Edvard Anderson Conservatory.

The weather continues to be MISERABLE. We gave up today and went to the Edvard Anderson Conservatory at the Bergian Botanic Garden (Bergianska Trädgården)  in Stockholm. Lots of exotic flowers, palms and a nice café - perfect on such a miserable day!

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The conservatory, located next to the Bergian Botanic Garden, was built and opened in June 1995.

Edvard Anderson had left his glazing business to the Bergius Foundation of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in his will for creating and maintaining of a "winter garden (orangery), where only trees, shrubs and herbs of the Mediterranean area, and of those areas having comparable climates, are to be cultivated". The public would there be able to enjoy the plantings and the display of flowers and colours all the year round.

The project includes areas open to the public, as well as modern nurseries for efficient raising and care of the plant material. Special rooms, run by the University of Stockholm, have been added to house the garden's collections of tropical and subtropical plants.

Edvard Anderson was born in Stockholm in 1865. He started as an employee in a glazing firm, and set up as a wholesale dealer in that business in 1898. He died in 1936.

It seems that his interest in trees, shrubs and herbs was genuine and that he used to travel to southern Europe to enjoy the climate and the flora. He was also a frequent visitor of the Bergius Botanic Garden.

Day 154 of 365

A Study in Infrared Tulips

Day 154 of my "365 Days" project. A study in infrared.

The weather continues to be miserable: rain, chilly winds and only 4º C (39º F). I WILL NOT go out into that. Instead, I experimented with infrared photography. Lots of fun, and I think I'm getting the hang of this. For a first experiment, I'm pretty happy with the IR tulips.

Photo of the Month: May

Ueno Toshogu Peony Garden, Tokyo

Day 153 of 365

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Day 153 of my "365 Days" project. Peony bud.

Yeah, I know I've said I'd restrain myself and not post flowers shots so often, but just see how the weather works against me! The weather has become HORRIBLE. HORRIBLE!!! Raining cats and dogs since last evening, and looking like it'll continue this way for several days. Add a chilling to the bone-wind and only 10º C (50º F), and you'll understand that I didn't feel like going out and scouting for new photos. Instead, I walked one meter from the front door and shot a peony bud that was bravely fighting the cold, the raind and the wind.

This happens every year, more or less. The rains start in June and continue until all peonies lie battered on the ground. Sometimes I manage to save some by simply cutting and arranging them in vases indoors, but of course they won't live as long as in the garden. Either way, it breaks my heart. Let's hope that this year it'll be better, stranger things have happened, right?

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