Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Happy Faces Reign

They're here! They are everywhere. They cover the ground with their vibrant cheerful faces. Their golden color stands out amid the  green  grass. They're flourishing swiftly in sweeping victory. They rule the ground!

It's the reign of the humble dandelions. The famous weeds. Hated by some, loved by others. Simple and yet beautiful. They're the first flowers that paint the summer landscape. Other wildflowers, like the buttercups and Queen Anne's lace, are popping out as if competing for domination, but without success. It's not  their time yet.  Their turn to dominate the ground will come later.

For now, let the dandelions reign. Let them accentuate the brightness of the summer. Let their radiant faces cheer us all day long, for as long as they are here.

Let their bright happy faces infect us. Let their happiness flow toward us and settle in our hearts.

Have a wonderful summer day!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Flying South ... to My Dream Fields

May 16-21, 2012. Skåne, Sweden.  First spring getaway in response to the call of wanderlust. Wishes granted.

My hubby and I took the one-hour flight to Stockholm, and from there, another one hour and ten minutes flight to Malmö. As the plane circled over Malmö prior to landing, the first things that caught me eyes below were the yellow patches scattered throughout a vast landscape. Canola fields. Could I finally get a close encounter with them? My heart pounded with excitement at the prospect.

At the airport's arrival lounge, my hubby's older brother came to meet us. He seemed "touched" to see his brother after over 16 years of not meeting each other. He gave both of us a welcome hug.

We drove straight to his house, which used to be a little garden cottage. The place is called "koloni" in Swedish, where people tend gardens and build a little cottage for them to rest. Later on, the whole place became a residential area as those little cottages expanded into real homes with lovely gardens and yards.

There we stayed for six days. Six wonderful days. We spent one day in Copenhagen, Denmark, for a wee bit of  sightseeing, which I'm going to write in a separate blog. Although some days were uncooperative, being gloomy, windy and rainy, most days were warm and bright, favoring us with a lot of opportunities to explore the place.

Copenhagen on the horizon, taken from Malmö, Sweden

So the following day, we started flitting from one interesting spot to another. Our energetic guide (my hubby's brother) gladly drove us to the places he knew we would love to see. This was my first "meeting" with Malmö, Sweden's third largest city. To read more about  this place, click on this link: Facts About Malmö

Whereas Umeå is the city of birch, Malmö is the city of parks. The immense parks  that we visited right in the heart of the city testified to the candor of this epithet. I could not begin to imagine the vastness of these parks nor could we see their entirety.

The parks consist of lakes teeming with winged creatures, towering trees with thick foliage and blossoms, colorful flowers, verdant grass and shrubs, etc.

One park has imposingly high walls of well-trimmed trees, the sight of which is breathtaking.

We visited a couple of castles located in the outskirts of the city. Around these castles are spacious parks abounding with natural beauty.

The beech forests are also places of enchantment. As we strolled through the woods, I was mesmerized by the loftiness and verdancy of the beeches, and the "music" that their leaves produced as the wind passed through them stirred my senses.

Streets and alleys fenced with trees on both sides are also common sights there.

The city center is a must for a traveler, and so we spent a considerable time strolling around, mingling with the people in busy streets and squares, admiring the architectures. The city  is full of life and activities. People are everywhere, strolling, sitting on the benches, shopping, eating in the outdoor restaurants, basking in the warmth of the sun, etc. But the crowdedness is not the kind that makes one uncomfortable. It's kind of cheerful.

The twisted tower is one of the city's landmarks, which I believe is the only skyscraper in the country. I find it very impressive.

We went for a jaunt in Trelleborg, a town in the south of Skåne where my hubby spent several years of his young life. Some years were spent in  Malmö.

Our guide took us to the beaches with white powdery sand and seashores . We didn't dare to swim because it was still too cold that time.

Every time we went out somewhere, I kept seeing this bridge that links Malmö and Copenhagen from different angles. But we also jaunted to some vantage points where we could have a splendid view of it.

The windmills too are structures that have always astounded me even in my younger years, and I was glad to see them here.

Same with the railway station and its surrounding: the UFO look-alike tower and a large mall with unique design being constructed.

We climbed this hill with a nice view of the sea.

One thing that has always been in my wish-list is to see firsthand live cherry, magnolia and apple blossoms and get to smell their sweetness. The sight of them in pictures has always made me ecstatic, and I dreamed of being with them in reality. (They don't grow and bloom well here in the north.) That dream came true as I spotted many private houses with full-bloomed cherry trees in their gardens and yards. And pink magnolias in some parks. They're just awesome, and they render a fairytale-look at those residences!

Some houses have also in their gardens apple trees in full bloom. Our host also showed us a small apple orchard. It was raining that time, but my companions let me hop out of the car and I dashed toward the trees to get snapshots in the rain.


The crowning moment of this holiday was finally seeing immense fields of canola in their golden splendor, and being amidst them. My spirits soared higher into euphoria as I feasted my eyes on their loveliness and photographed them in umpteen angles.

Of course, I never left out the little things that caught my interest around the house of our host, especially the flowers in his neglected garden and some flying creatures hovering around. These, too, elated me.

Undoubtedly, this is another exhilarating journey for me. The beauty that I saw everywhere, all the natural creations, intoxicated my senses. But I know that these are just fringes of what we will enjoy in the future, a foretaste of the new world promised by our loving and generous Creator.

"And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
And the One seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new.” Also, he says: “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” 
- Revelation 21:4,5

And on the last night of our stay here, I preserved my last sunset during this vacation with these photos that I took through the window panes.

When our host observed my ardor in shooting the sunset, he offered to drive us to the seashore to watch the sun go down the horizon beyond the bridge. We came too late as the clouds  already gathered to hide the tangerine glow. But still, the lingering blush of the night grace the scenery.

The afternoon of the following day would be our flight back home. Home to the north where my heart truly belongs. But I carried Malmö in my heart, a place where some dreams turned to reality, a place that has become a part of me.