2012

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Trains through Norway

Maybe it is the fiercely glacial temperatures we've been having, but I keep thinking of when we took a train straight through rock mountains two years ago. We were traveling from Sweden (where we met Walker's relatives) to the west coast of Norway, eating baked potatoes and that caramel, brown cheese (gjetost) on the train, and what appears to be intensely editing photos (maybe these?) I found these photos the other day, and wondered why I never posted. Here they are in all their aqua and…

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Sea-mist and Woodsmoke

It's getting chipper out, and a bit darker. The earlier nights make coming home cozier, more comforting. Walking through rows of Christmas trees stacked outside the grocer I don't pretend I'm in a forest, but I do take a deep breath of fir. I pass the new general store decked with felt ornaments and handmade goods, and smile I'm home (or almost there). I almost always walk the longer way to pass the shops lit and alive. When I'm in Maine, I have the same familiar contentment, and I don't even…

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The trains in Sweden

We went to Scandinavia about half a year ago now, and here I find this dormant, half-written post. I'll take one for the team and finish it up, even though it's embarrassingly late, because this is worth seeing, over and again: We slid from Denmark to Sweden to Norway on trains--cutting through glacial hunks of icy mountain and past surging waterfalls. Here are some sights from the train (which I don't mean to be so Alie-centric, but someone else had the camera . . . even when I protested.) I…

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Maine

No corny title will do: Maine is just too gorgeous. Maine. Salt water runs in my veins (do you crave salt, too?), and at the beginning of my favorite month, we visited the place that never ceases to refresh and swell me with crashing refreshment. Maine. Tucked away on that dark, starry island each night in our room over the bay listening to boats and banter from the lobster bake-- with him and then waking to blueberry pancakes and amber syrup, walking until our ears stung and our breath and…

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Glacially late. 3 months in fact.

and I have the most exquisite place to show you. Exquisite, vast, cold, and dramatic, Norway froze and mesmerized us at once. What a trick that the road in started straight. Oh baby. We stayed in Bergen, a colorful coastal port full of sweaters and pastry shops, and one morning ate our breakfast early, and took the train to the bus. The bus was, to put it bluntly, scary----right up there with nearly falling off the cliffs of Hawaii on our honeymoon. Mountain height and a dash of swaying bus,…

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Stockholm

I'm not sure where it originated, but I have long imagined Stockholm to be a collection of squares, of monochromatic blocks of designer stores, sleek and clean. Instead, it was the full bodies of water that opened the city up, that cleaned our lungs and grabbed the sun to glitter in our eyes. We breezed across the full channels of the city on the water. They were wide and teaming, and what I will remember about Stockholm was how they held us up, and moved us forward, and underlined rows of…

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Sweden

I am in sixth grade, wearing a white eyelet dress with braids pinned in loops. The get-up is finished with a wreath in my hair. With candles. I carry a tray of cardamom-laced rolls in the shape of an “S” to country report day. Fourteen years later, I am in Dala-Järna, Sweden, a town so small that when we put its address into the GPS, the arrow dives straight into a forest. A little girl with blue eyes shiny as marbles scampers around her great-grandmother’s cottage where I notice a photo of…

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Blackbird Cathedral

We clicked “buy flight” less than a day before take-off this past Saturday, and that was it. We were going to a state we'd never been, the heartland. And when we arrived it was just that. We walked outside into 100 degrees of heat and 180 degrees of flat and it was silent. No people. No moving cars. Just an occasional bird scratching the air with noise. The sky was so empty and high I couldn’t find it. It was a place you sense you’ve been before. You know planner me----I research trips months…

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Great Danes!

Something of the ritual of sitting here in a small New York apartment and summarizing a country is invigorating. To have seen, to have traveled and moved over such great quantities of land---was thrilling, is a great gift. A year has passed since our plane left Europe and my willing-the-wheels-to-somehow-stick didn't work. The wheels stuck this time, and it was cool and blusters. We sat at the sidewalk cafe for breakfast that first bleary morning, and I wrapped myself in the blankets provided…

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Scandinavia

It felt like a fairytale, with mossy forests, tall waterfalls, and huddles of primary-colored cottages huddled above fjords. Being back with cool wind, low clouds and light, and abundant pine was a bit Scottish, and completely freeing. We rested, we soaked up the sky and the cliffs, and I ate shocking amounts of fresh yogurt and cheese. We are back in New York, and I sat on the couch watching someone make human-sized soap bubbles which floated over the park tonight. Being in Europe was…