Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Palma de Mallorca...

Last year when we visited Mallorca, we never really made it to Palma.  Somehow, a myriad of other little towns kept us busy and the beautiful pool and beaches filled in the rest.  I was determined to crack the city this time, but again, other pleasantness popped up.

I did make it however when I drove down to run a few errands at the pharmacy for the the new diplo-baby.  It was a more functional stop, but the center of town was so lovely, I had to squeeze in at least a few snaps.  And I knew that we left something to come back for - which, frankly, given that it's Mallorca and we'll go back any time that we can is fine by me!

Monday, May 11, 2015

A little R'n'R ...

Wishing you all a wonderful week - we're off for a little R'n'R in Mallorca (hooray!) but will be back next week with more adventures!

PS - This pic was actually from last year's trip to Mallorca, which I realized I never shared.  On the to do list, but in the meantime, find more Spanish Holidays here!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Photography Friday: Richard Mosse

These images have been stuck in my brain since I saw them at the Louisiana Museum a couple of weekends ago.  I know I haven't done a Photography Friday post in a while but given that I still can't stop thinking about these, I wanted to share them.

There are only a few images as part of the exhibit at the Louisiana, and I think part of what moved me so much is that when we rushed in, toddler and stroller and all, I kept waiting for the "pink pictures" as my daughter called them to come up.  You have to admit that the color is striking.

But once you finally see them, and read the synopsis of the work, all of the sudden what was just a minute ago a beautiful color, turns into something a bit more haunting.  Richard Mosse photographed civil conflict in the Congo (DRC), using older infrared military cameras.

Normally, these were supposed to have been used around the WWII era - the cameras color anything plant like in a varied shade of pink, which would allow those in camoflauge to be picked out.  People quickly learned how to outsmart the camera and they fell out of use.  Mosse uses them now to show that fine line between beauty and horror.  In addition to the landscape, he takes photographs of the conflict, and those involved in it, which, as you can probably guess, means that there are way more young people featured than there should ever be.

There's an accompanying video that goes along with the exhibit but its a difficult watch.  As a parent, its guaranteed to break your heart.  This was a conflict that barely received a media mention but Mosse's images will be seared in my mind for a long, long time.

All photographs by Richard Mosse.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Denmark Derby: Roskilde ...

You can't come to Denmark and not learn about vikings.  Vikings are kind of a thing here... And there's no talking about vikings without a trip to Roskilde - once the main seat of Viking launches (and now home to one of the biggest music festivals).

We had been saving this day trip assuming this was one of those things we'd have to do a gazillion times with visitors and somehow we never made it.  But given that it's only about half an hour away from Copenhagen, it was a great location to test out the first day trip with two mini-diplos in tow.  Success all around.

The main attraction in Roskilde of course is the Viking Ship Museum (n.b there is also a separate Roskilde museum which we didn't see but I imagine it's a lot about Vikings too).  The museum itself is actually quite petite.  One section is outdoors devoted to showing off how things were done in Viking times (for example, wood chopping) and sailing.  

Per the sign above, you have to love this stuff in Denmark.  Not only can you pay to take a boat trip, but you pay to be "part of the crew" and take "an active part" (i.e. expect to have to lift heavy oars and do your part else you will all be floating off to sea).  So practical... Note that an instructor will be in charge and handing out life jackets, but perhaps not doing any rowing himself.  In any case, the boat trips and most of the outdoor exhibits only start in the summer season so I can't confirm what it's like to be a descendant Viking sailor or oarsman or blacksmith or wood chopper...But I bet it's interesting.

The second part of the museum consists of a concrete pavilion where they have reconstituted 5 scuttled Viking vessels found in the fjord waters here.  In the 60's people started noticing wood fragments washing up on shore, so they built a coffer dam around the area, drained it, picked up all the wood shards and then spent 25 years reconstructing them to give  sense of what the ships looked like.  The pieces are attached to these iron frames so that you can get a sense of the boats, although many fragments are missing.  Perhaps not surprising as these boats are well over 1000 years old.

It might be tempting to walk by these boats quickly - they are, after all - all in one hall but here's where the 15 minute movie comes in.  There's a video playing when you first walk in - don't skip it since there is a wealth of information not just about the boats, but about the process to get them out of the fjord.  When you think about it, it's really quite amazing.  Also makes you wonder what people will dig up after us in some fjord a thousand years from now...

There are also some small side exhibits on Viking life  - and perhaps most importantly, Viking dress.  A few mannequins are sprinkled about but the real winner is in the children's section.  Not only are there two Viking ship replicas which are open for tots to climb around and swing on, but there is a full on dress and costume station where you too can live out your dreams of renaming yourself Thor and thumping around in fur pelts.  It was a hit for us let me tell you (check out diplo-tots perspective and furry ensembles over on A Toddler in the Trees).

Outside the museum, you can check out a nice collection of docked Viking boats and the harbor, and in the distance you get a wonderful view of the Roskilde cathedral.  After the Vikings, the Catholics took their turn, and Roskilde is home to the largest Catholic cathedral and final resting place of 37 monarchs.  I originally planned for us to do the museum and cathedral  in one long afternoon but we ended up enjoying the harbor and museum so much that we didn't make it in before the church closed. But it leaves us something to come back for, which we would do again gladly.

The museum had a small cafe but somewhat limited menu so we headed to the Restaurant Snekken on the harbor.  Major hygge.  Pelts, candles and pulled pork - outside, Paradis ice cream had set up shop so what to do for dessert was an easy choice.

We took a walk afterwards on the new harbor area - apparently making the harbor more friendly towards visitors has been a priority for the Roskilde town since 2011 and they did a great job.  I would have never guessed those paths were newer  - little sailing clubs and boats and traditional houses dot the waterside, making for a lovely walk, especially on a day like the one we had.  Full on sunshine and spring flowers really paint this town (and this country) rather pretty, wouldn't you say? 

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