The February color theme is definitely pink. I stumbled over its first buds in the end of January and made a little collection in this post . Since then the pink has exploded. It was inspired by the St. Valentine’s day, but to be honest, I have never seen so much pink in Oslo stores. I guess, pink is also Pantone color of the season, so it is found everywhere, in clothes and interior alike. I am a lover of pink, so this season has given me a lot of fluffy emotions. That helps in the snowy season, while the spring seems so far away, and the winter doesn’t want to step back. While other places may soon boast of pink petals on the trees, we get our share while window-shopping. This is Scandinavian lifestyle. Now you know, why they invented hygge! 🙂
The snow has swept across Europe causing troubles and wonders. Paris looks so beautiful in the snow, and, as it doesn’t happen often there, it seems that everyone took a day off to go to the park, make a snowman, take a photo and post it on Instagram. Snow has fallen on the deserted beaches of Barcelona and has created chaos in the north of Catalonia. It was a protagonist on the Catalan news last night. Also in Moscow the extreme volumes of snow created problems for the traffic. As we sit here in our Norwegian homes and watch all these breaking news on tv, I wonder: when will they come here and film our snow?
Last year I started a project of presenting the neighborhoods of Barcelona. After two posts my ambitious project went on pause (you can check it out under the tag barrios in this blog). This is so me: so many ideas, but not so much will to follow through. Does it happen to you too?
But – better late than never – I pick up that idea now. Because there are still neighborhoods for which I want to share my love. And today let me present my most hearted one, my secret pearl. In a way, I don’t want to attract too much of attention to it – but since my blog is not read by thousands of travelers (luckily, hehe), I can still share and not be afraid of mass tourism flooding that part of the city 🙂
Why do I love Clot? Because, first, whenever I stay in Barcelona my home is always there. Second, it is old and very authentic, close to the city centre but with totally different vibe. I remember my first visit to Barcelona as a tourist. My friend drew me to the beach, while I was dreaming of walking through narrow streets, looking into cafes, spotting locals and trying to feel the city’s soul. Little did I know then that I would be doing it regularly while visiting Barcelona more often than my home country Ukraine 🙂 And one of the best places to feel that local authentic life, not spoiled by tourist crowds, is Clot. The neighborhood is a mixture of old buildings and new blocks, with locals sitting on the benches of the market square, hanging on the bar terraces, walking with dogs and playing football in the park. This is where I feel the most of how Barcelona was meant to be. Before the mass tourism changed the face of the city.
Today it was snowing again. I went for a walk – to get some fresh air and to see some colors. And where do we get it here? Right, shopping 😊 While it is winter outside, it is spring in the shops. As I had mentioned before, the shops this year exploded with shades of pink and red. Which made my girly heart aflutter.
So today I went on a color hunt/color study – an idea I got from the book “A Paris Year” by Janice MacLeod (and she got this idea in her turn from another artist and photographer). The point is: you choose a color and then go out searching for it. Last year I did something like that when I dedicated to collect all things yellow. Suddenly they were popping everywhere. It was a fun way to wait for the spring. Today my goal was: pink!
I love pink. I never had a Barbie in my life. I was born in Soviet Union, and the Barbies arrived only aftee its fall. I was 12 then, I wanted a Barbie to make clothes for her, but in my family the scarce money could not be spent on dolls. Because of that I never got too much of pink, and when Austrians laughed of Barbie pink, when I lived in Austria, I secretly loved it. I still love it. And seeing it on trend this year makes me joyful. Our eyes get so tired of shy Scandinavian colors like gray and beige, and in winter there is too much of dark color. But when fashion gods said to wear red and romantic, Norwegians obeyed. Suddenly the streets were more like in the South, with red coats, floating ruffles and embroidered pieces. And now – pink. Lovely, just lovely.
I wish you enough sun so that your days can be good. I wish you enough rain so that you know how to appreciate the sun.
Last night I read this phrase in the book “Kjemp for alt hva du har kjært” (Fight for everything that is dear to you) by H. K. Rohde, who was leading the police of Oslo when the terror attack of summer 2011 happened here. The book is a story of self-development and personal leadership. In Norway there are more than enough rainy days, cloudy skies and darkness – and here you learn to appreciate the sun and the light like in no other place.
Is it really dark here? You, guys, don’t live behind the polar circle and don’t have polar nights – so why winter darkness? Right, we don’t have polar nights and midnight sun like in the Northern Norway. But the days in winter are extremely short. In the darkest period, December-January, the sun rises at 9am and sets around 3pm. So the light day is short, and we spend more hours in darkness than in light. But calling it “light” and “sun” is really optimistic. Because of the low snowy clouds we happen to see the sun once in two weeks – if we are lucky. So the days look more like early evenings. You get up, wait for the light, live some hours through the grayness, and then it is night again. No wonder why winter is called mørketida, “darkness time” in Norway. I am not complaining here, but I feel a need to make this thing clear. I am not new to the cold and long winters, after all I come from Ukraine and Siberia is our neighbor (not really. Though some people believe it when I’m saying:)). My city can have colder winters than Oslo at times – but the light day is longer for a couple of hours. And I feel that difference now. After all, we all feel best with what we grew up with.
In my part of the world the winter has moved in. Oslo has seen its first snow and the minus temperatures. Today we are measuring -5 degrees Celsius. Last week the Christmas lights and decorations were installed and the Christmas markets opened. As for me, it is a bit early to start the whole fuss five weeks before Christmas. On the other hand, those lights and cozy turmoil make these cold and dark days a little bit brighter. With sunsets at 15.40 and sunrises at 8.30 the days are so short. If all the dark hours were considered night, how long the night would be, we wondered. 16 hours right now – and more to come. Thus I justified my sleeping for more hours 🙂 Anyone else here feeling like hibernating?
In my own fashion of belated posting, I decided to share my finds of this autumn. In October I was looking forward to a photo walk in the botanical garden – and here are the treasures I collected there. Autumn fruit and flowers.
I don’t know any other capital that is so caring about its village-like streets and views as Oslo. Where I come from, the village is associated with something retarded and uncool, and so everyone strives toward bigger cities, their coolness, their lights. Cities are modern, interesting, promising. The village is old-fashioned, boring and has little opportunity. I have been in many cities of Europe, and many of them have something in common, just as they are unique. But nowhere have I met so much country-like charm in the middle of the capital like in Oslo.
Autumn has taken over our streets. With more leaves under my feet and more golden color on the trees, I discover a new rapture for the beauty of nature. However on this blog the autumn is still on hold, and fall images wait patiently. I still want to admire the flowers of late summer, I don’t want to hurry to golden leaves and autumn fruit. Maybe, on this blog everything will come a month or too later, than in nature, and that will be my way to prolong the pleasure and beauty of the past season 🙂
So today I want to share some photos I made in August. I want to give place to late summer blooms even if their season has passed. But there will be enough time for admiring autumn, so why not go back in time and recollect that fading beauty? It feels like it is still touching my fingertips as it is passing away. A reminder of life cycle. A reminder that the only constant in life is change.
As the autumn darkness is crawling in, I want to look back to brighter days and be thankful for all the colors in my life. I happen – and am happy – to live in maybe the brightest neighborhood of Oslo. There are neighborhoods with richer architecture and posher buildings, where streets are full of beautiful blond people. There are neighborhoods closer to the lakes, the nature and the forest with the festival of autumn colors happening right now. But I would claim that no neighborhood is so full of colorful houses and lively crowds as Grunerløkka, the hipster hood.
Let me prove my point with these photos taken in August, when the air was already chilly, but when the sun was still shining and sending our spirits high. May the light and colors brighten up your autumn mood!
With all the events of the past weeks I have neglected my photowalks in Oslo. But I still feel the need to share its beautiful corners and lovely streets. So today I want to present my favorite neighborhood – Grunerløkka. It became hipster recently after having undergone the gentrification. It used to be a cheap and shabby area with weird population, then it became popular among artists and students for its cheapness, and now – as it usually happens – it is a neighborhood with many restaurants, cafes, bars and small shops. Which are mostly quirky, vintage and small businesses, but the big chains have appeared here too in the past couple of years squeezing the small owners out of the area. Grunerløkka, or shortly Løkka, is full of life and attracts people from other parts of the city for eating out or hanging in its bars.