I’ve shared highlights of Ole Bull’s life before, as well as memories of my first concert in Norway back in 2006 at his summer home on Osterøy. But I see Ole Bull’s Lysøen villa every time I look out my windows …
… and for two summers now, from my perspective 100 meters above the fjord, I’ve watched the boat shuttle go faithfully back and forth taking tourists, hikers, and concert goers to the island …
… and last weekend, finally!, I visited the island for music and a closer look. I’ve spent so much time gazing out my windows at our amazing view that it was a little surreal to be gazing up at our place.
From the Bergen Guide’s website:
The beautiful and extraordinary villa on Lysøen (the Island of Light) was built for the Norwegian violin-virtuoso Ole Bull in 1873. Ole Bull’s charismatic personality and musical excellence had a great influence on contemporary artists.
He spent his summers relaxing on the isle of Lysøen, and often invited fellow artists and musicians. Ole Bull also transformed his 175 acre island property into a fairy-tale kingdom by having romantic paths (approx. 13 km.), ponds and gazebos made by planting exotic trees and bushes in the native pine forest. Ole Bull died on his island in 1880.
In 1973 his granddaughter Mrs. Sylvea Bull Curtis of Connecticut donated the villa and all its contents to the Society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments.
I took the short seven minute journey across the Lysefjord and, once arriving at the island, sat for a moment taking it all in. The sunlight was very bright, making it difficult to see our apartment up on top of the hill opposite my seat.
Walking the path next to the swimming area towards the villa, I enjoyed seeing it from its side view.
Once up next to it, it seemed even larger than I expected. I walked around, taking a few photos; the sunlight was so bright, though, that the blue appears washed out.
As I was walking around the villa, I stopped to watch the boat continuing its round trip journey bringing others to the island, visited the monument to Ole Bull’s granddaughter who donated this wonderful place to Norway, gazed across the fjord’s inlet to the old farm, and walked up the path just behind the villa to sit and experience a little nature and peacefulness … while my eyes kept looking back across the fjord towards our place.
And then it was time for the concert!
Music of Balakirev, Ole Bull, Zimbalist, Paganini, and Piazzolla. Just as my first time experiencing music in such an intimate setting, I sat in the music hall of the home that a famous Norwegian composer built, with views of the country that inspired his music visible through the windows. Except this time … I belonged; I could see our apartment across the fjord, and wondered how many times I’d looked at the villa while other concerts were going on inside.
After the concert I took a short guided tour; I’ll share those photos and thoughts next time.
With the last boat’s departure time of 4:30 pm approaching, I reluctantly began my way back to the dock. Seeing the number of people waiting I purposely hung back, and was rewarded with a too-full boat so was able to stay and absorb the surroundings for another round. The villa, the flagpole, our house, a small wooden boat anchored and then being rowed, the shallow area that is filled with children and families swimming during the hot days, tiny fish swimming around the dock, the shuttle boat returning for us, and the short journey back to land …
… it was magic!
(Here is where Ole Bull’s villa on Lysøen is located on the map.)
On occasional Thursdays I’ve published various “paintings and photographs” posts, and showcased a photo that I’ve taken of a Norwegian view along with a painting in which an artist captured a similar perspective.
Today’s post is somewhat within that theme, except it’s not a Norwegian painter or photo. But it *is* an artist and it *is* a photograph(s) … but not a perspective. It’s photos of sculptures created by the Spanish artist Salvador Dalí.
Dalí. Just saying his name brings up a vision of bizarre dreams and melting clocks … but there’s so much more to his life. A synopsis, from Biography:
(Visit his page on Biography to read the complete story and view several interesting videos.)
While walking around Marbella during our trip to Spain last week we discovered a little gem: the Avenida Del Mar. It was unexpected and delightful, and I enjoyed walking and photographing. Sculptures, flowers, benches, shade, views of the Mediterranean: an oasis of calm in an area of tourists. It was so peaceful.
Except, as I looked closer at the sculptures I saw they were created by Salvador Dalí depicting a few of his surrealistic visions. Not calm at all! But the overall effect was. For me, the representation of disturbing dreams against the larger, more present backdrop of seagulls, warmth, color, sunshine, water, people, and real life created a unique and interesting mixture. I could have wandered there for hours.
Once home, I researched a bit about the Avenida Del Mar. This is what I found on the Arts & Culture section of Expatica:
I meandered down the plaza for quite a while, camera in hand and eyes taking in the statues and surroundings. Although, because of the bright sun and my limited point-and-shoot camera my photos don’t show the detail very well, perhaps they’ll give you an impression of the area?
The first statue from the town end of the park is Perseo, depicting the beheading of Medusa by the mythological Greek hero Perseus:
As you walk towards the Mediterranean past Perseo, the next one is Gala Gradiva, thought to be one of the loves of Dalí’s life:
Continuing on, you’ll find Mercurio:
… and Trajano a Caballo (Trajano riding a horse):
Next, Gala Asomada a la Ventana (Gala at the window):
… and Caballo con Jinete Tropezando (Horse and jockey stumbling):
Continuing, you’ll find Elefante Cosmico (Cosmic elephant):
… Mujer Desnuda Subiendo La Escalera (Nude woman walking up stairs):
… and Don Quijote Sentado (Don Quixote sitting down):
… and finally, the last of Dalí’s statues, his Hombre Sobre Delfín (Man above dolphin):
Referring to my earlier post where I mentioned “planned and focused” vacations vs. “let’s see what happens,” this was a little of both. It was definitely an unplanned discovery … but once I did see it during a quick Marbella walk exploration, I planned a visit back to absorb and take photos. Has that ever been your experience on a vacation? I’d enjoy reading your thoughts!
(Here is where this part of the world is located on the map.)
We are home after a week in Spain. Friends have a vacation house in Marbella, and we had the place to ourselves: Relaxing hours spent by the pool, interesting hours spent walking in old Marbella, satisfying hours spent exploring different traditional tapas and paella restaurants as well as those that featured a more modern menu, delicious hours sampling new Spanish wines, exploring hours spent driving in the Andalusian mountains … the week went quickly and we didn’t dive into any deep historical exploration, but for a last-minute opportunity to go we felt we absorbed as much of the local cuisine, culture, and experience as we could.
It was wonderful.
Even with just a week’s visit, I have (of course … 😉 ) way too many photos and thoughts. To begin sharing a few of them, I decided to first focus on the autonomous community (Andalusia), Province (Málaga), and especially city (Marbella) in which we stayed.
Wikipedia highlights about Andalusia:
– Most populous autonomous community, it covers 17.3 percent of Spain
– Located south in the Iberian peninsula and north of the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar, the main mountain ranges are the Sierra Morena and the Baetic System, and the average temperature throughout the year is over 16 °C (61 °F)
– Rich culture and a strong cultural identity; many phenomena that are seen internationally as distinctively Spanish are largely or entirely Andalusian in origin: flamenco, bullfighting, and certain Moorish-influenced architectural styles
Province of Málaga
Wikipedia highlights of Málaga:
– Area of 7,308 km² and 2012 population of 1,639.127, concentrated mainly in the metropolitan area of Málaga and throughout the coastal area
– Climate is a warm Mediterranean, with dry and warm long summers and short mild winters
– Main industry and claim to fame are its tourist resorts
Wikipedia highlights about Marbella:
– Part of the region of the Costa del Sol (Sun Coast) on the Mediterranean Sea in the foothills of the Sierra Blanca
– Has a significant archaeological heritage; some historians believe the first settlement on the present site of Marbella was founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC, the Roman population center was in what is now the El Casco Antiguo (Old Town) area, the Caliphate of Córdoba fortified the coastline and built a string of several lighthouse towers along it, and so much more
– Between the old town and the Mediterranean is a garden with fountains and a collection of ten sculptures by Salvador Dalí
– Particularly noted for the presence of aristocrats, celebrities and wealthy people, it is a popular destination for luxury yachts (which Jan and I made a conscious decision to NOT go see)
I have specific “themed” photos for future posts, but thought I’d share a few random images from Marbella now — most are my own but, as with those above, a couple are from the Interwebs and I’ve credited their sources.
How about you — when you only have a brief time in a new area, do you try to absorb and experience as much as possible overall, or do you focus on one or two aspects of the trip to experience more fully?
(Here is where this part of the world is located on the map.)
As you could see from my photos in yesterday’s post, Sandviken is located near the water. The early buildings were mostly water mills and shipyards, and later traders from Bergen built landing places and warehouses in the area.
A few facts from my husband:
It has a long and complicated history, but here’s an overview:
– From the early Middle ages, Sandviken was the main location for milling (grounding grain into flour). Even today there is a huge mill there.
– Besides the boatbuilding (shipyards) and rope-making (the long “Reperbahn” building for making and storing the rope is still there), its main business was as a so called “Stapelhavn” mainly for the dried fish from the north. Sandviken was located a long way from the city center at that time in history; the business was located there probably because of the very pungent smell from the fish. It clings to anybody who works with it.
– “Stapelhavn” means a harbor for changing goods between the different traders. In its history, ships brought fish from the North, spices from the West Indian company, etc. The goods were transferred and distributed, mainly in Europe, but also on a world wide basis.
– The area was privately owned until it was sold to the Bergen commune in 1876. As a far northern suburb of Bergen, it was accessible from Bergen only by boat or over the narrow, high path over Ladegården. A wider road was established in the late 1800’s.
– As the business and activities grew, people started building houses: Small ones for the workers and grander ones for the rich merchants. Most of those houses are still there.
A few personal observations:
– My family owned a number of houses in Sandviken for several hundred years, building ships for trading in the European Hansa League and buying dried fish from the northern parts of Norway.
– My great, great grandfather was First Mate on a Danish ship until he fell down from the rig and crushed both his knees.
As you can imagine, it was long hours, hard work, and a difficult life. Of course the workers needed a release … which brings me to today’s post. While Grandson and I were enjoying our walk (that is, while he snoozed and I gaped at him and my surroundings), I took some time at the Madam Felle statue.
(An additional photo of the base can be found here; as the photographer Bård Skåden writes, “At the bottom of the statue it shows how they believe it was.”)
A bit of more history from my knowledgeable Bergenske husband, this time about Madam Felle:
Her clientel were locals, but also all the workers from the shipyards, the men sorting the dried fish from the north, the rope-makers … it was extremely hard, labor-intensive work.
Her fame is very much caused by the song about her. Written by an “unknown,” it is a very simple two-verse Bergen “street-song” that most people from Bergen know.
Here are the lyrics in the local “Bergensk” dialect to this street song, and a rough English translation courtesy of my husband (but of course a lot of the humor is lost in the translation):
Kjenner dokker madam Felle
|Kjenner dokker madam Felle
– Jonnemann sin gamle mor?
Hon så hadde øl å selle:
ut i Sandviken hon bor.No e hun dø for lenge siden,
Jonnemann sin gamle mor,
hon så hadde øl å selle
ut i Sandviken hon bor.
|Do you know madam Felle
– the old mother of Jonnemann?
She had beer to sell:
out in Sandviken she lives.Now she is dead long gone
the old mother of Jonnemann,
she had beer to sell
out in Sandviken she lives.
(Here is where Madam Felle’s statue is located on the map.)
Ben’s Photo Challenge this week is Monument:
In this week’s challenge, show us your take on a monument (broadly defined). It could be … a well-known tourist site, or a place nobody knows outside your community. It doesn’t even have to be an official monument. A legendary coffeehouse, a churchyard cemetery, the remains of a treehouse you’d built as a kid — anything can be monumental as long as it’s imbued with a shared sense of importance.
I’ve posted many photos of the physical monuments that I’ve visited, some erected to commemorate an event and others a living reminder of a time: In the United States, I’ve taken photos of the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial in D.C., the Saint Louis Arch in Missouri, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the Statue of Liberty in New York City, and captured one of the many monuments of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania … in Germany, I lived near The Wall and Freedom Bridge in West Berlin … in France, we toured the highlights of Paris, including a visit to the Eiffel Tower … in Austria, we visited the Olympic Stadium in Innsbruck … in Mexico, I climbed the pyramids near Mexico City … in Italy, I watched Jan get lost in the history of the ruins of an Etruscan village near Montalcino … in London, there are too many monumental discoveries to mention individually! … and in Norway, where can I begin? Bryggen, Lysekloster ruins, Stave Churches and their cemeteries, the many ancient stone walls and buildings that are a monument to the the people that built them, the various statues that are a monument to a historical event, the Viking Stone monuments, and a replica of the Viking long boats — monuments to an important part of Norway’s history.
But I don’t consider monuments to be just physical; there are also several figurative monuments in life that I’ve captured: a photo that grabbed a moment in time of now far-flung siblings and cousins is a monument to family … listening to the words of a veteran, I consider him a monument to his generation and my country … a statue that is a monument to the very deep longings of this empty-nester … and, referencing Ben’s challenge words up there, a monument to childhood — my brothers and me in our treehouse.
But digging through the photo folders, I found a few other figurative and actual monuments I’ve seen in my life:
A monument to farmers and hard work — with a little play thrown in (my daughters playing, and their Grandpa Keller working, on the combine on the family farm in New York State in 1988) …
A New Orleans monument to a historical moment in my country’s history …
A monument to love: one of the hundreds of sculptures by Gustav Vigeland in Oslo …
When you think of the word “monument,” do you think literal or figurative? What are the important monuments in your life?
Our four-month old grandson — and his parents 🙂 — live in the Sandviken area of Bergen. We’ve driven through the area often, and visited them several times since they moved into their place, and although we haven’t walked around I’ve been intrigued by the buildings and history.
A little about Sandviken:
… it is located geographically north-east of the city center. The neighbourhood begins north of Bergenhus Fortress, and follows the coastline facing west. Sandvik Road is the main thoroughfare through the area, which mostly consists of residential buildings. Sandviken has around 13,000 inhabitants. The early development of Sandviken consisted largely of water mills and shipyards. Later, traders from Bergen built landing places and warehouses in the area …
Our grandson was baptized at the Sandvik Church/Sandvikskirken a couple of weeks ago on a beautiful sunny Sunday. About the church:
… Sandvik Church (Sandvikskirken) is a wooden Gothic hall church from 1881. The church has a slightly narrower polygonal ended choir in the east and a tower in the west that is located in the church’s long axis. The church had gneiss as a building material with exterior cladding of granite … Sandviken parish was established on 29 July 1874 … The church was completed in autumn 1881 and inaugurated in December 1881.
We parked at the church, and after the services we walked the ten minutes or so to their house for a family celebration. I still haven’t *really* experienced this historic and charming part of Bergen, but enjoyed the brief walk and, especially, the family time immensely! As I was focused on family while we were walking (especially the adorable face of our grandson), I didn’t take too many photos of the area. But a few found their way through my camera lens …
A memorial to the seventeen men who died when their ship hit a mine in the North Sea on September 13, 1939; the Sandviken Church is in the background:
A better view of the church, with a statue of a Sandvikens Buekorps member (I wrote about Bergen’s Buekorps here):
The house of the Sandvikens Bataljon and Sandviksguttenes forening (Sandviken Battalion and Sandviken Boys Association), home of the Sandvikens Buekorps:
But there’s so much more to this area of Bergen! And so I found images online to share:
In searching for those images, I discovered something that I didn’t know — my favorite Impressionist painter, Claude Monet, visited Norway. In 1895 he painted this perspective of Sandviken:
In December I shared the tradition of flying the Norwegian flag on specific days and birthdays. I forgot to mention that it’s also flown on baptism days … and so here is our grandson’s flag, hanging in the warm Sandviken sunshine:
In early June 2010 we took an “express boat” from Bergen to Haugesund for a weekend to attend the wedding of friends. (We’ve moved since this trip almost four years ago; in creating this map, I realize that our boat route is on the other side of the islands and *just* visible from the bench in my front yard.)
Haugesund is located south of Bergen on the Norwegian coast; the trip only takes a couple of hours and is comfortable and exciting. Similar to the boat we took up the coast to Sognefjord and Sogndal, I enjoyed taking photos during the trip. No towering mountains this time, though; just the coastal topography out one side’s windows, and views of scattered islands and/or the North Sea out of the other. It was a gorgeous day, and the spray from the water on the windows made for interesting patterns mixed with the colors of the water. And, although oil production platforms in the oceans can’t be moved, the drill platforms can; we sped by one (located just south of Leirvik on that map above) that was in to shore for repairs. It was fascinating to see it “up close”!
Once settled into our room, we headed out and enjoyed walking around. Haugesund is smaller and so was more “accessible” for me; I had my first hip operation four months earlier, and I really appreciated that aspect of our explorations!
According to Wikipedia:
In the early years, the coastal waters of Haugesund were a huge source of herring, and the town grew accordingly. Despite being a fairly young town, the areas around Haugesund were lands of power during the Viking Age.
We visited the Irish Viking pub a couple times during our brief visit, and I also captured a photo of a wolf howling out in the street (well, a fairly life-like figure of one), as well as the local school music group sharing their talents.
My few photos of that area are of our friends and their wedding guests, and cropping the images doesn’t provide the full picture of how historic, beautiful, and dignified the church is … but it’s a glimpse for you to experience the history!
We didn’t have time to explore the finds on Karmøy from the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages, or the Viking burial mounds (or any of the other museums in the Haugesund area to help me fully live its history) – but that just means it’s on the unwritten “travel bucket list” to get back one day to do so!
The express boat back to Bergen was just as pleasant as the trip down to Haugesund. I particularly liked seeing the Bergen Harbor as we arrived!
(Here is where this part of the world is located on the map.)
Fellow expats, what are some of your favorite memories and experiences of explorations close to where you live in your adopted country? I’d enjoy hearing of your discoveries!