INSPIRATION

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Photo: Kristin Bae Mysen

I love to be inspired. Today I visited a friend’s house and this is what she had on her table, a tulip taken right up from the dirt with the flower bulb hanging on to it.
And when I left I got one as a present, and here it is in my living-room in a vase with a little of water.

THE BLACKBIRD IS SINGING

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I am sitting on my balcony happily  listening to how my favorite bird, the blackbird (svartrost), trills out its joyous notes on the lawn. When I hear this twitter I know the summer is just around the corner. Just watch and listen to this and you know what I mean.

The blackbird with its shiny black feathers is said to symbolize peace and good fortune. In old times many cultures considered the bird as being representation for everlasting life, and in Greek folklore the bird was looked upon as sacred. No wonder that the blackbird is the national bird of Sweden and represents Aust- Agder in Norway where I live.

Right now I am listening to the song Blackbird written by Paul McCartney in 1968 as a reaction to the racial tensions that were escalating in the United States at that time.

ME AND MY PENS

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Photo: Kristin Bae Mysen

Some have passion for fashion, I have passion for stationery. It does sound a bit “out there”, but nevertheless it is the truth. A colorful pen with a good grip makes me happy, a black pad, pencil and a eraser I put out on my desk for decoration. Buying arty cards gives me a kick. The same does beautiful wrapping paper and I always have a lot in stock. Therefore visiting those Spanish Papelerías is always a hit for me. This time I hoarded notebooks, binders and of course my favorite Jetstream pens with brightly colored ink. Luckily I found this website today where they can be ordered in case I run out before I have a chance to return.

SALAMANCA – THE GOLDEN CITY!

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I am in Salamanca this week with my students who are studying Spanish, all taken by this small and stunningly beautiful student-filled city in northwestern Spain close to Portuguese border.
It has an incredible architecture, actually it is considered one of the most spectacular Renaissance cities in Europe, and thanks to its clear and pure Spanish accent it attracts thousands of international students.

The city is called the Golden city, La Dorada, because of the golden sandstone mined from a nearby quarry of which all the buildings are constructed. And when the sun begins to set, the original golden stone fills the streets with beautiful tones.

Every year 30 000 students are studying at the University of Salamanca which is the oldest university in Spain (founded in 1218) and one of the oldest in the world. Salamanca is also considered to be Spain’s answer to Oxford in England.

Enjoy the city by watching this film which is the official video of Salamanca.

IN LOVE WITH THE LIBRARY IN SALAMANCA

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Today I visited the old library at the University of Salamanca which is considered to be one of the most beautiful libraries in the western world. This picture is taken by the Turkish architect and fine art photographer Ahmet Ertug based in Istanbul, and the photo is one out of many in his famous book ; Temples of knowledge; Historical libraries of the western world.

“Ahmet Ertug’s photography has a deep meditative energy and it withdraws the observer into the intellectual content of his subjects, ranging from the vast interior of monumental buildings to the silent gazes of ancient sculptures.”

See more of his work here!

GUERNICA AND PICASSO

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Guernica is a city situated in northern Spain. The painting Guernica was created by Pablo Picasso in response to German and Italian bombing of the city in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War.
The picture measures almost 8 x 4 meters and although I have seen it before, standing here in Madrid with my students I am once again taken by the powerful impact and the unbelievable disgust of war. Guernica, which is hanging in Reina Sofia museum, shows how war and suffering inflict upon innocent civilians.

See this magnificent three dimensional film here

An interesting art and historical lesson about the painting here.

QUINO’S GUERNICIA

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Quino is a favorite of my mine. The Argentine cartoonist Joaquín Salvador Lavado, better known by his pen name Quino (born 17th of July 1932) is famous for his comic and often political strips. More about him here.

You can purchase his book from here.

“A NEW DAY” WITH THE PAINTER ELSE HAGEN

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Photo: Kristin Bae Mysen

Watching how these people are waking up with the sun in the picture “A new day”, reminds me of being more present in my own day.

The picture is made by the Norwegian painter Else Hagen and is hanging in my livingroom. More about her in an article I have written here.

A SMELL OF ORANGE

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Photo: Kristin Bae Mysen

Happiness is a good book and the smell of orange.