Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday #66





Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday #65




Friday, August 12, 2011

Beat the Madrid Heat Tour: Part 12-The Most Famous Boy in Stockholm

Tucked in a little courtyard, behind a Finnish Church near the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden, is where you will find what is considered to be the city's smallest public statue, the "Iron Boy." Also known as the "Boy Looking at the Moon," it stands less than one foot tall, and is a favorite with locals and tourists alike. According to Wikipedia, this little boy, sculpted by Liss Eriksson in 1954, is also called "Olle" here in Stockholm. He is well taken care of by Stockholmers who knit neckerchiefs and hats to keep him warm during cold Swedish winters. "[I]t is one of the most appreciated pieces of art in the city, fondled by crowds of tourists every year, as the shiny head shows, and given coins and goodies. Martin Stugart, an expert on the history of Stockholm, writes the coins tourists give to the sculpture, in spite of the advices given by the guides, are collected by the Finnish Church which attempts to restrain the phenomenon. According to the low-key cult surrounding the boy, however, stealing these coins means bad luck as the child sees everything but forgets nothing." I like that...

According to Rick Steves', the coins are collected for the poor. The boys leave their offering, rub Olle's head and make a wish...

What a wonderful little piece of art this is...Hasta luego...


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Beat the Madrid Heat Tour: Part 11-Simple Summer Cottages in Sweden

The Scandinavian cruise we took last summer went to Stockholm, Sweden. It takes about 4 hours after you leave the Baltic to make it up the island-filled waterways into the port city. We were in a room with a balcony and the crew told us that we would be able to see little islands with picturesque summer cottages starting in the early morning hours. What a delight to watch these islands pass by while relaxing with a cup of my morning coffee...
We were told that a flag flying on the island means that someone is staying there. I could not get over how these little islands with their cottages reminded me of the Thousand Island Region between New York and Canada on the St Lawrence Waterway.

Some islands have more than one house...some have several...some are even large enough to have cars and roads on them, but it still can't be easy to get there, bring your supplies, etc...

On our way back out to the Baltic, I was getting a pedicure in the salon area of the ship. They have a wall of windows so you can look out at the lovely scenery while you get your pedicure. I was talking to the nail tech, who was from Jamaica, about how hard I thought it must be to get supplies out to these little islands...what about electricity...do they feel isolated? She looked up at me and asked, "Are you worried about these people getting what they need out here? Do you know how much these islands cost? The people that own these islands aren't doing that. They have people who do things for them. Tiger Woods' wife owns one of these islands." I started laughing and said, "So I shouldn't feel sorry for these people?" And she said, "No!" Then we both laughed.

Most of the cottages are red, which I found a little odd for Sweden, whose flag is colored blue and yellow. Red seemed more appropriate to Finland and we did see a few Finnish flags flying out there. I loved the red ones, but I think I love the yellow ones even more...

I kept looking for electric lines. Generators would seem to break up the tranquil surroundings. Maybe they really rough it on some of these little islands.


Maybe this one belongs to Elin Woods...hahaha...


Another big one...


I loved this house...situated in the narrow part of this island...beautiful views from both sides of the house...

This one is unique, built in the grander Victorian style, and in different colors as well...

I will never forget these gorgeous little gems. I will always wonder about the logistics of owning and outfitting such a place, and I will always wonder which one belongs to the former Mrs. Woods...Hasta luego...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Calling All Spain Bloggers...

Hey all you Spain Bloggers...Now that I will be editing the Spain Wiki page over at GoOverseas.com, they asked if I knew any people who might be interested in contributing to their pages about Spain. Of course, my first thought was to ask my fellow bloggers. Not only do you all live ALL over Spain, but you love to write about it! What kind of info is Go Overseas looking to include in their Wiki pages??

-Facts
-See & Do
-Food & Drink
-Bureaucracy
-Health & Safety
-Culture
-Sports
-Photos


If you blog about Spain, or just love it here, and are interested in contributing your knowledge about Spain to Go Overseas Spain Wiki page, let me know. You can also just contact Kate Thomas at Kate.Thomas@GoOverseas.com to get started.

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Parking by Feel" in Spain...

"Parking by Feel" is a phrase you hear a lot in Spain and I don't think I've seen a more perfect example of it than the above picture. I snapped it in the parking lot of the Colonia Jardin metro stop here in Madrid. This is why I never try to park here on a weekday. It is crazy busy and if you manage to find a place to park when you get there, you might not be able to get out of the parking lot, due to parking jobs like the above one here.

So what exactly is "Parking by Feel?" Imagine you see a spot that requires you to parallel park. You begin by pulling up along side the vehicle in front of your desired spot, then pull back and cut into the space. Continue backing up until you gently tap (hit) the car behind you. Then straighten your wheel and pull forward until you gently tap (hit) the car in front of you. Pull back off their bumper a couple of centimeters and you are parked!

What I find interesting about this parking phenomenon is that drivers of both "beater" cars AND expensive cars do this. You see people in old fiats do this AND in brand new porches do this. At least it makes me feel better about my own "Madrid Racing Stripe" I received when a pole collided with my back quarter panel in a parking garage last year. ;-) It is difficult to find a car in my part of Spain without a significant scratch or scrape. "Parking by Feel" is a big contributor to all the scraped up cars you'll see driving around town...I'm so glad Tiff told me to not even THINK about bringing a new car here! Great advice, Tiff! Hasta luego...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Letter FROM the Editor...

Dear Friends in Cyberspace,

I am super excited to report that GoOverseas.com has asked me to act as the editor for their new "Spain Wiki" page. Their site is a great resource for anyone interesting in studying, volunteering, or teaching abroad. They regularly review expat blogs and put out a Top Ten list each year. Last year, they selected my blog, Spain Is My Happy Place, as one of their Top Ten Spain Blogs. I was truly honored. Go Overseas is a great resource for anyone finds themselves living overseas.

Once again, GoOverseas.com has found yet another way to help people traveling or living in a foreign land...they are starting their own "Wiki" pages. I'll primarily be editing content provided by our contributors who provide their first-hand info about Spain. So to all my Spain blogging compadres, let me know if you are interested in contributing content to GoOverseas' "Spain Wiki" page. I will put you in contact with the administrator so you can get started sharing all your valuable information about Spain.

Hasta luego,
Ashleigh
The Super-Excited New Editor of Go Overseas' Spain Wiki

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