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There Are Many Paths to Follow - Enjoy the Journey

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Helsingor, Denmark

A path. It can be a beginning. It can be an ending. It can be a road. An alley. It could be a winding river. A bridge perhaps. Even an abandoned rail road track. There are many ways to define a path. And there are many ways to look at them. I took this photo above in Denmark, in the city of Helsingor. I did not know then that it would inspire me to look for other paths to photograph. It was just an interesting side street that I walked past. I had recently joined the photo web site Flickr when I took this photo. I was posting all of my travel photos there for my own enjoyment and for a back up storage. I never really thought much about the fact that many people might see my photos on Flickr. I posted this photo and labeled it Small Alley in Helsingor. And suddenly I started to get comments on the photo. I was invited to add it to a group in Flickr just called Paths. In a short time the photo had 351 views. I was amazed. People even sent me messages about the photo. And this started my interest in looking for paths to photograph. The photo itself became a path. It lead me to photograph many other streets and alleys. And even now 17 years later I am still fascinated with taking photos of paths.

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Pa'ia - Maui - Ho'okipa Beach

This path was at the end of a dirt road in Hawaii on the island of Mau'i. The dirt road itself was a path that led me to this beautiful path. At the end of the dirt road we found a secluded little beach. There are many quiet and inspiring locations like this in the tourist heavy islands of Hawaii. We look for these when we visit there.

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Pollyanna Crosswalk - Littleton, New Hampshire

Some paths can tell you a story. This interesting little crosswalk in Littleton, New Hampshire has a history and a story. The Disney movie Pollyanna was based on the novel Pollyanna which was written in this little town. The novel was a little darker than the Disney movie. It ends with the little girl Pollyanna getting hit by a car. This sign in the crosswalk has Pollyanna pictured waving and tells you to stop on the corner, Look, then wave and cross the street. Each time I see my photo here the path leds me to memories of the seeing the movie as a child, and also now it leads to memories of an excellent brewery named Schilling Brewery at the end of this street.

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Sacre Couer - Montmarte - Paris

Some small paths are in big cities and lead you to beautiful churches. This small side street in Montmartre in Paris led me to the beautiful Sacre Couer. The photograph though focuses on the path with the huge over powering cathedral waiting to be discovered later in the background.

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Tintern Abbey - Wales 2011

It took a long journey for me to find this path. It started in a junior high school English class where I was taught Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey and ended here in Wales at the actual Abbey over fifty years later. That small sidewalk is the culmination of a life long journey the see this historic Abbey. Looking at that path in the photo I am immediately transported back to my English class and learning to appreciate Wordsworth and then finally walking this path to the Abbey many years later.

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Pa'ia - Maui - Ho'okipa Beach

Many paths are simple. Just a narrow dirt path and a small stone wall. Yet they are magical in their own way. This path led to an isolated beach in Maui. No crowds. No tourists. Just a quiet beautiful cove

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Sidewalk cafe in Trastevere - Rome

I belong to several groups in Flickr that are just for paths or trails. Several require no people in the photo. They want just a path to tell the story. But for me sometimes people are as much a part of the story as the path itself. I can look at a photo of the Colosseum and immediate know it's Rome. And I have a lot of photos of the Colosseum. But to really feel or experience Rome all I need is a simple photo of a path with people dining in a narrow street. This immediately transports me to Rome. I don't need the crowds at the Spanish Steps or the throngs of tourists throwing coins in a fountain to transport me. I need a simple path.

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County Wicklow - Ireland

Another path. Another country. County Wicklow in Ireland. Not a fancy or elaborate photo. But the path transports me once more. This one brings back childhood memories going with my grandmother to see the Walt Disney film Darby O'Gill and the Little People. It's a great memory because my grandmother did not go the movies ever. But for some reason she and I ended up at our little small town theater watching Darby O'Gill. And there are parts of that movie that are terrifying for a young child. But my grandmother was with me and it became a favorite memory. Not of fear from from the scary scenes, but a memory of being with her doing something special for me. That's the journey I take when I see this photo of the path in Wicklow.

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Road to Chateau Aigle - Switzerland

I have a several photos I took of Chateau Aigle in Switzerland. It is one of my favorite locations I have visited. The Chateau is surrounded by a beautiful vineyard. I walked from the village of Aigle to the Chateau. I sat inside the Chateau and had a glass of wine made from the vineyards surrounding the Chateau. Just me, by myself. A wonderful quiet moment. But then I look at this photo of this small road that led me to the Chateau and that memory completes the experience for me.

A path can be part of a beautiful bright blue day.

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A path can take you to a quiet reflective moment on the water front.

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A path can take you out of a bustling tourist filled city center to a quiet hillside view.

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And a path can lead you home.

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I have not traveled since Covid happened. I have missed flying. I have missed seeing new and exciting places. But most of all I have missed the paths that take me away. Things are opening up now. People are traveling once more. And we have some travel plans for the very near future. Enjoy your journeys. But most of all take time to reflect on the paths that take you there.

Posted by littlesam1 16:44 Tagged travel ireland rome switzerland wales paths covid baltimore_maryland Comments (6)

Oslo - Lasting Impressions of an Odd City

Visiting Oslo I learned that first impressions are not always the best impressions.


View Scandinavia trip April 2005 on littlesam1's travel map.

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I did not have the best first impression of Oslo. I was not sure what to expect. Outside of elementary school Social Studies class and ninth grade Geography class Norway was not a place that I had thought about very often. It certainly was not a travel destination that I had dreamed about visiting. My traveling partner at the time had a business meeting in Copenhagen he had to attend. We were looking at the map to see what other places were near by that we had not seen before. So I found myself in Oslo. We boarded the train from Gardermoen Airport to the city of Oslo. We were soon put off the train in a little town called Lillestrom. We had boarded the express train by mistake and they would not accept our non express train ticket. Stupid tourists.

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After our little mishap on the train we finally arrived to the train station in Oslo. We walked out of the station to the little square in the photo on the left of the page. I was not impressed. The square was not very large. There was a small unattractive tower in the corner. And there was a man with a Middle Eastern musical instrument sitting in the square playing some very strange sounding music. Nothing about this reminded me of anything I knew about Norway.

In spite of our little delay in Lillestrom we were still too early to go to the Bed and Breakfast we had booked. So we took some time to explore the square before looking for a taxi. The first thing we found was a large statue of a large anatomically correct tiger.

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This was not the first thing I expected to see in Oslo. So why was there a tiger in front of Central Station in Oslo? There is a reason for it being there. For the 1000th anniversary celebration in 2000 for the city of Oslo the city requested a bronze statue be placed in the square, Oslo's nickname is Tigerstaden or the City of the Tiger. The name most likely came from a poem by the Norwegian poet Bjornstjerne Bjornson. His poem "Sidste Sanq" was written in 1870 and describes a fight between a horse and a tiger. The tiger represents the dangerous city and the horse the safe countryside. My first impression though was not a dangerous city. It was just a small odd city and I was not sure what I really thought of it yet. There were a few other odd statues in the square that I was finding interesting also but odd.

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We finally found a taxi and gave the driver the address of the Bed and Breakfast we had booked. Like everything in Oslo, the Bed and Breakfast was not quite what I had expected. It was an old white clapboard house across the street from Frogner Park. More about Froger Park a little later. But needless to say I found it somewhat odd also. We were a good ways out from the center of town, but fortunately there was a tram stop right in front of the house which we could use to go back into the city. The house was clean and the owners were friendly. But once more there was a lot of oddness around us. We were in an upstairs bedroom without a lot of heat, Our bathroom had a toilet and a bidet. And oddly for some reason the owners used the bidet for a magazine rack. It was filled with unusual Norwegian comic books.

<<<<<Sitting on the steps by the door to our room.

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Statues at Frogner Park

Directly across the street from the Bed and Breakfast we wound Frogner Park. Frogner Park is home to the world famous Vigeland Installation. Although many times referred to as Vigeland Park, it is actually just the name of the sculptures in the park. They were created by Gustav Vigeland between 1920 and 1943. So what was odd about the park? Every statue was a nude statue telling the life cycle of man.

I have been using the term odd a lot. I don't mean it in a bad or derogatory way. I found Oslo any thing but unpleasant. It's not the most beautiful European capitol I have visited. But it's also not the least interesting. The people of Oslo could not have been friendlier. The owners of the Bed and Breakfast were very pleasant and made us feel very welcome. I was growing to like Oslo more each day and finding it somewhat unusual made it all the more interesting.

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So what odd things did we find in Oslo? We found a memorial to Abraham Lincoln. This honestly was the last thing I had expected to find in Oslo. The memorial is located in Frogner Park. The monument was created by Paul Fjelde from Valley City, North Dakota and was donated to the people of Oslo by North Dakota Governor Louis Hanna.

We took a brief train ride out of the city of Oslo up into the mountains to do some hiking and also to see the historic Holmenkollen Ski jump from the 1952 Olympics. There was nothing odd about this. This was something I had expected to see in Norway. The train runs from Central Station in Oslo to the top of the mountain in Frognersteren. There is a wonderful restaurant located near the Frognersteren station when I did get to sample reindeer which was something else I had expected to do in Oslo.

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Larry on the ski trail at Frognersteren

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We left Frognersteren and hiked to the Olympic ski jump. I had seen ski jumps on television watching the Olympic many times. But that did not prepare me for what I saw. The jump is much higher than it appears on television. It's very overwhelming just to see the size of it. And it wasn't just some cold looking structure. It actually had a beauty to it's design. I understand the original jump that I saw in 2005 no longer exists. It was replaced in 2010 with a new and more modern jump that is considered to be one of the best in world today. I am glad I got to see the original though. There is something special about the history of it and also for me it was special because it dated back to the year I was born.

I left Oslo with a deep appreciation of the city and the Norwegian culture. I had the opportunity to visit the Edvard Munch museum and to see his famous painting The Scream. I spent time walking through the Akershus Fortress. I meet some wonderful and kind people. I learned to appreciate that finding something odd is a good thing. First impressions are not always the best impressions. It's the lasting impressions that really count.

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Last impression of Oslo. The beautiful Akershus Fortress

Posted by littlesam1 19:43 Archived in Norway Tagged oslo holmenkollen park travel jump tiger norway lillestrom frogner_ ski_ akershus_fortres oddness Comments (2)

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