Singing the Blues / Cantando el Blues

SORTLAND, NORWAY IS often called the Blue City, because the buildings in a 17-block area were painted shades of blue in 1998 by local artist Bjørn Elvenes as a symbol of the city’s maritime and fishing heritage. To be honest, I found the Blue City quite beautiful when I first saw photos online, but not so beautiful when I saw it in person. Still, there are charming spots and the surrounding area often takes my breath away. After spending some days in Trondheim and then working our way north to Bodø, we finished our stay in Sortland, close to the core of San Geraldo’s northern Norwegian family.

We drove from Sortland back to the airport in Evenes 2 hours away and then flew to Oslo, where we spent 9 hours before our SAS flight to Málaga. Fortunately, San Geraldo also has a cousin in Oslo, and she and her husband met us at the airport for a leisurely lunch. Their enchanting company made the long layover worthwhile.

We’re already talking about how soon we can go back. Maybe we’ll even try a visit in the winter so we can see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). Spending days almost entirely in darkness might be difficult but our family make it seem like the sun is always shining.

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SORTLAND, NORUEGA, A menudo se llama la Ciudad Azul, porque los edificios en un área de 17 bloques fueron pintados en tonos azules en 1998 por el artista local Bjørn Elvenes como un símbolo del patrimonio marítimo y pesquero de la ciudad. Para ser honesto, la Ciudad Azul me pareció bastante hermosa la primera vez que vi fotos en línea, pero no tan hermosa cuando la vi en persona. Aún así, hay lugares encantadores y los alrededores a menudo me dejan sin aliento. Después de pasar unos días en Trondheim y luego dirigirnos hacia el norte a Bodø, terminamos nuestra estadía en Sortland, cerca del núcleo de la familia noruega de San Geraldo.

Conducimos desde Sortland al aeropuerto en Evenes a 2 horas de distancia y luego volamos a Oslo, donde pasamos 9 horas antes de nuestro vuelo SAS a Málaga. Afortunadamente, San Geraldo también tiene una prima en Oslo, y ella y su marido nos recibieron en el aeropuerto para un almuerzo tranquilo. Su encantadora compañía hizo que la larga escala valiera la pena.

Ya estamos hablando de qué tan pronto podemos volver. Tal vez incluso intentemos una visita en invierno para poder ver la aurora boreal. Pasar días casi enteramente en la oscuridad puede ser difícil, pero nuestra familia del norte hace que parezca que el sol siempre brilla.

A view from the hotel breakfast room in Sortland. European football. Ole, Spain!
Una vista desde la sala de desayuno del hotel en Sortland. Fútbol europeo. Ole, España!
After crossing the bridge. Sortland is on the right.
Después de cruzar el puente. Sortland está a la derecha.
On the road to Evenes.
En camino a Evenes.
I THINK THIS is Svartisen Glacier, really two glaciers separated by a valley. They’re surrounded by a number of smaller glaciers and are all part of Saltfjellet–Svartisen National Park, which borders Sweden.
CREO QUE ESTE es el glaciar Svartisen, realmente dos glaciares separados por un valle. Están rodeados por una serie de glaciares más pequeños y todos forman parte del Parque Nacional Saltfjellet-Svartisen, que limita con Suecia.
Outside Oslo, a great city we need to return to.
Fuera de Oslo, una gran ciudad a la que necesitamos volver.
SG’S COUSIN HAD just told us that even Norwegians get these two cities confused and make reservations for the wrong place. Then we saw this posting in the SAS lounge. Yes, it was 4:37 in the afternoon and our flight (below the KristianSAND listing) didn’t leave until 8:40. It was a long day.
LA PRIMA DE SG nos acaba de decir que incluso los noruegos confunden estas dos ciudades y hacen reservas para el lugar equivocado. Luego vimos esta publicación en el salón SAS. Sí, eran las 4:37 de la tarde y nuestro vuelo (debajo del listado de KristianSAND) no salió hasta las 8:40. Fue un largo día.

The Watercolorist

After reaching the heights of the Moorish District of Frigiliana on Monday (see yesterday’s post), we came upon an artist’s studio. Above the door was a sign that read “Acuarelas” (Watercolors). The works displayed outside were so intriguing that we decided to go in for a closer look. (Click the images for the color enlargements.)

KLAUS HINKEL.

We were greeted by a charming man who turned out to be the artist, Klaus Hinkel (check out his website here). Klaus has had his studio in Frigiliana for 20 years. During our entire visit, I kept thinking how much My Mother The Watercolorist Dowager Duchess would have loved Klaus and his work. This was a day I would have enjoyed sharing with her.

San Geraldo and I very quickly fell in love with a large, framed, fine-art giclee print. Klaus painted the original during one of many trips to Morocco. The original painting now hangs in Boston, Massachusetts, where San Geraldo and I first met.

Judyshannonstreetwhat chose three small, unframed Frigiliana street scenes.

When Judy wondered aloud how she would get a large framed painting home to Seattle, Klaus said, “Oh, it rolls.”

We all looked perplexed and imagined attaching wheels to the bottom of the frame.

Judy followed with, “And then what, it would just fit under my seat on the plane?”

Klaus laughed and said, “I mean, I take it out of the frame and it rolls [up] in a cardboard tube.”

“PACIENCIA” (PATIENCE). 75 X 63 CM (30 X 25 INCHES).
PROUDLY DISPLAYED IN OUR LIVING ROOM.

Klaus and I initially began to converse in Spanish and he asked where I was from. When I told him I was American, he was surprised. I’ve been told at times I speak Spanish with an Italian accent. But Klaus, originally from Germany, told me he thought I was either Swedish or German. Ach du lieber and Swedish meatballs! Swedish or German? Italian and Spanish are at least both Romance languages!

These are called “panqueques” in Spanish. Or, as I pronounce it, Flappen Jacken Hooten…

Angels, Heirlooms, And Pantaloons

Taking a break from admiring my mother’s artwork and getting our house organized and arranged, I went with Judy for my second visit to the Municipal Belen (click here for last time) and came across some additional interesting items.

Our friend Pedro had mentioned to me that there was an angel visiting a man in bed (innuendo included). I missed that the first time around, so I searched until I found them. What bible story is that?

(Click the images for a closer look at the art and the angel… and the underwear.)

WHOEVER THAT IS IN BED SURE LOOKS SEDUCTIVE.
IS THEIR ROOM OVER A GAY BAR?!?
ONE OF SEVERAL SETS OF UNDERGARMENTS BLOWING
IN THE BREEZE ON THE ROOFTOPS OF BETHLEHEM.

DUDO ADMIRING MY MOTHER’S COCKTAIL TABLE AND CARPET.
(THE DUCHESS WOULD NOT BE PLEASED TO SEE HIM ON THE TABLE!)
OIL ON CANVAS BY THE DOWAGER DUCHESS.
27 X 21 INCHES (69 X 53 CM)
OIL ON WOOD BY THE DOWAGER DUCHESS.
4-1/2 X 5-1/2 INCHES (11.5 X 14 CM)

“I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me…”

I’m So Excited

I received email last night from the Kid Brother. Email! His wonderful family, the staff at AHRC NYC, took him to buy a mobile phone and immediately set up an email account for him. He’s already taking pictures and sending them to me.

FIFTH AVENUE AND 54TH STREET.
(MOMA IS ON 53RD BETWEEN FIFTH AND SIXTH.)

Yesterday afternoon, they went to MOMA (the Museum of Modern Art) where I’m told he really enjoyed himself. Along with a slightly blurry street scene, the Kid Brother also shared a couple of even blurrier photos of his favorite artworks, and a close-up of his own artistic creation inspired by his day at MOMA. Of course, I like his creation the best.

It was 2 a.m. when the messages came in, but I happened to be up and immediately sent him a quick (and simple) note. This morning, I sent him photos of the cats.

A KID BROTHER ORIGINAL.

So, now not only can we speak on the phone every weekend (and, hopefully, one of these days on FaceTime), but I can also email a brief note and photo to him every day just to feel connected.

NOW IF THEY COULD JUST GET HIM TO
SHOW SOME EXCITEMENT!!!

If the Kid Brother were to watch this video, he would say, “You’re a nut!!!”

Takin’ It To The Street

The City of Fuengirola has lots of things going on this summer, artesan markets, free movies on the beach, flamenco at the castle, special exhibits and expositions. Some we enjoy. Some we avoid.

Something new this year is a display of seven “monumental” steel sculptures by artist Juan Méjica. They are scattered along the Paseo through a good stretch of town. The collection, and other works, have traveled around Spain. One piece is directly across the street from us. It makes for a nice change. 


(Click the images to monumentalize.)