Monday 28 July 2014

R for Rosendal - for Real

Rosendal. Rosendal. The valley of the roses. Yes, that's where I went. Rosendal, one of the 26 dream destinations we visited together in April, remember? So, there I was - for real this time. In company with my good childhood friend ready to explore her summer paradise. Rosendal.

Aaaaahhh, happy days - filled with the joy of: making it all the way up to that tall mountain top, swimming in that chilly summer fjord and visiting that red barn which turned out to be a modern art gallery. Guarding that sweaty sticky chocolate cake from the wasps while sipping tea outside the tiny white wooden house built hundreds of years ago. And jogging smoothly away from that crowd of cows that we, a bit too late, discovered were oxes and not cows...

Red sweet cherries, bright green hill sides, clear blue sea and white sheets drying in that soft summer breeze...

Here are a few of my Rosendal moments - I hope you enjoy them as well...

...getting that top-of-the-world-feeling when finally reaching that mountain top, sitting down and seeing that fjord scenery open up in front of us:

...forgetting about the time while sitting outside the cottage, chatting with a good friend, while the long bright Nordic summer day turn into night (this pic is from the middle of the night):

.... and for some reason remembering one of my favorite poems:

...and feeling grateful: know, simply enjoying every moment of those bright summer days, the fresh air, the clean sea, the good friendships and just feeling gratitude for those amazing little things in life:

Enjoy your moments wherever you are, dear reader, and thanks for following.

Ta ta:-)  

Monday 21 July 2014

Summer salad blues

Ya ya. I know. Not exactly super active on the bloggers front lately. Well, I do have a lot of things on my mind, and somehow my writings seems to get stuck back in the thinking phase.. They all bottle up soooo well in that comfy zone.. That, combined with long bright nordic summer days (and nights), make my thoughts take it really slow in materializing themselves into words and actually managing the journey - from my mind - all the way to the pc - and on to the blog. Go figure?!

Today I did it. Because today I was thinking about salads. Yup. Perfect food for long warm summer days, I think. And I was applauding myself for this summer having pushed my salad comfort zone to the limits (oh yeah) and thrown myself out in new and unknown salad territory. This summer I have been such a brave salad explorer. Very adventurous, I tell you:-)

So, let me show you my favorites so far, and please do feel free to tell me yours. First up: a green salad with tomatoes, asparagus, salmon and avocado. With a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds, some nuts and the crispy green lettuce the flavors went so well together. That rich nutty/sweet texture of the avocado went so well with the light salty fish:

The next runner up had crispy fresh lettuce, spicy red chili, salty shrimps and (my Mumbai favorite) sweet mango. What a great combination of flavors also - that balance of spicy, sweet, bland and salty... Perfect!

One of my favorite ingredients in salads are tomatoes, and I couldn't help laughing thinking back to some shopping vegetable moments in India. So fresh. So tasty. And those guys who thought it was hilarious with this foreign lady who wanted to take pictures of something so ordinary as vegetables.. But hey guys: you presented them so well,, that's why:-) 

I think my conclusion is that I am a big fan of salads with balanced flavors: salty with sweet for example. Like the shrimps&mangoes, avocado&fish - and of course: sweet watermelon&salty feta cheese:

And let us not forget that balanced Greek salad: freshly cut red sweet tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese, olives and onion - always a perfect dish on a hot summer day:

So, besides eating my way through the worlds salads, what have I been up to lately? Well, a bit of this:

- Sweating myself up steep hills to reach mountain tops ....

 ... to feel like I am on top of the world...

... and topping that feeling with throwing my sweaty self in to ice cold mountain water..: 

So, peace and quiet and just some blues to go along, and as we are hooked on salads, what can be a more perfect dessert that fresh blueberries and strawberries:

And in a few days I am going traveling...

Do you remember the crazy AtoZ challenge I participated in in April? When I traveled around the world - and took you along? 26 days and 26 dream destinations. Well, now I am going to travel to one of them.

Stay tuned to see where I will take you along dear reader... Buckle up...

Ta ta! 

Sunday 13 July 2014

Peace&quiet and the fluffy fashionista chicks

- I am sitting in the hen-house, said my friend on the phone.. - ????? - was my response.....

Yes, my dear childhood friend who live on the countryside outside Bergen, has extended her family with some feather-covered noisy small creatures. Of course I had to go and check out her fascination...

As always, I was excited to see her, especially now because driving out to her is like driving to another world... Passing bridges over clear blue waters, driving through bright green forest, maybe once in a while meeting another car on the road.... Because let me put it like this: this is where - if a car comes by-, the neighbors may stretch their neck to see who is coming...

Passing red barns, bright painted wooden buildings, green fields with yellow flowers, horses running down hillsides, sheep grazing peacefully in the shade of tall trees - trees that seems to have been there forever..

Arriving. Sitting down on the stairs outside her kitchen door with a tea, patting her beautiful dog Lucy, listening to the birds and the wind playing in the leaves --- and not much else...

Feeling the joy of walking around on the green fields surrounding her white painted wooden house. See the dogs run free and crazy around. Smelling the plants in the herb garden. Picking up a red juicy sweet strawberry. So peaceful. So quiet.

And then the babble babble... And I remember my green parrots back in Mumbai. They could for sure babble, but these birds seems to master the art too. The gang of chicken. And the funniest of them all: the two tiny "silk hens". With their white fluffy feathers they look like fashionable diva punk rockers, and they are unstoppable in babbling. They are jumping around in their fluffy outfits... Who do they think they are - fashioning up the hen houses on the Norwegian country side? To funny! And as the chick(en) does not have names yet, we start to discuss vividly: Shouldn't they be named after film stars? From either Hollywood or Bollywood? At least our fluffy fashionista chicks. Ha ha ha ...

Here are some moments from our peaceful days on the countryside:

You can see who is in charge?
A fluffy fashionista chick

Beautiful Lucy - also very interested in the chicks...

Bye bye from the country side, dear reader. All the best from a summerly Norway:-) 

Friday 4 July 2014

An expat in disguise

- Would you like to taste a shrimp? I look around me. Who is she talking to, the fishsellerlady? Oh, to me?

- Oh, ok, I hear myself answer so politely: - yes, thank you. In English. English. And who am I to taste a shrimp? I know what they taste like. I am a native. And what is that - me talking English? I am not a tourist?

But, you see, I do get a bit carried away, because I am in tourist land, at the fish market in Bergen. And while tasting the shrimp (of course I did ), I look around: a large Japanese group, some Italians, Spanish and Russians. Yup, I am the only native person here.

But do I really look like a tourist to the fish-seller? Hm. Could it be the huge camera dangling around my neck? Or my bling bling sandals, my colorful clothes, flashy sunglasses or just my attitude? Yes, I guess I am an expat in disguise, a secret visitor. How great is that. I can explore my home town with new eyes, check out every single tourist spot (or trap). So, watch out Bergen: the Mumbai expat is back, disguised as a tourist...

And as I read through my old post How to spot a Mumbai expat? - 7 signs to look for - I feel myself nodding and giggling... Oh yes, I am so still there. Having that odd feeling of belonging but also of being foreigner..But I am:

...blending in with the tourists:

..and getting friendly with the locals:

And on this sunny day, I look up towards mount Fløien. Another popular tourist activity is taking the funicular up to the mountain top - for the view or for hiking further to the other mountains surrounding the city. So of course, I also did that. But let me just assure you that I have also walked all the way up there. Hey, I am (also) a native after all, right?

It is never far from the mountain top to the sea shore in Bergen, and as I, the disguised expat, am heading home, (after playing tourist for a day), I am walking along the sea and feel that fresh cool breeze in my hair, oh yes, this is home..... this too... Just like every other place where I have left a piece of my heart.. 

Yup, I guess home is where your hearth is... I wish you a wonderful weekend dear reader -  wherever you are, home or away and whether you are a tourist, a native or some kind of interesting mix of both:-) 
Ta ta from Bergen:-)