Saturday, 11 June 2011

The Skagen painters

                                              A Tribute to Peder Severin Krøyer

The remote fishing village of Skagen, close to the northenmost point of Denmark, was from the beginning of the 1870´s up to the turn of the century a venue for Danish and other Scandinavian artists. The artists´favourite motifs were local fishermen and their cottages, the beautiful landscape with the bright Nordic summer nights and the artists´ lively social life.

The unofficial leader of the artists´ colony was the Norwegian-Danish Peder Severin Krøyer (1851 - 1909), maybe the most beloved of the Skagen artists. Other artists at Skagen included writers Holger Drachmann, Georg Brandes and Henrik Pontoppidan, and the painters Michael Ancher and Anna Ancher.

Today Skagen is a very popular tourist destination in the summertime. But a visit to Skagen is worthwile even during the off-peak season. The main attraction is the excellent Skagen Museum, dedicated to the famous Skagen artists.

Skagen from the air:

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Silver Explorer on its way to Norway

M/S Silver Explorer in Øresund

Silversea Cruises´small cruise ship Silver Explorer today visited Helsingør with 130 passengers on board and a crew of 117. The picture shows the 108 meter long ship in the Sound on its way Kristiansund. The beauty with these smaller cruise ships is that they can visit a great number of ports, which the big ships cannot access.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The great Danish tenor Axel Schiøtz sings Bellman´s famous "Fjäriln vingad syns på Haga"

The great Danish operatic tenor Axel Schiøtz performs one of the most beautiful summer songs; "Fjäriln vingad syns på Haga" ("The Winged Butterfly is Seen at Haga") by the famous Swedish poet and composer Carl Michael Bellman (1740-1795) 
Here is short introduction to Bellman by Göran Forsling:
Carl Michael Bellman may not be well-known outside the Nordic region, but within Scandinavian literature he is regarded as one of the most important and original poets ever. From a rather modest start as an entertainer in pubs and at parties he gradually advanced to become a favourite with King Gustavus III and had for some time a position as unofficial poet laureate. His most important works are the two collections Fredman’s Epistles (1790) and Fredman’s Songs (1791). These contain a wide variety of poems, many of them long narratives, requiring a real singer/actor to perform them, something Bellman obviously was, according to eye-witnesses. Among these songs are burlesque portraits of drunkards and prostitutes but also pastorals, bible parodies, drinking songs. Often Death looms darkly over the proceedings.
The Swedish archeologist and editor, Dr. Martin Rundkvist describes "Fjäriln vingad syns på Haga
in this way in his blog:
One of Bellman's most well-known and beloved songs is a piece of fawning praise to King Gustaf III, eulogising his great park and summer palace at Haga north of Stockholm. It was written in 1790-91 in an unsuccessful attempt to get Bellman's wife Lovisa a job as overseer of the Haga household, and then modified and dedicated to the poet's landlord whom he owed for rent. Pretty much everyone in Sweden can sing Fjäriln vingad syns på Haga, but some of the words are archaic and the syntax is convoluted, so few really understand the sense of the lyrics anymore. Here's a literal translation I've made.
At Haga, the butterfly can be seen making its green home amid misty frost and down, its bed in a flower. Every little marshland creature, just awakened by the sun's warmth, is inspired by the western wind to festive revelry.
Haga, in your bosom are seen sprouting grass and the yellow plaza. The proud swan raises its neck, rocking in your streamlets. From afar in the open spaces of the forest are heard incessant echoes: sometimes the hammering of granite, sometimes axes in birch and fir trees. [Referring to the king's construction projects in the area.]
See, the Brunnsviken inlet's little mermaids raise their golden horns, and water cascades higher even than Solna church steeple. On a neat road under vaulted trees the horse frolics and the wheel throws dust into the air, while the farmer smiles fondly toward Haga.
What a divine pleasure to be greeted by one's beloved under the eye of such a mild monarch in a park as lovely as this! Everyone cries with gratitude whenever his eye falls upon them. Even the most bad-tempered person is happy when touched and charmed by that gaze.
Read the entire post here

Monday, 6 June 2011

The Ocean Countess in the Sound

The recently renovated M/S Ocean Countess (163 m - 800 passengers) passed Helsingør/Helsingborg early this morning on its way from Immingham to Copenhagen. The Countess left Copenhagen this evening and should arrive in Helsinki on Wednesday morning.

This is how the tour operator describes this classic cruise ship, with an interesting history:

Following a £3 million pound refurbishment programme, Ocean Countess joined the Cruise & Maritime Voyages fleet in April 2010 under charter from the widely respected and long established Majestic International Cruises Group who also operate the popular Ocean Majesty, well known to the British market. The ship originally entered service as the Cunard Countess and became one of the best-known ships to sail the Caribbean Sea.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Summer sailing in the Sound

We have enjoyed a weatherwise glorious weekend here in the Øresund region. No wonder that many owners of either a motor or a sailing boat have been out in the Sound. For sailers, there was not much wind, but if you are not in hurry, you can enjoy  both slow sailing and slow food, as the people on board this beautiful ketch appeared to be doing, late in the bright Nordic summer evening: