The Easter tradition of decorating birch twigs with coloured feathers and other small Easter decorations in Sweden date back to the 19th century. But the actual birch twigs Easter tradition originates from a 16th century custom in Sweden where people used to whip each other with birch twigs, either on Shrove/Fat Tuesday or Good Friday morning. They whipped each other as a symbolic gesture to remind themselves of the suffering that Jesus Christ went through.
Over time the symbolic whipping with birch twigs evolved into a game where also children could whip their parents. The simple rules of this game were that the one who woke up first in the morning surprised the rest of the family with a playful whipping. Today, probably because the two types of birch twig traditions were so similar, we do not distinguish between them anymore. In fact, I would say that that the birch twigs tradition that has survived is the Easter one - where we decorate birch twigs with coloured feathers and other small Easter decorations for Easter.
Though I have not decorated at all for Easter this year, I have seen some very nice Easter decorations when I have been out and about. So below are some photos of Easter decorations I have encountered here in Karlskrona/Lyckeby in Sweden. :-)
Easter shopping. Already decorated birch twigs for sale on the Great Square in Karlskrona City. :-)
Easter birch twigs.
More colourful Easter decorated birch twigs.
Now this I had not seen before! Two trees decorated with giant eggs in the middle of Karlskrona City.
A fun initiative indeed.
Looked quite nice actually.
Like I said, giant eggs. Lol!
And this is a cute Easter decorated tree Lisen and I saw recently here in Lyckeby.
So even though I have not put up any Easter decoration myself this year, I certainly have had the opportunity to enjoy plenty of those anyway. Which is quite nice. And it will be even nicer to have a long weekend off now here at home with my doggy Lisen after my first, busy with long days, week at my new job in Karlshamn. We both wish you all a Happy Easter Weekend! :-)
Tomorrow, on March 25th, we celebrate Waffle Day in Sweden - wahoo! I just absolutely love these delicious celebratory days we have here. This year we actually celebrated Waffle Day today already in my family. Hehe. So a few hours ago my dog Lisen and I went to my mum's to devour some waffles. :p
Here you go Lisen (Diva (under the table) got some too of course). :-)
Tomorrow I start a brand new full time job in another city, which means that I have to commute about 120 kilometers every day. Of course this makes it difficult for me to have my beloved doggy Lisen at home with me during the week days, so from today she will be staying with my sister while I am working. In turn, my sister's dog Diva will move to our mum. The reason for this arrangement is that Diva loves to spend time in my mum's garden on her own while Lisen prefers to have company when she is outside, this way both dogs get what they want. Either way, it is a big change for all of us.
But although I do have some mixed emotions about this particular part of the new era I am about to embark up on in my life, I do feel like I have made the right decision. I have been very fortunate to be able to work from home a lot the last couple of years and because of that I have been able to have Lisen with me 24/7. I have also been able to devote a lot of time to the creation and development of my blogs during this period, which I am very grateful for as well.
And speaking of my blogs, one thing that will not change is how I manage them. My ultimate goal with my blogs is still the same as it was when I first started to blog about two and a half years ago, to be able to live off of the money I make through them. And though I continue to see good results in that area, what I earn through them is not yet enough for me not to have another job.
So, though I am very excited to start this new journey tomorrow I am also very ambivalent because I will not have Lisen with me during the week days. Having said that, I have no doubt that Lisen will be well taken care of by my sister - whom I know loves her (almost) as much as I do. And because I have decided to ride the flow of the universe completely in my life, when this amazing opportunity came my way - there really only was one answer I could give. So despite these major changes in our lives right now, I am sure we all will be just fine. :-)
(If not, I will just have to quit my new job and bring Lisen back home with me. I really would you know. Hehe.)
Today my beloved doggy Lisen turned twelve years old, Happy Birthday Lisen!
I am sure you all have noticed that I love this dog dearly and that I am very grateful to have her in my life. Lisen is so much more than just a pet to me, she is my best friend and a cherished family member. Lisen has also taught me so much through the years, without ever saying a single word. Which is a lesson in itself I think, that you do not have to say anything in order to be a loving, compassionate friend - to just be there is more than enough. So Thank You Lisen for being here for the past twelve years! I look forward to many more.
I am also very grateful for the fact that Lisen is still a lively, playful and healthy dog. Naturally she is a bit slower in everything she does today, but she still loves to go on long walks, run around in the forest, play in the ocean and other activities she has always been fond of. Another thing Lisen still loooves is to get treats and presents, so of course I and the rest of the family could not resist to spoil our amazing birthday girl with some of those today. :-)
Below are some pics of our wonderful Lisen's twelfth birthday.
Though these were more for the humans in the family, Lisen did get to decide if she wanted one.
Which, from this expression, she did. Lol!
But she only got a half one, Diva (my sister's dog and Lisen's daughter) got the other half.
Birthday gift time! Because I do not really think that dogs understand the whole birthday concept I/we always make sure both dogs get the same treats and/or gifts when we celebrate something. So even though it was Lisen's birthday today, Diva also got everything she got. :p
Lisen LOOOVES to get presents!
And both dogs LOOOVES to open presents! Lol!
Hmm, what is this?
It was two bones with chicken meat wrapped around them. Lisen looking over at Diva to make sure she got the same thing, which she did.
Birthday dinner! Well, Lisen seemed to enjoy it. Hehe.
It is not often Lisen get to eat these many treats in one day, so I hope she at least understood that it was some sort of special occasion. Either way, she is sound asleep next to me now. Which I always find very comforting. Happy Birthday Dreams, my beloved twelve-year-old. ♥♥♥
We have a lot of historic places to check out here in Karlskrona in Sweden. In fact, in 1998 The Naval City of Karlskrona was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. A list where amazing sites like The Great Wall, Taj Mahal, Venice and The Great Barrier Reef are included. But despite this quite cool fact I have not yet explored Karlskrona nearly enough. So a few days ago I decided to take a walk with my dog Lisen on one of the oldest islands in Karlskrona, Stumholmen. And though there was a lot to explore on this island, I am going to focus on the historic Bastion Kungshall on Stumholmen in this post.
Now the city of Karlskrona was founded in 1680. In 1683's year of fortification plan Stumholmen was given the role of production and provisioning area with shops and stores. And there are several military buildings from the 1700s to the 1950s on the island. Actually, Stumholmen was a large military workplace until the 1970s. But when residential buildings and a naval museum was built on the island in the 1990s, Stumholmen became a civilian area. Which is why anyone can walk around there today.
This bridge connects Karlskrona's main island Trossö to Stumholmen, photo was taken on Stumholmen.
Walking towards Bastion Kungshall.
Bastion Kungshall, which was included in the 1680 Act of Consolidation Plan for Karlskrona.
Between 1787-92 this pickle freight warehouse was built on top of the bastion and the large Kungshall warehouse with its slaughterhouse and storage of salted meat and groceries.
These salute guns on the bastion are part of one of Sweden's three fixed batteries where national celebration salutes are fired.
Naw, they were empty.
So Lisen and I could relax next to the uncharged salute guns in the sun. :-)
View from the bastion towards Karlskrona's main island Trossö.
After a while by the salute guns we continued our walk around the bastion.
Behind the old Kungshall warehouse.
Time to exit the bastion area.
Bastion Kungshall and salut guns.
While I was busy snapping shots, Lisen's eye also caught something interesting - another doggy. :-)
Such a cutie!
But after about one hour on Stumholmen it was time to head back to the car.
Come oooon, Aleeex!!! At least that is what I think Lisen was thinking, hehe.
Even though Lisen was very tired after our adventure on Stumholmen, I am very sure she had a great time there. As did I of course. :p
A while back I bought some tulips for myself. One afternoon I just got the urge to take out my camera, put on the macro lens and play around a bit. So below are some photos from My Play Date With Tulips And A Macro Lens. :-)
I recently found out about this amazing competition called The Big Blog Exchange, where sixteen bloggers from around the world will win the opportunity to exchange lives, blogs, cultures and places at the same time for ten days - all expenses paid for. And because my greatest passions in life include blogging, traveling and learning about other people and cultures - I just had to check it out. And though I was a bit skeptic at first, I was positively surprised by how the competition was presented - in an very inspirational and loveable manner, so I decided to enter.
Now fourteen of the sixteen bloggers will win mainly based on votes, but two bloggers will win regardless of votes. Instead these two bloggers will be chosen based on their motivation for why they should win this competition and the content of their blogs. The reason for this is that every blogger should have a chance to win, no matter how popular their blog is. An idea I really like.
The motivation I have written for why I should be one of the sixteen winners is this:
"I truly feel like my passion for blogging, traveling and enthusiasm for learning makes me a great candidate for this adventure. I also think that the person who will get the chance to exchange lives with me will gain great insights into how it is to live a relatively simple life in a lovely naval town in Sweden. And if I have the fortune of being one of the lucky 16 I promise I will devote 100 percent of my attention, energy, heart and soul into making my part of this journey of a lifetime the very best I can. Because I truly believe that every person can make a difference in this world, which is why I will make sure that my part in this Big Blog Exchange will be made with a positive and loving attitude - no matter what happens.
Thanks for this inspirational competition and opportunity! And Good Luck Everyone! :-)
// Lots Of Love - Alexandra From Sweden"
Of course I would never enter anything unless I truly thought I had a chance to win, so I hope you will vote for me? All you need to do to be able to vote is enter your email and then confirm the vote in an email which will be sent to you. If you are up for it, please click on the button below to vote for me:
I deeply appreciate every single vote - Thank You So Much!
My dog Lisen and I have been on quite a few walks in the snowy weather here in Karlskrona in Sweden the past few weeks. And because I Iove to photograph I have taken quite a few photos during these walks. So in this post I thought I would share some of those snowy photos, I give you - For The Love Of Snow.
On a snowy walk along Lyckeby River.
Lisen and I love to walk here, we usually walk on the other side of the river though.
Hm, those tracks look interesting.
Our walk continued.
In among a residential area in Lyckeby.
Row-houses in Lyckeby.
On another snowy walk, here Lisen and I were in the Rodeby forest.
Where Lisen decided to take a snow bath.
On this snowy, but very nice day, walk we stopped by the Lycka Castle Ruin.
Where Lisen got in the mood to play. :p
On a mission.
Come on, you know what I want.
Yupp, Lisen wanted to carry her leash - as usual. Hehe.
Now although I do love snow, not nearly as much as Lisen though, I do look forward to spring with its lovely colours, brightness and warmth. So hopefully it will not be too long until she arrives again. But until she does, Lisen and I will simply continue to enjoy our snowy walks. Because, although we have had a few sunny, lovely days here lately, it does seem like the snow will linger on a little while longer.