24-Hours In Copenhagen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

How interesting is this … there are two bicycles for every person in Copenhagen, which kind of explains why nobody chains up their bikes! Actually I really enjoyed seeing so many beautiful bicycles parked up all over the place unrestrained🙂 To me it gave the city a feeling of safety and trust.

Copenhagen reminded me of Amsterdam with its water canals, bicycle friendliness, and the smell of hash periodically wafting through the air. In Copenhagen architecturally innovative buildings exist alongside beautifully decorated historical buildings without looking out of place.

During our visit the weather was unusually warm and the Danes were soaking up every inch of sun. Since there are no beaches nearby the locals gather around the edge of the harbour side walkways, sunning themselves with their bikinis, boardshorts and beach towels.

We saw many of them jumping into the harbour and splashing around amidst a plethora of nautical traffic. In Australia that would most certainly be ‘forbudt!’

I love the freedom the Danes enjoy here.

Our sightseeing included a walk around the city, followed by an open bus tour, and then a cruise through the city’s waterways and canals. We finished the day with a late lunch at Cafe Wilder (highly recommended) in the Christiana neighbourhood.

Denmark is famous for its butter cookies, Lego bricks and fairy-tale writer Hans Christian Andersen. Denmark has also ranked number one in the ‘World Happiness Report’ a handful of times (personally I think that has something to do with the joy of riding a bicycle).

We stayed at the AC Hotel Bella Sky Copenhagen, a funky high rise building about 6km from the city and a stones throw from the Bella Centre Station, a short 10-minue  train journey into the city centre.

Over and out, Dani x

 

Taking Stock In Stockholm

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stockholm, I knew nothing about this place prior to arriving here yesterday, so I didn’t know what to expect. What I found was a well organised, clean, elegant, historically rich, and friendly city.

To me Stockholm feels a little bit Frenchy. Everything is just so well designed and decorated. Imagine a city with IKEA styling but with a French twist, this is Stockholm. The city is uncrowded, easy to get around and intimate.

During our two guided walking tours of the city we heard fascinating stories about the history of the Royal Family. There was a Mad King, a Princess who was born with so much hair on her body that it was assumed she was a he, and how one of the present day Princesses fell in love with and married her personal trainer.

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and home to ABBA, braided hair, The Nobel Peace Prize, H&M, IKEA, Volvo and SAAB. The city has the most beautiful and soft green grass where I enjoyed a little siesta on🙂. There were loads of beautiful outdoor dining areas and the weather was very very good to us.

Today we are driving south-west for four hours to a town called JĂśnkĂśping which is where Agnetha from ABBA was born.

Over and out,

Dani, Jon and Steve

Surrendering to The Seasons of Life

Seasons of life

I have been grieving the comforts of my home in Australia this past month. I know it’s crazy right? I am in France! A place that represents my ‘personal legend’ (as in Paulo Coelho’s novel ‘The Alchemist’). It’s taken me 43 years to get here and yet part of me feels disappointed.

Why is that so? I can only narrow this disappointment I feel down to the resistance of the seasons of life. I’ve felt increasingly isolated as this village of Bonnieux that I love so much shuts down for the winter and settles into its annual quietness. I’ve been resisting this. I want to see activity, people, things happening … community.

Or, am I simply resisting the seasons of life? The natural ebb and flow of all that is? Am I so accustomed to being switched ‘on’ and caught up in perpetual activity that stillness causes me too much discomfort? This was my ‘aha moment’ today when Johann Pepin of Les Pastras (where Jon and I went truffle hunting today) expressed his love for this quiet season. A time of focussing inward, a season where activity minimises, and a time where the focus is on family.

This observation of the seasons has been both fascinating and confronting. It’s made me realise how disconnected I have really been with nature and even the food that I eat. As I look around this beautiful countryside there is a special kind of beauty. The tree’s are all shades of yellow and orange. There is a richness and texture of Autumn and Winter that the other seasons do not share. All this beauty, but there is no bounty. Nothing much grows in this seasons. It’s a time of consolidation. And the tree’s will soon all be laid bare as a reminder of this.

Where I have been living in Australia the seasons come and go without any visual queues. The temperatures change yes, but everything looks the same. Summer fruits and vegetables are still abundant in the supermarkets in the middle of winter and nothing ever slows down. Perhaps this is part of the reason I am here, to learn about the seasons of life. To go with them rather than against them. To stay, to rest …. rather than ‘doing’ and the constant need to be productive.

I sense a need to let go of some of what I have known and to surrender to where it is I am going … wherever that is.

Danielle Gardner

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Grape Stomping in Provence

Grape Stomping Provence

Late September Jon and I had the opportunity to participate in a ‘Grape Stomping’ day at an organic winery in Provence called Les Pastras.

Check out the video I made below!

Read More

Living & Working in Bonnieux

Danielle Gardner

Jon and I have been here in our new hood of Bonnieux for over a week now, but it’s still a bit surreal. What is very tangible though is how relaxed I feel. It’s like my body has exhaled deeply into calmness.

Our apartment is perched on the hillock of the small Provençal village of Bonnieux in the Luberon region. We are just a few minutes walk from the centre ville that is gently scattered with a handful of cosy restaurants, bars, patisserie, boulongerie, butcherie, fleuriste, artisan shops, grocery store and a few boutiques.

Read More