Ribbons of bright pink turning to pale lavender in the sky this morning, the ground still bare, trees stark against the skyline. A new year. But still glancing back at twenty-eleven. Creating reports and organizing files and folders fill my days. And bring revelations.
The year was blessed. With travels far and near. And family. And friends new and old. A year of joy and sorrow. Memories sweet and sad. A year of loss, a dear and gifted friend too young to die. A cherished aunt now gone. A year of northern light and majestic landscapes to soothe my soul, the nordic language music to my ears. A place called home, in many different places. New blogging friends, a chance to share my travels, to be inspired by the travels of others.
My revelation – an addiction to bakeries. I am clearly a candidate for a twelve-step program. But as addictions go – it could be worse. It is almost impossible for me not to stop if I see a bakery along the road – whether driving or walking. Especially in Scandinavia, where nostalgia will often overrule willpower. Where the beautifully crafted, traditional kringle bakery sign calls to me like a beacon. I will also go out of my way for a bakery, often researching the area well before I get there. And after finding the local tourist info office and the bibliotek, a bakery is often the next thing I track down when in a new place. And sometimes even the very first thing. Though some places are seeing a resurgence, many neighborhood bakeries are in danger of extinction, especially in rural areas. But it is a tradition worth preserving and supporting – fresh and fragrant, breads and cakes baked locally. A far cry from the sterile, plastic wrapped long shelf life goods found in a supermarket. And it is sometimes enough to just stop in and take in the heavenly smells and sights – and maybe bring home a few goodies for others. For above all it is the experience that satisfies. Earthy and rich, dark and whole grain breads and delicate, buttery sweets, capture the essence of place and heritage.
Welcome twenty twelve. Looking forward to more travels, near and far – with many bakery stops along the way.