While the Queen Elizabeth docked in Denmark, we decided to go into Sweden for a short visit. I felt guilty, riding on the bus that took us away from beautiful Copenhagen, especially when our bus tour guide pointed out Queen Margrethe II of Denmark exiting a black limousine for the official opening of the Danish Parliament. We should have visited longer in this magnificent city.
But ultimately it was worthwhile to cross the long Øresund Bridge from Copenhagen to the lovely Swedish city of Malmö. We also visited the magnificent Lund Cathedral where we watched the astronomical clock (The Horologium mirabile Lundense) come alive at 3 o’clock with medieval figures rotating from inside the clock while the organ played Good Christian Men Rejoice. It was pure magic to experience this fifteenth-century clock!
Our Baltic Journey came to an end in Denmark. The following two days were spent at sea on the way back to Southampton, followed by the flight home to Toronto.
What I brought back with me, more than the lasting good memories of the places I visited, was a new understanding of the meaning of “home” and “belonging.” Yes, Toronto is my home, above all. Yes, the Azores call to me often enough and when I am there, I also feel a strong connection to the land and the sea. Yes, I feel it, too, when I am in mainland Portugal, but I have also had strong feelings of belonging in other places in the world, especially when I see a hint of something familiar: the landscape of Estonia reminded me of Northern Ontario trees and lakes; the predominantly yellow architecture of St. Petersburg reminded me of Lisbon; and the cobblestones of Tallinn and Malmö reminded me of Ponta Delgada.
The grace and wonder of travelling is that we can find a sense of belonging wherever we go, even when we are far from the place we most identify as home.
Bronze Sculpture water fountain in front of Town Hall, Malmö: details
Sankt Petri Kyrka (St. Peter’s Church), Malmö
Optimistorkestern (Optimist Orchestra) marching band led by a drum majorette is public art at its most whimsical.
Cobblestone: Malmö or Ponta Delgada?
Town Square, Malmö
Lund University grounds with Cathedral Towers in the background
Skyddsmantelmadonnanl, sculpture by Lena Lervik 2015
Hi Emanuel, Thank you for posting your wonderful photos of the cities you saw on your Balkan cruise. These are places I know nothing about, so was quite intrigued with the beautiful architecture and sculptures. I loved all the photos of bicycles and could almost imagine what it was like to be amongst them as they whirled by, filling city streets everywhere. And my favourite photos were of Riga in Latvia with Art Nouveau decorations on so many buildings. So thank you for sharing your tour. A delight!!
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Hi Carol. I’m so glad that you have enjoyed looking at my photos of the trip. It was truly wonderful to see all these cities. Definitely one of the highlights of 2019 for me! Emanuel
Hi Emanuel, like Carol, I’ve never visited this part of the world and all these photos were both poetic and informative. Thanks for sharing!
It’s fascinating the feeling of familiarity and strangeness when visiting places for the first time.