Europe loves its Christmas Markets, the festive mood, the warm drinks cuddled by cold hands, the delicious smells of roasted almonds and the magical lights that chase away the darkness of winter. From the first advent till the winter solstice, people try to spend as much time as possible out in the markets calling on hope, warmth and light to comfort them through the long hard winters.
In the last 2 weeks I went with my camera and some fellow photographers chasing the Christmas spirit from Valkenburg in the Netherlands to Duesseldorf and then today to magical Cologne.
During the last few days, Germans around Duesseldorf have been assuming new identities, merrily yelling our “Helau” and throwing candy from parades. The ‘Karneval’ is going at full force and no it’s not over! There are 2 more days of this jolly madness still to come 🤪!
going inwards to find it~ Jade Buddha Temple~ Shanghai
We might declare our allegiance to a religion or to a non-religion, but either way, there will be moments in our lives when we just feel the need to close our eyes, turn inwards and try desperately to connect to something bigger, greater and more knowing than we are. No matter how amazing and above it all we feel and think we are, the fragility of our very mortality will at some point in our lives humble us to the greatness of what caused us to be in the first place, regardless of what we may call it.
We live to search and we spend our whole life looking for its meaning. I love that fact. I strive to be in the wonder of the quest itself not minding what I find or what remains a mystery. Life is filled with magic and I feel so lucky to feel it every single day. Truth is such an enigma and I wonder if we are ever meant to find it or to just dwell on the process.
Some random thoughts on the eve of the Chinese New Year~ Shanghai
It seems so appropriate for the year to end and a new one to begin with a blanket of fresh snow, a clean slate, a new start. A stillness fell over the city today as more than half the population leaves for their homes away from Shanghai or to holiday destinations leaving a haunting sense of quiet and empty streets where normally life is buzzing noisily. Shanghai got its second day of snow today, it wore its beautiful white dress and it goes to sleep now getting ready for the big night tomorrow when fireworks will light the city streets.
Xin nian kuai le and Gong xi fa cai from Shanghai!!
The fireworks in Shanghai on Chinese New Year’s eve are the strangest I have ever seen. I took a walk over midnight around the streets and witnessed a frenzy of fireworks lit up by people in every corner of the city. It is not the usual big fireworks show I saw 2 years ago in Hong Kong during the same holiday. Here everyone lights up these big fireworks in front of their buildings and homes. The louder and bigger the better. The loud noise is meant to scare the bad spirits away and welcome the new year with its clean slate. It is just what everyone is doing that night and the city is taken over by it. Incredible to watch and be part of.