The legend has it that after the big town fire in 1624, the Danish-Norwegian King Christian IV decided to rebuild the town in this area and name it after himself. He supposedly pointed to this spot and said: “The new town will lie here!”. Now there is a fountain in the shape of a gloved hand pointing to the ground making the spot.
Christian IV was the king of Denmark-Norway 1588-1648. He is remembered as one of the most remarkable Danish kings, having initiated many reforms and projects.
The sculpture, titled “Chritian IV’s Glove” is just known as “Hanske”, meaning “The Glove”, among locals. Situated in the middle of Christiania Torv square (also known as “The Glove square”) it was designed in the mid-1990s by the Norwegian artist Wenche Gulbransen.
The allegorical statue was one of the first sights for me to visit in Oslo and rightfully so, as I was running the glove making workshop in Oslo during the following days.
Historically a glove has also played a significant role as a symbol of power. King´s glove was a symbol of rule like a seal. One could sell, make coins and take taxes with the possession of a king´s glove. In the Medieval times, the king´s glove hanged high above the market place symbolised the right to trade. At the end of the day, the glove would be taken down. Later the glove got replaced by the wooden shape of a hand.
So in a way, it is quite symbolic that a gloved hand is placed in the middle of the market square.
The real reason for going to Bristol last weekend was actually visiting the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, taking place already the 39th year! Europe’s largest annual balloon event brought together over 130 international balloonists and a whole field full of spectators.
The festival was spread over the meadows of the Ashton Court Mansions, on the outskirts of Bristol. The early Saturday afternoon was filled with a variety of air shows, including a rather impressive wind walking performances, with the stuntmen fixed on top of the small aeroplane.
The hot air balloon lifts off was meant to be at 6 pm. Unfortunately, due to the windy weather conditions, the hot air balloons did not fly on Saturday´s afternoon. The public could only enjoy watching the tethered balloons, as it was too dangerous for them to fly.
However, the evening event was worth a stay. Saturday night was finished off with a glorious nightglow show, followed by the fireworks. The hot air balloons, securely fixed to the ground, were being lit up, turning on and off as giant light bulbs, following the sounds of the music.
Luckily the weather conditions changed and the balloons did take off the next morning.
Last weekend we had a chance to visit the cool town of Bristol – a mere 2-hour train ride West from London. Here is the ultimate Bristol walking guide of main sights to see within a day while walking through the town.
Upon our arrival in Bristol, early in the morning, before 9 am, we were greeted by the beautiful architecture shimmering in the sunshine. The Temple Meads railway station is something to look at from outside – dating back to the 1840s it was designed by the British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel – a name that will come across repeatedly while walking through Bristol.
Stepping out of the station our attention was first caught by the irresistible aroma coming from a nearby bakery. A little search led to the Hart´s Bakery, situated just under the railway arches, below the station. This artisanal bakery needs to be spoken of due to its absolutely amazing cakes and pastries! Probably one of the best finds in Bristol, everything is baked right there in an open kitchen, in front of the customers´ eyes with the queue winding out of the door on the busier days – and rightfully so! I had the best tasting custard tart and the most amazing brownie of my life – its creamy consistency had a touch of hazelnuts mixed in. I could probably go on and on about how amazing their mini quiches and coffee were (didn´t really get to sample more), but it´s time to move on to the streets of Bristol.
As we didn´t have too much time to spend and visiting Bristol for the first time in just a day, the goal was to get a good overview of the town centre. Most of the sights were viewed just from the outside while walking past.
The first sight to pass on our way was St Mary Redcliffe Church. Dating back to the 12-15th centuries, it´s a beauty of Gothic architecture.
The town centre is made of a canal system and a floating harbour, which plays an important role in keeping the steady water level within the basin. Crossing a few bridges, we found ourselves next to the M Shed – Bristol town museum. The former harbour pier in front of it is lined with old cranes, which used to load the ships. Across the water, at the Millennium Square Landing, a beautiful sailboat was stranded.
Continuing along the Museum Street, we passed a few more remarkable vessels and constructions, for example, the Matthew boat – a 21-year-old replica of a 500-years old boat, sailed by John Cabot to Newfoundland in North America, in 1497. The ship looks similar to the one from the Asterix film and has frequently been used in the BBC and Disney movies.
The road lead to the Brunel´s SS Great Britain – a museum ship that once sailed the seas of the world from Bristol to New York. The former passenger steamship sailed the seas for nearly 100 years, 1845 to 1933 and is now open for visit.
Unfortunately, not having time to pop in this time, we carried on along the Bristol Marina with colourful modern houses lining both sides of the canal. Quite a pleasant walk, I must say.
Turning at the Underfall Yard power house, from where the floating harbour was controlled, the road took us past the Brunel Lock Road and across the river over Brunel Way, to Ashton Court Mansion. The historic estate is situated just outside of the town, among spacious meadows and a populated deer park.
From there another half hour walk led to probably the most breathtaking sight of Bristol – the Clifton Suspension Bridge. One of the world´s great bridges it is 101m above the high water level. Planned by the engineer who takes credit for many other famous constructions of the town and opened in 1864, the bridge joins two cliffs high above. Although the bridge´s weight limit is 4 tonnes, I could feel it slightly shaking while crossing over.
The magnificent view from the bridge above the town was so high, it felt quite eerie.
Above the bridge there is Clifton Observatory. It´s worth climbing up there for getting the best images of the bridge and the town behind it.
In conclusion, Bristol is a beautiful town that absolutely deserves to be visited and then visited again to explore further…
My latest collaboration with Design Junkie for their blog.
The Summer has really arrived, at least in London! Got to enjoy it while it lasts, so if you happen to be so lucky to have a terrace or patio, take the most of it and turn it into a wonderful place for spending time with family and friends. Enjoy the full relaxation in a hammock or stay up in the candlelight in the warm Summer nights.
Have a look at our tips on how to “boho-up” your outdoor space!
Last weekend, 23-24th of June Riina O travelled North, out of London, to a small picturesque town of Lincoln, to participate in the Heritage Skills Festival. The event, held for the first time ever, brought together the City of London Livery Companies to the Lincoln Cathedral with the aim to celebrate traditional crafts and skills and keep them alive. Altogether there were more than 26 of the City of London Livery Companies, ranging from the goldsmiths to saddlers to clockmakers, glaziers and plumbers. Riina O was invited by the Worshipful Company of Glovers.
The history of the Glovers Company dates back to the 14th Century, having been established in 1349 by glove makers in London, who wished to protect the high standards of their craft. The Company has survived to the present day, still supporting and promoting British glove trade and wearing of gloves on all levels – from fashion to different industrial purposes.
The Heritage Skills Festival took place at the glorious Lincoln Cathedral – the third largest one in the UK. The grandiose building managed to easily host the display of dozens of Livery companies and craft displays, including two Bentley cars and a few chariots.
Riina O had a chance to display our cutting edge modern gloves and demonstrate the craft of the traditional glove making via hand stitching.
On the 23rd of June, we had the honour to be interviewed by the BBC Radio for Melvyn in the Morning show. It was great to meet some visitors later on, who had actually heard the interview and got inspired by it to come to the Festival.
At the end of the second day an auction was held, where all the different livery companies presented their unique craft products. Riina O offered a commission of a pair of leather gloves to the client´s choice, which was snapped up by a lucky bidder.
The Midsummer´s Night was this year celebrated at a glorious dinner held for the London Livery Companies at the Lincoln Cathedral. In addition to all the displays, the cathedral easily accommodated a dinner for nearly 100 people located in its side wing of the building. Held at such extravagant location, this was definitely a Midsummer celebration night to remember!
Recently it was the time of the summer solstice and it brought back a personal memory from quite a few years ago.
In my native Estonia, the lightest night of the year is celebrated with large bonfires all over the country. In the UK there is not such a custom. However, some people celebrate the Summer Solstice at an ancient place, thought to be highly energetic – the Stonehenge. The prehistoric monument of Wiltshire dates back 4000-5000 years and is referred to as one of the wonders of the world and the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe.
During normal visiting hours, the stones can only be observed from afar. However, once a year (and perhaps on some other special occasions) the access is open for the public to practically climb on to the stones while waiting for the sunrise.
Nine years ago I had the chance to visit the location and celebrate the summer solstice in the manner of old Celtic Pagans – a “time of plenty and celebration”.
It was a rather cold and rainy evening when we got there. Nevertheless, it seemed like thousands of people were making their way across the field towards the ancient statues. For the protection of the monument, visitors were prohibited from making loud sounds (no roaring music allowed), bringing along their pets, sleeping bags or duvets, barbeques and camping equipment, or alcohol, for that matter. People were left to take care of their own entertainment on how to spend the cold and wet night – some broke into song and there were a few groups making quiet sounds – all kinds of music style were accepted, from drum circles and beatboxing to improvised poetry and chanting.
The rather annoying phenomenon of that night was the ongoing showering rain, which lasted all night long from dusk till dawn. There weren´t any tents to cover from the rain so the poor visitors had to wrap up in plastic bags, dance around with chanting Hare Krishnas to get warm or stands next to a tiny fireplace surrounded by a metal grid for safety.
Six hours of dark and wet time had to be passed somehow – there was no escape if you didn´t have a car. The only way out would have been in an ambulance, which there were a few of. Nevertheless, the whole event was in good spirits and it was kinda cool to jam with thousands of hippies among the old ruins, despite the cold and rain.
Just after the expected sunshine, around quarter to five (which was just formal, as no sun could be seen through the clouds) the majority of people were ready to rush off. The first bus set off at five to take the brave revellers back to town.
A quick search shows that the summer solstice celebrations were carried on this year as well, according to the BBC News, on 21st of June. This year being blessed with a heatwave, I bet it was far more enjoyable to celebrate the Midsummer Night.
My latest collaboration with Design Junkie for their blog.
Do you tend to admire the images of boho homes, wondering where to start from with your own place? If you are craving for ideas and would like some inspiration, have a look at our top 10 tips for transforming your home into a bohemian haven!