Video: Traditional Danish birthday celebration

In some countries and in some religions birthdays are not celebrated. But in Denmark, which is traditionally a protestant, Christian country, we consider birthdays as something very important and a great opportunity to celebrate.

The video below is from my sister Pia’s birthday (on July 10, 2008) and gives you an idea about the way we celebrate birthdays in my family.

In my family (and in many Danish families I know) birthdays are celebrated as the most important day of the year.

Before the birthday itself the birthday "child" makes a wish list with all the things he or she would like to have as a birthday present and gives the list to the members of the family (and perhaps friends depending on relationship).

On the birthday itself the family does everything according to the wish of the birthday child (whether he or she is a child or a grown-up).

The family makes a delicious breakfast before he or she wakes up and then wakes her/him up with the Danish birthday song (see the video). Then she/he opens the presents and eats breakfast.

Lunch is also as special as possible and oftentimes we have friends over in the afternoon for "cake-man", sweets (and fun games if you are a child).

Dinner is also prepared according to the wish of the birthday child and will often be several courses the favourite dishes of the person who has his/her birthday.

When I was a child (and later) I used to look forward to the day long time in advance and it was surely my favourite celebration. It is a celebration of love that your family makes for you and you for them.

Video: Traditional Danish wedding

This video shows the wedding of my wonderful dad and his girlfriend Sanne on May 31st 2008. In the video you get a good idea about what a traditional Danish wedding entails in terms of customs and traditions.

With love,
Tina

NB. To read more about Danish wedding traditions, please read here

Video: Tarifa in Spain – A kitesurfer’s paradise

This video shows the amazing windswept beaches of Tarifa.

Tarifa in the south of Spain is possibly the most windy beach I have ever been too…I nearly blew away 🙂 But it is also incredibly beautiful. On our Flickr account you can see some of the beautiful pictures Thomas took when we visited Tarifa this summer.

The narrow streets and old castle also makes Tarifa old town a charming place for a walk. Most of the remaining old city was constructed in the 18th Century.

However, it is the 10 kilometres of white sandy beaches, unspoilt countryside and some of the best windsurfing conditions in Europe that have made Tarifa a surfers paradise. Not to mention the crazy wind that makes it impossible to suntan on the beach because you will be eating too much sand…but it does make good waves.

Enjoy

Video: “Care for Dogs”, Chiang Mai

Street dogs are probably the most common sight in Thailand (and other developing countries). Whether you travel to Chiang Mai as a tourist or live here, it is impossible to overlook the street dogs.

When I first arrived in Thailand, I was shocked to see so many dogs, some in terrible condition and I always feel really bad when I see them and am not able to help them with more than just a sausage from a near-by seven-eleven.

Karin Hawelka and Amandine Lecesne are two women who refused to ignore the problem. They set up ‘Care for Dogs’ in Chiang Mai. Their aim is to improve the life of street and temple dogs by organising sterilisations, vaccinations, and medical care. They also offer a home for approximately 80 homeless dogs and puppies until they find a new loving home for them.

If you want to adopt a dog, puppy or cat, volunteer, or support the group with donations or dog food – then contact 084-7525255 or 086-1855218, e-mail to contact@carefordogs.org or visit www.carefordogs.org

Above is a video of the amazing dogs they take care off (and that are up for adoption if you offer a loving home). You can also listen to the very interesting interview with the founder of “Care for Dogs” Karin Hawelka if you do to: http://www.earthoria.com/care-for-dogs-shelter-chiang-mai.html

Enjoy and get inspired.

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep and the white elephant legend

The legend goes that a monk named Sumanathera from Sukhothai had a dream; in this dream he was told to go to Pang Cha and look for a artifact. Sumanathera went to Pang Cha and found a bone, which many state was Buddha’s shoulder bone. The relic displayed magical powers; it shined, it was able to disappear, it could move itself and reproduce itself. Sumanathera took the artifact to King Dharmmaraja who ruled Sukhothai.

The excited Dharmmaraja made offerings and hosted a rite when Sumanathera arrived. Nonetheless, the artifact displayed no abnormal characteristics, and the king, doubtful of the artifact’s validity, told Sumanathera to keep it.

However, the king of the Lanna Kingdom Nu Naone (rules 1355 – 1385) heard of the artifact and offered the monk to take it to him instead. In 1368 with Dharmmaraja’s permission, Sumanathera took the artifact to Lamphun, in northern Thailand. The artifact split in two, one piece was the same size, the other was smaller than the original. The smaller piece of the artifact was preserved at a temple in Suandok. The other piece was placed by the King on the back of a white elephant which was released in the jungle. The elephant is said to have climbed up Doi Suthep, at the time called Doi Aoy Chang (Sugar Elephant Mountain), and trumpeted three times before dying on the top after the long journey up. It was interpreted as a sign and King Nu Naone ordered the construction of the temple Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep at the site.

The present complex dates from the 16th century and was expanded or restored several times later. The video above is from Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep anno 2007.

Video: Beautiful Koh Lipe island, Thailand

Koh Lipe – a tiny island located in Tarutao National marine park, is the most beautiful island I have visited so far – both in Thailand and worldwide. The video below – containing a 10 minute island tour (including a visit to all the beaches) should give you an idea why we love this island so much. Enjoy 🙂

Map and satellite shots of Koh Lipe


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Video: Ob Luang National Park

Ob Luang national park is about 105 kilometers from Chiang Mai and is a very worthwhile day trip. The park is famous for its gorge through which the Mae Chaem River flows. It is also known as the "Grand Canyon of Thailand".

A footbridge across the gorge 500 meters downstream makes a walk through the natural trail possible. The walk passes an ancient burial site (Land of Prehistoric Human), the remains of which are in the National Museum in Chiang Mai. They found human bones, beads, wrist rings, clay bowls, tools, weapons, etc. You can also see ancient rock drawings from about 2500 -3000 years ago and an amazing view over the valley can be enjoyed from the rock outcrop above at Doi Pa Chang.

Ob Luang is furthermore known for its water rafting. While we were there the river was not particularly high but it was definitely forceful, with a strong current and plenty of water to enjoy a wild water rafting trip. When there is less water it is also possible to enjoy canoeing and kayaking.

The National Park covers a total area of 553 square kilometers of steep forested granite hills, adjoining the much higher mountains of Doi Inthanon Park to the northwest. The elevation ranges from 200 meters to 1,656 meters along the Mae Chaem River to the northeast. The Mae Chaem River originates from the mountain range in Mae Hong Son. It is running along steep cliffs, knolls, and valleys and has some islands as well as sandy beaches on the side.

The National Park Office has tents and sleeping equipment for visitors to rent (although tents have to be put up no later the 6 pm). Contact Ob Luang National Park, P.O. Box 2, Hang Dong Sub district, Hord District, Chiang Mai 50240. Tel: 053-229272.

How to get there

Traveling from Chiang Mai, take the road number 108 to the town of Hot. At Hot take the Hot – Mae Sariang road. After 17 km you will reach the park’s headquarters. Total distance from Chiang Mai is 105 km.