great public grounds

“Portrait of Frederick Law Olmsted” by John Singer Sargent

The enjoyment of the choicest natural scenes in the country and the means of recreation connected with them is thus a monopoly, in a very peculiar manner, of a very few, very rich people. The great mass of society, including those to whom it would be of the greatest benefit, is excluded from it. In the nature of the case private parks can never be used by the mass of the people in any country nor by any considerable number even of the rich, except by the favor of a few, and in dependence on them.

Thus without means are taken by government to withhold them from the grasp of individuals, all places favorable in scenery to the recreation of the mind and body will be closed against the great body of the people. For the same reason that the water of rivers should be guarded against private appropriation and the use of it for the purpose of navigation and otherwise protected against obstruction, portions of natural scenery may therefore properly be guarded and cared for by government. To simply reserve them from monopoly by individuals, however, it will be obvious, is not all that is necessary. It is necessary that they should be laid open to the use of the body of the people.

The establishment by government of great public grounds for the free enjoyment of the people under certain circumstances, is thus justified and enforced as a political duty.

~ Frederick Law Olmsted
(America’s National Park System: The Critical Documents)

Province Lands

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Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

This is another of those strangely potent places. Everyone I know who has spent any time on the dune agrees that there’s, well, something there, though outwardly it is neither more nor less than an enormous arc of sand cutting across the sky.
~ Michael Cunningham
(Land’s End: A Walk in Provincetown)

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Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

Almost every time we go to Provincetown we go on one of Art’s Dune Tours to see the Province Lands sand dunes of Cape Cod National Seashore. In the past part of the tour took us down on the beach but we couldn’t do that this time due to severe beach erosion caused by storms the past couple of winters. So we had to be satisfied with exploring the dunes themselves. Unfortunately we weren’t able to book a sunset tour – those have been our favorites over the years.

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Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts
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Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts
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Province Lands ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

If I die tomorrow, Provincetown is where I’d want my ashes scattered. Who knows why we fall in love, with places or people, with objects or ideas? Thirty centuries of literature haven’t begun to solve the mystery; nor have they in any way slaked our interest in it. Provincetown is a mysterious place, and those of us who love it tend to do so with a peculiar, inscrutable intensity.
~ Michael Cunningham
(Land’s End: A Walk in Provincetown)

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Pilgrim Monument, in the distance, is 252 feet high ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts
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a little tourist from Switzerland ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts
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words left on a shingle in the dune ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

Our guide kept showing us where the sands have been shifting in recent years, impressing on us the endless flow of nature. How strange that while present there, time seems to stand still, if only for a moment.

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afternoon sun over the dune ~ 10.10.15 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

Nærøyfjord & Aurlandsfjord III

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5.24.15 ~ Sogn og Fjordane, Norway

I’m pretty sure these pictures were along Aurlandsfjord, as I mentioned before, I’m not certain when we left Nærøyfjord and entered Aurlandsfjord…

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5.24.15 ~ Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
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5.24.15 ~ Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
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5.24.15 ~ Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
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5.24.15 ~ Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
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5.24.15 ~ Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
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5.24.15 ~ Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
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5.24.15 ~ Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
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5.24.15 ~ Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
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5.24.15 ~ Sogn og Fjordane, Norway

What I love about the picture above is that you can see a woman in a blue jacket peering into the window of the church. 🙂

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5.24.15 ~ Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
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5.24.15 ~ Sogn og Fjordane, Norway

Our first glimpse of Flåm from the fjord. The Norwegian Star cruise ship was still there, dominating the landscape. Our hotel was the brown building to the right of the ship.

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5.24.15 ~ Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
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5.24.15 ~ Sogn og Fjordane, Norway

We were back in Flåm now but our day was not over. We picked up our bags at the hotel and boarded another ferry, this time a high-speed ferry which would take us to Bergen via Aurlandsfjord and Sognefjord in five and a half hours!

Nærøyfjord & Aurlandsfjord II

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More pictures from our ferry ride on Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord…

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our traveling companions, Tim’s brother, Dan, and his wife, Fran ~ yes, it was COLD!…

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sheep, I think

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That tiny little house (above) captured my imagination. I wonder what it would be like to live there, especially in the winter. The ferry does run, although less frequently, in the winter.

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Those colorful dots (above) near the waterfall are kayakers! In the picture below is the same waterfall, the barely visible kayakers dwarfed by the mountain!

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Still more pictures coming!

Nærøyfjord & Aurlandsfjord I

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After we took our bus through the mountains we emerged in the tiny village of Gudvangen, located at the end of Nærøyfjord, which is an arm of Aurlandsfjord, which in turn, is an arm of Sognefjord. Getting off of our bus we immediately boarded our ferry for an eleven mile ride on Nærøyfjord.

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Nærøyfjord is named after Njord, a Norse god associated with wind, seafarers, coasts, and inland waters. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and if I had to choose, this may have been my favorite part of our whole trip. The scenery was spectacular, and even though it was raining for most of our ferry ride we were spellbound.

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I wasn’t quite sure at what point we left Nærøyfjord and entered Aurlandsfjord so I’m posting these pictures together, and, I’m splitting them into three posts so this post won’t be unbearably long. However, they are in the order they were taken. It was difficult deciding which pictures to use, but I think I managed to cull the cream of the crop for my readers!

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I couldn’t get over how tiny the houses seemed sitting at the base of the mountains. The mist and clouds offered a heightened sense of drama. And as we were learning about Norway, there was always another waterfall to be seen as we sailed on. On the shores we also saw small villages, farms, sheep and goats.

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It is steep and deep, shallow and wide, wild and gentle. Nærøyfjord is a 18 km long branch of the worlds second longest fjord Sognefjord (204 km). It is only 250 metres at the narrowest, and more than one kilometres at the widest. The depth varies between 10 and 500 metres. The surrounding mountains are up to more than 1400 metres high.
~ www.naeroyfjord.com

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More pictures coming!