Friday, September 30, 2011

Ships, Foodhalls, and Concerts


For the next day of fun with Mom, we went to the Vasa Museum in the morning followed by lunch at Östermalm's Saluhall and then relaxed at home for a bit before watching the firework concert at KTH. What a day!
This was my second time seeing the Vasa and she's still just as impressive. They put so much detail into building her and yet didn't check the engineering. I guess you can't win them all. After we finished there we walked from the museum to the Saluhall and even though it was a cloudy day it was nice to look at the boats and the shoreline so I made Mom stop for a pretty picture.
At the Saluhall we devoured some delicious traditional Swedish food. Mom had meatballs with lingon berries and I had cabbage rolls and we both left no crumb behind! Once our tummies were full we walked around and looked at the food in the stalls for a bit. I tried to get all the different varieties of herring into the picture below but there were too many. Alas, we did not buy any herring.
I also wanted to be sure to get a picture of the crawfish for sale. Crawfish season is coming to an end here but in August the Swedes have a tradition of eating cooked crawfish chilled in dill and salt accompanied by bread and Västerbotten cheese (You can read more about the tradition here: Our friends were kind enough to have us over for the wonderful party just before my Mom arrived and Dale and I enjoyed the meal. That's right folks, I ate the cold crawfish. I can't say it's something I need more of but it was fine. Anyway, I didn't take any pictures at the party so I wanted to be sure to get a picture here. 
After resting up a bit we cooked dinner and then headed over to KTH to watch their annual fall firework concert. The campus looked really pretty with all the people enjoying coffee and cinnamon buns and the candles and lights everywhere.
The opening bands weren't that great but by the end the bands were really good and we all enjoyed them very much. Once it got dark enough they lit off the fireworks right above my office. (In the picture below my office is in the very left corner but on the opposite end of the building)

Ok, so the fireworks couldn't come close to those Dale and I had just watched in San Sebastian. But they were really well timed and matched with the live orchestra. Having played in band during high school I can only imagine how hard it would be to play while fireworks are launched over your head. By the end of the show we were cold and tired so we hurried on home. It was a really nice day showing Mom around Stockholm!
Love Always,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sweden's Royal Palace


A couple days after I finished my 10k my Mom came to visit! I got incredibly spoiled and my Bosses let me have the whole time she was here off to visit with her. On our first day in the city we went to the Royal Palace on Gamla Stan. I had walked past the palace before but never been in it. My favorite part was probably the treasury in the basement. Unfortunately they don't allow pictures there so I can't share it with you. They have the crowns, orbs, scepters, and capes going back hundreds of years on display. Pretty neat!
Upstairs from the treasury is the Hall of State where the King's throne sits.
In 1975 the power officially switched to parliament so today the throne and Hall of State are only used for official functions. Like Princess Victoria's wedding reception last summer. From the Hall of State we walked through the Royal Apartments where we found the Queen's throne. I think the Queen's throne is more impressive than the King's but hey, that's just my style.
I also made Mom pose next to one of the many Swedish ceramic fireplace's, Kakelugnar, in the Royal Apartments. I want one. Dale's an engineer, he can make me one someday. Right? :)
Finally, as we were leaving the palace we walked around the outside and watched the guards for a minute.
It was so much fun learning about Swedish history and seeing the wealth of the Royal Family.
Love Always,

Saturday, September 24, 2011



At the beginning of the summer I signed up for the Tjejmilen woman's 10k in an effort to get motivated to get in shape. What can I say, being surrounded by beautiful fit Swedes makes you realize pretty quick it's time to start taking care of yourself. Between working full time by day and going to school for my masters in the evenings working out got pushed to the back burner. Anyway, after I signed up I began a running routine and did great with it until I got sick, had visitors, and went on vacation. All of which meant a week before the run I hadn't run in almost 3 weeks. Not good. So, the week before I did some mild running and stretching and only hoped to finish. Here I am leaving home for the race.
The race started and finished at Gärdet which is a big open park in Stockholm that used to be where the King raised his livestock. There were over 30,000 participants and the place was packed! I joined in the group stretch and it was soon race time. 
The race path went around Djurgården and it started off quite crowded. So much so that I couldn't even run so I had to speed walk for a while until things thinned out. Eventually they did and I was left to pace myself. Luckily the weather was great and I had a fresh new running mix (thanks Jenny!). The hardest part for me was right before the half way mark. Once I knew I had less in front of me then I had behind me I knew I could finish. And finish I did in a slow but satisfying 73 minutes. Dale was waiting at the finish like to cheer me on but I was too fast so I had to smile for a post run picture instead of a finish line picture. 
10k isn't so bad! Maybe a half marathon next year? I'm not sure if I'm quite ready for that yet but I will at least do another 10k!

Love Always,

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Farewell Summer


A couple weeks ago we got one last summer day that was hot enough to swim, at least Dale and Olov thought so. Lisa and I dipped our toes in the water and returned to our spot on the beach. But regardless, it was a nice day to hang out by the water in downtown Stockholm. Dale and Olov even spent some time 'teaching' Jane how to build sand castles. Your secret is out now guys, the world knows your love of sand castle building. I can't be too hard on them though, who doesn't love to make sand castles?!
We also strolled through the summer Flea Market on Södermalm where Jane scored a nice vintage baby pram and she was over the moon about it.
Now that summer has gone the days here are getting quite short again and there is a definite autumn crispness in the air. It's a little bit sad to see summer go but autumn is my favorite and I'm excited to leaf peep in Sweden!
Love Always,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hendaye and Hondarribia


We took another small adventure outside of San Sebastian to go to Hendaye, France and Hondarribia, Spain. They are neighboring cities on opposite sides of a river and they are both beautiful.
First we went to Hendaye, France and walked along the super packed beach. It was a gorgeous day and it felt good to soak up the sun with our toes in the sand.
Once we had had enough of the crowd we jumped in the car and went over to Hondarribia, Spain. I must say, I really liked this tiny fishing village. Their was a rowing competition the day we were there but Hondarribia's team didn't win unfortunately. That didn't stop the locals from celebrating and showing their team pride. Everyone was dressed in the town's green and they were out in the streets BBQing. We stopped for one last pintxo of a fresh fish of the day and it was the best pintxo of the trip. So good!

We continued walking the streets a bit more before hopping back in the car and heading back to San Sebastian for one last night of fireworks. I wish we had more time to explore all the beautiful tiny villages in the area, hopefully someday!
Farewell Spain! I cannot wait to return, and it better be soon because I'm almost out of the delicious Basque cheese Edu's Mom sent me home with!
Love Always,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

San Sebastian Semana Grande Evenings


Sorry blog fans. Life has gotten in the way of being able to update the blog. But things are, momentarily, slowing down so hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things at the ol' blog. 

Our trip to Spain was a month ago now but here I am mid-Spain recap. While we were there it was Semana Grande in San Sebastian which means evening fireworks followed by more concerts than you could ever attend and late late nights. The city was definitely alive and Edu said it was the busiest he's ever seen it.
It was packed. But we were still able to sneak into some bars for pintxos and patxaran. Pintxos are Basque Tapas and its customary to bar hop and try a different pintxo at each bar. We didn't make it very far on the pub crawl but all of the pintxos were delicious! Dale also really enjoyed the patxaran which is an alcohol made in the Basque region which tastes fairly sweet. They also brew hard cider which isn't carbonated so they pour it in tiny amounts with a long pour to bubble it up and then gulp it down before it goes  flat again. Dale enjoyed that too, but I think he liked the process better than the actual beer.
We were also able to meet up with Gemma one evening! We didn't have very long together but it was great to see her again!
Since it was Semana Grande we made a point to go down to the bay and watch the fireworks each evening. The fireworks were always great and one evening we were even able to watch from the rooftop of one of Edu's friends house which was pretty spectacular. 
We also watched some of the shows but mostly we just listened to the music while sitting on the beach chatting which was perfection.
We didn't intend to stay out very late but somehow each night we never made it home before 5 am. Time really does fly when you're having fun! Oh San Sebastian, you are quite the city!
Love Always,

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A San Sebastian Spa Day


The next day in San Sebastian we spent the morning at La Perla, a spa right on the beach in the center of the San Sebastian bay. The spa uses ocean water and is a full circuit of hot tubs to relax all the different muscles in the body. We all felt very relaxed afterwards and luckily the sun was shining so we headed just outside to the beach to lay in the sun and take a nap. 
As daylight was drawing to a close we took the funicular to the top of a mountain right in the bay for a good view of the city. San Sebastian really is quite beautiful!

There is also a theme park at the top of the funicular. Edu even confessed he had a birthday party here once as a child. It was originally built in the 1920's and hasn't been updated almost at all which was endearing but also a little bit scary. The guys talked me into taking the roller coaster which was at the very top of the mountain hanging over cliffs and steered by the guy in the picture below. The roller coaster break is a handbrake and the guy is just smoking his cigar, no big deal. Edu thinks this is the same guy it's always been.
Luckily, we all survived the scary roller coaster! :)
Love Always,