Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Walking on (Frozen) Water

Sunday was one of the first really sunny days that has actually fallen on a weekend in Stockholm for awhile, and so, as the Swedes do, I went out - for a run along the water. With some better shoes, I could have gone beyond the shore; the water was completely frozen solid and looked like the central square of a city with people walking all everywhere! Dogs were running around their owners, people had their cross country skiis on, and a few were skating across the ice. A thin layer of snow lay on top, so you could see the tracks where people had been, which were scattered all over. It was such a beautiful scene, but by the time I could return just a couple hours later with my camera....

the sun had disappeared behind thick clouds, and with it the crowds had dispersed (I swear they were there before!). So it goes in Sweden. Lesson learned: enjoy the winter sunshine while you can because it is surely short-lived.

Another lesson of the ice: beware of cracks like this that stretch across the river. Although I've been assured there is no need to worry, I cannot help but feel slightly uneasy, perhaps from seeing too many movies a la 2012. Next time maybe I'll do as the Swedes do and bring isdubbars along to save me. The question is, could I use them if I was submerged in nearly freezing water?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Road Trip to Västervik

I think mid-January is the perfect time for a road trip. Maybe it's all the slush that's covering the streets of Stockholm, or the fact that I don't see the sun Monday-Friday, but going south seemed like a great idea last Friday. And because there was a surprise 30th birthday party scheduled for a friend on Saturday night, we made it happen - to Västervik. 

We squeezed into Nik's brother's Passat - 5 of us - straight after work on Friday, and made it to Västervik by 9. Not bad considering the ice and drifts of snow that sometimes covered our entire lane on a 2-lane road. These weren't the safest of conditions, but we arrived in one piece and were welcomed with vino and a delicious Taco Pie.

Saturday consisted of visiting with Nik's family and eating-napping-eating, a truly wonderful existence. And then, 

the birthday party! 

The gathering was literally a Sausage Fest. There were sausages hanging discreetly by the door to the venue  (so as not to be noticed by the birthday boy when he first arrived, unsuspecting), and inside were half a dozen different types of sausage: cold, hot, smoked, cured, chorizo, bratwurst. Think Bubba Gump shrimp, but with sausage.

It was wonderful and cozy and Axel (who turned 30) was surprised... although he had been wondering why there were so many potatoes in his parents' kitchen. Unfortunately, at the very moment he arrived, I crouched, ready with my camera, and heard a small beep:
Battery needs to be charged.

Somehow, as often happens, a few hours later my camera unexplainably mustered enough energy to take the only picture I have from our entire weekend. (See below)

This is what brotherly love looks like

Thank you Västervik and Happybirthday Axel!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's Been Awhile...

But I'm back! Back to Sweden. Back to work. Back to my flat. Back to all the snow that slightly melted and then turned into patches of black ice everywhere here in Stockholm. And back to blogging. And unless I fall on that treacherous black ice and can't move my fingers, I PROMISE to be more faithful to my followers, or what's left of them.

ringing in 2011 on Observatorielunden with snow, champagne, and several hundred heavily intoxicated people

With that said, gott nytt år! That's happy new year! for you non-Swedish speakers. I made it back to Stockholm with only a day to spare before Dec 31, having been delayed by the 2 feet of snow that hit Newark just hours before my travel itinerary had me scheduled for a layover there. SO thankful not to have spent day(s) in an airport, though, as I know thousands of other people had to do.

And so we rang in the new year with our dear friends starting with the Swedish Christmas drink, glögg, then a delicious 3-course meal       


and then much drinking and merriment as a blizzard raged and we counted down the hours-minutes-seconds until we could say

Hello, 2011
and what a great year it's been so far