Thursday, June 30, 2011

Midsommar in Steninge

Sweden's Midsommar is like America's 4th of July
minus the fireworks
plus lots of snaps (really strong liquor) and pickled herring
and a Midsommar pole which everyone dances around like a frog

And so, for the occasion, we drove 6 hours across the country to Nik's dad's family's stuga  (cabin) right on the North Sea.

Here's the view from the house

And this is what the traditional Midsommar lunch looks like - boiled potatoes, a wide variety of sill (pickled herring), and snaps... also knäckebröd with just a little bit of butter ; )

Feeling good after... how many shots was it? And it's only lunchtime!

After lunch, it's game time! And here is croquet's all-star blue team

The weekend was lots of fun with tons of food, drinks, and merriment by all. My only request: that Midsommar holiday weekend be extended to at least a week. But I really can't complain with my 3-week holiday right around the corner!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Goodbye Solna, Hello Fredhäll

We’ve moved! And are now official residents of Stockholm. We live in an area called Fredhäll on an island called Kungsholmen which makes up the western part of the inner city. 

Fredhäll is a beautiful area – we are literally surrounded by parks on 3 sides, and are just 2 blocks from the water where you can go swimming off gorgeous cliffs. We have downsized from 67 to 40 square meters – a bit of an adjustment – but everything fits! And our flat already feels at home.

about to start moving out last Saturday morning

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Beautiful beautiful Nationaldagen!

For the last 28 years, Sweden's National Day has celebrated on June 6. The day may not go back very far, but it is very much a part of welcoming summer today as a 'Red day,' or nationwide day off. 

So why celebrate on the 6th of June? Well, for one thing, King Gustav Vasa was supposedly crowned king waaaaaaay back (as in 1523 way back) on June 6, marking the end of Danish domination over all of Scandinavia. Then, on June 6, 1809, a new constitution was approved in Sweden, limiting the monarchy's power. So it's a pretty important day.

We celebrated the occasion in gorgeous Hagaparken with a picnic of crayfish, champagne, strawberries, chocolate cake, brie, and sandwiches. Despite it's close proximity to our flat, we had never been to Hagaparken before. It is truly a beautiful place, and on such an incredible day - cloudless skies, about 80 degrees - it was heaven, with its winding paths through lush forests and cliffs along blue lakes.

Entertainment in Hagapark's natural amphitheatre included singing of the national anthem as well as performances by opera singers from Stockholm's Kungliga Operan and by Caroline af Ugglas, Sweden's very own Janis Joplin. A great day in Sweden for sure. Now looking forward to the next national celebration: Midsummer!