Sunday, November 25, 2012

November in a Flash

November has flown by, and with it, the darkness has arrived here in Stockholm. Our trip to the States last week broke up the onset of winter drear, but the return was all too fast of a transition to what seem like sunless days.

There is a rawness to the air that could be described as exhilarating on a good day. The cold wetness is marked by running noses and rosy cheeks, and thanks to my new gum boots, I'm not afraid of trekking through muddy splotches before the ground compacts to its annual frozen state. 

Truly, I love winter - but mostly because of the snow. And since it hasn't come yet, I'm doing my best to persevere, waking up each morning in hopes that the thermometer has sunk to negative temps. No such luck lately.

In the meantime, we've been enjoying Thanksgiving dinners, from cold cut turkey sandwiches to the whole shebang; the start of glögg season (the incredibly delicious Swedish version of mulled wine, served only in the Christmas season); lussekatt (a Swedish saffran bun, also served only during Christmas); and catching up on sleep from jet-lag, which seems to get worse with each trip we take. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Opening Night at Friends Arena

Svenska Ögonblick - The Swedish Blink of an Eye

Stockholm's new Friends Arena opened last Saturday night with a show of probably more artists than I've seen in the last 5 years combined, all Swedish. Icona Pop, The Hives, First Aid Kit, Eagle Eye Cherry and Tomas Levin, to name a few. And a finale by the infamous Roxette

The arena, by far the largest in the country, seats up to 65,000 people. We sat in a corner, pretty high up. In these massive stadiums, I always feel like with one wrong step, I'll topple head-over-heels through the rows of seats to the bottom, which would have been a pretty long fall on this occasion. Fortunately, there were no casualties that I know of. 

The invigning [inaguration] was a mix of pop hits of today, classics from years past, and a few traditional Swedish songs from musicals and the like. Overall, the show had a low tempo, broken by a few performers, but I think the idea was to appeal to all ages. And there certainly was something for everyone. Although I'm not sure there needed to be 3 songs in a row from the Swedish musical Duvemåla. Perhaps you need to be Swedish to appreciate it. 

At one point, the beloved crown princess Victoria appeared to welcome everyone to the spectacular show, and stood on a small stage right below us. All around, it was a pretty cool performance, and a glimpse into Swedish culture through the decades.