Thursday, December 13, 2012

Julbord in the Sky

Or at least as high as possible in Stockholm. On Saturday night, we ventured across the city to Fåfängen Restaurant for the infamous Swedish Julbord, or Christmas table

our julbord - the after shot (sorry, was too busy eating for any others)

The Julbord is (naturally) a smörgåsbord - with pretty much the same foods every time - consisting of a wide variety of pickled herring (sill), meatballs, beet salad, johnsson's temptation potatoes, prince sausage, cabbage - the list goes on. Ours also had bear meatballs and some sashimi to shake things up a bit. Oh, and most important - the snaps.

Fåfängen means the vanity, and so this highly perched restaurant was named for its location at the top of a mountain, overlooking the entire city of Stockholm, and where people in the old days came to see and be seen. 

I don't think we were seen by many, as a snowy dark winter night is not the best time to parade atop a mountain. But is indeed the perfect time to gorge oneself on portion after portion of hearty holiday fare. And so we did. We ate; we drank; we sang; we were merry. And a serious food coma set in shortly thereafter. Fortunately, I was able to overcome this temporary incapacitation in time for continuing on to the city for a few late-night drinks.

Post-Julbord, I sweat out my copious over-eating in the steamy sauna, broken up by plunges in some very, very cold water. Guarding the long staircase leading down to the little hut of heat, I found this gorgeous Christmas tree. We also have one in front of our apartment building, the side of which looks like a bite has been taken out of it. No matter - it's a welcome light in the darkness.

our Luciatåg - Lucia train - today

And while I'm on the subject of Christmas (I can't seem to avoid it - not that I mind), today is Lucia in Sweden! On December 13, Sweden celebrates St. Lucia, a saint rumored both to have been Adam's first wife and to have consorted with the Devil. 

Today, people - mostly children - dress up in long white robes as star boys or tärnor (the name for the girls - any good translations out there?), and one lucky girl gets chosen to be Lucia herself. The entourages travel through the city singing traditional Swedish carols and bringing light to one of the darkest days of the year. 


  1. Remember when Jenny Lind introduced us to the St. Lucia celebration? We were living at Parker's Wharf.

    I am glad you are immersing yourself in all the Swedish customs during the Christmas season--in addition to the very cold water at the spa hut!

  2. Yes, I do remember that - a fun experience! I am definitely trying to immerse myself, which is easy to do at Christmas time here :)