Yesterday after a few days fighting it with vitamins, I finally succumbed to a cold. It's not a big deal, just annoying when trying to sight-see and having to blow my nose every few minutes. We are still having a wonderful time, and Nate finished his work on Thursday, so now we are renting a car and driving to southern Sweden to see a bit of the country side. After one night there, we will drive to Copenhagen, where we'll be Sunday through Tuesday. We head home Wednesday, then do laundry and pack on Thursday before heading to Atlanta on Thursday night.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I've been taking on the city alone as Nate is working during the day, and I'm finding more and more that I'd love to live here. People are very nice and willing to help me understand bits about the culture. I've actually been mistaken for a Swede a few times, which I'm not sure if is because I don't wear American t-shirts and sneakers everywhere, or because I'm alone. We couldn't begin to see every island here, but the few I've seen have been beautiful and laid back. People, like in Madison, are just glad it's warm enough to be outside, so they're all boating or fishing or just relaxing in the sun. It rains every day, but that never stops everyone from enjoying the day.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
We have done a lot of street-wandering while here, which is a fun adventure. You never know what you're going to find, as we discovered when stumbling upon a festival. We were suprised to see that a crowd had gathered around what sounded to be, and then were verified as, Native Americans dressed in traditional costume and singing/dancing (oh, and selling CDs). The crowd really enjoyed them, which we would have done too if they were in the US. Something about them being in Sweden was very confusing, though. Later we ran into another pair, this time wearing much less ceremonial attire (still singing and selling CDs) and looking more like Mexicans with mullets than Native Americans.
The next day we went to the Royal Palace where we saw an impressive collection of royal armour and cloaks, gowns, etc., most of which had been worn while the person was assassinated. We also saw the "changing of the guard," which seems to serve more as a spectacle for tourists than an actual purpose. Apparently Sweden still has a monarchy that, like almost all others these days, serves only a ceremonial purpose. It has rained off and on while we've been here, but no one seems to mind. They're too busy eating candy and cheesecake, which is perhaps what we've fallen in love with most about Swedes. They do know how to enjoy themselves when it comes to food and dessert. Oh, and alcohol of course. We spent last evening at a German/Austrian restaurant (the oldest in Sweden, dating back to 1421), followed by drinks at the Sky Bar at our hotel, where we tried to drum up some American drinking songs to battle the Swedes with no luck. "99 bottles of beer on the wall," or "Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum," anyone?
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Our first day in Stockholm got started pretty late (7pm their time, Noon our time, but after sleeping only a few hours in the air). We were starved so decided that after checking in and taking a shower, we'd take a quick stroll on our way to dinner. Stockholm is very beautiful and interesting--it reminds me both of Brussels and Venice; lovely architecture, cobblestone streets, and water everwhere. If you don't know, Stockholm is made up of many islands, so we're planning to take a boat trip at some point to see it all. We had dinner in a traditional Swedish restaurant. Aparetifs before dinner with blueberry liquer and sparkling wine, then Nate had reindeer and a cloudberry/mousse dessert. Today we didn't wake up until 12, but the sun stays up late here, so we're expecting to get some sight-seeing in.
Friday, August 18, 2006
We're off to Sweden today. We're bringing our laptop so I'll try to update this with pictures & stories. The first story of the trip is that we got a "Learn Swedish" CD from the library, and I'm disappointed that it doesn't sound like my favorite Swedish chef at all. I was looking forward to some "Bork Bork Bork"! I guess I'll be the life of the bars, since the only other thing I can say is "Skol!" (cheers). Oh, and "Good Afternoon," which to me sounds like "Good Dog."
My friends Corinne, Laura, Jen and I went to Las Vegas last week and had a blast! I wasn't sure what it would be like, but it was definitely entertaining enough to see it in three days (if you count the day we spent at the Bellagio poolside). I would highly recommend taking in a show. We saw the Cirque du Soleil show called "O." I would also recommend trying to get a free hotel before you come (we did ours by hearing a time-share spiel).
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