The first time I travelled to Stockholm with my boyfriend was during a long weekend in December some years ago. The city was packed with snow and Christmas lights and it was utterly romantic. It was also very cold, so cold that every now and then we felt the need to enter a café and order a hot drink to warm ourselves up from the inside out. What we did out of necessity, we discovered later to be also a very cultural thing in Sweden: the art of fika.
As this post is being published I am spending a portion of my summer vacations in Poland. Prior to getting here, I had spent a few days in Norrköping visiting a dear friend of mine. I traveled there two days after my job was done, finding it absolutely unbearable to stay in town any longer for some reason. I love the cute little town I live in, but a creeping sense of suffocation had me in its grip and I needed to get away, fast. The fact that my boyfriend was in Rome and I was not enjoying my time alone as much as I usually do (I am an only child and have been raised to love my own company very much) didn’t help either. Well, long story short I hopped on a train and got off in Norrköping. Continue reading
Aged about 10 I visited Pisa with my parents, a quick stopover during my one and only great big trip to Southern Italy. Piazza dei Miracoli – the only thing we stopped to see – got me awestruck. I can still remember the white marble of the buildings, the green of the grass and the blue of the sky. In my child eyes the Leaning Tower looked just about right with its quirky physics. What I didn’t know back then was that in 15 years I would have been back. As a resident.
It’s been a strange week, the one that just ended. I found myself crying when crying was the last thing I wanted to do, really (I generally don’t mind crying, it helps me get stuff out and relax, but I need to be in the right mood for a good cry and I was most definitely not when I cried this week). Then my body just gave up and I found myself exhausted, sick. I had to pause, spend a day in bed stunned by a wild migraine. Outside my window the snow had started to fall again. All the snow that had not showed up in January – there it was. In March. Continue reading
I like to say that with the Norwegian capital I’ve had a serious love affair. We first met in 2007, a bunch of sunny April days; Oslo was the destination of a spontaneous trip with my parents. We never take spontaneous trips in my family, but 2007 had not had a good start and a spontaneous trip somewhere new was what we all needed to heal our wounds. Oslo healed my wounds. I was young, I fell in love so desperately. Continue reading
Winter is the time for skiing, building snowmen, having snowflakes land in your mouth and of course ice skating. Here in mid-Sweden around the end of December temperatures drop to -15°C and below and lakes freeze up. The same lakes where I bathe and go paddle boarding in the summer in January are rock solid and perfect for wintertime sports like ice skating, cross country skiing and ice fishing. The thing about Sweden is that no matter the season, you are always supposed to be out there enjoying the great outdoors. Continue reading
So another year has come to an end, marking two and a half years since I moved to Sweden. From this point of view, I can see how 2016 has brought progress and I am thankful to see that hard work keeps paying off. It’s time for another more personal blog post related to my life (in Sweden), a post less about food or photos and more about myself. More food will come, more photos from beautiful places, too, but today it’s a bit more about myself. For a change. Continue reading
I have been writing on this blog about some traditional December delicacies of the Swedish cuisine, but of course Sweden’s traditional Christmas foods don’t stop at gingerbread and saffron buns. There is much more to that and, surprisingly, neither of those two is the true Christmas dessert. Saffron buns are mostly an Advent food linked to St Lucy’s day (December 13th), while pepparkakor are served all over the holiday period, not being something eaten exclusively at the Christmas table. Speaking of “Christmas table”, that is the translation of julbord, one word that summarizes all there is to know about Swedish Christmas food. But let’s start from the beginning… Continue reading
At the beginning of December the town of Falun, Dalarna, hosts a Christmas market that has quickly become one of my most favourite things about winter. It is called Gammaldags Julmarknad, which translates as old-fashioned Christmas market. I must admit that it really has the feel of an event stuck somewhere in time, a feature that makes it even more magical. The Christmas market stalls display a whole array of traditional crafts and foods produced in the region, and it is always very hard for me not to spend too much money, especially on the food.
A couple of weekends ago I visited a ski resort located a couple of hours north of here called Kläppen for some fine Swedish springtime skiing. The main reason for this trip was to see my boyfriend and some of his colleagues from the ski resort where they work taking part in a ski race. My role was that of official photographer for our party: I stood alongside the track and collected photographic evidence of the race. The weather was so beautiful it almost felt surreal to be actually skiing in what already looked like spring. Continue reading