Visiting Our Swedish Friends

Bo and Lotta at VPPMorag and FamilyA big part of our impetus to travel to Sweden was to visit friends we had made in both Kuala Lumpur and at the Beach Village in Thailand, and to get a taste of what life was like in their home country. We spent the majority of our time with Lotta Hellman and Bo Matsson (neighbors at the Beach Village), first in Stockholm and then in Íland, and had the chance to visit Morag and Martin Sjolin (both of us worked at ISKL with Morag) at the end of our trip. The photo to the left show Bo and Lotta when they visited us in Kuala Lumpur, while the photo to the right is of Morag, Martin, and daughter Melissa when we visited them Stockholm.


Apartment 01Apartment 02The first portion of our Sweden visit was with  Bo, Lotta, and Lotta's younger son Elias in their house in Kungsholmen, central Stockholm.  It was a beautiful airy apartment, impeccably decorated, and just a short bike ride from many of the city's attractions. While visiting there we toured the island on foot, and biked to Gamla Stan, and took in some local theater in the park!  Nights were spent savouring delicious Swedish cuisine, and adjusting to the nearly constant daylight. We also got to meet Lotta's older son, his wife, and  young son when they came over for Sunday night dinner. Lotta took us to her favorite shops and, when Lotta and Bo left for Íland, we got to sample living in Stockholm on our own for a few days. Tracy also fixed a dinner for Elias and Petra Brask's son Erik. Petra  is a good friend of Lotta's whom we met when their family stayed at Lotta's and Bo's unit at the Beach Village. Elias and Erik are shown in the photo to the lower left.
Erik and Elias









Oland HouseAfter our introduction to Stockholm, we took the bus south to Íland, where Bo and Lotta have a summer house. We learned from our various Swedish friends at the Beach Village that many Swedes have houses on this southern island and spend a good deal of their summer holiday there. We were honored to be invited to share this slice of Swedish life, and our hosts really rolled out the red carpet. The photo to the left shows an aerial view of the property, while the panorama below offers a more complete view, identifying the buildings.



Panorama of House


Aerial View of the House





Barn NibblesBo, the grillmasterOur first night there was memorable, as our hosts prepared a sumptuous dinner of grilled lamb and vegetables, served on their outdoor patio. With Bo as the grill master, we were treated to the best lamb we have ever tasted, complemented with fresh vegetables and a hardy red wine. Prior to the repast, we had drinks and nibbles by the barn in the bright Swedish summer light. (photo to the left) The dinner consisted of not only the fresh lamb chops, but also two varieties of salad, grilled aubergene, potatoes, and peppers. The photo to the left shows Bo hard at work expertly grilling the lamb and  veggies. The meal is shown in the photo at the bottom left, while a closeup of our meal plate may be seen in the photo at the bottom right. It was clearly a meal to remember.
Table


Plate
















Bo Knows PhotosAfter the meal we headed to the coast as Tracy wanted Bo to take some photos of us, as she was impressed by the quality of photos that he posts on his Facebook page. So, after sipping champagne and chocolate, Bo treated us to a masterclass in photography, even making Dale look good! The photo to the left shows some of Bo's handiwork. Other highlights of our stay are captured on our Íland page. In addition to visiting with Bo and Lotta, Agneta Strnberg (also a friend from the Beach Village) dropped by to say hello. They have a house on the northern part of the island.




All of Us!Stockholm MarketUpon our return to Stockholm, we met up with Morag, who hosted us for our last few days in Sweden. Meeting us at Stockholm Central Station, we took a train to her house in the suburbs, where we reconnected with husband Martin and daughter Melissa, who was packing for a holiday in Scotland. We had several lovely dinners on their patio, and Morag took us to Djurgården to visit the Vasa Museum and lunch along the river
. On the way home we stopped at a wonderful market in central Stockholm to get the goodies for a last sunwashed dinner on the patio. The photo to the left shows us with Martin and Morag in their kitchen, while the photo to the right shows the market. We said goodbye the next morning with Morag heading to Scotland and her parents, and we began our journey home, flying to Helsinki. We thank our friends for their wonderful Swedish hospitality--you made the trip truly memorable.




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