A 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
(neighbors at the Beach Village), first in Stockholm and then in Öland,
and had the chance to visit Morag and Martin Sjolin (both of us worked
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
visited them Stockholm.
The first portion of our Sweden visit was
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 Öland, we got to sample living in Stockholm on our own for
a few days. Tracy also fixed a dinner for Elias
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.
After our introduction to Stockholm, we took
the bus south to Öland, 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.
Our 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 right 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.
After the meal we headed to the coast.
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 snacking on chocolate, Bo treated us to a masterclass in
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
page. In addition to visiting with Bo and Lotta, Gören and Agneta
Strnberg (also friends from the Beach Village) dropped by to say hello.
They have a house on the northern part of the island.
Upon our return to Stockholm, we met up with
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.