Homage to Sweden

I’m sure you all know by now that I had a FABULOUS time in Sweden.

Even in the winter, Stockholm and the surrounding areas were beautiful and inviting.

I must say, I loved it so much I hope to go back.

And it goes without saying that I’ll get to see The Swede if I head over again.

Not even the 12-hour plane light can deter me from going.

Now.

You know I’m a planner.

I actually bought a pair of bikini bottoms from Globalkinis with the Swedish flag on them for my trip to Sweden.

I imagined The Swede discovering them in the middle of fooling around.

Surprise!

But they didn’t arrive before I left for Sweden.

Sad face.

But now, The Swede might be coming for unSCruz.

Perhaps, if we’re lucky, even Burning Man.

And I’m pretty sure that the bikini bottom will go GREAT with my Swedish flag burnout tank top.

Even if he doesn’t make it, I still might wear the set.

You know, as my homage to Sweden (and The Swede).

CHEESE!

One of my FAVORITE things I did in Sweden was visit a cheese shop in Gamla Stan (Old Town) with The Swede.

The way to my heart is not through sweets but through CHEESE!

The Swede and I decided to have a nice cheese tray after dinner, complete with a selection of wine.

[Now, being on a diet, it makes me DROOL to think of cheese and wine!]

We stepped into a small store in Stockholm and I was overwhelmed with the smell of aging cheese.

Funky yet yummy.

Mmmmmmmm!

We selected a cheese, sampled it and approved of it.

Then another.

And another.

All in all, we selected 5 cheeses of varying degrees of softness, ripeness, and gooeyness.

All VERY delicious.

Then we went to the SPECIAL store to buy wine.

In case you didn’t know, only one chain of stores, which I think are run by the government, can sell liquor.

So we go inside and The Swede tells me he wants SWEET white wine.

Okay.

Each wine had a label that graphically represented how sweet that wine was.

And I ready the graphic BACKWARDS.

So instead of getting sweet white wine, we got regular white wine.

Ah well.

I think The Swede forgave me.

American girlfriend

Okay, I’m just gonna come out and say it.

I miss Sweden.

The candies.

The chocolate.

The shopping.

The company.

It’s been almost a month since I got back and I’m thinking a summer trip to Sweden may be in store for me.

I’d love to see Sweden in the summer when it’s warm and green.

And when the sun stays out longer than 5 hours a day.

There’s much I didn’t see or do in Sweden.

Check out the ABBA Museum.

Take a boat ride on the Stockholm archipelago.

Go on a road trip up the coast.

See The Swede again.

Especially see The Swede again.

It looks like he will be taking a trip to the East Coast in April and I’m supposed to join him there to check out hockey teams and colleges for his daughter.

Big, impressive colleges!

And then there is some sort of hockey tournament in Florida.

I’ve never been to Florida.

It could be a lot of fun to join them on their voyages.

The other day I joked that The Swede was spending so much time in America he was going to become an American.

He replied with a happy GIF.

Which makes me think, perhaps The Swede wouldn’t mind starting off with an American girlfriend.

You never know. . .

WOW!

So by now you all know I had a great time during my visit to Sweden.

What you don’t know is that I picked up a nasty virus on the plane ride home and I’ve literally been coughing so hard that I gag.

It’s simply awful.

I just got checked out by a doctor, since I was feeling so awful and barking like a dog, and she told me I don’t have the flu, I have RSV – a respiratory virus that runs its course in 1 – 2 weeks.

Fun!

Although I am relieved I didn’t pick up a virus on the plane ride over, that would have really SUCKED.

I flew on the Icelandic airline WOW Airlines.

For being a discount airline flying to Europe, they were remarkably well put together – they got me where I needed to be on time.

My sole view of Iceland was from the airplane flying in as I was heading home.

What does Iceland look like, you want to know?

Rocks and snow.

I’m afraid I saw nothing more than rocks and snow as we were flying in and even less of Iceland when we flew out, seeing as how the sun sets in the sky remarkably early in the afternoon at this latitude.

I must say this about Icelandic women, though.

Damn, they are BEAUTIFUL!

EVERY. SINGLE. FLIGHT. ATTENDANT. WAS. TALL. WILLOWY. AND. GORGEOUS.

So you know, if you feel like flying to Europe AND enjoying some eye candy at the same time, WOW is the airline for you.

Thin walls

In addition to meeting The Swede’s YOUNGEST daughter, I also got to meet his ELDEST daughter.

And his parents.

It was quite an experience, although if I think back, I did introduce him to my sons and my parents when we were going to UnSCruz together.

Of course, with the language barrier, there was only so much communicating we could do.

Most of our interactions consisted of them feeding me and me saying “tack” or “thank you” in Swedish.

His mother cooked THE MOST AMAZING PORK LOIN for dinner one night.

I’m used to pork turning out dry and in desperate need of gravy.

But this was OUTSTANDING.

I tried to communicate my appreciation.

“Thank you very much,” I said in Swedish.

His parents home was like something out of a dream – a fairytale cottage with an explosion of Christmas decorations inside.

I sneaked a picture of The Swede as a little boy.

And one of his youngest daughter in pigtails.

Too cute for words.

As we were going to bed (in a bed only SLIGHTLY LARGER than a twin bed), The Swede began to chat with his father in the room next door.

Through the walls.

All my plans for nookie disappeared.

When you can hear your neighbor that PERFECTLY, there’s no space for fooling around.

I may be horny but I’m not disrespectful.

“Family”

In Sweden, I got to experience what it’s like to have a boyfriend for a week.

And how was it, you ask?

Not too shabby.

Actually, cohabitating with The Swede and his daughter was fun.

I imagined, as our threesome wandered about the city of Stockholm, that people assumed that we were a real family.

I let myself fantasize that I had a daughter.

And a man who loves me.

So what if it’s not true?

It can’t hurt to pretend.

We even did chores together, like laundry and dishes.

Well, to be honest, The Swede did chores and I watched.

All in all, I really enjoyed my fantasy weekend in Sweden.

I got to sleep in late with The Swede.

I got to enjoy the company of his hockey-playing daughter.

And I got to explore Stockholm and the countryside.

I’d say it was a vacation well spent!

Smörgåsbord

The Swede and his daughter made room in their house for me during my visit to Sweden.

It was very thoughtful of them to accommodate me for a whole week while I immersed myself in all things Swedish.

As a thank you, I took them to the smörgåsbord at The Grand Hôtel in Stockholm – a beautiful waterfront hotel located in between the Royal Palace and Gamla Stan (Stockholm’s Old Town).

What can I possibly say about the smörgåsbord?

It was mind blowing.

First of all, there were lots of fish dishes, from gravlax (salmon) to poached cod to smoked sturgeon.

The only gross thing I ate was a slice of homemade sausage that tasted like armpit.

Everything else was scrumptious!

They made these little egg cups with caviar on top that were TO DIE FOR.

I think I ate three.

The Swede’s daughter ate four.

I washed all my food down with two glasses of champagne and the only downside to The Swede driving us into Stockholm is that he wasn’t able to enjoy champagne with me (the drunk driving BAC limit in Sweden is 0.02, a quarter of what it is in the US).

It was a pretty amazing night and a wonderful meal with outstanding company and I will treasure my memories of it always.

 

 

Arctic plunge

OK.

So we’ve established I was hot during my ENTIRE trip to Sweden.

Yes, indeed.

With a suitcase full of warm sweaters and tights, what was I to do?

Well, I went with The Swede to visit his friends in Jättendal for New Year’s Eve.

Snow everywhere!

And. . . The Swede’s friends have a hot tub.

First I was served the most SCRUMPTIOUS meal – mashed potatoes, steak, and pickled asparagus wrapped in bacon.

Then I jumped into the hot tub (with a bathing suit on, natch).

Before too long, even the snow banks and cool air couldn’t keep me at a comfortable temperature.

So I jumped out and sat in the snow in my bathing suit.

And I will have you know, neither one of the Swedish born-and-bred men who were in the hot tub with me got out to jump in the snow.

Just saying. . .

This California girl likes her ARCTIC PLUNGES!

Swedes and Sweets

I can say with absolute certainty that I’ve eaten more candy in the last week than I have in all of 2017.

I do not have a sweet tooth so I don’t completely understand the Swedes love of all things sugary and sweet.

But I imagine their love of sweets must be like my love of all things cheese.

From what I could tell, every grocery store has a candy aisle.  Each candy aisle is filled with bins holding bulk candy.

It was MIND BOGGLING how much candy was there for the taking!

The Swede filled up a bag with candy.  Back at his place we sat down on the couch and I admired a stylish assortment of rocks in a bowl.

NOT ROCKS, as it turned out.

Candy.

I did happen to try salted licorice my first day in Sweden.

It wasn’t bad.

Unusual, but not bad.

This sugar thing may grow on me. . .

Sweden Sweaty

The first thing you need to know about Sweden is that I WAS HOT!

I was MORE THAN HOT, I was perpetually sweating.

Sweden has convinced me that I’m going into menopause and there’s only one thing I have to say about that:

SWEDEN IS A GOOD PLACE (i.e. cold) TO GO THROUGH MENOPAUSE.

I felt like I was going to burst into flames each and every day I was there.

Remember how worried I was about being cold?

Feel free to laugh out loud right now.

Three pairs of long johns?

Never wore them.

Silk shorts and top?

Didn’t even pull them out of the suitcase.

Most of the time I never wore my jacket.

All I had to wear were sweaters and sweater dresses.  So I wandered around Stockholm in a toasty warm sweater enjoying the cold only to walk into a store and GET BLASTED BY 100F HEAT!

Sweat was persistently running down my back.

I was so hot in Sweden that I jumped out of a nice hot tub and sat down in the snow.

Just to cool off a little bit.

How a girl from California can travel over 5,000 miles to Sweden and find herself persistently in the middle of a thermoregulatory crisis, I WILL NEVER KNOW.

But it happened.