Swedish Hospitality

December 18, 2016  •  1 Comment

Jessica's kitchen

Jessica's kitchen window looks like it belongs in a magazine. She's got the whole house decorated so perfectly. Even on a cloudy morning, the view from the kitchen is charming and cozy: the perfect spot to sip your coffee and think your thinks while you wait for the toast. This is a typical breakfast I have whenever I'm in Sweden: toast with butter, gouda cheese and julskinka, which is Swedish style Christmas ham. We sometimes have nice pickles on it, too. This morning I got my first taste of julskinka of the year, but it won't be the last. 

julskinka breakfast toast Jessica has these cute candles on her kitchen table, and I had no idea why they were numbered. Anyone who knows about advent will know they're advent candles (I didn't), and you light them throughout December leading up to Christmas, adding another each Sunday. 

advent candles

These electric advent candles were in my room, and the view was so nice of the red garage and the snowy yard.

the view from my room Saturday afternoon we picked Robert up from the Stockholm Central Station, which was decorated beautifully for the holiday. There was also a big Christmas market in the center of the station. If you're not getting this: Sweden does Christmas allllll the way.

Stockholm Central Station

Robert's brother Roland met us and the lot of us went to have a quick dinner. We ended up at a cool 50's-retro style burger place called Lily's Burger that's owned by actor Joel Kinnaman. The burger was a lot like an In-N-Out and the decor was adorable.

Lily's Burger

Last night was our last staying with Jessica. We'll see them again at the end of our stay, yet I had such a wonderful time and was treated so kindly and warmly by her family that I was really sad to say goodbye today. I don't do goodbyes very well. If I'm really sad I just say, "I'll see you tomorrow," and that's what I said to her today. The bright bit is that we're now staying with Roland in his chic apartment in an area called Sundyberg. It's a cool neighborhood, and in a few short blocks we had our choice of international food for lunch today. We settled on Japanese and none of us was sorry. 

Japanese lunch in Sweden

Because we love it there, we headed back to the Gamla Stan (old town) for more treats and views. It's an island labyrinth of cobblestone alleyways jam-packed with shops, art, cafes, souvenir shops, restaurants and bars. We arrived right at sunset and the light was stunning. Here is another green copper clock tower.

Gamla Stan clock tower (again)

The alleyways just glow as the sky goes pink.

Gamla Stan

We did finally stop and get a pastry today, though we chose a strange little cafe. The owner seemed surprised to have any business and gave us extra cocoa and a plate of chocolates. Maybe he liked Robert's smile.

pastries from the weird cafe

On the way to the British pub after, peeking into the shops I saw a ton of Santas and elves in the windows. These naughty little Santas are totes up to something. 

dodgy santas

Santa party

Tomorrow morning, Roland, Robert and I will head to the airport to meet my niece, Sydney, who has braved planes, trains and automobiles over the last 24 hours to make her way through the Midwest ice storm from St. Louis to Chicago to get to her flight. We will all take another plane up north to Luleå, grab our rental car and then drive another 80 miles to Haparanda to stay with Robert's mother. We have one night there before we head up to the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi. It's a big week coming up; I'm hoping very hard to get some northern lights photos, but mostly excited to share this holiday with Sydney in this special place. 


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