Thursday, June 23, 2011

I löööve Sweden!

Now that I have been lectured in the spelling of various Swedish places I have visited and delicious foods I have eaten, I can blog confidently!

Last Wednesday, I took a bus from Granada to Málaga (making a new Spanish friend in the meantime and had an intercambio with him on the bus), flew from Málaga to Oslo, Norway, and was whisked away by Joakim who picked me up and drove me to the ferry crossing the sea and eventually driving into Sweden AND finally! settling in Uddevalla, Sweden. After a full day of traveling, I had zero energy to bust out the camera that first night, but it was hard not to as I was ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the gorgeous, rich forest scenery that passed my passenger seat window on the way to his house. It was breath-taking.

The next day, we woke up and the weather was beautiful. We had breakfast on the back porch and I just took in the clear, crisp air. Here are pictures of his indoor porch and you can see the wooden deck in the back. But the picture is inaccurate of that first morning because I took them when it began to rain the following day.

Delicious little breakfast of pölarbröd with smögenröra and våstkuströra spread. Seafood spreads are just the best.

That evening we went with his parents to Kungshamn where they have a trailer to do what we lazies call camping and what they rightfully call relaxing. I of course, found playground equipment near the amazing ocean views.

We then drove over to my favorite place in this corner of Sweden, Smögen! The "ö" kind of makes the vocalic sound you use in "Louvre" so I have coined the expression, "I löööve Smögen!" Okay, the Swedes chuckled. Anyway, this place reminds me a bit of a tiny New England beach town in the States, but is still very different. For one thing, the scenery and rocks and are just crazy different from ours. Joakim made the point that years of ice age smoothed them over and gave them that look. I kept forgetting how far north I was. Until the sun didn't set until, like, MIDNIGHT. But seriously, Smögen is lovely. We had dinner with his parents there and ate a ton of råka kråftstjartar (the little tiny shrimp). So delicious!

On our way home, after dropping off his parents in Kungshamn, we stopped by a moose farm! It was closed, but I spotted that sign kilometers away! I adore moosies. Though it was closed, we got to see a TON of elk! They were very cute as well. :] Quote of the night goes to Joakim: "White butts" Pause. "It's like Braveheart."

After the farm, we went back to Uddevalla and did the strandpromenaden, which directly translate to "Beach Walk." If I lived here, I would be much more inclined to run if I could use this trail daily. And mind you, the following picture was taken around 11:30 p.m. and that was the lighting.

And I just thought it was necessary to show you the size of slugs in Sweden. Um, in California they are one fourth as large as these slimy bastards. Gross. And this one wasn't even the biggest one.

On Saturday, Joakim, Mattias (from the Portugal road trip) and I took the train into Goteborg (Gothenburg). We walked around this canal-filled city. I got to see the Fiskhallen (where you can get some incredible seafood). My lunch was a thai pasta dish with a ton of salmon and more of the little shrimp in it.

My favorite part of Gothenburg was an area called Linnëgatan. It was very old and beautiful. The architecture was lovely.

We continued to walk and I looked like the lame American snapping pictures behind my Swedish tour guides. (Worth it.)

We had one more little stop before Mattias went to a football game and Joakim and I checked out all the rea in the stores (summer sales!). We stopped for coffee but Mattias (like Joakim) is a feeder and before went in to grab the coffee asked, "Maybe a cinnamon bun, Laura?" Okay! You convinced me! The cinnamon buns are different in Sweden. They use pearled sugar and it is to die for.

The next morning, I had a more epic Swedish breakfast. I made Joakim hold off on eating just so I could display all the goodies I ate. I can't even begin to name is all, but I can name a couple. Notice all of the pastes in the bottom left of the shot. Mostly caviares. The only Swedish food of which I am not a fan. There is Smögenröra and Våstkuströra (the seafood spreads from my first breakfast), Arboga liver pâté, a milk product in a tube (not caviare) which I used to like but don't actually love called Messmör, yogurts galore, and much much more.

Also, Joakim (and pretty much every other male Swede) seems to think they have the best Kebab pizza and I gotta say, it was pretty bomb.

We ordered one after having coffee at his brother, Jesper's house. The following morning I got to have breakfast with Jesper's girlfriend Malin who is a doll! I loved talking to her. Have I mentioned all of their English is incredible?! It is.

Monday was my last day in Sweden, and it was definitely a sad day. Joakim had to work, but his dad had to stop out at his brother's summer cottage and (I kid you not) bail rain water out of a small fishing boat. But the Krantz family is too thoughtful. They thought of the great idea to have me tag along with his dad and get to see some beautiful parts of Uddevalla and surrounding areas that I hadn't seen yet. The boat was stored in a place called Ranneberg. There was also a large white summer house where Joakim's dad and his brothers used to share for a period of time. It is a Scandinavian paradise!

Then we went to Rödön, a small harbor where they used to have a larger boat (large enough to sleep on). It made me miss my family's boat a lot. But man, it was pretty.

That afternoon, my last meal was, of course, Swedish meatballs, potatoes and lingon berry sauce. Joakim's mom, is a saint. 1.) She raised three boys very close in age, 2.) She tolerated my presence in her home for five days and 3.) Cooked this feast for me. Amazing!

Saying goodbye was beyond crappy. Joakim has been such a special person to me this whole year. And his incredible family and friends didn't make it any easier to say goodbye. But I am so glad I got the chance to visit him in his country and hope that one day he can visit me in San Francisco, and maybe down in Southern California where I can make my mom cook for him. Fair is fair, right? This picture of us was taken in Lisbon, Portugal, but I wanted to post one more of us on here.

Tack, Joakim och Krantz familj! :]

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