Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dalarö in darkness and light

One of our smultronställen ('wild strawberry patches' - hidden places that have sweet delights, which only you know about) is Dalarö. Of course, we aren't the only ones who know about it ever in the history of the world, but we have had little competition during the dark months of winter. (Plus, we can get there on the bus in about 25 minutes!)

Waiting for bus home around 3pm in December.

Dalarö is called an island ('ö' = island) and feels like an island, but is actually more like a peninsula. Nonetheless, it has beautiful views of the water and other islands in Stockholm's archipelago. Wikipedia actually has a great map of the archipelago, where you can see Dalarö and Ornö (see below) south of town.

This photo shows the dim light and snowiness of a December day.

And the iciness across the water.

The sunset in January, around 4pm.

We have made it a weekend tradition to visit Dalarö, so we have a few photos now of the area from throughout the winter. Here are before and after shots of the ice and snow from the lookout spot:

No ice.

How cute is this place?

Pretty cute. Dalarö was one of the main tollways into Stockholm for goods coming by boat until the 1920s. It has also been one of the summer retreats of the rich and famous. Now it is a slumbering town in winter, and (we expect) a bustling one in summer. Lots of rental homes and beautiful large houses from the late 1800s, with lots of snickarglädje ('carpenter's delight' - that is, lots intricate wooden detailing and decoration). Future posts will have to include some house shots.

The sunlight has returned.

When we came back to Dalarö in February, we discovered a wonderful establishment... A waffle house! They make you fresh waffles while you wait, and you can add the soup of the day to your meal for just a few extra spänn.

Not actually a brand name 'Waffle House'.

Andy likes waffles.


Combine waffles with outdoor seating, and you have the first outdoor fika (coffee break) of 2011! Just a few days before the Vernal Equinox!

Afterward, we went on a boating adventure to Ornö, an island a bit further out in the archipelago.

Leaving Dalarö.

As you can see below, the ferry is not exactly packed with tourists.

The ferry reminded Andy of Army raft making and ferrying tanks across enemy waters. The Army rafts have the same green floors and ramps on both ends.

I think the water looks a little like a frozen margarita.

Out on Ornö, we found these videkissar buds awaiting spring.

Waiting for the ferry, practicing artful photography.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Summer house in winter

It's been a while...
So, to catch up, here is a blog post about our only trip of 2011 so far. A visit to our summer house in Dalarna and our friends there. It'll be more like a photo essay....
Welcome to Furudal!

An important part of our visit was the stop at the local bakery, which has recently changed owners and been renovated. We had to check it out, of course.

We approve.

Oh yes, we do.

Btw, above you see a semla - the delicious treat traditionally served throughout lent. (It started out only being served on Fat Tuesday, but then everyone sort of forgot that 'lent is for suffering' part and decided to eat them all the time). They are simply very good pastries with almond paste inside and cream on top (and a lid on top). [The best way of eating them, in my humble opinion, is with hot milk, in a bowl. Usually they are not served this way, but rather like a normal pastry.]

In addition to eating semlor, we also (very safely, moms) tried our hand at snow mobiling. It was really fun!

You can tell that its a popular way of getting around. This is one of the lakes!

Our hosts!

And was there ever snow! About a meter deep around our summer house. Beautiful!

In nearby Rättvik, a huge ice creation had grown up on the ice. Some how made using the fountain and the cold temperatures (but how exactly?), this structure/mound was more than 4 stories tall!

Someone had even made it to the top with Dalarna's flag!

Thanks for a great weekend, friends!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jul markets

The thing to do in Sweden in December is to go to Christmas markets. SWEA DC had its julbasaar at the Swedish Embassy last Saturday, and we spent the day at a few central, historic Christmas markets in Stockholm.

Andy in Central Stockholm, 11.15am.

Glögg (mulled/spiced hot wine) is a crucial component of any jul celebration.

Very cute traditional market in Stortorget (the Big Square) in Gamla Stan (Old Town)

Our fellow revelers, yo.

The tramride that took an hour to go 1 mile. As you may be able to tell, it was cold. Like between 0 and 5 Fahrenheit.


Now this is the kind of coat you need in Sweden.

The Christmas goat (the julbock) watching over the market at Skansen.
We even got to witness the crowning of "Sweden's Lucia". These seven girls (one is hidden) had been voted on by people around the country, and the winner is going to represent Sweden in Italy (where the story of Lucia originates). On the left you can see the Italian ambassador speaking to the crowd. My cousin's daughter sang in the choir you can see behind the Lucias. Very nice!

[This picture is actually from another night, when I found this statue in the snow, accompanied by beautiful carols played out into the cold evening on a trumpet.]

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Snow and stuff

So, we've actually been back for a while from the north. Here are some photos of what we have been doing and seeing.

Above is Stockholm in winter. You can see City Hall peeking up behind the trees. This was taken about a week ago, before the more copious snow we have gotten.

To the left is the Åhlens building, which is a Macy´s-like department store down town.

This is Sergels torg, a central hangout area in the shopping district of Stockholm. There's a little Christmas fair going on there, where you can buy wool sweaters and princess dresses (the latter, however, only if you are 3 feet tall or under).

At Thanksgiving, we had an awesome pot-luck dinner party, hosted by Expat-in-Stockholm and her lovely husband. There was turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato mash, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and three delicious desserts! Yuuuuuuuum!

And we have gotten some of that northern weather with us down here. It has dumped snow. We have about a foot on the ground, and it has been snowing a bit every day. We are at a high of 10 degrees Fahrenheit today (-12 Celsius). We are told this is unusual for Stockholm, but as far as I can tell, rumors of the "not snowy" Stockholm winters are completely untrue and we have actually moved to the Arctic.

Which caused us to get ourselves early Christmas presents...

Cross country skis! (oh yes)

And we really lucked out when we got this apartment (through the equivalent of Craig's list). This photo shows me, about to ski into the woods, with our apartment building behind me. We can literally put on our ski boots and walk out the door to ski. No travel needed. So totally awesome! Now I just need to figure out this skiing thing...

Above is "Winter Road" - one of the forest roads that are purely for pedestrian/bike/ski traffic. Somehow, they are plowed, but not salted or graveled. Perfect.

The last day or so, we have also gotten beautiful rhyme covering our trees. Here's the view out of our living room!

And a 'night time' (most of the time) closeup.

I have to admit, it is hard to deal with the darkness. And it's been so cold over the past few days.

Naturally, we focus on the fika to stay warm and happy.

Happy first of advent!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Our Nordic weekend continued on to Östersund, where my uncle and aunt live. We had coffee, got some new hats, hung out with family, and saw the town. Here are some photos...

Main street, with a cute cafe we visited.

Main street some more.


Fixing the tree topper in the central square.

Storsjön. Very foggy because it was very cold but the ice hasn't set yet.
The high humidity laid a layer of rhyme over all the trees. Lovely!