In and Out of Stockholm

I don’t really like the local food. We did sample the exotic stuff: some moose meatballs and reindeer stew, and they were pretty good, but overall, the food is Nordic and thus – plain. But I love their breakfast food! For breakfast, our hotel serves a dozen of different juices and fruit drinks. I am particularly addicted to a blueberry drink, which is a lighter version of Russian kissel. Also, there is a half dozen yogurt drinks and the drinks they translated unappetizingly as “sour milks,” are delicious, being just different varieties of kefirs and prostoquashas – mild, not too sour, and purely natural. They also serve pancakes, which are more like Russian blini, and they are served with freshly whipped cream and a mixed-berries jam that has whole berries. There is other food at the buffet, but those are what I have been eating daily and in huge amounts!
Our hotel is next door to an unassuming apartment building with a clothing store on the ground floor. However, once upon a time, the ground floor was a bank, and in 1973, this was the spot of a bank robbery complete with hostage taking. After several days of the hostage crisis, the hostages developed an emotional attachment to their captors, and the term “Stockholm syndrome” was born.
We are living the history here 🙂
The hotel is also just a few minutes’ walk to the pier, from which we took a boat to one of the islands in the Stockholm Archipelago, Sandhamm. It took 3 hrs on a slow boat to go through narrow passages and some open waters to get to the island. I thought that the scenery was really unspoiled and very beautiful, and the summer houses along the route were mostly adorable. The island itself is very pristine, with a pine forest where I picked wild blueberries, and an adorable town of neatly painted houses with tiled roofs, picket fences, and flowering bushes clinging to the walls. I found the island totally delightful, not sure about Kenny. I’m not sure this Nordic nature resonates with him the way it does with me.
Back in Stockholm, we had some more herring with boiled potatoes – (this is not France), and then went for a walk. This is a very strange European capital! There is hardly any traffic on the streets and not too many people either. As soon as you veer off a main street, it becomes deserted. Many stores and restaurants have signs that they are closed for the summer. The shop windows are kinda sad, nothing dazzling, no fancy displays. Even the supermarkets (seem to have just one and only chain, the COOP) are not very colorful and don’t offer a great and appealing food variety. I expected berries galore – no such thing. And they don’t even sell my beloved Haribo gummy bears! I don’t know if this is the result of a socialist society or a Lutheran society, but it would be nice to have more color, more variety, and more razzle-dazzle. The most beautiful things here (well, not exactly things) are women and children. Not everybody, but a very high percentage. Can’t say the same about the men. Haven’t seen any Alexanders Scaarsgards here, nope. Swedish men really lucked out: not that good-looking but with a huge pool of beautiful women!

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