All posts for the month August, 2022

Always a lovely vista of architecture and the sea

I’m not sure what exactly these guys were up to, but they were pretty serious about it

Great food in Stockholm

The last stop on our eight-week summer escape was in Stockholm, where we spent three days before catching our flight back home. I think Stockholm is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It’s a city of islands and waterways chock full of great architecture, public art, and museums galore.

We did a pretty good job of playing tourist here. We visited important churches and a couple museums. I even took a tour of City Hall. And of course we found ample time to sit in parks and read and people watch.

We also reveled in our ability to find great food here. Stockholm lived up to our general experience in Scandinavia — that the food is exceptional, especially in the capitals. With one exception: Norway. Looking back, we had little of the stunning fare in Norway that we find in Stockholm or Copenhagen or Helsinki. There were no food pics on our blog post from Oslo.

So that wraps up a great summer adventure for us. Now we get a month at home in New York before we take off again for Germany, where we will experience Oktoberfest and spend a couple weeks traveling around Bavaria. See you there!

A stunning architectural detail

Cool public art

Jim checks out the cool public art

Shideh recommended this amazing tapas place. Diet starts tomorrow!

At the Moderna Museet I saw a placard on the wall for a painting of a Greek entablature by Roy Lichtenstein. But there was no painting. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until I looked way up because, of course, it’s where it would belong on a Greek temple.

This is almost a stereotype, but Jim was pretty thrilled with his beautiful plate of Swedish meatballs and lingonberries

Even the coffee is beautiful

Mark & I with Lars & Shideh at the Tännforsen waterfalls, the biggest in Sweden

Five years ago, almost to the day, we visited our friends Lars and Shideh in their house in the Swedish mountains. They built the house as a winter vacation home so they could ski but discovered they love it year-round so now it’s their primary residence. We loved our stop five years ago (just as we loved visiting them in Hong Kong before that) and loved it again this time. Great hiking, great food, great friends.

First up was the train ride from Trondheim. I mean, who knew you could catch a train from Trondheim, Norway, due west to Edsåsdalen, Sweden? Ok, you can’t, but you can get a train to the nearby town of Åre, a ski resort of some 3,200 people. After our experiences in Norway so far we were a little leery of the trip, which would require a train change when we got to the Swedish border, but it was the perfect European train ride we love: comfortable, fast, and timely. With great scenery as an added bonus.

Yup, reindeer. We did a long hike up to the peak of a mountain behind their cabin. Lars was surprised that we didn’t see any reindeer, but then when we stopped for lunch near the peak four of them came by, circling the little alpine lake where we sat. I’d never seen reindeer in the wild and was wildly impressed with their beauty and majesty. And I particularly appreciated their willingness to walk along the ridge so we could get this great view.

Once there we did the things one does in the Swedish mountains in the summer: we hiked, we ate, we poked around in Åre, we went to the biggest waterfalls in Sweden, we watched reindeer gambol about, we watched Shideh cook for us. Anticipating our imminent return to Manhattan after one last stop in Stockholm I found myself wanting to hold onto every quiet, peaceful, cool, empty moment there. I love New York and I love our home there, but I know that in a few days a Swedish mountain retreat will feel almost unimaginable.

Shideh and Mark high up in the mountain, with Lars off in the distance. On the very right of the picture you can vaguely see the houses way down in the valley where we started.

Mark on the hike. The weather would alternate between overcast, windy, cold, and wet and then – always briefly – a bit of warm sunshine.

When Lars suggested going to the waterfall I thought it would be … OK. I mean, we’ve seen a lot of waterfalls. This one was pretty great though and definitely worth the trip.

It was impressive

The four of us

The two of them

That’s me down there, trying not to fall in

OK, that’s enough waterfall pictures

Lunch our first day was in a cute café in a very cute hotel in Åre. There is a lot of Arctic char in the region and it is always a treat.

One last photo from the top of the mountain

Colorful wooden buildings line the Nidelva river

The amazing gothic cathedral

Detail of the cathedral facade

From Tromsø we caught another flight back down to Trondheim in Central Norway. We’d spent a couple hours in Trondheim earlier in our boat journey north, and we we were really looking forward to spending more time there. And after a couple weeks of cold, rainy weather, Trondheim welcomed us with warmth and sun.

I might be biased by the weather we had, but this was definitely my favorite stop in Norway. The country’s third largest city (after Oslo and Bergen), Trondheim is the spiritual heart of Norway.

King Olaf was martyred in battle near here in 1030 and later canonized. His grave became a pilgrimage site, and then home to the spectacular gothic Nidaros Cathedral. Trondheim served as the capital of Norway until 1217. And kings have come here since for their coronations and benedictions.

We really loved the city’s colorful buildings, elegant parks, and vibrant cafe scene. What a wonderful place to hang out for a couple days. Or was it maybe just the sunshine?

I loved to sit in the square in front of the cathedral and read and people watch

My other favorite reading spot was Stiftsgårdsparken, a lovely park just a block from our hotel. Here we are looking at the back of Stiftsgården, Scandivania’s largest wooden palace, and home to King Herald when he is in Trondheim.

Jim took this picture in Stiftsgårdenparken before he realized I was actually sitting here in the park. If you zoom in really close I happen to be in the very center of this photo.

Another view along the Nidelva

Jim walked along the river out of town

More from Jim’s walk out of town

Taking in the glorious river scene