Friday, July 1, 2011


The new place we chose to go this year was Stockholm, Sweden.  Why Sweden?  I’m not sure – perhaps after several scorching summers in Dubai, we decided a little cooler weather and greenery would be good.  So, I leave you with 30 random thoughts...

1. The first thing I noticed was the amazing blue sky. Even though there was a chance for some showers and it rained a bit, behind those clouds was one of the bluest skies I have ever seen.

2. Sunrise at 3:30am, sunset at 10:30pm. Fabulous. And we used it to the maximum. However, the reverse of that in winter would be a challenge to say the least.

3. And while the sun was out all day, I was still cold most of the time. It was chilly! (Maybe 20C or 68F..brrrr).

4. Such a long day with a slow moving sun means more beautiful light for that magic hour of photography!

5. Even without the lighting, Stockholm is a very photogenic city.

6. The people are also photogenic. I often felt like I was looking at the pages of that fashionable street photography book The Satorialist.

7. We arrived during the Midsummer holiday. We went to the local park Skansen, which was quite crowded with Swedes folk dancing and enjoying a day out with family.

8. Bicycles everywhere. Even after the holiday weekend when everyone was back to work there were still very few cars on the road. After learning Sweden was one of the early adopters of the bicycle it makes sense. I found some statistic that about 150,000 people commute to work in Stockholm on their bikes. I’d love to live in a city where I could use a bicycle without risk of death or dismemberment by speeding SUV or sport car.

9. Fresh salmon and other seafood – amazing.

10. A day trip to the nearby, small island FjÀderholmarna was very nice.

11. I found all of the people we encountered to be extremely nice. They were always kind and helpful. The service was genuine everywhere.

12. While we didn’t bike, we walked everywhere. I desperately miss that.

13. I did not see a single IKEA.

14. Nor did I see anyone from the group ABBA. Not that I would probably have much luck in recognizing them.

15. On this trip I learned my son had a lot in common with birds – they love to splash around in rain puddles.

16. I later learned of my fondness for puddles as I began using their reflections in pictures.

17. Sharing an ice cream in the park with my son was memorable. However, he did not want to share right away. And who can blame him - it was good ice cream!

18. The resident squirrel at the open-air bar we stumbled upon was an added value of entertainment.

19. It felt like it had been ages since I saw a rainbow.

20. A parade at the Royal Palace was a pleasant surprise.

21. You gotta love technology. I downloaded a great application that had some highlights of Stockholm. We had a good laugh when trying to find the location of the Photography Museum when we finally realized Google Maps kept pulling up the museum in Paris.

22. We ate at a place called Fem Sma Hus (Five Small Houses). Five houses which have been connected to form a restaurant. You keep going down through cellars, which are now floors of the restaurant. The food was amazing. Interestingly, our waiter was Indian and spoke Turkish!

23. My son found a pub he liked near the boat station. When we passed again in the afternoon after having been there that morning, he said, “I need to stop here and have a milk”. And so we did.

24. There was a huge line waiting outside a Peak Performance – for a special sale I assume. This is an odd phenomenon to me. I saw the same in Hong Kong outside a high-end brand. In all defense of the Swedes, if I lived somewhere with sub-zero temperatures, waiting in line to get proper clothing at an affordable price is probably not a bad idea.

25. I noticed the bees in Stockholm were orange in color compared to the yellow I am used to seeing – I do not know why this is.

26. This trip only reconfirmed my love for clogs.

27. The weather was so nice we walked everywhere. However, the pictures I’ve seen of the subway system are amazing – the stations are truly a work of art.

28. A visit to the Nobel Museum was very interesting - all that advancement captured in one room.

29. I ate so much fish that I was incredibly full. So full, I had no desire to go into the amazing hand made chocolate shop I passed on several occasions! Yes, I know.

30. I read somewhere that Stockholm’s slogan is Beauty on Water. I think this is very fitting. The morning we were packing, my son openly confessed that he did not want to leave, and neither did I.

    No comments: