Back in town

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The second last day pÄ landet I woke up to this breakfast Joraine had prepared for me, tasted am-az-ing!

And we’re back in town! Or actually two different ones, Joraine continued to Gothenburg and I stayed where I belong, in the capital. It is quite a difference to be in the city after a week of no make up, same clothes every day and biking as the only means of transportation. Now the city’s pulse is capturing me again and we’ll see how long I can make the countryside calm last.

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Of course we browsed the shops upon return. Designtorget sells nice stickers these days!

Helen hanging out in churches

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The Swedish Church, despite often being critized, seems to combine several characteristics that very much appeal to me and make me feel at home. That’s why I hang out in Swedish churches whenever I get the chance. The fact that, during July and August, most churches offer “music on a summer evening” only adds to the attraction that drew me to BrĂ€nnkyrka Church, Blidö Church, Norröra Chapel, NorrtĂ€lje Church, Djurö Church. I got to swish my offerings, experience my friend Henrik playing live, introduce my mother to Evert Taube on a tribute evening, listen to an uncommon pastor, find a forgotten leaflet from a wedding the day before with a wonderful song, and just last night, I listened to a harp concert, reminiscing about my 6th grade music teacher because the harp played “The Carnival of the Animals”, that she introduced us to.

Hanging out in churches – very worth it.

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The most simple House of God I visited was Norröra’s chapel

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In a Swedish church, it is not uncommon to have a children’s corner

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Also, you can donate money by Swish (an app that lets you text money)

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Blidö Church

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My friend Henrik who played a concert at BrÀnnkyrka church where I showed up as a surprise fan/groupie

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BrÀnnkyrka Church

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Djurö Church

Summer time

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Ah, the lovely archipelago life continues! With trips to the Ica, daily hang outs at the beach and breakfast outside every day. With barbecueing with fires by the lake or sea, and me taking bike tours to the little church on the neighboring island. With exploring “downtown” consisting of two restaurants and a kiosk, reading the newspaper and looking at ferries flying the rainbow flag for Stockholm Pride that started today. It’s these days that mean Swedish summer and that will be remembered when the dark winter comes along.

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Bianca spent Monday with me and got not one, but two ice creams

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The good life

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Joraine keeps me excellent company the next couple of days. We’re so fancy, we even eat out.

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Time to finally read the paper!

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The bike is our best friend

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View from the car bridge. Helt okej.

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Romantic Campfire

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Church. Graveyard overlooking the sea, idyllic beyond death. The church even has its own jetty.

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Den hÀr elden Àr faktiskt bÀttre Àn Netflix!

PrÀsten var lite mindre svensk och lite mer mÀnniska.

The new attraction

When I moved to Germany, I said, “Don’t worry, I’ll be back when the new commuter station is done”. Two weeks ago the new pendeltĂ„gsstation opened in the central station and at Odenplan – and I still live in Germany. Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans and all that.

But that did not keep me from inspecting the new station, of course. Well, first I got lost twice when just using the trains. I felt like such a tourist, it was awful. The third time I went down there, I came to show my mother the art that is part of the stations. All metro stations in Stockholm have art, making it the longest art gallery in the world, and even the commuters now get to experience new creations. The info material about Citybanan explicitly states that the stations are built with regard to “security, space, light and beauty”.

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All signage has been updated too and is now continously bilingual, a trend that I am observing in the whole of Stockholm.

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This video screen shows something special every half hour, like e.g. the pictogram people having a party.

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Hard to capture, but these combs have mirrors from all sides, creating a special picture

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Rather random sausage.

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“Vi kan vĂ€l bara gĂ„ till Gamla stan och titta in pĂ„ olika restauranger och bestĂ€mma var vi vill Ă€ta.” “- Som turister?!” “Helen, helping or hurting?”

“Man kan inte stĂ„ ut med Grinda nĂ€r ingen gifter sig dĂ€r, det Ă€r sĂ„ trĂ„kigt”.

“UrsĂ€kta att jag Ă€r sen, jag var i krig”. [aka spelade Battlegrounds]

“Jag har faktiskt semester!”

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“Jag har faktiskt semester”, I am actually on vacation, is my signature line since Michelle and I arrived pĂ„ landet, at the countryside, two days ago. When I am walking slow, when I am sleeping in, when we buy lots of Swedish strawberries, I half-ironically inform that I am on vacation and have every right to do so. Michelle laughs understandingly and picks some more blueberries for me in the forest surrounding us.

We are not that far from town, but far enough to relax. I am not good at vacationing but I found that being in a cabin on the countryside is one good way to unwind. Yesterday night, Malin joined us and now complete for two days, we spent our time eating, lying in the sun, cycling to the Baltic Sea with one on the rear rack and hardly functioning brakes, an audacious adventure on the gravel roads. Sometimes a deer walks by our cabin that lies only some hundreds meters from a secluded lake. Bathing is the main point on our to-do-list, especially Michelle is eager to do morgondopp, lunchdopp and kvĂ€llsdopp, three daily bathing opportunities. “It looks good today”, she says about the bathing schedule, because we spent most of the day at the beach. Reading light literature, a seagull in the sky, the sun beaming down, the glittering blue of the Baltic Sea within eyeshot, I heard the delighted voices of children following the familiar sound of the ice cream truck, and I didn’t take off my bathing suit all day.

The sound of summer

 

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When my mother said she would want to visit me this year in Sweden to experience what she had only seen on the blog so far, one of the things that immediately went up on the list of items of “real Stockholm summer experience” was AllsĂ„ng pĂ„ Skansen. It was my fourth or fifth time but I felt like a true AllsĂ„ng Ambassador because I brought six people there that had never been before: my mother, my friend Linus, Lil’ Pesto and Amalia, his girlfriend, his mother and Amalia’s parents. Everyone had great fun, and my mom’s summary was very to the point: It’s a intergenerational fun evening with a broad variety of artists, but the hostess “sounds so strange” (i.e. Southern Swedish).

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Strolling around beautiful Skansen

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My paradise

My mother wanted to see the Stockholm archipelago. “I only ever get to go to Sweden in February and November”, she complained. So I took her to what is paradise for me, and the weather gods gave us their (somewhat unexpected) blessing.

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As you guessed, this is still the vibrant town of NorrtÀlje where we stopped before going to the uttermost parts of the sea.

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I particularily liked this street name, “uphill”.

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In the Swedish country side, mail boxes aren’t at the houses but at the central spot to make things easier for the postman.

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The best window views I know are the ones from the archipelago boats

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Does a teacher live here?

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Someone got married at Norröra that weekend. We found their traces everywhere, like here where the signs say “Ceremony” and “Party”.

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The rose petals were still in the tiny chapel from the wedding

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To the Lord give glory and let his praise be known on the islands, it says above the altar

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Coming back into Stockholm in the unique Nordic evening light

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