London, baby!

This year I did something a little bit different for my mum’s birthday. I brought her to London!

We flew from different airports in Sweden but arrived at Stansted at approximately the same time and from there we found our way pretty easilty to our hotel, Caring Hotel, in Bayswater. After checking in we took a walk over to Madame Tussaud’s which I must say was a lot more enjoyable this time than last time I was there, maybe due to my expectations being lower this time. After Madame Tussaud’s we walked to Tottenham Court Road and down to Oxford Street where we turned right heading towards Hyde Park. We didn’t get to Hyde Park right away though as we found this little alley that lured us in with its neon lights. The alley lead to a court yard with restaurants all around, we didn’t pick one of these though. Instead we walked around a bit before we decided to have dinner at an Italian restaurant, which didn’t really make that much of an impression on the outside but which surprised us immensely all through our dinner.

Friday was a walking day. Due to it having been rather warm on thursday when we walked around I made the HUGE mistake of not putting on a thick sweater the next day, which lead to me freeeeeezing for most of the day. We started off crossing Hyde Park and walked via Royal Albert Hall to Harrods and from there we continued our walk passed Buckingham Palace down to Big Ben and the houses of Parliament. From there we continued on to the river bank on the Tate Modern side of the Thames, and finally stopped for lunch at Tate before continuing over Millenium Bridge. We passed St Paul’s Cathedral and headed up towards Trafalgar Sqaure with a little detour at Somerset House where we stopped for a while to watch the ice skaters trying their luck on the rink. We continued our walk through Covent Garden to Leicester Square and on to Picadilly Circus before heading up to our restaurant for the evening, a Thai restaurant close to the theater at which we were going to watch Hairspray later on the same evening. I finally got my temperature up half way through the musical, after having spent about an hour with both my and my mum’s coat on me. After the musical, which was very good, we walked back to the hotel via Oxford Street.

Saturday morning we walked over to Notting Hill as my mum wanted to see the Portobello Market, unfortunately she wasn’t very impressed by it so we left it pretty early in favor of the area around Towern and London Bridge. From there we walked back with quite a few stops in different shops. I found these GORGEOUS shoes. They weren’t really my size but hey, I couldn’t keep myself from buying them just because they were a little bit too big. 🙂 After a few hours of shopping we returned to the Hotel and dropped our purchases off before walking over to Queensway where we had dinner at yet another Italian restaurant.

Sunday meant checking out from Caring Hotel. As our flights were not until later in the afternoon I decided to take mum to Camden Lock Market. The day before I had given her the option between Notting Hill and Camden and she had chosen the first of the two, but having a little bit of time on our hands before our departure I figured we might as well check Camden off the list as well. I have been to Camden quite a few times before and I remember it as being a little bit of a shady place, but there had been some serious cleaning up in the area since my last visit and I was actually very positively surprised by what I saw. Had it not been for us carrying around our luggage I think that the visit to Camden would have been quite costly, as it was now the only thing purchased was a coffee and a chocolate covered marshmallow stick.

After four very intense days with good food, good shopping, long walks and lots of sightseeing me and my mum returned to Sweden very content with our stay in England’s capital. I am pretty sure we will both return to this city at some point.

Baptism of auntie’s little prince

Saturday morning I got on a train heading towards the west coast and around three in the afternoon I arrived in HĂ€llevadsholm, the small metropole in which my grand father lives. Me and my cousin Sandra were both spending the night there and in order to celebrate this special occassion we had decided to cook for our grand father and his “girlfriend”, curious as we were to who this mysterious woman was that had turned our grand father into something that very much ressembled a teenager in love. When our grand father talked about this woman he went on and on about what a down to earth and hard working woman she is and how her time spent working on the farm has left traces. However, none of this was visible to me or Sandra, instead we met a very healthy and youthful 76 year-old whom, and this was obvious to both me and Sandra, had our grand father spellbound. It was so nice to see him glow when he looked at her!

The next day it was time for my nephew’s baptism, something that took place in Uddevalla and was attended by the closest relatives, which means about 20 people were there… The ceremony was pretty short and William behaved well through the whole thing. All the screaming came afterwards as you can see on the photo, although to be honest, this was one of few times that he cried this sunday in the beginning of december.

Paris, c’est la vie!

I just came back to Stockholm after having spent a lovely weekend in Paris with my dear friend ClĂ©mentine. I flew down friday morning and arrived at Palais des CongrĂšs in the centre of Paris around mid-day. Walking towards the Arc de Triomphe I stopped at the first Boulangerie I found and bought some french delicacies such as a butter croissant and a pain au chocolat – sweeeeet!

ClĂ©mentine met up with me at the arch and then we went to her place to drop my things off. It fascinates me every time I go abroad how different the living standard is at different places around the world, especially compared to what I am used to in Sweden. On the other hand, I would think that a big explanation to why we have the standard that we do is due to our climate. We need to have well insulated houses as it gets REALLY cold here during the winter, but that doesn’t really apply to for example the south of Europe… Anyways, visiting ClĂ©mentine in her 9 square metre appartment, my 25 square metres in Stockholm suddenly seemed very spacious. However, there is a saying in sweden that is suitable for ClĂ©mentine’s appartment – “where there is place for a heart, there’s place for a bum”.

The weekend was very intense and included, amongst other things, the obligatory walk around Mont Martre accompanied by ClĂ©m and SĂ©bastien (both former exchange students from Gothenburg), apĂ©ro with Carl (a co-student from my time at Azurlingua in Nice) in the Bastille area, traditional french dinner with ClĂ©ms friends at the restaurant Les Sans Culottes, walks in the city centre, shopping at Les Halles, numerous visits to the Disney Store at Champs ElysĂ©es, crĂȘpes at the Eiffeltour, sunday brunch at Mont Martre with ClĂ©m and SĂ©b and more pain au chocolate than I wish to admit.

I really did get a lot done in the about 60 hours spent away from home and I must say that weekends like this one are really good for recharging ones batteries. There’s something special about Paris, each area of the city has its charme, even though I do of course have my favories such as Mont Martre and the area around St Germaine. Visiting Paris is always a little bit bitter sweet though, I feel so at home there and most of the time it feels like such a waste leaving the city instead of just moving there for a few years. Dreams, sweet dreams.. 🙂

A lovely weekend in Göteborg

The other week it was time for THE budget meeting in Göteborg, something that proved to be quite a nerve thrilling experience. However, I am glad to say that I survived it, as did the business area manager of my region. It looked bad for a while when the figures just wouldn’t add up, but in the end it all fell into place.

The reward of the the day was a very successful night out with my darlings. We started out with some free food and cheap drinks at BersÄ, working up the right mood before heading over to Palace where the main event of the night was to take place: a nostalgic return to the 90ies in the form of a Rock show with Arvingarna. Both me and Charlotte had spent most of our youths being in love with one or another of the band members so the expectations were high. However, to our great disappointment it turned out that we were 24 hours too late for!!! Arvingarna had been there the day before!! Imagine our disappointment! So, after having been very happy about getting in at all to a place referred to as Jurassic Park we found ourselves leaving it again after five minutes giggling like school girls about our own lack of luck.

We didn’t let this little obstacle keep us from making the most of our evening though so in stead of rocking the night away with Arvingarna we headed over to Excet for some strawberry dacquiris and innocent flirting with the door man. Having started at six we were good to go home at two again, happy about the evening which ended well despite the unfortunate mistake at Palace.

Saturday morning I picked up some bananas, nutella and strawberries and took a tram to Charlotte and Linus’ place where a lovely brunch was served. Yummiiiiieeeee! Felt like I was rolling out of their apartment a few hours later. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and after having sent an impulsuve text message I found myself going for a walk around Delsjön with an old acquaintance. Delsjön is paradise on earthm a beautiful place! The company was, as I said, an old acquaintance whom I hadn’t seen for quite a while and decided not to see for quite a while again, the 3 hours walking were well spent though. 🙂

I finished off the weekend in Göteborg the only way a weekend in Göteborg can be finished if wanting to be ranked as a success: I had brunch at Soho, probably the best brunch in town! Caught up with Miriam, an old co-worker from my days as an IKEA employee. It’s always nice to see her! I might not have stayed long at IKEA, but I have a feeling me and Miriam will last a lot longer 🙂

that’s it for now folks 🙂

Sara’s visit.

I was really looking forward to having Sara come stay with me saturday-sunday and her 26 hours in Stockholm turned out to be just as fun as I had expected!

I picked her up at the bus stop at three in the afternoon and we went straight to a café in the galleria where we sat down for almost an hour, chatting away over coffee and a sandwich. However, talking was something we could do after shops had closed so after an hour we got up from where we were sitting and started our shopping spree. 90 minutes later we had bought one pair of jeans each, an autumn jacket each and a scarf for me and a top for Sara. Happy about our purchases we took the bus home, dumped off the bags at my place and went out for dinner and drinks at Pink Dreams, the nearby restaurant.

After dinner we went back to my place, put on some good music, had some more wine and got ready for a night out, and what a night we had! It’s been quite a while since I came back home at six in the morning after a night out, but it has its charm! There’s something special about being on one’s way home as the sun rises….

After four hours of sleep we got up again to go down town and continue our shopping, it turned out to be yet another well spent day 🙂

Sara was here for 26 hours and we were awake during 22 of them, talk about making the most of what one has! 🙂 I really enjoyed having Sara here, just wish it wouldn’t have to happen so rarely. Although, I guess now the ball is back in my corner and it’s up to me when we see each other next… Will definitely try to make it down to visit her and her family before new year’s, shouldn’t be impossible..

Summer vacation – 2009

Swedish summers are known to be short, and this one was no exception! I left Stockholm on the 10th of july for a three week holiday on the west coast and now I am already on my way back to the east coast.

It has been a great vacation in many ways, with a lot of nice experiences. The first weekend I went out partying with my cousin in Kungshamn on the day of arrival and we had a blast. On the second day there was a nice family reunuion at my dad’s house with all the siblings and boyfriends and girlfriends, all in all we were 11 of us enjoying a very tasty sea food dinner on the balcony. I ended up going out with my sister and one of my brothers and got home pretty late. On the sunday there was an outdoor concert at Sea Lodge which was VERY enjoyable! Great music and great atmosphere, I could tell it would be a great summer!

The second weekend meant: bachelorette party! I was a bit nervous before hand as I thought the day might be too relaxed. The bride to be has been pretty nervous about the bachelorette party and so I thought maybe she would be disappointed about none of the “embarrassing” stuff that she had pictured coming true. However, after a rocky start with locked doors ruining our kidnapping plans, getting lost on our way to the first stop and being forgotten by the silver smiths the day turned out quite the success where the bride to be got to be a model for a day, design her own silver jewelery and dance the night away at an australian bar before returning home to her worried husband to be after 22 hours on the road.

The third weekend was the weekend of the wedding, which also turned out quite the success! The bride and groom had a great time, as had I and the grooms younger brother. The memories from that weekend are repeatedly bringing a smile to my face and will keep doing so for some time yet I think. An unforgettable event! It was my fourth wedding in three years and they have all been extremely funny parties, can’t wait for the next one!!

The fourth and last weekend of this year’s summer holiday was spent at my dad’s house where I was accompanied by three friends of mine: Sara, Johanna and Charlotte. The four of us rocked! We went out partying until four in the morning both friday and saturday. The first night out we found ourselves dancing pretty much next to the Swedish Prince, the second night he was not to be seen but the place was packed anyways so it was probably for the best that he was not there.

At the moment I am on the train heading back to the capital and back to my apartment. I’m really looking forward to sleeping in my own bed again after three weeks on the road.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to making this summer unforgetable!

Strömstadmilen 2009 – Girlpower

The weekend that passes was spent in Strömstad. I took the train home friday morning and worked during the journey. On arrival I joined my mum and her boyfriend for a boat ride and this years first swim in the ocean. A great welcoming to the west coast!

The reason for this quick visit at home was that my mum and her boyfriend started a new tradition last year when it came to Christmas presents: in stead of spending their money buying things none of us really needed they decided to spend the money on a family day consisting of the participation in the local event Strömstadmilen (a 10km run) followed by a family dinner in their garden and the time for this was now here.

As I said the tradition started last year and I remember the run that year as one of the worst rounds I have ever experienced in my running “career”. I was completely wiped out when I crossed the finish line, actually I was completely out of strenght already after 3km and had it not been for me being extremely stubborn I would have given up long before I crossed the finish line. Due to this I was a lot more humble this year than last year and decided to play it cool. The temperature measured 30degrees celsius and there was hardly no wind so the conditions were pretty extreme and made me even more careful with not emptying my energy reserves too early.

I was forced to let my brother get a head start and saw him increase the distance between us already after the first 100m, after 1 km I was passed by my mother’s boyfriend and after 3km my friend Patrik passed me as well. I was once again the last one. Just like last year. No fun at all. However, this year I felt a lot more in control of the situation and managed to keep a good speed!

Just before starting the second lap I passed my mum’s boyfriend, he had had to see himself beaten by the heat and so dropped out of the race. 500m a head of him I passed Patrik who was walking while emptying a glass of water, I couldn’t resist the urge of calling out “You’d better not walk for too long or you’ll never catch up with me again….” Him and me have been teasing each other quite a lot before the race and it was great to see him so tired 🙂 After yet another kilometer I was surprised to see that my brother was suddenly by my side! And he was tired! A lot more tired than me so I left him behind and continued my journed towards the finish line, which I reached feeling a lot better than I had the year before. I finished in 53min, an improvement of 12 minutes compared to the year before and 2 minutes before my brother. What a great day. 🙂

Reunion in Italy!

Buying the trip to Modena was kind of a spur of the moment thing. I didn’t think I would have the time, nor afford it. But, as I didn’t manage to get a job before the trip and with Ryan Air selling return tickets for 30 euros I lacked excuses not to go and therefore found myself getting up at 4 in the morning on thursday the 16th of april to catch a flight to the airport in Bergamo, Italy.

Me and my friend Karolin arrived in Bergamo around eleven thirty and were picked up by Karolin’s friend Riccardo who showed us around Bergamo for an hour or so before driving us to his place in Pavia where we had lunch before continuing the drive to Modena where the Erasmus reunion would take place.

We met up with our Italian friends just after Luca’s graduation ceremony and joined him and his friends to an irish pub where we had some beers and pizza while waiting for RenĂ© to arrive from Germany and Wojtek to arrive from Poland. Once they did me and Karolin went home with our host for the weekend to get changed before this evenings night out.

Announcing we were “swedece” we got in for free at the pub and the fun could start. However, I got way too tired after some hours of dancing and my feet hurt sooo bad so I didn’t enjoy the evening quite as much as the others but still, it was good seeing the Erasmus friends again! We stuck it out until the place closed at four and then finally got some sleep after having been awake for more or less 24 hours, no wonder I was tired!

Friday we kind of slept in and then rushed into the city to attend the graduation ceremony of a friend of our friends. It was all in Italian so we didn’t exactly get much. After a little “aperitivo” me, Karolin, RenĂ© and Wojtek went to the main square and enjoyed a glass of sparkling in the sun – vacation is great! The guys left us after an hour or so and then we went ice cream hunting. Found this gelateria where they served ice cream in a brioche bread, something I just had to try! Was yummie!

In the evening we went to Luca’s place where we were served an italian dinner. Also very delicious. Some kind of bread eaten with cheese and ham, I had a lot of them before it was time for us to go to the club of the night: Jamusic, where there was a kind of open bar. Note to self: if deciding that the bartender is the most intriguing person in the room, make sure to keep an eye on balance control! It is to be considered a warning sign when the bartender remembers what kind of drink one wants and has it ready for you when reaching the bar… Need I say I had a lot more fun this evening than the evening before?!

Saturday morning we got up early and Alessandro, my host, dropped me off at the train station where I caught a train to Milan. Spent an hour circling the central station before looking at at a map and starting my stroll towards the city centre. Had some nice breaks in different parks before reaching the Palace and the Cathedral, which I found a lot more fascinating on the outside than on the inside.

Finished my Milan visit with a panini at a random bar together with friends of Karolin before rushing off to catch the airport bus. Got back to my apartment around 2 in the morning after some crazy hectic days.

En kÀrleksförklaring till Göteborg

Jag sĂ€ger som Björn Gustafsson: “Göteborg Ă€r kĂ€rlek för mig”.

Jag spenderade mindre Ă€n 24 timmar i stan nĂ€r jag besökte VĂ€stkusten senast och mitt beteende under dessa stackars timmar kan nĂ€rmast liknas vid ett barns beteende pĂ„ julafton. Det fullkomligt glittrade i ögonen pĂ„ mig nĂ€r jag kikade runt pĂ„ Åhlens som hastigast strax efter ankomst och aldrig har vĂ€l en spĂ„rvagn luktat sĂ„ gott som den 5a jag tog frĂ„n Lilla Bommen till Töpelsgatan.

Det finns en mjukhet i Göteborg, en avslappnad och vÀlkomnande atmosfÀr som gör mig nÀrmast harmonisk. FÄ saker slÄr Avenyn en ljummen vÄrkvÀll. Att besöka Göteborg Àr som att ge sig ut pÄ en nostalgitripp utan dess like som tar mig tillbaka till studentlivets glada dagar. Göteborg Àr stÀdernas stad, vÀstkustens okrönta huvudstad, Ànglarnas hem och mitt hjÀrtas stad.

En dag i en inte alltför avlÀgsen framtid kommer Göteborg Äterigen att vara mitt, men tills dess fÄr jag njuta av mina minnen.

Happy easter!

What was meant to be an easter skiing in the Norwegian mountains turned out to be a relaxed holiday at my dad’s house. No complaints from my side!

I arrived on the west coast wednesday afternoon and had barely put my bag into my room before I put on my runners and went out for a run in my favorite running track. I hadn’t been out there for over a month but still managed to achieve a new all time high with the watch showing 34.58 when reaching the front door again after a very exhausting run. That’s an improvement of FIVE minutes compared to the first time I clocked myself! I’m impressed, are you?

The rest of the evening was spent playing cards with my mum and her boyfriend, just like in the old days!

On thursday I met up with my old friend Sara in Uddevalla. The aim of the day was to find a bride’s dress for her and I’d say that we managed pretty well. We were out of luck in Uddevalla where the shop was closed, but our luck was better in TrollhĂ€ttan where we managed to find an open shop full of dresses. After trying out about 7 different models we were pretty united in our preferences and so she chose two of the dresses to show her mum on saturday. Sara looked like a princess in both of them so either way the decision falls I think she is going to look absolutely wonderful on her weddingday!

Friday I went with my dad to Gregeröd, the farm at which I grew up. I said a quick hello to my aunt and uncle before taking a walk down memory lane when going to my grand father’s place, passing by a curve named after me (Kulan’s curve). It is famous within the family for being a historically tricky curve for me to get through without falling, messing my clothes up. I’m proud to say that I did, this day, manage to get past this part of the road without falling. Arriving at my grand father’s house I spend about two hours cleaning. When my dad called him in the morning to advert him about my arrival he opposed the idea with an “but it is already clean!”, and to that I only have one thing to say: the definition of clean can be discussed! I will admit to the place looking ok at a first glanze, but the more I cleaned the more I saw that needed to be tended to.

In the evening I had sea food with my dad and his girlfriend on the balcony of their house and the view is absolutely stunning.

This day I started off with taking a walk and then I sat down enjoying the sun for an hour or two. At the moment I am awaiting the arrival of tonight’s dinner guests. Looking forward to a joyfull easter celebration in good company.

I wish you all a happy easter, may your day be as peaceful as mine!