Saturday, September 02, 2006


While we're gone, Riley is staying at Camp Kenn. He sent me an email today saying that she has taken over his place, but still allows him to stop by to take a shower or sleep on the edge of his bed. Apparently Riley and Tropical Storm Ernesto didn't get along; Riley thinks she's made of sugar and doesn't like the rain at all.

Speaking of sugar, one thing I really like about Sweden is the variety of offerings for sweetening coffee & tea. I have seen granular white, white cubes pre-wrapped in pairs, granular brown, lumps of brown, rock sugar (crystals 1-2cm across, supposedly flavored with vanilla), honey, spun honey... In our hotel room we have a hot pot with a sampling of tea bags, cube packets, and milk in funny triangular-shaped packages that you sometimes see sour cream come in.

Today Steve and I checked out the Kronhuset market, where artisans sell their wares: fiber arts, a blacksmith, woodturners, ceramic artists, a glassblowing studio, and several jewelry artists with koollookingen* designs. We walked the Avenyn, which is similar to Paris' Champs-Elysees and Boston's Back Bay with a wide street lined with shops and restaurants with outdoor seating. We sipped coffee and people-watched at a cafe, checked out the local bead store, walked along the main canal, and had a delicious steak dinner. I am not a big fan of white fish, so I was a little nervous about what I'd eat here in the land of fisk. So far what we've had is not that different from what we see back home, and all of it has been good.

*I've been amusing myself by inventing Swede-lish words. A lot of Swedish words are similar to English or French ones if you say them out loud. It's like playing Mad Gab, where it looks like gibberish until you say it out loud (and then giggle). I always thought it was funny how certain product names at Ikea looked like their English counterparts. Some don't, though. I saw a rack of skimpy tank tops on the sidewalk with a sign saying Slut. Duh. But then I saw it again in a kitchenwares shop (eerily reminiscent of Crate & Barrel) and learned that it means "sale."

The more shopping I do, the more I realize how authentic Ikea actually is. I've seen store after store of the same style of stuff. And there are votive jars with tea-light candles everywhere, so now I understand why Ikea sells them in bags of 100. And lingonberries are just as prolific, especially in sauce similar to cranberry sauce. Swedes put this on little crepe-like pancakes, and it is available in the Swedish market section of Ikea. Okay, enough about Ikea!

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