I spent last weekend in Stockholm, Sweden visiting my good friend and college roommate. Hard to believe we have known each other 25 years now!! Since my mother is visiting us here in France this month, we thought it would be a great time to take a mother/daughter weekend together. We haven't done a mother/daughter weekend in ages! Actually, it takes me back to my summers in college, when we use to leave my brothers and father for a weekend in the summer and go away together. Nice times/fond memories.
So last Thursday...off we went. For me, it was the first time I've been away from all three of my children in a few years. I think the last time, my youngest, who is now 4 was just a baby. My husband dropped us off in the airport in Bordeaux and off we went to Stockholm. After a changeover in Paris, we arrived for dinner in Stockholm. We were met by my wonderful friend, her husband and their young son. It was so great to see them! Especially, to start noting the differences between the American, French and Swedish cultures.
Old Town in Stockholm - Gamalastan
Main square in Gamalastan - red building had an awesome cafe
Kaffe Koppen menu...loved the language - Jatte Kanelbulle =Cinnamon bun
Kardemumma Kaka = Cardamon Cake
Spent a day touring the Old town - Gamalastan. Architecture very different than France - fewer balconies and taller buildings. The colors - Ochre, Barn Red, & blue were all over the city! Even on a cloudy day was very colorful! Now French pastry is one thing...but the Swedes make delicious Cinnamon rolls and Cardamon Cake. Most every cafe had their own variety. We definitely partook in this wonderful treat! Enjoyed many different buildings, churches, & harbor. Also noteworthy, the tour of City Hall where the Annual Nobel Prize award banquet is held each December - very cool!
A few other highlights are included below in the photographs.
Beautiful Swedish glass
The Dola horse - symbol representing Swedish culture
It was funny comparing the size of things...Here in France things are small...small houses, small apartments, small yards, small refrigerators, small ovens, etc...As an American moving to France, we down-sized... In Sweden, it was larger again..taller houses, larger homes, bigger appliances. Then again, as a culture, Swedes are taller people than the French.
It was also interesting to see the Royal Palace and notice how fascinated the Swedes are with their royal family. It reminded me of my days in England and their love of their royals! But then again, the French seem fascinated with their President and his beautiful model wife, Carla Bruni. It seems most cultures now a days look to their leaders, or stars to see what their lives are like...especially when it seems so different from most of our own.
I think the other thing that I was very impressed by was that Stockholm actually sits on many different islands. There is actually over 10,000 islands in the Archipelago that spreads out beyond Stockholm. It made for some beautiful scenery.
It was also strange there for me as I don't know or speak any Swedish. Totally foreign...at least in France, I'm proficient enough in the language to understand signs, read and speak. I was a fish out of water in Sweden...couldn't read most signs, let alone pronounce any word at all. Luckily for us, our wonderful hosts are bilingual and as are most Swedes. It's just a strange feeling when you can't communicate at all! I also have to say, it's so nice to tour with natives to the area. I learned a lot about Swedish culture, history and food.
So that's my observations in a nutshell - it was a whirlwind trip and these are just a few highlights...and things that stuck out in my mind. I look forward to visiting again with my family in tow!
Fun memories and feeling lucky to be able to travel there this year.