Fika in Sweden

8.7.2017

When in Sweden, one must eat Swedish food. It can be costly to eat out in Scandinavia, so whenever possible, we look for cheap, but tasty, local fare. Food trucks can be the answer to both of these criteria and we found a good one in the center of Gothenburg.


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Our choice from the little black food truck pictured above, was fried herring, mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce. We enjoyed every bite. On our walk through town to get lunch, there was a Red Bull vehicle parked by the street with several blonde Swedish girls handing out Red Bull’s new Simply Cola. Now, how fun is that? A free cola to have with our fried herring.

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  • You can have this traditional Swedish meal for yourself for around 60 SEK ($7.55 USD) from the Strömmingsluckan food truck. Located just off of Magasinsgatan 17, 411 18 in the center of town. No guarantee if the free colas will be there when you come through town though.

Somewhere along the line, the concept of fika was brought to our attention and soon it became the main thought on everyone’s mind. Fika is the idea of a coffee break accompanied with a sweet, but most definitely done with friends or family because conversation and quality time together is highly regarded. We picked up some cinnamon rolls at a cafe near the food trucks to take with us for an afternoon fika and headed off to Gothenburg’s archipelago. Public transportation includes ferry rides to these so that was very convenient.
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We chose to go to Asperö first. There is a short walking path across the island, with more heather growing on the rocks which proved to be delightful.
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Photo Credit: Lynette

Cars were not to be seen anywhere so bicycles are the mode of transportation. If you need to haul more than will fit in a bike basket, there are “truck” versions to carry your stuff.

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Natasha discovered a jellyfish and was super excited.

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To have a proper fika, we needed coffee. Or at least tea. There wasn’t a cafe on Asperö so we took another short ferry ride to Brännö. We weren’t completely sure if had found a cafe since the establishment was rather…eccentric. I thought it looked like a junkyard in the Caribbean and it was a little disconcerting since I thought we were in Sweden.

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If you can spot Natasha below, her questioning pose perfectly describes our feelings of the place. This boat was the playground.

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The cafe seemed more like a bar to me, but the girls ventured up to inquire about tea. It was simple Lipton, but it was hot and once procured, we could have our fika.

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Photo Credit: Lynette

  • Our cinnamon rolls were from Da Matteo, the cafe right in the courtyard where we had lunch at the food trucks. There was a cardamon version and a cinnamon version for 30 SEK (approximately $3.75 USD). If you go there, the cafe has seating inside for cozy conversation, as well as free wifi. Very handy if you’re engaged and your fiancé is hundreds of miles away back in the States and you want to chat, as Maria did.
  •  Also there is a free restroom right inside the door. Always on the lookout for those.

The first roll I was given had a rather burnt top. Now, it’s not normally my habit to return something I’ve purchased just because it may not meet my expectations, especially food. However, I’m not always in Sweden, selecting a Swedish pastry to have a proper fika on a dreary, wet day. So I was bold and kindly asked if I could have a different cinnamon roll that wasn’t quite so brown on top. The gal behind the counter quickly exchanged my roll and I left a happy customer, feeling rather empowered by my confidence.

The shelter we dined in was a hodge-podge of a structure; held together with tarps, old metal frames and even duct tape. It made me think of our time in Bocas de Toro, Panama and Red Frog Island.
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While eating, we were entertained by a cell phone conversation overheard while having our little snack. Apparently an English fellow was trying to help his wife (or girlfriend) with a lock and key issue she was having back at their apartment, which proved to be quite humorous. Poor guy, he tried numerous times to figure out how the key was positioned in the lock and things just weren’t working. We were probably a little too amused at his (and her) lack of communication and the entire predicament.

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Photo Credit: Lynette

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Doing the Lasts

The last week in New Zealand had come. We were doing all the things we usually did, but for the last time. It was fun; full of laughter and smiles, but with a foreboding feeling of “this is ending.” Of course, we had an exciting trip home to look forward to, with a lot more new firsts, but the truth was, we were really going to miss New Zealand.

So we filled the last few days with things we wanted to do again, or even for the first time, like touring the Pic’s Peanut Butter Factory. It was a really fun little tour, with the best tour guide ever. Unfortunately we didn’t take any pictures. :(

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Following the factory tour we had to have fish and chips one last time at the beach. Of course, with more L & P to drink.

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The following day was Saturday, and the last chance to visit Nelson’s Farmer’s Market. It turned out to be a lovely day and Maria and I got some shopping done for gifts and such to take home.

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We tasted the carmalised almonds and crepes too.

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We had walked past this bead shop many a time, but had never gone in. Oh my goodness…thousands and thousands of beads of ALL types in there!

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It was coming to the end of the winter poppies, but they were still beautiful at the base of the Cathedral’s hill.

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Back home, I decided to try a new recipe for supper and of course, needed about 4 more hands to get everything done in time for our company. Good thing there were 4 extra hands ready and willing to help.

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Our company was Steve and Sharon, who we met at church many weeks before. It was another fun evening with Kiwi friends.

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An Afternoon in Stuttgart

{September 12th}

When we invited Maria to come with us on this little European adventure, our main countries to visit were France and Germany. (France consisting only of Paris… we still want to see southern France and more of the countryside, but it will have to be another trip.) But anyway, at the time I didn’t realize that France and Germany are the two countries that Maria’s family have had exchange students from! Micha is from Germany, and Pierre is from France. We didn’t get to meet up with Pierre while in France, but we DID get to see Micha and his family! Turns out Eibelstadt, where we’re staying for the month, is only about an hour and a half drive from Stuttgart. They generously invited us to spend the afternoon with them, and we happily accepted.

Before we drove to their home, I had expressed my desire and hopes that Micha’s family would fix us a nice German meal. I was not disappointed! We had Maultaschen and potato salad made with a more vinegar base versus mayonnaise. For dessert we had apple cake with sliced almonds on top. I loved it all.

For the afternoon, they planned a great sight seeing adventure for us: The Mercedes Benz Museum of Stuttgart!
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Of all the museums I’ve been to in my life, this one trumps all for the best laid out touring plans! You ride a very special elevator (Micha’s Dad works for the company who designed it) to the top floor, then walk down in a circle, stopping at each floor below to see various models and categories of cars. No where to get lost or waylaid…just walk in a circle and you’ll see it all. When you reach the bottom, you know that’s the end! It was so simple and easy. Museums at their finest, folks!

Naturally, the top level started off with the oldest models and they got newer (basically by the decade) as you went down.

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Maria and Miriam, Micha’s sister:

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There were two displays that you were allowed to get in, and Natasha loved driving the bus:

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Here’s the one I would have taken home:

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After finishing up, we had snacks and headed to Königstrasse for some shopping. One particular department store entertained these youngsters while I picked out a few gifts for family back home.

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A delightful supper was laid out for us when we got back to Micha’s home, and there we met his Dad. We all enjoyed sitting around the table, laughing, sharing stories and eating homemade bread, sliced meat, fruit and cheese. For dessert? More cake, with ice cream and an added treat of various chocolate bars from the nearby factory, Ritter Sport. Do you know how to properly open a Ritter Sport square of chocolate? We do! A fun, fun day indeed. :)

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Catching up on Summer

Folks, it’s almost September. Not that I mind…I love fall and if it was an extremely hot summer I’m more than happy to say goodbye to summer’s heat and humidity. Thankfully this summer has been practically perfect in every way for me. Not many miserable days and cool evenings. Anyhow…fall is coming.

These are a few fun times we spent on July 4th with the family, while waiting for fireworks. :)

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The pyramid didn’t last too long…

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And these crazy fellows are always trying to do human flags off of anything. Including fellow humans.

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Next we tried dips:

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Daniel said, “You guys are as steady as jello!”

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The Children’s Garden

We took a few days earlier this month and went down to see my parents, and shared some smiles at the local children’s garden.

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It opened years ago when I was um…more of a child…and they had a grand opening ceremony. We attended to hear to band play, and for the finale of “Stars and Stripes Forever”, a lady grabbed my hand along with another little girl and we led the parade of children around the gazebo waving flags. It was all very momentous, and it’s really fun now to take MY little girl to that very garden!

Aren’t child-sized benches simply the cutest thing?! Especially when a child is sitting on one?

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From her smile, you’d think we were at Disney Land meeting the “real” Snow White!

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This is a typical conversational pose these days. Walking Natasha through whatever phrase, word, sign, or unknown something or other. This time, it was a gumball machine. It makes me think of Daniel’s patient explanation to a younger Natasha on a different subject, but in a garden as well.

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We had a lovely meal at Applebees afterwards, and I continue to smile about how we ended up there. Daddy had announced earlier that day that, “We could eat out at Applebarrel or Crackerbees.” :)

 

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The next day was warm. Natasha kindly asked her Grandpa to fetch the hammock from the chicken house-turned-store-shed, and he obliged. Then even pushed her till she fell asleep.

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A perfect weekend getaway, I’d say.