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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To the Seaside on a Sunday

8.6.2017

It was a quiet Sunday morning in Sweden, that found us relaxing, giving children baths, lingering over breakfast and lunch and planning a walk for the afternoon.

What a walk it turned out to be. Not far from our AirBnB house we happily ambled over rocks with wild Heather, meadows with sheep grazing in the distance and the anticipation of the sea ahead.

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I had no idea I would find Heather in Sweden, growing out and about on our walk. It will always make me think of the song, “The Heather on the Hill” from the 1954 musical, “Brigadoon”, sung by Gene Kelly.

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After several days of travel and city sight-seeing, green grass, wind, sunshine and water was just what we needed. I felt like all the city grime just washed away and my soul was revived.2-024

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Part of the reason I particularly loved this little seaside visit was…no sand. It’s just not my cup of tea and this was ideal. We watched the wind-surfers, got our toes wet in the North Sea and generally admired the view.

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To the Land of Pippi

8.5.2017

We finished our time in Oslo toting all our gear along with us since we were catching the bus to Gothenburg, Sweden mid-day.


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Coffee was beckoning us, so we tried some at Stockfleths. I sat outside with the kiddos while the girls enjoyed a more quiet downstairs seating area with free wifi.

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Lunch was another kebab restaurant right near the city central and that’s where Natasha chased pigeons and Lincoln was assumed to be Norwegian by a local artist with a gallery there. She was chatting away to him and when she directed a question to me, I responded in English. She then exclaimed, “Oh! I was speaking Norwegian-he looks so Norwegian!”

The bus ride was approximately 3 1/2 hours long and memorable, to say the least. There were several young children and 3 of them screamed/cried/and didn’t nap for the majority of the ride. One of them, being our youngest. If Lincoln wasn’t crying, the one or two in front of us were alternately crying. Sometimes Lincoln and one of the other youngsters got into cahoots and decided to match tones simultaneously. It was one of those parenting moments when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I chose to laugh outwardly and cry inwardly. Lincoln finally fell asleep in the carrier, but wow. That bus ride wore me out.

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A rare calm moment on the bus.

Our arrival in Gothenburg was still eventful. The bus terminal is right next to a mall, so we left our luggage near a play area so Natasha could play, while Daniel went in search of groceries and the girls went in search of bathrooms. This in itself was quite a feat. The bathrooms required payment, but wouldn’t take credit card. That meant coins were needed, in the Swedish krone. However, since we just arrived, we didn’t have any and the mall bank ATM had just closed. They finally found a ATM which provided the needed $, but then had to purchase something in the mall to break down the cash. What an ordeal to simply use the WC! Meanwhile, my eyes were busy darting back and forth between our two piles of luggage, my two children, a random dog with its not-so-attentive owner, numerous other children and people who I felt were sitting too close to our bags. It was crazy.

I was so glad to see the girls and Daniel reappear and we quickly headed out to the bus to take us to our next AirBnB house. It was about 25 minutes outside of Gothenburg in the small village Kvisljungeby and so much more peaceful than the chaotic mall. We got off a bus stop too soon and it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. We weren’t, but it did require extra walking to get to our house.

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Teamwork, folks. That’s how we carry groceries.

Thus, we met Sweden. The AirBnB house was so spacious compared to the tiny Oslo apartment; it was a welcome relief to spread out for our stay. Here’s a picture from later in our visit:

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24-ish Hours in Oslo: The Fortress

8.4.2017

Akershus Fortress was our next destination since we were now powered up with caffeine. It’s a good thing too, since all fortresses seem to be built on a hill. Hmm…

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Photo by Melody

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Photo by Melody

 

There are guards who take their job pretty seriously, and in the case below, stared down at the youngster on the hillside until the trespasser climbed down the forbidden hill. 17-IMG_5501

We got our first group photo here. From left to right: Lyn, Melody, Maria (or Mia, as she is commonly known these days), me and half of Lincoln, Natasha and Daniel.

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Where did she learn to pose like this? #dramatic

 

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Photo by Natasha

Turns out we girls (and Lincoln) sat here an unnecessary length of time waiting on Daniel who was researching where to have lunch, when he simply wasn’t sure where we were. Ah well, Lincoln amused the other visitors with his cheesy grins.

 

 

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From here we headed to a kebab restaurant, one of the more cheaper options for eating out in Norway. Food is always a very good idea.

Old City Quebec

All along during our stay in Quebec City, I had this feeling that I hadn’t quite truly seen the Old City. I knew it was supposed to be like Europe’s old cities with narrow streets and old buildings, but I just hadn’t seen it yet. Plus, I’d seen pictures of these murals that were somewhere, but I hadn’t seen them myself yet. So before we headed home to the States it was high on my priority list to locate these old streets and murals.

And find them, we did. 01-00102-00703-00804-02805-03206-03807-0461-0424-023

It was a perfect ending to our month stay in Quebec City.