Landed Saturday evening at Stockholm Arlanda aiport. Breathtaking views flying down over the archipelago just beside Stockholm. We didn’t stop in Stockholm however, and instead straight to Linkoping (or just outside, rather). It’s quite different living in the countryside compared to life in Edmonton, though in a good way. Sweden feels quite similar to Canada in a lot of ways, though the more I learn about Sweden from things I’ve read and from Swedes I’ve talked to while travelling, the better the impression I have of Sweden over Canada. Swedes I’ve met abroad have unabashedly declared that Sweden is the best country in the world. I would hardly make that claim about Canada (would you?) I would never make that claim about the US either (should come as no surprise to those who know me well).
Unexpectedly I do find myself challenging my beliefs and am pushing myself out of my comfort zone even while travelling in a “1st world” country. Let me explain… I find that living in Canada, our perceptions and priorities are skewed by living so near to the US. The price of food (and goods) is very low compared to Europe and Australia, yet our perception is that eating healthy, nutritious foods is costly. Per lives in a simple but gorgeous house surrounded by trees on a quiet, private gravel road. Makes the giant homes in North America seem unnecessary and overly indulgent. The way of life here seems to be much more in tune with nature: heat for the house is produced by wood fire (using radiators); a small greenhouse for growing a few food items; composting in the backyard; walking and cycling 2 to 3 km to the local shop/gym/work/school… I could go on.
We walked to the local grocery store to pick up some food and it was fun looking around! Sure, the price of groceries is quite expensive in Sweden, but the quality of produce seems to be much better than in Canada… No unnaturally gigantic, GM modified strawberries… The strawberries at the grocer looked great, and even then Per said he hardly buys them in the store as the ones he grows at home are much better! Typical Swedish foods tend to be simple but delicious as they’re made with quality ingredients.
Per introduced me to preserved herring, served with potatoes, sour cream, red onion, and green onions (picked from his own garden!). I think I’ll definitely be craving and missing this when I’m back in Canada.
Mushroom toast for breakfast – absolutely mouth watering and bursting with flavour. Per’s mother picked these mushrooms! Before we ate the meal, Per tried to point out in a book which mushrooms we would be having. Me, baffled: “Why do you have a book about (just) mushrooms??!” Per, even more baffled at my question: “Uhh… Why wouldn’t I ??!”
Rye porridge with lingan berry jam
Cooking Swedish NONFLUFFY pancakes
Served with homemade jam & juice made with homegrown berries
While Per’s been introducing me to Swedish foods, I’ve introduced him to maple syrup, French toast, moon cakes, and gave him a few pointers on stir-frying. We had a yummy Thai stir-fry the other night, and I even enjoyed the cooking part of it on top of the eating part. Per, while prepping the veggies, sang out, “Schoobidy-dooby-dooby-dooby do!” Me: “what was that for?” Per: “don’t you know the Swedish chef??” (I never watched the muppets all that much.)
Getting back to being pushed outside my comfort zone… I would never have imagined myself tonight riding a bicycle home in windy 10 C darkness, headtorch on my head down a gravel road. My cycling skills are about those of a 10 year old, and I almost rode right into the ditch when an oncoming motorcycle was headed my way. I’ll definitely be having fun when snowy winter comes around…
We did get a chance to head into town the other day to check out the old town, shop and watch a movie. The centre of town is quite pretty. I left my camera at home because it was overcast, so more photos will have to follow at a later time. Til next time!