After 18 days in the proverbial motherland, I’m finally heading out.
In fact, by the time you read this I’ll be stuffing my face with pierogi in Gdansk, Poland!Sweden has been absolutely lovely. Just about perfect. Not only because the food’s great, the people are kind, and the public transportation is clean and reliable, but because I’ve had 18 days of relative relaxation.
I’ve had a private room in a lovely Airbnb
house; I can close the door and spend entire days working or reading or napping. I can engage in the travel novelty of routine: going to the market for dinner ingredients, doing laundry, having a regular coffee shop. It’s hard to over-emphasize how invigorating and calming it is to have a bit of non-scheduled downtime between fevered tours of countries.
I spread my two weeks in Ireland between three cities and four places of lodging and after this I’ll spend five days in Poland with friends, 10 hours in Berlin dashing around the city with Natalie, 3.5 days in Iceland with my boyfriend and two of our buddies, and then five days in New York seeing two old friends, two new friends, and two clients. I’m excited! Also: preemptively exhausted.
What did I do with the second half of my time here in the city of Beautiful Blond People?
* Poked around Trosa, one of those painfully picturesque tourist towns where you buy an ice cream cone and wander around gaping at the sheer adorability of it all. There’s a canal that runs through the middle of the town! And people have their boats docked next to their houses like a second garage!
* Took the train out to Upsalla, a college town about an hour outside of Stockholm. It’s home to what is now my favorite museum ever. Cat mummies! A human mummy whose hand broke off and they just placed it next to his foot! Creepy specimens in jars! Viking burial boats! Art cabinets! Specimens labeled ‘what is this?’! Awesome.
* Conducted my own Swedish Stomachache Experiment by purchasing a bag full of weird bulk candy. I kept an on-going memo in my phone so I could remember which ones were good for future reference. And just FYI, those black licorice pistols are gross.
* Happened upon the tree pictured above, all festooned with huge colored balls and thought “Well, my goodness. If that’s not magical than I don’t know what is.”
* Ate my birthday dinner with three Swedish friends and was all verklempt and amazed when my friend Emmy pulled out a surprise birthday cake she’d smuggled into the restaurant. So sweet!
* Discovered that I am not – at all – a sailor. A friend of Emmy’s took us sailing through the archipelago and my time at the wheel was mostly spent not understanding which way to turn, reading the GPS incorrectly, and panicking when the sails filled with too much wind. Nope. I’ll just wear boat shoes and stripes and drink a vodka gimlet on a bow, thankyouverymuch.
This week, street art and buffalo grass vodka (or “wahd-kah”) in Poland!