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Posts Tagged ‘Gotland’

Happy New Year!

We’ve spent the last 10 days on the Swedish island Gotland, and we’re here for a few more. Both Christmas and New Year’s were thus quite relaxed and low-key, as we had no one to go, or come, visit.

Only A, myself and my parents were here for New Year’s Eve so it was a nice relaxing dinner where we struggled to stay awake until midnight… We made it though! And then we headed straight to bed and all slept until almost 10 am. Crazy. That never happens!

Yesterday we went for a walk for some much needed exercise, and to check out the new year here in Fårösund. When we arrived on December 23rd we had to spend a good 30 mins shovelling snow away from the driveway in strong winds and -5 C temperatures – hard to believe when you see the pictures I took yesterday, eh? Quite dark and dreary. We’ve seen lots of rain after Christmas. I hate rain.

My hopes and wishes for 2013 is that all goes well in the preparations for our wedding, that I pass my course (work related) with flying colours, and that we perhaps can start a family. Preferrably in larger accommodations… If all those were to come true, 2013 really would be the year “it all will happen”. Here’s hoping!

What are your hopes and dreams for 2013? I sure hope they all come true!

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I’ve been busy lately. Crazy busy. No energy left for anything but work. Ridiculous. The last few weeks I’ve been “on the road” – first an agricultural fair, and then the politicians week. Before that A and I went to visit his family and hometown, Karlskrona, over Midsummer.

I’m going to try and give you a bit of a recap – in pictures. Here it goes…

Decked out for Midsummer – wreath in my hair, strawberry in my mouth!

One of many traditions for Midsummer is for girls to wear flower wreaths in their hair. I’m not sure why, but there it is – my first one since I was a kid!

In Karlskrona they have a huge annual fair called Lövmarknaden the day before Midsummer that cover the whole town square, and they actually make and sell wreaths there.

Most of them were mixed flowers and birch leaves, but they also had these, made solely out of corn flowers, and I simply couldn’t pass it up!

This here next picture shows you the fair itself, Lövmarknaden as seen from the famous ice-cream parlor, Glassiären.
 
Naturally we also stopped in for ice-cream, truth be told though – it was pretty awful… It left the tongue feeling strangely dry and powdery.
 

Lövmarknaden, the annual Midsummer fair in Karlskrona.

Karlskrona is actually a very beautiful city! It’s built on 30 islands (Stockholm’s only built on 14!), and outside the city lies the archipelago, the most southern of the Swedish archipelagos. Here’s a video that shows the city, from Visit karlskrona.
 
The city was founded in 1680 when the Royal Swedish Navy was relocated from the Stockholm area to the Trossö island which had up until then been used chiefly for farming and grazing. At the time Sweden was the dominant military power in the Baltic sea region, but needed a better strategic location against Denmark, since southern parts of Sweden had been conquered only a few decades ago. The Swedish fleet tended to get stuck in the ice during winter while located to Stockholm and was therefore moved south. The city name means Karl’s Crown in honour of King Karl XI of Sweden. (Thank you Wikipedia!).

Our stand at the fair Borgeby Fältdagar.

After Midsummer we hurried home so I could head straight back south again, but this time for work.

It was time for the annual agricultural fair Borgeby Fältdagar. It’s a fun and popular fair, held outdoors, that shows “real” farming. Even city kids like myself can appreciate it 🙂

That first full, 10 hour, day really wears you out though – man my feet hurt!

The two little boys, Lowe and Viggo, had left me a present in bed… Too cute!

Next up on the summer tour was a visit to the north eastern part of Skåne to see my friends and their little twin boys. I only get to see them once a year, and it’s so much fun to see how they’ve grown (Lowe had grown a full 2 inches in the last month! Blimey…).

Whenever I get to their house I fully relax – it’s so peaceful! Well, the boys make a racket, but thy’re only 4 years old, so that’s to be expected.

I worked one day when I was there, but we also had time to go on an ice-cream hunt, and for a lovely walk yo and around the palace Krapperup before I had to head back home (I saw tennis legends Björn Borg and Jonas Björkman at the airport!). Dinner on Friday night was, true to the stereotype, tacos 🙂

Beefsteak Dinner at AG’s.

Saturday night dinner was something else though! A had made a table reservation for us at AG’s, a meat lover’s haven, where they were “clearing out” their meat fridge before closing for the summer. It was…awesome!

First we were served a selection of starters, oysters and such. After that the feast commenced: meat was brought in on platters, potato wedges in a bowl and the mandatory bearnaise sauce. Plates, but no cutlery.

That’s right – no cutlery. We all had an apron on, but we ate with our fingers! Messy and glorious 🙂 After I don’t know how much meat, the meal was rounded off with chocolate cake and cream (we got spoons for this!). Hello food coma!

It was a fun and great evening, and I hope we try and make it a tradition! (Although…hang on. I think we may be busy that day next year – hint hint).

Visby ringmur, The City Wall of Visby

After a full 25 hours at home, I then flew to Gotland where it was time for the annual “politicians week“. Over 1 700 seminars were arranged for the week, and another new record – 400 seminars taking place at the very same hour!

It was the first time my work arranged our own seminar, and we’d put a great many hours of planning, writing, stressing etc over it. Thankfully it turned out quite well – we had some 30 people in the audience, and yesterday there was a clip on the news relating to our seminar and the report we presented there, so – woohoo! Don’t know that we’ll do it again though, perhaps we’ll just settle for attending other seminars and making our “presence” known 😉

Myself and my two adorable nieces Joanna and Greta!

I returned from Visby on Thursday afternoon, very tired after two very long and busy weeks. In fact, I was so tired my boss ordered me to leave work early on Friday afternoon…

I happily did, as we had to clean house and prepare for Saturday’s guests. My very good friends Patrik and Seng who I’ve known since we all studied at UBC are up visiting from Sydney with their daughter. It was fantastic to see them again after a year and a half. That’s most definitely the biggest bummer about having travelled so much – most of my friends live in far away places 😦

My sister and her girls (and later also her hubby) also came over, and we had a lovely visit outside in the sun, over a bbq with home made cupcakes , and finished off with strawberries – yum!

A is in London making legendary new aquaintances! Photo courtesy of Martin Bundock.

Last, but not least, in this long update of my goings-on, is this…

As you’ve read, I’ve been away a lot with work lately, barely seeing A. I like my job, but let’s face it – I’ve been to agri fairs etc.

Well, yesterday A set off on a work trip to…London, where he has to try and work his Nike Fuel band, and go to…parties! With DJs! And as if that isn’t enough, today, at a press event he met…Carl Lewis!!! The LEGEND!

Life. Is. Unfair.

And at least I’ve been a good (let’s be honest – perfect) fiancee and called him every night from my work trips, but has he called me? Even once?!

I think we all know the answer to that. Sigh.

Soooo…what have you all been up to?!

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Hi, remember me?! If not, totally understandable – I’ve been (very) absent. But I’m back!

Christmas was lovely, though A thought he’d starve to death one day, and die from eating too much the next. New Years was spent down south, in his home town Karlskrona. It was also nice, but I still have some – idiotic – issues with that place, so I’m just as happy coming back home again. It’ll get better with time, I’m sure.

We had a fabulous long weekend in London before Christmas, and the travelling will continue this year – even more – it’s like I’m returning to my old self, constantly on my way somewhere. Woohoo!

First up is a weekend XC-skiing in Orsa, just like the past two years. Hopefully I’ll see something this year…

A month later we’re heading to the Big Apple – New York City! I’m not quite sure how that came about, but A and I had collected enough bonus points with Star Alliance to get one ticket for free, so we (mainly A!) thought “what the heck” and booked it. Woot woot! How cool’s that?! Such a spontaneous booking, but it’s going to be fantastic 🙂

Ten days after returning from NYC we’re going to the Swedish island of Gotland, where my parents just bought a sharehold (?) (a house owned with others, they get to use it 10 weeks per year). We’ll be there for a long weekend, working two days from there instead of the office.

And just now we booked our summer holiday in…CANADA!!! My favourite country of all times. We’re doing a road-trip from Edmonton to Vancouver, from prairie to the Pacific. It’s going to be legendary!

If anyone has any tips to share on either of those destinations, please let me know!

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A brief report from Almedalen, the 2010 edition. This is my third year here, and this year is the craziest one yet. Crazy in terms of seminars and events on offer. Some insane 1 400. In seven days. The political and business elite of Sweden are present, and just like the past two years, the rosé wine is practically flowing down the alleys of Visby. It’s nuts. I love it.

This is the place to rub shoulders with the “decision makers” of the nation, this is where you have the chance to influence people who can make a difference; this is the place for celebrity spotting. If you’re a geek, as stand up comedian David Batra put it last night, that is. If you think it’s more exciting to spot essentially every minister in a matter of hours, than see, say, the whole Skarsgård family at once – this truly is the place to be. It’s so cool – everyone who’s anyone is here! It still amazes me after three years. Please, please let it stay this way – don’t ever let anything “bad” happen.

I’ve been to some three four seminars per day, and then a mingle event in the evening. Except tonight, on account of the football World Cup semi final, which I naturally wouldn’t miss for the world!

I don’t leave until Friday, and have just realized I’ve managed to book my flight home to the wrong airport (doh!), but should still make it in time for AIK’s game against HIF in the Swedish Cup – priorities, eh?! Before that I have a very busy day tomorrow with some five seminars and events before the evening footy (go Spain!), and on Thursday my main goal is to see Moneybrother play live 🙂 Ok, I’ll stay and listen to Mona as well, but that won’t be as enjoyable…

Ok, now I need to focus on the football, and then hit the sack so I’m ready for my morning jog. Have a good night/day!

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Almedalen

Almedalen

I’ve been at home for about 36 hrs after the agricultural fair in Skåne, and have spent them unpacking and packing. Oh the joys of a job that includes travel! I did actually go to a party last night too, which was good. A refreshing bike ride home in the bright summer sky at 2 am was a perfect way to round up the evening.

Now I’m headed to the island of Gotland, on the East coast of Sweden, in the Baltic Sea. There’s a park called Almedalen in the main town Visby, and every year Sweden’s politicians, lobbyists, organisations of all kinds gather there for something that’s become known as “the politicians week“. This year there are some 1 000 seminars on all subjects you can possibly imagine! The seven main political parties have a day each where their leader holds a speach in the evening which is always good to listen to. My boss and I went down there last year, and it was really good. We will spend four days mingling and going to seminars where we’ll no doubt learn lots – fun!

Gotland

Gotland

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