Monday, July 29, 2013

Postcards from Stockholm

If you are looking for a reason to visit Sweden, this is basically it: Summer is Sweden is mythical. Beauty is everywhere in this photogenic city and the people are in celebration that the sun is here.

And it is. During my trip, there were 18 hours of daylight and 6 hours of twilight per day. It literally never gets dark and the sun rises at 3:30 in the morning. Everyone, in turn, acts accordingly: Everyone is out until 1 or 2 in the morning because it doesn't feel late. Meeting with friends for dinner, feels like lunch. You find yourself getting up at 5 in the morning because the light outside tells your body that it is time to get busy. It is simply fantastic.

I love Sweden. These images typify the the sights of Stockholm that caused me to fall in love with the city and country. If you only knew Sweden in the Summer, how could you not fall in love with this place?

Flight Reports: Seattle to Sweden [SEA to ARN via PDX and AMS]

I love flying. There really is nothing like it and even with all of the hassle today, where else could you get a shot like this? Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier lined up, as seen from the my seat on a wind up Q400, is not something that you can get anywhere else. I recently got back from Sweden, where I spent a week and a half with family and friends from my studies there at KTH. It was a fantastic trip (and more on that soon), but the flights ended up being treats in themselves: Mountains! Greenland at predawn on the way there! Crisp views of the fjords of Greenland on the way back! The lakes of Stockholm in early morning light! All that is in this report.

My first leg was between Seattle and Portland on Horizon (SEA to PDX). I had two connections on this trip because that was the least expensive option and because I have only been through PDX once before. I wanted to see the airport and not have to connect through an airport on the east coast. On my past flights heading south, I've made the mistake of sitting on the left side of the aircraft (DEF seats), but this time I purposefully chose to sit on the right. If you are flying out of Seattle and headed South (California and Portland), sitting in seat A will almost always give you a view of the mountains on the way.

Portland itself is a nice little airport. Their airport code PDX has become something of a trendy name for the entire city. Getting to and from the airport without a car is made easy by the fact that the light rail comes adjacent to the airport itself. That would today be seen as a security risk in the post 9/11 world. The red line was "lucky" enough to have been designed and built before then, with service opening the day before 9/11. In contrast, the Link Light Rail in Seattle requires people to walk an extra quarter mile to get to the trains.

Next flight was on Delta to Amsterdam. An A330 with a window seat and a very odd ball guy beside me for the start. He ran a motorcycle repair shop, had been in an accident four days prior, broke his hip, had it replaced, and was now sitting in the seat next to me. Thankfully, the flight wasn't full and he ended up sitting in the center row. It was a good flight overall and I managed to capture most of it using my still being perfected flight lapse technique.

The flight was reasonable enough, although I forgot to order a special meal. Our flight path took us by the southern tip of Greenland, which is what you see above. Oh, and I surpassed 400,000 documented flown miles with this flight. Once in Amsterdam, it was a quick hop left to Stockholm on a KLM flight. I like KLM. They're cute. Lufthansa is serious, SAS has a streak of Nordic egalitarianism, and KLM is windmills and blue clogs cute. 

On this flight too, I got a great flight lapse, although I did get a stern, "What is that on my window?" when the flight attendant saw my contraption for holding the camera. Still, once he figured it out, he thought it was pretty cool. Thanks random KLM guy for not trying to shut me down (like on the Portland flights).

And with that, I stepped back into my summer dream, as if waking up as my Swedish self who never left and returning to the city as if two years had never past.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Smultron in Sweden!

Smultron is one of my favorite things about summer in Sweden. Today I found a patch and they are so unbelievably good! For those of you unfamiliar with smultron, these are wild strawberries. The specific plant is the alpine strawberry (Fragaria vesca), which is available in the US but relatively unknown culturally there.

These small berries are part of childhood in Sweden. Most children will have at some point wandered through the woods (with parents) and eventually stumbled on these little strawberries in the underbrush. The berries are small and delicate and the traditional way of carrying your prize of berries is with a straw, like I've done here. The berries are threaded onto the straw one by one until you have a strand of red pearl like strawberries.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Food Friday in Portland [Part 2]

Continuing from the last post about food in Portland while I am up in the air on my way to Sweden!

Tasty and Sons

Salt and Straw

Food Friday in Portland! [Part 1]

Right now, I'm on a plane. I'm headed to Sweden for a week and a half, but while I am away taking more photos to share and exploring my second home again I will leave you with a couple bites from my trip to Portland last week after Canon Beach. Enjoy and when I get back, Sweden!

Pambiche Cocina & Repostería Cubana

Ristretto Roasters