Anti-Scorcher

The past couple of weeks we’ve been experiencing record heat! Up to 117 degrees F. In order to combat the extreme temperatures we have to use methods like the one shown below to keep our body temperatures down. These are tough times…

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Were Back!

We took an early morning taxi ride to the airport. The first leg of the trip from Sweden to Philidelphia wasn’t too bad. I had slept a good portion of it. While we were waiting for the connecting flight they announced they had a few 1st Class seats available for a price. I said what the heck, we deserve it! So are seats were in the very front of the plane, no worries about anybody reclining their chair onto your laps. We had so much room my feet couldn’t even touch the wall in front of me! Upon landing in San Francisco we did a parallel landing with a 747 right on our left side! That was a cool view.

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Last dinner at the Pedestrian Walk…

Bugs and I had our last dinner at the local cafe just a couple of blocks from the hotel. Bugs scoped out the special which was Le Creme Salmon, rice and caviar. Man, this meal was killer! Probably one of my favorite meals of the entire visit. The caviar wasn’t too salty, just enough to add some kick to the salmon taste. Afterwards we grabbed a few items at the local grocery store for our midnight snacks. What an excellent way to end the trip!

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Last walk in the forest…

 These photos show the path I took for 3 weeks. The walk at first seemed long, after I got used to it I actually enjoyed it. I enjoyed walking along the local residents gardens. A few times while coming home I got a whiff of the local BBQ action. It turns out they bring their food out to cook and enjoy the summer evenings (if you can call it evenings)

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 Just pass the tree lines is where I had to walk too. It open up to a pasture where my workplace is located.

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 It was a rarity to ever come across another person walking the path. Once in a great while a biker would blast through but I hardly ever saw anyone else.

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Finally the path clears and my building is up ahead. I really wonder how difficult it would be to travel along this same path during the cold winter months. They say the snow here is incredible. The do have public services to clear out the path so that’s good. It’s just the icy areas going up the hills that would make an interesting walk.

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Bugs and I (Galma Stan)

Today we plan on visiting Galma Stan one more time before we leave Sweden. No plan in particular, just a nice walk soaking in the atmosphere. The temperature is in the high 70’s low 80’s, I just checked the internet for Stockton’s weather today, suppose to hit 106! That’s one thing I’ll miss are the walks during the day without the 100+ degree temperatures. Back home, you need to either walk early in the morning or during the evening hours. Well, off to Old Town!

First stop a place to grub. Well.. as it turns out we ended up shopping before we made it to Michael Angelo’s. This was that nice Italian Restaurant we had already gone to eat at a couple of weeks ago but we also knew the food was great. For lunch, I had spaghetti and meat sauce and Lorraine had a pasta with salmon. Once again the food was great.

After lunch we took off and did more shopping. I grabbed some desert (ice cream cone) and kicked it outside of the stores while Lorraine did more shopping. Along the busy street traffic streets of Old Town you get a few street performers. It’s not quite as overwhelming as it is around the San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf but you do get talent. On this particular day we watched a young kid about eight years old play on a portable electric keyboard. He sat there playing classic piano songs. It was total trip watching this little kid play music so effortlessly. Made me want to get back home and play in my studio.

One of the other street performances are the “Hustlers”. I call them that because they do a scam on the unsuspecting tourist that walk the area. Mostly poor suckers that hop off the cruise liners docked on the wharf. Here’s the scam…

jul-16a.jpgThere are three cups and a peanut. The object is to find the peanut after the guy moves the cups all over the place. Simple enough. The scam is they have two other guys working with them who pretends to be walking by and interested in playing. They win a few games and the spectators around begin to think this is easy money. When someone really plays the game, the performer turns it up a notch making it almost impossible to figure out where the $##$@! peanut is. I’ve watched these guys time and time again and it’s the same hustle. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve seen them so much I know who the hustle players are and if I don’t recognize that particular bunch I make it a game to figure out who they are. All while muching down a waffle ice cream cone.

After watching the hustlers we were off back to the hotel. On the way we past one of those horse drawn carriage tours. I looked at Lorraine and we both said “why not?”. Out of all the methods for transportation in Stockholm this one is really unique. Not only did you take a leisurely ride around old town but you also got a great narration on OT’s history. It was a more personal one-on-one tour and it was in both English and Swedish.

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Once we completed our tour it was off to the hotel but not before stopping at the local grocery store and grabbing our snacks for the night.

Bikes…

When I leave Sweden next week I will have been here 5 weeks. All the time I spent here was during their summer season. That being said, I’m probably here the best time of the year for motorcycling.

For the most part, it looks like the cruiser and sports bike riders are about the same. I see both wherever I go. Lot’s of HD’s, Honda’s and various sport bike makers. One thing I noticed was no matter what you rode more than likely you are wearing a fullface helmet. I did see a few half-heads but they are not as common as they are in the United States.

The photos below show the extremes…

Kawi’s X12R, may be the fastest production street bike currently on the market

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This old BMW really turned my head. It almost look so new I was thinking it was a kit bike. I’m still unsure if it was or not. Everything part looked functional and authentic.

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I had to throw this photo in since it was so old school. I barely noticed it when I first walked past it. It blended in with the wall so good. Check out the name brand “Rumbler” what a classic.

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Archipelago and Voxholm…

Its the last weekend here in Stockholm. We woke up early Saturday morning and took off to Central Station to get some ATM cash, bread rolls and a couple of cans of red bull. Our planned outting was to see the famous Sweden archipelago. Since we weren’t quite sure where the boat launched from and the exact times we decided to take a cab and not do the normal walk through town.

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When we arrived the line to the outgoing trip to Voxholm was super long. This meant that we wouldn’t get very good seats on the ship. We decided to wait for the next one which would leave in half an hour. We were almost in front of the line this time. Once we boarded Lorraine snagged us a primo spot in the back of the ship. We were able to sit or stand during the whole ride to Voxholm, Lorraine soaked up the sun while I roasted!

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The trip to Voxholm is like nothing we have ever done before. You are completely surrounded by islands. The archipelago consist of thousands of islands starting from the mainland Stockholm all the way out to the Baltic Sea. All along the way you see summer homes lining the islands buried within the plush green forest, its hard to imagine this place covered in snow.

Voxholm is a small community with an emphasis to catering to the sailing crowd and tourist. They have outdoor cafe’s stringing along the streets with a few stores selling goods for the locals. We walked up and down taking in the sights. I found the difference between walking in a city USA versus any other country is your senses are more alert to what is what. As an example, in the states you don’t think twice about going into a restroom. When you travel you can’t read the signs or symbols, you have to notice who just went in or came out and that’s after you figured out which door leads to the restroom or WC (water closet) as it’s called in Sweden.

After exploring the street we picked out one of the larger cafe’s. We got seating right next to the sidewalk, ringside seat for checking out the crowds. One novelty about the outdoor dining places your allowed to smoke. You can bet Lorraine enjoyed this, the shot below shows just how much… or rather how uncomfortable she is blowing smoke while people are still eating around her!

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On the way back from Voxholm we hopped on another ship line. This time we stayed within the inside quarters as it was a little chilly due to the now overcast skies. Even this was a nice ride as we were a little fatigued from the day and being indoors on nice cushioned seats rocking away with the waves felt good. Nice way to end an excursion.

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TGIF…

Last week Lorraine had asked to go eat at TGIF’s. She had scouted the site while out on one of her many walking adventures. The restaurant is located right smack in the center of Stockholm. It’s a setting right out of the movies.

The shot below is the view we had while eathing dinner. The locals and tourist sit around the cement pond relaxing and eating ice cream.

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Tasty Lunch!

This past week at work I had to go out and eat at a nearby mall since they had closed the cafeteria for their annual three week summer vacation. On this particular day my co-worker said let’s go try out Voxholm. The town approximately 20 minutes away by car. It’s a cool site since it has a fort that once protected the Stockholm waterways. It’s also a center for the jet set sailing crew, lot’s of outdoor cafe’s and restaurants.

The restaurant served us traditional seafood dishes such as pickled herring with two different sauces, caviar on a hardboiled egg, potatoes and the best part of all eel! Yeah! that’s right! I ate some slimy eel! It’s sort of hard to explain the texture but definitely not like fish, though the taste is definitely fishy.

Almost every day since my stay I’ve eaten something that has Swedish origins. I’d say I’m about 50/50. That means about half the stuff I eat I like, the other half I really didn’t like much. It turns out pouring on the sauce and gravy over you dish is normal. This is exactly opposite as to how I like my meals. Oh well, to learn the culture you need to live it.

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Tourist Today…

Today we played tourist by taking the 24hr “hop on, hop off” boat. This boat takes you around different Stockholm highlight points. The idea is you can hop off any of these places and hop back on within 24 hours. Afterwards we had lunch at Cafe Nova, a nice restaraunt in Old Town. I had a nice ham and cheese sandwich with a slice of rasberry pie. Lorraine had a Chicken Salad with different vegetables mixed in.

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Our next stop was the royal museum which used to be the home of the royal family. This was actually cooler than I thought it would be  As we walked along some of the areas of the it hit me that every one of the nobel prize winners actually had dinner in the very same room i was standing in. A lot of art dated back into the 1700’s, how cool was that.

After walking all day we headed back to the Sheraton but not before we picked up more waffle cream cheese crackers along with more red bull and water.

Off the beaten path…

Today we went and shopped at place called “off the beaten path”. Lorraine had seen this place advertised on the hotel info channel. We took off this afternoon to the underground subways in search of the path.

The Path had locals selling their arts and crafts along with street vendors selling vintage and new clothing. It was definitely different, not as large as we thought it would be but fun none the less. Part of the fun for me is the actual act of exploring new places, trying to figure out where we are and where we need to go.

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