03.03.2017 - 02.04.2017
With just two days left to explore Stockholm, we weren't sure what speed to set our pace at. Our bodies were still happily operating at ‘slow and easy’, which is what has worked well for us for nearly a month now, but our minds were beginning to feel the pressure of limited time and a new destination called ‘home’ sitting next up on our agenda. We had found ourselves a room on the second floor of a small hotel nestled in Normmalm, which is in the heart of the Stockholm mainland. In this story, the term ‘mainland’ holds a purpose. I knew it meant we were scheduling our room close to a lot of really fabulous things (i.e. MAIN); however, I didn’t consider the true meaning of the term ‘LAND’ and figured it was likely just the caboose on a pretty name. For those of you that, like me, didn’t already do your Stockholm homework - let me give you a quick hint. Stockholm is spread out over 14 islands and connected by 53 bridges. When we arrived, we sat in the four lovely window seats in our hotel room (on the mainland!) and watched the people down below - before jumping in and joining them on a stroll through the infinite maze of streets and bridges that make this city so unique.
Both days were very good to us and fortunately, the weather was on our side. It was chilly our first day, but the sun was on our shoulders the second. Me and the outside of my left upper thigh are convinced we walked a marathon, but Luke does not concur. Dang. Now that I'm typing, I probably could have managed to call it a half marathon, which he might have given me the credit for. Then I could have gotten one of those 13.1 stickers for the Jeep. No, no, not really. I'd hate for people to think that I might like running. I don't. In fact, I don't like it to the point that the only sticker that I'd purchase is the rare beauty that you see fly by on occasion that reads '0.0'. It always makes me giggle to myself. I want to drive up to the window of that car and give the driver a huge thumbs up (or a regular-sized thumbs up with a smile?) since we have a nice non-hobby in common! It probably makes people that run really angry at us 0.0ers because you think we're lazy - but that's definitely not it. I'm not lazy at all. I just don't like moving my legs quickly and making myself tired. Thanks, but no thanks.
So, J and I were very excited about the artwork that could be found in the underground subway system. It is said to be the world’s longest art exhibit (110 km!). We purchased passes and hopped from station to station one evening, giving us all the opportunity to explore and photograph! Our walks through the city took us from Södermalm’s colorful, savvy streets lined with sassy shops over to Gamla Stan (Old Town) where the cobblestone alleyways are lined with hanging plants, coffee shops, and clever boutiques. We walked the waterfront and took in the detail of the boats as we headed to the Vasa Museum. The boys were as happy as Jack Sparrow (sans the sinking part!). The size and detail in the Vasa is truly mind-boggling. I don't looooooove museums (I know; I'm sorry, Dad) - but this was one of the best I’ve ever seen.
You know how I said that I’m a believer in that which shouldn’t be? (No, no, don’t worry. I’m not backing out on you now. I AM that believer! Stay with me.) Unfortunately, I’ve run into a small problem with the country of Sweden which likely clarifies why our Norwegian friends stomped their Viking toes on May 17th, 1814 and demanded they be declared an independent nation. Our calendar at home is printed annually to reflect this holiday, which we refer to as ‘Freed From the Swedes!’ (Congratulations on your big win and freedom, King Harald! Hey, by the way, would you mind if I used indigo for my house paint if we live in your country? Just thought I'd check while I had your attention for a moment. PS: Thanks for the healthcare!).
Okay, back to the breakdown with Sweden. I don’t want to call names, so I’ll be kind. In the movie ‘Elf’, Buddy tells Fake Santa that he “lives on a throne of lies” (and “smells like beef and cheese”). Sweden... I don’t know how to say this. Yes, I do. You don't smell like the bags of Red Swedish Fish that I’ve believed you to be my whole life! How’s that? It wasn’t until we were preparing to step out of the last airport shop that I realized you might not be for real. Gasp! We’ve looked (and looked) and not seen a single bag anywhere! What if the Swedish Fish are made in China?! Double gasp!! I had already decided I would grimace at the site of an assorted-colors bag, but happily purchase them (you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!) and then just carefully pick through and distribute... “One Yucky Orange for you” (share with family)... “One Kitchen Floor Flavor Yellow for You” (trash, no one deserves to eat that nastiness)... “The Only Type of Green Candy That Can Ever Be Eaten” (mine, but only after red when times get desperate)... “and Red” (MINE, only!). Swedish Fish is a favorite candy of mine and the Distribution Rules look similar to those for Sour Patch Kids, which is why I believed my plan would suffice. (Note: Sour Patch now makes blue kids, which trump all established rules for packages that include gummy blue children). I was actually convinced I wouldn’t even have to implement my plan, because I had set my standards so stinking low that I’d be skipping off into the sunset - or holding hands on the beach - with my 5 lb. bag of Red Fish! This is where I am also a believer in that which SHOULD BE. That is, if your candy is called ‘Swedish Fish’ you can purchase it in Sweden. If you can buy them from most grocery stores in Colorado, it doesn’t seem there should be much of an issue strolling into a market in SWEDEN and picking up a package, eh?
Thankfully, I figured it out as we were boarding! How very fortunate we are to be flying on a plane that must be carrying countless crates full of Swedish Fish out of the country and into the States. How wonderful it is to know that they are just underneath my seat, probably rubbing elbows with my very own backpack at this moment, as they prepare for their trip to Aisle 3 at King Soopers in Westy and await my purchase! Lucky me! Goodness, what a trip they’ve had and how fortunate I will be to have those gummy delicacies that have made such a journey. See you at home, Swedish Fish (you know, as usual).