Sunday, June 13, 2010

LOVE Stockholm 2010

I heart Stockholm. And Stockholm hearts me. In fact, the entire week here is dedicated to me: LOVE Stockholm 2010. Okay, maybe not just for me. The Princess Victoria will wed Mr. Westling, her personal trainer, on June 19th, and there is a lot of Love Mania going on here. On the scale of the Obamarama.

Claudia and I landed last night after a very quick jaunt from Norway. This time, we checked in to the Radisson Blu Strand - on purpose. A nice change from the Hostel in Norway. The Radisson Blu allegedly has the best view of any hotel in Stockholm, and I would agree, if my room didn't overlook the breakfast area. But really, this hotel is fabulous, and right on the water. We kicked back and watched the USA v. England game on our (not flat screen) TV.

We had a wonderful breakfast including caviar pate, fish pate and small pancake medallions. I didn't eat everything on my plate, so Claudia has blamed me for the rainy weather. In Germany, the saying goes that if you don't clean your plate, there will be bad weather.

Stockholm is known as the Venice of the North. It is a beautiful city. The weather is mercurial, and we don't know whether to put our jackets on, wear sunglasses, rain coats or scarves, but the friendly people make up for it. Swedish and Norwegian languages are a little like German, but to me, more sing-song. Lot's of lilting, but a lot of the same words - at least they are sometimes easy to recognize. Here they say "Hey"and in Norway "Hihi"as greetings. One guy I met getting on the tour bus said he spent a year in Louisiana and that people in the South of the USA were 'very religious.' Apparently he had to go to the Baptist church every day. Here, Christianity has only been around since 1200. Before that, it was a pagan land, and many of the pagan traditions still linger. Like the trolls. Claudia and I found some wonderful ones in a store on a cobblestoned alleyway in the Old City today. If we do not make them mad, they will protect us.

We also stopped off at the royal palace, where I was crowed Queen Travel Frau.

We decided on bus tour and a boat ride this morning, because the last leg of our Oslo adventure has the Travel Fraus feeling a bit kaputt. It downpoured the entire last day of or Oslo visit, and by the time we made it to dinner on the harbor, my tennis shoes were completely soaked. Every restaurant was booked, but we finally ended up at Mr. Bay, an asian fusion restaurant that was super chic. We walked in like a bunch of wet fish, dripping water all the way to our swanky seats at a round table near the bar. But it was well worth the walk around town to find a place. Claudia and Dirk (the two Germans) were very silly, and thought joked about how the asians in Thailand serve 'sticky rice with mango,'and there it was on the menu in Oslo! I had a plate full of fresh seafood: king prawn, toothfish and crayfish. Dirk, who Team TravelFrau named 'der kleiner Geniesser'or little bonvivant, ordered the fried banana for dessert. So, you can imagine what fun we had making inappropriate jokes ...

Bill and Dirk tricked Amy and Claudia into going to Et Glas, another chic place where all the beautiful Norwegians go. It was small, and cozy, with a glass chandelier in the middle, and a spiral staircase to the top level. We enjoyed the people watching, and a night cap, then took a taxi home (again in the rain), only for me to discover that I had lost my cell phone. Then back in the taxi in search of cell phone. "Please take us to Et Glas." The taxi driver made a joke: "You only want one beer?" That would have been funny were it not so late, were we not so wet from all the rain, and were I not in a panic about losing my phone. Et Glas does mean one beer, and I probably wouldn't have lost my phone had I stuck to that. But there it was, on the floor at Et Glas. In tact. Gott sei Dank! Back to the hostel, and good night.

The next morning, my shoes were so wet and smelled so badly that I stuck them in a plastic bag thinking I could dry them out when we got to Sweden. I had to wear flip flops the rest of the day. Good thing we got a ride to the Kon Tiki museum and to the airport in Bíll's rental car. A very nice treat to be chauffeured around Oslo!

The Kon Tiki was very cool. Thor Hyderdahl is one of the world's greatest scientists, explorers and environmentalists. His sailing exhibitions ending with the Kon Tiki disproved many theories about culture in the pacific, and his multi cultural sailing teams showed that people can work well across cultures. Videos, replicas and pictures showed how the reeds and balsa wood rafts were made, recreating the way ancient peoples might have crossed the oceans. In keeping with the nautical theme, Bill and Matt made Claudia and me feel like the Rheinland sea maidens at Lorelei, serenading us with operetta songs as we left the exhibit. It wasn't hard to notice that a name like Claudia is much better suited to opera. "Claudia ......!!!! Claudia .....!!!"

So onward to the airport, where I discretely threw away my stinky tennis shoes, spent our last remaining Norwegian Kronen on chocolate and Prosecco, and made it to Stockholm in time to open that bottle of sparkly, kick off our flip flops, and watch the USA v England football (soccer) match. It was a 1:1 draw. I think the reason many Americans don't go crazy over soccer, is because you can actually finish a match without a winner.

Today, Germany plays the Aussies. We hope to find a public square where we can watch it. TGI Friday's perhaps? I have already seen three of those in Stockholm.

1 comment:

  1. Had to throw away the tennis shoes? Oh well, guess that means you have to buy a new pair of shoes! (twist arm) ;-)