The first week of our summer holiday in Sweden has come to a close. If the first week is any indication, the remaining two are going to be fantastic.
We began last Saturday with a comfortable ride on the fast train from Stockholm, first class. Apart from the free coffee and slightly wider seats, I'm not sure what makes it first class. Crossing the breadth of the country in 3 hours is nice (it would take considerably longer to cross the length but we'll save that for another vacation).
A (terrible) round of golf at our home course in Stenungsund Sunday morning before readying the sailboat for our trip to Åstol, a small island in the western archipelago. We had a pleasant 2 hour trip to the island Brattön, where Cecilia's sister and family have their summer house. Cecilia and I spent our first night, which for me was one of fittful sleep, on the boat, and we departed for Åstol just after lunch. With I at the helm and Carl Axel as navigator we made the hour and a half trip through some relatively choppy waters and arrived at the disgustingly picturesque harbor. A few Pimms Cups (the quintessential summer drink) and a change of clothes and we were ready for what brought us here: Daniel Lemma at the smokehouse.
For those of you who don't know, Daniel Lemma is a Swede of ethiopian descent who's rise to fame (in Sweden) came when he penned the soundtrack to a hilairous film here. He's enjoyed moderate success with his subsequent releases but hasn't quite made a name for himself outside his homeland. I've been a fan ever since his first release and his song, "If I used to love you" was what Cecilia and I had our first dance to at our wedding (5 years ago in August!!!). The venue for the show was a 75 or so capacity dining room at a retaurant where smoked shrimp are the specialty. Between the friends/family, all you can eat shrimp, and the fact the venue was so small I could have refilled Daniel's water glass without getting out of my seat, it was easily one of the best musical experiences of my life. After the show I had a beer and a chat with Stephan, Daniel's very talented muti-instrumental backing musician aboutBreaking into the US and the music industry in general.
The plan was to leave the next day, but the weather was so fantastic and having nothing really to do, we poured a few more Pimms Cups and laid back in the harbour and relaxed for another day.
After making it back to the mainland, we loaded the car up and headed out to the summer house at Råö, which has been in Cecilia's mother's family for 3 generations. Cecilia is taking up the project of interviewing her grandmother about the history of the house for a coffee table book to be published in a very limited run (of 1, so don't be looking for it in your local Barnes & Nobel any time soon). We spent the next 2 days gardening and doing odd jobs around the house and its looking pretty good.
Today we are taking off for a roadtrip down south to Skåne, where the dialect boarders on Danish, for some golf and sightseeing.
The Swedish is coming along now. I can more or less follow any conversation I hear, with varying degrees of comprehension. I can almost always figure out at least generally what people are talking about. Speaking has proven to be the most difficult, but my interactions with Swedes have ceased to begin with "Pratar du engelska?/Do you speak English?" and I'm taking a stab at getting my message across, with varying degrees of effectiveness. When things get a little over my head I just pretend I know what people are talking about and just nod. It reminds me of how David Sedaris described learning French. Whenever someone would say something, he'd reply, "d'accord/ok" and see what happens. Fortunately I haven't found myself in my underpants in a doctors office waiting room, surrounded by fellow fully clothed "waiters" as a result of my faked comprehension, unlike Sedaris...yet.
Enjoy some pics from the last week...and the video of DL playing at Åstol at the bottom (if it ever finished loading...)
*computer froze so this is getting uploaded a week after it was written...(Cecilia)
a lovely couple.
Captain and skipper
Daniel Lemma and Stefan
Åstol...what you see is the extent of it.
It looks nice, but not nice enough to tempt me. Its not the Florida or South Carolina or Indonesia bathwater temperatures I am used to.
The family enjoying mackerel at the summer house.