Monday, July 27, 2009

Vacation weeks 2 & 3 (of 3)

Just got back to Stockholm after our Southern/West Coast swing and am getting ready to pack up and head out on the final leg of my long vacation to Seattle for a few days.

After the first week of boating and messing around at the summer house, we took off for a week long road trip to the Southern part of Sweden, Skåne and Österlen. It's truly a beautiful part of the country, and a bit different than any other part. Reminds me a lot of Nebraska by the sea oddly enough. Wide open fields right next to rocky seascapes, and the weather seems to be a bit more temperate than the rest of the country.

We started off with a 2 night stay with some friends of Cecilia's parents outside Malmö. In addition to their fine hospitality, we enjoyed a round at Bärsebäck Golf & CC, site of the SAS Masters Cup (which just finished). My golf season kicked into high gear here and I shot my best round ever, a 9 over par 80. It was enough to drop my handicap to a respectible 14, which subsequent rounds would show is probably too low. Crappy thing about the Swedish handicap system is that you can lower your handicap pretty easily with a good round (I went from 18 to 14.1), but when you play 3 crap rounds after that (which I did), you don't raise it nearly as quickly (I'm now at 14.3 despite 3 horrendous rounds). So with my one-time fantastic round, I basically shot myself in the foot for the upcoming company tournament in September where I'll have to play on a 14 handicap.

After our stay north of Malmö, we pointed the Volvo east towards Simrishamn to meet up with some of Cecilia's old friends and tour the countryside, including a beach stop, tour of an apple orchard, a couple small fishing villages and ending at a great little B&B in the middle of nowhere where we enjoyed a great dinner. Highlight was the parmasean cheese sauce served w/the steak Cecilia had. Tasted fantastic and the chef gave me the recipe which is embarrassingly easy. Cream, paramsean cheese and a bit of lime juice. I'm going to give it a go tonight to see if I can recreate it.

We took off early for another round of golf among the apple orchards and along the sea at Lila Vik. Not the worst round in the world, those would come later. Cecilia did have a brain fart which made for a good laugh around the 13th hole (see picture below for explanation).

After our round, we meandered along the coast south towards Ystad, stopping at about every antique store and flea market on the way before finally arriving in Ystad. It was sort of a last minute decision to stop here and we booked a room a couple days in advance. A wildly popular detective series ("Wallander") was filmed here, and now the Brits are doing an English version. All English actors speaking English, but its set in Sweden and all the characters have Swedish names. If it doesn't sound strange, take my word for it, it is. Anyway, the cast and crew totally booked 2 hostels for about 2 years and that on top of it being high season, we were left with the one hotel room left in an ancient hotel on the main street. Sounded good, until we got there. The receptionist said it wasn't a double, but 2 single beds. "Fine", we thought, "we can just push the beds together". Wrong. The room was essentially 2 closets they combined. 2 single beds, with a 1/2 wall separating them, and, the kicker, 2 mounted TV's on either side of the 1/2 wall. The 2nd kicker, the toilet was in a closet. 3rd kicker, so was the shower, only a different closet. By far the strangest hotel room we ever stayed in.

A nice meal and we were off the next day for some outlet shopping on our way back to Stenungsund. Our final week there was spent at the summer house just relaxing and doing a bit of gardening, which continuously surprises me how much I enjoy weeding. I could sit there all day just turning dirt. Cecilia and Carl-Axel kept interrupting me with dinner and other small trips though. In the end, I got most of one entire flower bed done and it's looking good considering it was basically a lawn when I started.

That was it really, 3 weeks and we made a few trips, but in the end it felt like we didn't do too much. I don't think Cecilia was ready to head back to work today, but I think I will be when I get back from Seattle. That said, I need to do a bit of packing before I leave tomorrow.

Cecilia doing her impression of the Turning Torso in Malmö

Another shot of the Turning Torso. Its an apartment building apparently.

At Clas & Kerstin's house outside Malmö. Theme for the vacation: Pimms Cup.

Enjoying some freshly made Gaspacho after meeting Cecilia's old friend Maria and her boyfriend Frederik. I don't remembering it being quite as blissful as the expression on my face would indicate. Good though.

Cecilia sampling some of the Applemust from Kivik's Musteri

Relaxing and deciding what to have for dinner at our B&B in Österlen.

Golf at Lila Vik.

Even though I look good, I don't think I hit the green here.

So there was a little sign next to this green "contraption" advertising smoothies. Cecilia was disappointed when, despite her best efforts, no smoothie came out of it. "It" being the BALL CLEANER. Cecilia is catching on to golf quickly, but apparently still has a way to go.

Cecilia was a bit overly enthusiastic about the poppies we found. I did check her bag for contraband.

The hotel. You can see the double TV's hanging on the wall.

Ales Stenar - These extremely old rocks in a formation that no one know's definatively why they are there.

Down the hill from the rock circle thing towards a little harbor where we enjoyed a fantastic lunch of....

Fresh Ale (shelf life 3 months), potato salad, shrimp salad, 2 kinds of smoked makerel, and freshly baked bread. Delish.

Back at the summer house, admiring my flower bed work.

It don't get more Swedish.

Crayfish dinner before we left the West coast. Delish.

Wine on the train. I'm finding I love riding the train between Stockholm and the west coast. Even though we rode the slow "milk train" and it took almost 5 hours, it's more enjoyable than flying.

1 comment:

Märy said...

Nice! Love reading your posts! Låter som ni har haft en härlig semester. Hoppas du hade det bra i Seattle Brad! Du är kanske här just du är på väg så packa badbyxor och inget mer! Det är så jäkla varmt här! Kl är 21.17 och det är fortfarande 90F! Sick!
Ha det gott!