Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In which I catch up

Typical. Day four into my trip and I've already fallen behind on my daily blogging. Whatever; it's my holiday and I can do what I want to! This is what I have been up to for the past couple of days...

I have a good excuse for yesterday - it was a jam-packed, excellent day! In the morning I went to Lund which is about 100,000 people (compared to Malmo which is about 300,000). It's about a blink of an eye north of Malmo and takes minutes to get there on the train. Luckily my hotel is right beside Malmo Central Station (have I mentioned how much I love this place?), so I rolled out of bed and onto the train, and in less time than it would have taken me to walk to my TTC stop on Queen Street, I was in a very lovely town.

I had heard that Lund was nice but I was not prepared for how much I would love it! It is a university town, with over 40,000 of the 100,000 population being involved with the university. Now I didn't see the university; I spent time exploring some of the old part of the city where the Lund Cathedral is located as well as the Historical Museum. There are so many beautiful, old buildings - everywhere I turned I was enchanted by what I saw. And it's probably redundant to say it's an old part of the city - there is so much history here, EVERYTHING is old!


Kungshuset, Lund

The Cathedral was spectacular, although I was disappointed the crypt was closed. I took some exterior shots in the rain, not realizing I had raindrops on my lens as well as my glasses and the viewfinder, so later when the rain FINALLY abated, I took some shots in the sun.

Lund Cathedral in the rain

Lund Cathedral

I also had time to visit the Historical Museum, which was pretty interesting. Especially the Cabinet of Curiosities.

Historical Museum, Lund

Egypt, Cabinet of Curiosities, Historical Museum, Lund

I also liked the model of the Horological clock, the actual of which is right next door in the Lund Cathedral.

Model Horological Clock, Historical Museum, Lund

It was pouring rain when I arrived in Lund, and it was pretty early when I started exploring, so not much was open. I am definitely going to go back to Lund -- I really wanted to see the open air museum called Kulturen, which is about 30 historical buildings in a city block that are open to the public and recreate an earlier period of time (not sure which one exactly - Swedish history goes waaaay back). I walked around the outside of Kulturen and took a peak at what I could but it's definitely worth a trip back...on a sunny day...when Kulturen is open.

Kulturen, Lund

Kulturen, Lund

I also had a lovely chai latte and spinach pie and got warm and dry at Wayne's Coffee House. it's my new favourite coffee chain in Sweden, better than the Espresso House. I am sure there is better coffee, but these places are plentiful and handy when you need to retreat from the endless drizzle. And yes, I have really, really bad hair here. It might have a lovely curl but you can't see it under all the frizz.

That probably sounds like a full day, but my day was still not done; the best was yet to come. But what happens in Vegas/Veberod/Bjarsjolagard stays in Vegas/Veberod/Bjarsjolagard! I met some lovely ladies from Ravelry, who welcomed me into their knitting group and knit night at one of their homes. I had such a great time getting to know them, and spending time with them, and learned a lot more about Sweden and it's lovely people, food, history and language. And as a special treat I got to try something I really wanted to try while I was here - a homemade traditional Swedish dish called Jansson's Temptation which is basically (caveat: this description is for the Canadians reading the blog; it is NOT how Swedish people would describe this dish lol) a scalloped potato pie with anchovies. It is delicious! Before I segue into my food diatribe, I will just say I had a wonderful time with my new Swedish friends, and am so grateful for their hospitality and awesome company. (And really, I can knit - and count - despite all evidence to the contrary yesterday!)

I am planning to explore more of the southern area of Sweden called Skane which is very accessible by train or buses. I had a lot of help but I am starting to get the hang of the Skanetrafiken train and bus's the last leg of my journey "home" to Malmo last night from Lund.

Purple train, Lund Central Station

It has been very hard to find good Swedish food here - mostly because of the season, very little has been open. And while there are some restaurants in central Malmo catering to traditional Swedish food, I haven't been able to get to one of these places yet, but if I wanted a Whopper or Chinese food or hot dog, no problem! Amber had already scoped out the food situation at my hotel, and as she thought might be the case, the breakfast is excellent. Despite wanting to sleep in past sunrise today (let's be honest, that's not as bad as it sounds because the sun rises after 8:30 am and goes down about 3:30 at this time of year), I still got up and dragged my lazy butt downstairs because I figured it would be the best food I might get today! And I called that! I did have some delicious $15/90SEK mushroom soup today but it's price tag greatly detracted from the yummy factor!

Speaking of food, as I write this I am sitting in a so-called gastropub. Silly me, I thought there would be actual food, good food. That's what usually earns the label gastropub in my experience. Apparently I need to scale back my expectations, because the food is not plenteous - I have four options, the cheapest and most exotic of which (all non-Swedish too) is fish and chips with mushy peas for 175SEK. I just cannot pay almost $30 for fish and chips, which is not something I normally eat anyway. Also for $30 I want someone to haul their butt over to my table and serve me, but they want me to order at the bar. So it's a Mexican standoff. I'll go up for a beer (it's only 4 feet away and I am drinking a nice local beer from Lund) but I won't go up for food that is expensive and not particularly enticing. I will haul my tired self over the My Favourite Place (aka Malmo Central Station...have you been paying attention?!?) and see what I can find. Guaranteed if I spend 175SEK I'll be getting two bags of groceries from the Co-op, including several cider in which to drown my indignation. And 175SEK in my world will last for at least three days of groceries (keeping in mind I have limited options since I have no fridge or utensil (okay, I may have lifted some from downstairs) but I still have no fridge or heating implements so I have limited options which may make it pricier).

Xmas dinner!

It's a wacky world where you talk about the end of your day but not the beginning or anything in between. But whatever, here we are all the same, assuming you are still reading...

(Aside here: I just went up to the bar to order another beer as I am parched - writing is very thirsty work - and saw how packed this bar must be the beer and not the food, that's all I'm saying!!! Come to think of it, I haven't seen or smelled any food, so I think the train station is a better call for food at this point, assuming I am still peckish after drinking this quite hearty beer...)

Anyway, today was a quiet day. My hotel is in the Docklands north of the train station, so I explored the docklands and Western Harbour this morning. It was windy and raining and foggy, but that's no different than any other day really, so I struck out at the ass crack of dawn (aka 8:30 am) in search of the Turning Torso, a condominium tour that rotates 90 degrees from the base to the top of the 54th floor. I was also hoping to see the Kogg Musuem but it was closed for the season (koggs are medieval trading vessels; you know my obsession with boats!). I kind of knew where it was, more or less, since I could just barely see it in the "rising sun" from my hotel window (if you squint and look really closely you can see it just about the red brick building where I am sitting writing this blog post in the afore maligned Green Lion pub).

Sunrise view from my hotel window, Malmo

The Turning Torso was elusive as it kept getting lost in the fog, but I persevered until I located it. I had to laugh when I found it. If you're from Toronto, you'll know why instantly.

Turning Torso, Western Harbour, Malmo

Then I walked down to St Peter's Church since I hadn't seen it during the day or when it wasn't pouring rain.

St Peter's Church, Malmo

Then I did a little more exploring in Lilla Torg; I saw a great show at the Form/Design Centre of 1960s and 1970s music poster art, called Mindblowing - an excellent show! I was finally able go into some of the shops I had previously seen which had been closed for the holidays, like The Spice Tree (which I could buy very little at since I couldn't bring it back but it was fun all the same).

The Spice Tree Butik, Malmo

I also found a restaurant I might try if the gods and stars align in terms of it's openness and my availability. The other one I'd like to try is closed until January 9 or 10 like many stores and businesses here.

Bastard Restaurant, Malmo

Menu at Bastard, Malmo

After that I went to the contemporary art gallery called the Malmo Konsthall and saw the two current exhibitions of Gerhard Nordstrom and Francisco Goya. That's where I had the tasty but overpriced mushroom soup. It's possible that it's not overpriced and just seems that way because of how high the numbers are in Swedish Krona. This is probably a good thing for me, because the prices sound so high they are scary and for once I am motivated to be mindful if what I am spending!

We're now full circle, so since that's all I did...then that's all I wrote!

Viking, souvenir shop, Stortorget, Malmo

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