It is so great to wake up in the morning to a bright blue sky with a beaming sun, which is what I have had the fortune of doing both yesterday and this morning. Yay! So it seems like the sun has finally found Karlskrona here in Sweden again, I just hope this lovely weather stays over the weekend too.
Now of course when the weather is warm like this I have to plan my walks with my dog Lisen more carefully, because her fur is pretty thick. Therefore she prefers a bit more cool weather. Also the fact that she is 11 now makes me not want to push her too hard on sunny days. So this morning we got up extra early and went for a long forest walk with my sister and her dog Diva, before it got too hot outside.
Diva (left) keeping an eye on where Lisen is heading.
So she can make a run for it and get there first. Hehe.
But Lisen just wanted to carry the water bottle, something Diva had no interest in...
And although Lisen does not roll around in dirty stuff, jump in dirty puddles or run around as much as she used to nowadays, I am sure she enjoyed our forest stroll this morning. A walk that, despite her quite calm pace, sure wiped her out. Because she has been sleeping non stop ever since we got home. Hehe.
Zzz... Lisen on the balcony in the shade after our walk.
So now I have a tired dog AND a sunny day to enjoy this Friday, which certainly sounds like a great way to start the weekend to me! :p
When I was in Gothenburg recently I went for a quick visit to the Botanical Garden, which with its 175 hectares is one of the largest of its kind. But it was not the lovely flowers, trees or plants that became the main attraction during my visit - it was three ducks. Lol!
A lovely, soothing fountain at the entrance of the Botanical Garden in Gothenburg.
Well, it was soothing until these guys arrived.
Because this duck couple were not happy to have been followed by another male duck.
Which they loudly expressed to him.
And showed him.
Which caused quite the little scene.
But in the end, the poor guy finally gave up and flew away.
Which was when the female duck, who did all the chasing by the way, jumped in the fountain to wash off all the drama.
Under the male duck's watchful eye of course.
Washy, washy, washy.
But just when the duck couple thought it was time for some relaxation.
Another type of chase began...
Man, those ducks sure had a hectic day. Not sure why the other male duck tried to follow them though? It looked like he was interested in the female duck , but shouldn't he had challanged the male duck then? Oh well, I do not know much about ducks - except that they sure seem to be very stubborn birds. Lol!
Now of course there were a lot of other stunning things to see at the Botanical Garden in Gothenburg, but I will have to save those photos for another post. Because these three cute little duckies certainly deserve to have their own post. I mean, they were a big part of my visit to the Botanical Garden and will definitely stay in my travel memory for a long time to come. :-)
So this Friday was Midsummer's Eve here in Sweden, a day which I actually think feels more like Sweden's National Day than the actual Swedish National Day. I say that because the celebration of Sweden's National Day is rather new, compared with the celebration of Midsummer's Eve in Sweden. Anyway, Midsummer's Eve is also a day that, at least for me, revolves a lot around Swedish food. :p
A Swedish Midsummer Pole.
Now I did go to check out a Midsummer Pole on Midsummer's Eve, but unfortunately the games and dances around the pole had already ended when I got there... Probably because the weather was a bit unreliable. Even so, I did take a few photos of it. I also took photos of the rest of my Midsummer Eve highlights of course, which mainly consisted of different foods though. Lol! Actually, I am starting to think I might be a bit food obsessed..? Ehum...
Anyway, below are some photos from my Midsummer's Eve 2012. :-)
The Midsummer Pole in Rödeby in Sweden. Where most festivities were over when I arrived, but a few children where still playing around the Midsummer Pole though. :-)
After my visit to the Midsummer Pole it was time for Midsummer lunch. Which consisted of...
... boiled Swedish new potatoes with fresh dill.
Boiled egg halves with mayonnaise, fresh dill, shrimp and crayfish tails.
A super simple cold sauce made with sour cream and fresh chives.
Different types of pickled herring, pickles from the left are: onion, French onion and tomato.
And of course the classic, and most popular, pickled herring on the Swedish Midsummer table - Matie Herring.
Now the difference between pickled Matie herring and "normal" pickled herring is that Matie herring is caught in early autumn, just before the herring becomes mature to mate. This is when the fish has the correct fat content, size and has eaten the type of food which gives it its special Matie herring flavour.
My favourite pickled herring though, and pretty much the only pickled herring I eat, is pickled onion herring (in the photo). I think Matie herring tastes a bit too salty and mushy. Pickled onion herring, on the other hand, has a bit more texture and firmness to it and tastes a bit salt and sour - which I like.
My Midsummer lunch plate. To drink I had a Swedish beer (Mariestad) and a Swedish snaps (OP Anderson Aquavit). Now the proper and traditional way to drink snaps on Midsummer's Eve is to sing a snapsvisa - booze song before you drink it, but I think it is quite suffice to just say SKÅL - Cheers. ;p
In the afternoon it was time for the all important and traditional home made Midsummer Strawberry Cake with fresh Swedish strawberries - which my sister made this year. Yuuuuumm!! :p
My piece! :p The Strawberry Cake was made out of sponge cake, without fat, and filled with crushed strawberries and vanilla custard. It was then covered with whipped cream and strawberries. Insanely delicious!!! And very hard to stop eating...
Now the weather was alright on Midsummer's Eve during the day, barely any rain. But of course when we decided light the grill in the evening...
... it started to rain quite heavily.
But thanks to the lid on the grill, we managed to barbecue these treats anyway. On the grill: corn, veggie sausages and two T-bone steaks.
My Midsummer barbecue plate. T-bone steak, corn, egg (from lunch), a little bit of bought potato salad and some home made potato salad. Another BIG yum!
Of course during this eat fest my dog Lisen held a close eye under the table, in case anyone were to drop something edible. Diva however, the furry doggy behind Lisen, tried her luck a bit more up close to the action. Hehe. Naturally both doggies got a lot of goodies and treats to eat on this day too! :-)
I told you I think I have become a bit food obsessed... Lol! But really, food is an important part of the Midsummer celebration. Dancing around the Midsummer Pole and wearing Midsummer Crowns are also a big part of course, but more for children and families I think. So, despite the over eating, my Midsummer's Eve was pretty calm this year. Which was kind of nice. Now I just have to work off those insane amount of extra calories I have eaten lately... Yikes! Good thing the next big Swedish food fest is not until August, when the Crayfish Party Season starts. Yihaa! ;p
Today it was time for my favourite traditional market in Karlskrona, the Leaf Market. A market that has been around in Karlskrona for more than 200 years. It is also a market that I have attended almost every year of my life. So this morning I woke up eager to go in to town and continue this lovely tradition. And naturally I brought my camera with me and took lots of photos! Below are some of them.
Now the Leaf Market is one of the first big markets of the summer season in and around Karlskrona, so every year lots of people make their way in to town to stroll around there for a while.
More people heading towards the Great Square, where most of the over 500 market stalls are placed. And which is actually one of the largest squares in Europe's northern regions.
View over the Great Square and Leaf Market in Karlskrona.
View from the opposite side of the square.
Originally the Leaf Market was when farmers went into town to sell shrubs and flowers, which were used as decorations around farms.
Flowers are still popular to buy at the market today.
Even bumble bees check them out. (I think it is a bumble bee?)
Another popular flower decoration at the Leaf Market is the Swedish traditional Midsummer Crown.
Because the Leaf Market is held the day before Midsummer's Eve, many people buy them here.
Actually, many people wear them here as well. ;p
Some people even wear old traditional Swedish outfits at the market. (Though I do think these folks were part of a Swedish traditional Midsummer dance performance earlier, or later.)
Strawberries are a crucial part of the Midsummer's Eve celebration, therefore they too are very popular to buy at the Leaf Market. The reason strawberries are so important is because we Swedes must have our traditional Strawberry Cake on Midsummer's Eve, or else it will be ruined - seriously!
And in the left corner here are another popular berry at the market, in Swedish they are called Bigarrå - which is a sort of Cherry.
This was a new one. Lol! Looked quite yummy though. :p
Of course strolling around at the Leaf Market makes you hungry. And one popular sandwich to eat here is the Herring Sandwich. I have actually not tried it, so I am not sure about everything that is on it. But it is pan fried fresh herring on dark bread though, that I know.
Lines to the Herring Sandwich stall.
I, however, prefer to eat this when I am at markets - Langos! :p A Hungarian dish which consists of fried bread with different toppings.
Yum!!! (I know I include this in every market post I publish - but it is so gooood!!). Hehe.
There were of course a ton of other things to see, try and buy here.
Home made cheesecake.
Different sausages, like moose, wild boar, eel and reindeer sausage...
Home made Apple Juice from Karlskrona.
And candy in all shapes and sizes of course.
There were also lots of handcrafts here, like these typical Swedish wooden butter knives.
Not so typical Swedish wooden butter knives. Lol!
Cute wooden trolls.
And Swedish wooden Midsummer Poles.
Although I did not bring my dog Lisen to the Leaf Market, I do always buy her a treat from this dog stall.
They have lots of dog treats to choose from.
I usually buy a giant pig's ear, but they did not have those this year. So I bought her a pig's tail instead.
Though Lisen looked a bit suspicious, she did enjoy her treat nevertheless. Lol!
And I enjoyed my visit to this year's Leaf Market - ahh! Great weather, a delicious Lango and lots of fun things to do and see. A very succesfull day indeed.
:-) Now I look forward to a yummy and lovely day tomorrow, Midsummer's Eve. Unfortunately we are predicted to have rain though, all through the weekend as well. Hopefully that is an incorrect prognosis... Either way, I do want to wish everyone a very happy Midsummer's Eve! Regardless of the weather. ;p
Although I have never tried muay thai, also known as thai boxing, after checking out MuayThai-Thailand.com I am certainly more curious about it. The website introduced me to Suwit Muay Thai Camp & Gym, located in the Phuket province in Thailand. A camp where everyone is welcome to stay and train muay thai, regardless of age, gender and previous muay thai experience. And people from all over the world have stayed here, even people from Sweden.
Now the Suwit Mauy Thai Camp has been open for over 25 years and is staffed with experienced muay thai trainers. The camp is located at a beautiful island and has affordable accommodations. All necessary equipment and room needed for training muay thai thailand can also be found at the camp. And in case anyone is curious, there are lots of photos of the camp, accommodations and previous guests available on the website.
Also available on the website is further information of what type of training this camp offers, as well as prices of course. For example, a special package of muay thai training for one month which includes a private room with fan and private bathroom costs 11,000 Baht (355 USD or 256 EUR). A onetime training session costs 500 Thai Baht (16 USD or 12 EUR). So there are plenty of different options to choose from. And the Suwit Muay Thai Camp is open all year round with training two times a day, morning and afternoon.
Although I have never been to Thailand or to this camp, it does sound pretty intriguing to try muay thai for the first time in its place of origin. Because of course muay thai, or thai boxing, originates from Thailand. Either way, I had a nice visit on this website and I learned a few new things as well. Like the fact that Thai Boxing is called Muay Thai in Thai. :-)
This Is A Sponsored Review
I was in Gothenburg here in Sweden over the weekend visiting friends. And of course I brought my camera and took lots of photos. Some of which were of one of the largest fullrigged wooden sailing ships in the world, the Swedish ship Götheborg.
The Götheborg seen from the front.
The Götheborg seen from the back.
And the Götheborg seen from the side.
Actually this ship is a reconstruction of the mid-18th century ship The Original East Indiaman Götheborg. A ship that unfortunately, after a 30 months exhausting trip to China, ran aground in the middle of the entrance to Gothenburg harbour on the 12th of September 1745. She eventually sunk there with her entire cargo, which consisted of things like tea, porcelain, silk and spices.
The construction of the replica started in 1995 and eight years later the Götheborg was launched. In 2005 and 2007 the ship sailed the historical route to China and back in 20 months. Since then the ship has been on a number of smaller expeditions in Sweden and Scandinavia. This summer, starting on June 30, the Götheborg will set sail for a shorter tour in northern Europe with stop overs in Holland, France and Germany. To check out the exact route and dates go to --> European Tour 2012.
Now this replica might look like the original ship Götheborg on the outside, but it is in fact a modern ship with modern machinery. Though the majority of the advanced technical equipment have been concealed deep down in the hull. The new ship also meets the international safety requirements for ocean going vessels of course. So the project of this ship is based on modern research combined with the revival of traditional methods of craftsmanship dating from the 18th century. A rather enchanting combination I think.
And when we stopped by the Götheborg in the harbour it was filled with eager students who were on the ship to learn and practice.
Students tying away.
Students climbing away.
And in the middle of everything, tourists were boarding the ship.
So it was full activity indeed.
And I am sure it must feel like quite an adventure, as well as a trip back in time, to sail on that ship. Actually it reminds me of "The Pirates Of The Caribbean" ships and Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). Now that is one pirate I certainly would not mind encountering. ;p
Anyway, it was fun to see the Götheborg up close and with full activity on it. It is definitely a beautiful ship. And a ship I wish many more successful trips in the future. :-)
I have finally gotten my own camera, a Canon EOS 600D. Yay! The one I used before was my mum's, a Canon EOS 450D. But the coolest thing is that my mum has bought a macro lens for her camera, which also fits mine (another yay!). So I tried it out yesterday for the first time, and I absolutely LOVED it!
I loved it because my favourite part of photographing is to get as close to the subject as possible, and to try to capture it from different angles. Which this lens is perfect for. Therefore I was in photograph heaven for a few hours yesterday. Hehe. And sorry mum, but I will most likely borrow your macro lens many more times in the future. Lol! ;-)
But for now, below are my first captures through a macro lens with my new camera - Iris Through A Macro Perspective. A perspective which truly made me discover things I had never noticed before.
Inside another world.
A world filled with fruitful life.
And a world filled with beauty.
A marvellous little world of Iris, right in front of my eyes. :-)
Swedish strawberries are only sold between June and August every year in Sweden. So every year when I see that Swedish strawberries are available to buy again, it, to me, means that the Swedish summer finally has arrived! Yay!
And here they are, my first Swedish strawberry purchase of the year! :p
Now in Sweden we have a tradition called Midsummer Eve when we, among other things, always eat Swedish strawberry cake as part of the Midsummer Eve celebration meal. Therefore it is vital that Swedish strawberries are available to buy for Midsummer Eve, which falls on June 22nd this year. Because if they are not, well - Midsummer Eve is ruined!
It is true. There have been years when the strawberry season has been bad or delayed due to weather conditions, and during those years the price for Swedish strawberries has gone through the roof before Midsummer Eve. That is how important they are here in Sweden. Though this year it seems like the Swedish strawberry season has had a good start. Although I do think the price for one liter of Swedish strawberries is a bit high right now, here in Karlskrona anyway. One liter of Swedish strawberries cost between 40-45 Swedish Kronas, which is about 5.50 - 6.50 US Dollars (currency today 1 USD = 7.1 SEK). A price I am sure will drop to about half that, or less, after Midsummer Eve though.
However, despite the high price and even though the proper and traditional thing would be to wait with the Swedish strawberry premiere until our traditional Midsummer Eve celebration - I am simply not that patient. Lol! Therefore I had my Swedish strawberry premiere this weekend.
When I had these newly picked, sweet, juicy and amazingly delicious Swedish strawberries with ice cream and whipped cream. So yuuuuummylicious!!! :p
Now I will just have to try to restrain myself until Midsummer Eve for my next big Swedish strawberry feast, though I doubt I can wait that long... Hehe. ;p
Once again my dog Lisen is pseudopregnant, which means that she thinks she is pregnant and is going to have pups. Now she always becomes pseudopregnant after she has been in heat, so I am used to it. What I wonder though is if female dogs ever become too old to go through this? If they, like women, go through menopause I mean? Or can dogs become pregnant no matter how old they are? Hm...
Anyway, Lisen is in the end phase of her pseudopregnancy now so it should be over soon. But while she is in this last phase she does not want to do anything except prepare for her coming pups. She barely eats, whines a lot, does not want to go on long walks and she digs around at home all the time to make a proper place for her pups to arrive. Therefore this is a common sight at home right now:
I think it is time soon Alex, look how great I made the bed for the pups.
I hope it is time soon anyway...
... because this is waiting game is just exhausting man.
Aww! But although it must be quite tiresome for Lisen to become pseudopregnant after each heat cycle, it is normal. So I am not worried. Having said that, I do indeed look forward to having Lisen back to her old "non-pregant" self again soooon. :-)
Now I have never really been interested in flowers, plants or gardening. But recently I have actually come to appreciate these things a bit more, at least flowers and herbs. Though I still only have one green plant in my apartment and two window boxes with herbs during the summer on my balcony. However, now and then I come across flowers in stores that really capture me. Like this one:
This flower is called Bleeding Heart in English, a very dramatic name I think. Hehe.
In Swedish it is called Löjtnantshjärta, which if literally translated becomes Lieutenant's Heart. The scientific name for it is Lamprocapnos Spectabilis.
Anyway, I had never seen this flower before when I saw it and I thought it was the cutest thing. But when I told my mum about it she said that she actually have those in her garden. Ops... I had completely missed that! So of course when I visited her next time I had to see them for myself, and yupp - there they were.
Right alongside the house wall, a pretty Bleeding Heart in her garden. Though in white.
But equally as cute.
And the fact that my mum already had this flower in her garden was a bit of a relief for me, because I then realized that I did not have to buy one myself. Lol! I can just admire the loveliness of the Bleeding Heart in her garden instead, where I am sure that the flower also has a much higher chance for survival than in my apartment. Hehe. :p
We certainly have had a strange beginning to our, traditionally, first real summer month of June here in Lyckeby in Sweden. Not only have the first days of this month been very chilly, only about 10-15 °C, but yesterday we even had thunder and a hailstorm! Yikes! Ok, thunder is not so bizarre. But hail, weird... Anyway, of course I immediately grabbed my camera and tried to capture some shots of this odd occurrence. So below are some photos from our Hailstorm And Thunder In June yesterday.
View of the hailstorm from my window.
View from my balcony.
Even my dog Lisen thought this was very strange (I think). Hehe. She looked quite thoughtful anyway.
And some of the hail on my balcony.
Actually, Lisen and I just got home about ten minutes before the thunder and hail started. So we were very lucky, I would not have wanted to be stuck on the road driving in that. Phew! But come on, how about some sun and heat now please. :-) Save those white chilly drops for winter instead, when they are much more appreciated. At least in flake form. Hehe. ;-)