It has been a very hot, summer day really, here in Karlskrona in Sweden today. So my dog Lisen and I spent the day with my mum, sister and her dog Diva in my mums garden. Where I for some reason always find something fun to photograph. And today I got all wrapped up in these twisted zucchinis.
It is amazing how much fun you can have with some zucchinis. Lol! :p
Also I truly want to Thank Everyone who participated! It became a small but lovely Giveaway with heartfelt answers. And I had such a wonderful time reading them all! Below is the video of my live Giveaway Drawing at Ustream earlier. It was live, hence the unforeseen echoing and uncooperative doggy. Hehe.
This was Antonys answer to my question "What are you grateful for?":
"I am grateful to meet such wonderful people such as you because of technology and learn about their lives and their cultures. I am so grateful that we live in an age where technology has given us this huge gift - one that other people created for us."
Thanks again Everyone! :-)
Although I did a post about my visit in Stockholm in Sweden, I still have a ton of photos I could not fit in there. Like these photos from Sollentuna mall in Stockholm where I saw some odd shaped chairs!
So there I was walking around in Sollentuna mall (in the photo) doing some window shopping.
When all of a sudden I passed by these odd shaped chairs. Lol!
I just had to back up and take a closer look. And they definitely are the oddest chairs I have ever seen in my life! I wish I would have tried them out though because now I wonder if they are actually comfortable to sit in? Hm? Either way, they sure caught my attention. And gave me a good laugh there in the middle of Sollentuna mall. Hehe.
I have updated my Swedish Christmas section. So instead of having one page about Christmas in Sweden, and some other celebrations we have here in December, I have divided the section into several pages. Which include; Advent in Sweden, Lucia in Sweden, Christmas Markets and Christmas Eve in Sweden. I have also added some new photos and info to these pages.
And while I was working on this it struck me how close to December we actually are. It feels like this year begun just a few days ago. But hey, I am not complaining or feeling very stressed out about it. It just always amazes me how time has a habit of flying by way too quickly. Which in turn made me think of how the perception of the past and present feels so unreal sometimes. Like a dream. So I guess it is a good thing that I have this blog to keep track of my experiences. Because at least if I see my life on the Internet, it must be real. Right?
Lisen and I visited my sister yesterday. And while I was there I just happened to see this cute bird couple sitting up on a tree top. They looked so cosy and lovely up there! Like they were having the best time ever. I also really noticed how fall, with its gorgeous colors, has sneaked up on us here in Sweden.
And just like that, the moment became filled with such peace and beauty. A true moment of fall in love.
And I wonder what they were talking about up there?
I get odd ideas sometimes... Like this one. While I was eating this egg on my balcony I suddenly thought the egg would be a great photo opportunity! So in I went to grab my camera. And below is the result.
An egg from a different angle.
Makes no sense at all. Lol! But that is when I think you should just go for it. No matter how weird an idea might seem.
I took my doggy Lisen to the Vet yesterday because last week I noticed that she had a moist eczema on her cheek. Also known as a Hot Spot. Not sure why it is called that though? But the Vet said that it feels like a burn injury and therefore it really burns on the dog when you touch the Hot Spot. So maybe that is what the "Hot" part refers to? Anyway, I still think it is such an odd name for an eczema... Hehe.
But it is nothing serious. I just have have to put some ointment on it for about 7-10 days and it should be fine. Although it is not the most fun or comfortable thing for Lisen. Not only did the Vet have to shave off a lot of fur on Lisens cheek, both over the Hot Spot and around it. Because this thing spreads quickly. But doggy has to wear socks on her paws to prevent her from itching on it. The Vet recommended socks instead of those awful big collars because the Hot Spot needs to be free and breathe.
Which was a relief both for Lisen and me. Because that collar is so clumsy! Or rather, it makes Lisen clumsy. She hates wearing it and bumps into everything with it on. Socks are so much better! And she has been pretty good with the socks as well, not taken them off too many times. :-)
I also asked the Vet to check Lisen for some other stuff, like borrelia for instance. For some reason ticks love her and she has had borrelia once before. Something I really do not want her to get again! But she was completely healthy and borrelia free. Yay!
So now we just need to get rid of that Hot Spot on doggy so she can look pretty again. :-)
It is that time again! Swedish Giveaway time! Although this one is a rather spontaneous Giveaway I must say. Because recently when I was at the local store here in Lyckeby in Sweden I just happen to stumble across this beautiful Carl Larsson calendar for 2012.
And I thought it would be a prefect Giveaway prize! Which is why I am now having this Giveaway! :p
But who is Carl Larsson you might wonder? Well, Carl Larsson is a well known Swedish artist who was born in 1853 in Old Town in Stockholm. He is famous for his paintings of Swedish family life in the late 1800s. More specifically, paintings of his family life at his home in Lilla Hyttnäs in Sweden. So of course the photos of his paintings in this calendar are of Sweden, family and life in the 1800s. And what really makes this such a great prize is that the calendar is in Swedish/English/German!
Even though this Swedish Giveaway is a bit more simple than the ones I have had before. I will still announce the winner in a live Giveaway Drawing via my Ustream Channel. The drawing will be held on September 28, I will be back with the exact time later.
Now on to HOW you can win this calendar. I call this Giveaway a Swedish Gratitude Giveaway because I truly believe it is important to feel gratitude as often as possible in life. I say "feel" because I think gratitude comes from the heart and not from the mind. So the task is to simply answer the following question in the comment section. (One comment per person.)
What are you grateful for?
My answer: The simple things is life really, like the fact that I am alive. But also that I have a wonderful dog by my side. Not only because she is cute, hehe, but because if I did not have her I would probably not be out in nature as much. Something I always find very refreshing and energizing.
I am also deeply grateful to everyone who ever visit/follow/like this blog. And for all comments, email and feedback I receive. I have said this many times before but I do truly mean it and feel very grateful for every second anyone spends here. So Thank You for reading this!
By the way, the answer by the person who wins this Giveaway will be published in my Winner Announcement post. A link to the blog/website of the winner will also be included, if he/she has one.
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, known as Kåldolmar in Swedish, is a popular dish in Swedish households. I grew up eating them both at home and in school. And I actually thought it was an original Swedish dish but it turns out it is more like a Swedish twist on a classic Turkish dish. The difference being that in Sweden we stuff cabbage, instead of vine leaves, with mince and serve the rolls with brown sauce, potatoes and lingon berry jam, instead of yogurt or salad. However, it is not absolutely certain that this dish originates from Turkey either.
But the most common story in Sweden of how Stuffed Cabbage Rolls found its way here is the one where King Charles XII of Sweden brought them over from Bender. It is said that when King Charles XII in the early 1700s stayed in Bender, after the battle of Poltava and war against Russia. Either the king, or one of his soldiers, tasted Stuffed Cabbage Rolls for the first time. The recipe was then brought to Sweden. In fact this story is so deeply rooted in Sweden that every year on November 30th, the date King Charles XII died, Stuffed Cabbage Day is celebrated in Stockholm.
However, according to another theory this dish was brought to Sweden by people sent to Stockholm from the Ottoman Empire to ensure that Swedish loans were repaid. But no one really knows for sure. What is known though is that the very first written recipe for Stuffed Cabbage Rolls in Sweden can be found in Cajsa Wargs 1765 edition of her Swedish cookbook "Hjelpreda I Hushållningen För Unga Fruentimber" - "Assistant in Housekeeping for Young Women".
Now I have never actually made Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from scratch, I think it is a bit too time consuming. I simply buy frozen pre-made Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and then finish cooking them. By doing this I do not have to boil cabbage leaves and stuff them with mince, boiled rice, fried onions, salt and white pepper. The time consuming part...But what I do do is to fry the Stuffed Cabbage Rolls in a frying pan on relatively high heat to get some color on them. Pour syrup over them and add meat stock. After that they just need to simmer under a lid for about 45 minutes before they are done. And I always use the remaining simmering liquid to make the brown sauce with.
I of course then eat them in the "Swedish Twist" way. With boiled potatoes, brown sauce and lingon berry jam. Very tasty and a perfect dish to eat this chilly time of year in Sweden. :p
What a lovely experience I had earlier today when Lisen and I passed these eating horses on our walk here in Lyckeby in Sweden. The horses looked so beautiful in the sunshine, but what really struck me was that they all actually ate at the same time. I had never noticed that before, ever. I mean, it is one thing if they had all get fed at the same time. But here they were outside and able to eat whenever they wanted to. Which is why I thought it was pretty cool that they all decided to do that at the same time. :-)
I have been on many flights in my life and I prefer to fly to my travel destinations instead of driving or taking the bus for example. But one important factor I keep i mind when I am choosing a destination is the flight time. For instance flights to tenerife from manchester seems like a good option if you live in England and want to visit a warmer destination. And those flight times are not too long. Which on the other side the flight time between Stockholm and Los Angeles is.
And I have flown that route twice in my life so far, with stops in Heathrow. Me at LAX in 2007. Yeah!
If I remember correctly I think the total flight time was about 17 hours, one way. However it was definitely worth it! Because I had the best time in the US and I cannot wait to go back! Despite the flight time. :-)
Now as the weather is getting colder here in Sweden my mind starts to wander to warmer places. Although those thoughts do not generate any actual heat so I was thinking of different travel destinations that are warm when it is cold in Sweden. Like Spain, Egypt or South Africa, all places I have been to. But I have not been on any Turkey holidays yet so perhaps that would be an option?
A nice idea, for a bit further ahead in time perhaps. Because right now I am pretty busy with blogging, work and the rest. However I do have travel plans for this winter booked. Travel plans I will write about more when my departure date approaches. Until then though I will remain in this Swedish climate. Which is really not that bad, in fact very nice I must say. Because the air always feels extra fresh and clean this time of year. And the sun is warm, but not too hot, perfect for long walks with my dog Lisen. Therefore I know I will be just fine here in (sometimes rainy) Sweden until my next trip. :-)
I am having a Blog Hop - No Rules, Open All Weekend! Simply join below. And if you are a new follower here leave me a comment and I will follow back. Easy right? Well, I know I did not have a clue what a Blog Hop was when I first started to see them around on blogs. Therefore I thought I would also give a short explanation of what a basic Blog Hop is in this post.
Although every Blog Hop usually has its own twist. The basics are that a Blog Hop is a list a blogger put on his/her blog where you can add the url to your blog. The main purpose of a Blog Hop is for all bloggers on that list to visit each other, follow, comment and so on. In other words a Blog Hop is a way to find blogs as well as gain visitors, follows and comments to your blog.
Now there are a thousand different ways you can host a Blog Hop on your blog. Many prefer to ask their Blog Hoppers to perhaps follow their blog, mention the Blog Hop in a post or put up their Blog Hop button on your blog before you can join. Which is perfectly fine. I always follow blogs where I join in and I have a Blog Hop Page with buttons to Blog Hops I usually participate in. Although those are No/Few Rules Blog Hops so they do not require you to do this, but because I like them I feel I want to share them.
But the main reasons why I have No Rules Blog Hops om my blog from time to time is because I think it is fun with Blog Hops. And I prefer to keep my Blog Hops simple. Which is why all you need to do in this Blog Hop is to add your blog url to the list below and you have officially joined.
Of course there are ways you can maximize your result of a Blog Hop. I always recommend, and do this whenever I participate in a Blog Hop, to visit other blogs on the list, follow and leave relevant comments on the blogs you like. Because usually you will get what you give in return. I mean most bloggers who join a Blog Hop want then same thing. Visitors, follows and relevant comments on their blog. Which is really what I think a basic Blog Hop is all about.
Also if anyone is curious on how to add a Blog Hop to your blog. It is very simple. Just sign up for free at In Linkz, follow the instructions on how to create and add a Blog Hop code and your are good to go.
Finally, to add your blog to this Blog Hop simply click on the Add your link button below. Fill out the three fields that pop up;
URL: URL to your blog Name: Title of your blog Email: Your email address
then simply click Submit link and you are done.
And like I said in the beginning, if you are a new follower here just leave me a comment in the comment section and I will follow back. Thank You for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful weekend! :-)
Earlier today I grabbed my doggy, camera and off to Rödeby forest in Sweden we went. It was a while since Lisen and I walked this particular walk we did today. Therefore I was quite surprised when I saw all the mushrooms that had now appeared. And there were a lot of mushrooms, funky mushrooms! Lol!
Now I do not know anything about mushrooms, which ones you can eat and so on. Which is why I dared not to pick any of them. But they sure made for great photo ops! So below are photos of some of those funky mushrooms Lisen and I encountered in the Swedish Rödeby forest earlier today.
Lisen is usually a very happy doggy. But sometimes she looks like she is a million miles away. And I often wonder what she is thinking of on those occasions. Below are some photos of when she "stole" my spot in the sofa. I got up to get something and when I returned, there she was with the biggest "sigh stare" I have ever seen!
This is how I found Lisen when I returned to sit down in front of my laptop.
Maybe she is trying to mimic me...
Where are you Lisen?
Not even a bone was as intriguing as your thoughts that day.
Lisen is not like this often at all, but I guess she has her day dream moments too. Maybe she is dreaming of a land far, far away. The ultimate doggy land where she is the Queen of everything and no one is allowed to sit in front of a laptop! :p
This past Saturday it was once again time for our yearly St. Jacobi market here in Lyckeby in Sweden. A small market that has been held since 1909 in Lyckeby, where I live. This year I managed to arrive at the market just in time for the parade. Yay! I had never seen the St. Jacobi parade before. And what a cute parade! It had such a small town feel to it. Cozy and fun without any fancy decorations. Now I did bring my camera but in the last minute I decided to film it instead. So below is my video of this years St. Jacobi market parade. :-)
After my lovely cruise I spent a few days in Stockholm, Sweden, visiting with relatives. And because I have relatives in Stockholm I have been there many times in my life. I remember when I was younger I used to perceive Stockholm as "the big city where I could get lost". Also when I was a child we did not have McDonald's in Karlskrona so I used to think that it was the coolest thing to go to Stockholm just because they had McDonald's there. Of course it was even cooler to actually eat at McDonald's! But nowadays I know my way Stockholm a lot better and we have 2 McDonald's in Karlskrona. :-)
Below are some of my photos of sights seen in Stockholm.
The white building to the right is the Central Station in Stockholm. The big church top in the middle of the photo is Riddarholmen Church. Which is the only remaining medieval monastery church in Stockholm. It was built in the late 1200s and is the final resting place for all of Swedens Kings and rulers since 1632, except Queen Christina. It also the burial place for some Kings from the middle ages.
Sergels Square in Stockholm, also known in Swedish as Plattan - The Slab is the first square I think of when I think of squares in Stockholm. However, even though the Culture House is to the left and there are a lot of shops near the square. Sergels Square is mainly known (at least among locals) for being a hangout for junkies. It is also popular place to hold demonstrations of various kinds.
The main avenue in Stockholm is Drottninggatan - Queen Street where a lot of shops, pubs and restaurants are located.
My favourite Queen Street sights though are the quotes by Swedish author August Strindberg which have been forged in stainless steel in the middle of Queen Street 67-85.
My favourite Strindberg quote (left photo) translates to: "To love is to give, give!". And something I noticed this time while I was walking along Queen Street were the lions in the right photo. I thought, surely they must have some historic meaning - so I looked it up. Turns out they are just stylish obstacles which were put up in 1995 to stop cars from driving through this street. Lol!
On my way to Old Town in Stockholm I became mesmerized by this fountain!
So I stayed a while and played with my camera, hehe.
The building which the fountain is placed in front of is named Norra Latin - Northern Latin. And originally in 1880-1982 this building was used as a school for boys. Today it is a conference center.
Finally I arrived in Old Town in Stockholm. Which is where Stockholm was founded in 1252. It is also one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centers in Europe. And I just love to walk around here and imagine how it must have been to live in Stockholm during the medieval times.
Main Square - Stortorget in Old Town is indeed a popular tourist attraction. Which I suspect is not just because of the pretty buildings. Actually Old Town is said to be quite the ghost town. In fact many tourist guides offer so called "Ghost Walks" around Old Town in the evenings. During these walks guides share stories about legends, diseases, murders and ghosts which are all a part of Old Towns past.
For instance, the red building behind the water pump has exactly 92 white stones on it, although the stones look more grey today. Anyway, each stone represent the 92 members of the Swedish nobility who were decapitated and hanged between November 7-10 in 1520 by Danish King Christian II. An incident also known as the Stockholm Bloodbath or Stockholm Massacre. And the tale is that when the nights between November 7-10 are really harsh and humid you can see the blood of those who were murdered flow through the gutters of Main Square. It is also said that if ever one of those white stones is removed, the person who represent that stone will become a ghost destined to wander the city streets forever.
By the way, the lovely water pump in the photo was for many years the zero point in Sweden. Meaning that it was the point from which all distances to national roads to and from Stockholm were measured.
The Royal Palace in Stockholm is also located in Old Town.
The Royal Palace in Stockholm has about 600 rooms and is one of the largest castles in Europe.
The Royal Palace is heavily guarded!
So do not try any funny business.
They will catch you...eventually. Nah, this guard was not sleeping. Just checking her gun. Bad me. ;-)
The Royal Palace seen from another angle. To the left of the Royal Palace is Storkyrkan - The Great Church, although its official name is Sankt Nicolai Kyrka - Saint Nicholas Church. It is the oldest building still in use in Sweden. The first part of the church can be traced back to 1306. The current King and Queen of Sweden were married there in 1976 and last year the Crown Princess of Sweden were married there as well.
View of Stockholm from the hill in previous photo.
I had fun taking these photos, although I have tons more. Lol! But this will end my series of Cruise and Travel posts for this time. However I do have other journeys planned so lots more of the travel kind posts to come in the future. Until then it is back to Sweden, Doggies and My Life. :-)
The second stop on my cruise was Saint Petersburg, or St. Petersburg, in Russia. A city I had really looked forward to visit. So I was very excited when we arrived there. Now Saint Petersburg was the only city where we had to have a Visa if we wanted to enter. But if we booked a tour with the cruise ship we did not have to worry about applying for a Visa. So we did.
However we chose to book a tour where we had around 6 hours free time to walk around in Saint Petersburg, which I thought would be good amount of time. But it was not at all enough time! Saint Petersburg is a big city with many, many things and places to explore. Oh well, I will just have to go back one day and continue my exploration. Because it was an amazing city!
What I did manage to squeeze in though was mostly visits to some of the historic and insanely enormous beautiful buildings. So below are some of the photos I snapped there.
Nevsky Prospect, the main avenue in Saint Petersburg.
And along Nevsky Prospect there are many stunning buildings to see.
Like this magnificent church. It is the Church On Spilled Blood which was built exactly where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881.
I thought this building looked really spooky! And when I researched the building it turns out it is a Swedish granite building. Lol! It was built in 1912 and was originally a bank.
At the end of Nevsky Prospect lies this glorious palace named The Winter Palace. This palace is located at the historic Palace Square. The big column in the middle is the Alexander Column which was built between 1830-34. It is the tallest red granite column in the world.
Peter the Great founded Saint Petersburg in 1703 and this palace was commissioned by his daughter, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, in 1754 as an official royal residence (finished 1764). And until the Russian revolution in 1917 this was where the Russian tsars and monarchs used to live.
Can you see me? :-)
Opposite The Winter Palace lies the The General Staff building, built between 1820-30.
And another gigantic building!
There are about 60 small rivers and canals that run through Saint Petersburg.
There are also more than 400 bridges in Saint Petersburg.
My favourite bridge, of those I saw, was this one. Not sure about the correct name though, I think it is something like Wild Horse Tame Bridge. Anyway, there are four statues on this bridge of a wild horse being tamed by a young man. And each statue symbolizes a stage in taming a wild horse.
These are the four horse statues on the bridge. I really think the artist have managed bring these pieces of stone into life. Because I found them so intense and vivid, like I was staring at a live horse being tamed. They truly captured me.
Snack time at a cafe in Saint Petersburg. Sooo good!!! (I did not eat all of that myself by the way.) :p
On the bus back to the ship.
Where I got to enjoy this lovely sunset.
Thank You and Good Night Saint Petersburg!
After our day here we had 2 nights and 1 entire day at sea before we arrived in Stockholm again. I then stayed a few days in Stockholm after the cruise to visit relatives. I also of course went into Stockholm city to snap a ton of photos! Which I will share in my next post. :p
The first stop on my cruise was Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. I had never been there before so I had no idea what to expect. But it was a very beautiful and picturesque city indeed! We had about 6 hours to spend in Tallinn and we chose to enjoy them in the "Old Town" part of the city. Below are some of the photos I snapped while I was there.
Here I am by the Tallinn sign. The church in the background is St. Olav’s Church and Tower. A church that was actually the tallest building in the world between 1549 to 1625.
Entrance to Old Town in Tallinn.
Where horses have been replaced with segways these days...
By the way, Old Town is very popular among tourists.
So I was not the only one who took photos
and gawked. Lol!
But seriously, there were a lot of really stunning old buildings and churches to see in Tallinn. Like this 14th century Holy Spirit Church with its 17th century clock.
In fact the Holy Spirit Church clock is the oldest public timepiece in Tallinn today.
Town Hall is another cool building in Old Town. It is located at the Town Square and was first mentioned in 1322 in records, although it was not until 1402-1404 it was given the appearance we see today. Town Hall is also the only intact Gothic Town Hall in Northern Europe.
Town Square seen from the Town Hall side.
Where I, and many others, enjoyed an ice cream on this lovely day. :p
Up by the tree in the photo is a perfect lookout spot in Tallinn!
But I had to wander up this hill to get there.
Then squeeze myself in among all these other tourists to get a glimpse of Tallinn.
But it was definitely worth it!
View of Tallinn, Estonia.
Old and new.
More Old Town charm in Tallinn - Cute shop signs!
Old style vendor in Old Town.
Hanging out in Old Town.
Souvenir shopping in Old Town.
And me, constantly looking for fun ways to capture my surroundings.
Next post will be all about my visit in St. Petersburg, Russia! :p