21.10.10

EAT.DRINK.STOCKHOLM


Be warned if you're feeling hungry now, because this is going to be a long post on all the places where we've been stuffing our faces in Stockholm. You're going to be seeing a lot of meatballs and beer (yum!)


One of the dinners we had at Fridhemsplan. Can't remember the name of the grill restaurant, but this was where we were first introduced to Swedish beer by the friendly waitress. The "S" on the beer glass is for local brand Spendrups. Top photo is the view from the restaurant.

Skansen again. This is the charming Flickorna Helin Voltaire found just outside the gates of the museum. This is also where we stretched our legs for some hot chocolate and coffee after the walking around all day. The building housing the cafe looks like a small castle doesn't it?


Pickwick's Restaurant and Pub near Kungsträdgården station. I wanted local food but didn't want meatballs, so the waitress recommended Swedish hotchpotch. It's full of yummy bits like bacon, potatoes, ham and egg.


The cutest cafe, Muffin Bakery at Fridhemsplan. HC had a blueberry cheesecake muffin, perfect if you're struggling between a cheesecake or a muffin.


 
1>> Östermalm area, where many rich Swedes live.
2>> Sandwiches and hot chocolate at Café Tidemans, beside my favourite Musik Museet.

13.10.10

WE WENT BACK IN TIME


All photos taken at the Skansen Open Air Museum. We really felt like we got teleported back in time.

8.10.10

BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP


The Gotland breed of sheep are theoretically more gray than black, but somehow the nursery rhyme was stuck in my head all the while we were pedaling in Fårö. A small herd of them gathered when we started baa-ing to them (they must be wondering who these 2-legged sheep mutants are) and stayed long enough for us to take a few photos before trotting off again when they finally realized that they've been cheated and we have no food *lol*

6.10.10

OFF TO FARO


We set off early for Fårö from Visby on the third day. Getting to Fårö was quite a tricky business. First came an hour and half bus ride to the northernmost tip of Gotland. The photos above were taken while waiting for the bus.

From the northernmost tip, we had to walk to the only bicycle rental shop in the area to get bikes so that we can move around when we go across the water. There are no public buses in Fårö. And while I'm still on this topic, it should be interesting to mention that the little island also has no police, no banks, no clinics, no post offices, and in fact, not even many roads either. So don't dream of finding anything near a hotel or 7-eleven there.

What they do have, is a unique dialect that some claim to be the oldest in Sweden, lots of flat beautiful windswept land, lots of black sheep (I mean real sheep, which the Swedes call lamm), interesting limestone formations they call rauk and some of the warmest people we've ever met in our travels.


Anyway, continuing with the business of getting to Fårö. After getting our bikes, we wheeled them onto one of the only 2 ferries that brings people (cars and bikes in toil) to the island. The ferry surprisingly, did not need tickets, and a nice local even gave us a number and told us to just give the ferry people a call should we miss the last one out later in the day. Apparently they'll actually come back to get you just so you don't get stranded on the island.


Reaching Fårö is where our gungho story starts. We wanted to see the nature reserve and the limestone stacks, and so with a map in hand we pedaled off towards Langhammer. The only thing is, getting to and from Langhammer was a full 30km bike ride, making it more than five and a half hours of almost non-stop pedaling for that day. I remembered having no feeling in my legs at the end.

But we really enjoyed it. And I loved how remote the place was. You feel like you're far far away from all the annoying technologies in modern life that are constantly fighting for your attention. I never saw a single advert there.

Halfway through we asked 2 islanders for directions and ended up laughing and chatting easily with them for a while. They were so nice.

Below are photos of the rock formations or rauk. My pictures are not doing them justice, they're really a lot more majestic looking than that.

5.10.10

STRYKJARNET CREPERIE & LOGI


The Strykjärnet creperie & logi found in Visby. As their name suggests, they specialize mainly in crepes, or should I say, very delicious crepes! The black and white cafe decor was so nice, I think I killed half a roll of film there while waiting for our food. Apparently they have lodgings as well on the 2nd floor, all done up in the same black and white style.

THE BALTIC & THE RUINS


The Baltic sea, which surrounds the island, so calm it's hard to believe that it's the sea and not a lake. Instead of sand, they have a pebble beach. We picked a few that we liked and brought them home as souvenirs to remember the trip. They're sitting on top of my book cabinet now.


One of the many church ruins in Visby. I think they were left to fall apart after many were burnt during attacks on the city. There's something so lonely, yet romantic about ruins. Should be a nice place to picnic if it weren't so chilly.

4.10.10

FIRST DAY


These are all photos taken on our first day in Visby. 

I've to talk a little about the photo above with the black cat. We were actually walking along the main street when we spotted the cat and as I wanted to pet it (I missed my own cat at home), we followed it into this narrow lane above. Just as we finally caught up with it and I was reaching down to tickle its cheek, somewhere from behind us came a friendly "hej hej" (hello in Swedish). We turned around and there was this nice smiley lady waving from an open window from the house behind us with her husband and golden retriever in toil. Then came a "You speak English? Where're you from?" and while we were busy smiling and leaning over her window making introductions, she added, "You like beer? Come, you must have some local beer", and she started pouring out plastic cups of beer which she handed to us over the window.

We chit-chatted and she told us that she had worked in the States for a long time and her health had suffered, so after she came back to Stockholm the doctor advised her to keep stress away so she moved to Visby and has been living there ever since. She ended up drawing out a whole walking itinerary of the town for us, "First you walk here, you'll get a fantastic view of the sea and the town... ...then turn in here to see the botanical garden, I like a stroll there in the evenings... ...then when you turn here towards the sea you stop right here and kiss, it's tradition, all wedding couples will kiss here... ..."

She also told us to take a shot of the black house (one above with the black cat) as it's one of the oldest houses in town, possibly as old as the ring wall itself. You can tell how old it is by the rainwater gutter (found just below where roof ends) which is made from pure wood, as compared to the modern metallic ones nowadays. 

She then waved us off with a "Bye bye, I hope you enjoy Visby!", and holding the map she's just drawn out for us, we felt so lucky and gleeful, as though we've been let in on a bit of local secret (or maybe it's just from the beer taking effect).

This is the restaurant where we finally stopped to have dinner. The Swedish lady actually recommended another local favourite but when we took a peep at the menu, the specialty was alas, fish! And worse still, the signature dish was thick fish broth with bread, which I could have fainted from (or puked). HC laughed his head off and suggested the restaurant next door, which was serving safer foods like pizza and pasta.

This must have been nearing 8pm, the evening sun made everything look so pretty.

All the restaurants in Sweden have these fleece blankets for alfresco diners, which I wrapped around myself like an Eskimo until food came.

Watching the sunset near the Visby harbour after dinner.

This is the cabin where we stayed, it was small but very cozy. HC's looking like a Pizza Hut delivery boy because the pizza for dinner was too huge and we couldn't finish it, so we tapao-ed(see "take-away").
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