As I sifted through my large quantity of pictures, I tried to figure out the best way to share my trip with you all. There are so many things to say, so many pictures to share, and I've been informed that people don't really like to read a lengthy post. Tragic really, but I'll do my best to be brief and concise for those of the ADHD generation :) In truth, I can be a bit that way myself. The thought of a holiday in which one does nothing but sit placidly on a beach is not overly exciting to me. I like to move, to do, to LIVE it up a bit. But enough blathering on about nothing.
My trip began on the 21st. I headed out of my flat in Skalka at about 7:15AM, wanting to be certain not to miss my 8:15 train. It doesn't usually take me that long to walk to the station, but I was pulling along a suitcase this time, and I didn't want to risk any confusion. I spent pretty much the entire day traveling. From train to metro to bus to plane, and ended up in Stockholm, Sweden at about 9PM. My next flight was not scheduled until around 2 the next afternoon, so I spent the night in the airport, sleeping on a less than comfortable couch and doing my best to keep a hand on all of my luggage.
I arrived in Umea around 3:30 in the afternoon, and was overjoyed to be reunited with Malin, and I finally got to meet her boyfriend Anders. (Never fear, I won't burden you with every little step of my journey...) After doing some last minute Christmas shopping, we headed back to her apartment so I could shower and she could make my first Swedish meal: Reindeer! I must confess it felt a bit odd to be eating Reindeer on December 22nd, but it was actually quite tasty.
After dinner I was treated to a dessert of cloud berry sauce over ice cream. Cloud berries look a lot like raspberries only they're yellow and have a much stronger flavor.
The next day Malin and I headed up to see her Mom and I also got to meet a couple of her sisters. Her littlest sister, Amalie, even gave me a present :) She is only 7, and can't really speak any English, but she was still a lot of fun.
We stayed the night there, and I was up "early" to get a picture of the sunrise. Okay, so it was about 9:30 or so when the sun was coming up. It was a bit like being in Alaska again.
It was fun to be back in a place where they have houses that look like what I'm used to in the US. Most houses in the north of Sweden are painted red or yellow.
I'll end here with a picture of our Christmas Eve breakfast which is very traditional in Sweden. It's kind of like a rice pudding, and you sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar.
I hope you've enjoyed this first part of my trip, and I'll be sure to post more before long.