Stepping out in Stockholm

Friday, Sept 13

Friday, Sept 13

After Cathy arrived, she and I went out to have some traditional Swedish food.  We ate at the aptly named Tradition. Prior to our meal, we were served a small bucket with two kinds of bread: one was a brown bread with a really strong flavor, the other was a large crisp cracker, like Wasa Crisp bread in the States.  For our main course, Cathy had salted beef brisket with a lovely sauce and boiled new potatoes. I had the Swedish meatballs, smothered in a sweet brown sauce served with super creamy mashed potatoes, lingonberries, and pickled cucumber. I was curious how the meatballs would compare to those served at IKEA in the US.  These were much better! The meatballs, themselves, were fresher and sat in an abundant amount of sauce. The sauce/gravy seemed pretty much the same as what I remember from IKEA. The potatoes were so rich and creamy. The lingonberries were fresh, not canned. The pickled cucumbers reminded me very strongly of my mom’s bread and butter pickles.

We started our morning off with another dose of kannelbullar (cinnamon buns).  Since Cathy was with us and she had coffee and a cardamombullar (cardamom bun), I think we can call this one a “fika”.  Fika is the Swedish word for an afternoon coffee and pastry. It is highly celebrated in the souvenir shops, but it’s also just a nice idea to stop mid-afternoon (or as in our case today – just before noon) and take a break with a beverage and a pastry.  I also tried the cardamombullar today, and must say , I prefer it to the cinnamon, just because it is a more exotic flavor to me.

We spent the day just wandering around the city, seeing what we saw.  Near our flat we sought out the narrowest street in the city, called Mårten Trotzigs Gränd.  At its narrowest point, it is only 35 inches wide. It was closed off for about a 100 years, but reopened in 1945.  Now it is full of tourists. Check out how many came through it behind us in the pic.  

Stockholm is a city of small islands.  We are staying on the island of Gamla Stan.  Today we walked over a series of bridges to explore the two even smaller islands of Skeppsholmen and Kastellholmen.  Both used to be restricted for the exclusive use of the navy, but are now open to the public. There are some old barracks, now turned into a hotel on Skeppsholmen and an orange brick citadel sitting atop the rocky mound of Kastellholmen.  From both islands you can look across the water to an amusement park with some rides we’d never seen before. None of us was tempted to go over and actually ride on them, though. I guess we’re getting old.

We returned in the evening to our flat and had dinner of rye bread with a feta and basil spread that we picked up in a fromagerie and some bear jerky that we found in a market full of fresh and exotic meats and fish.  Yes, you read that right, it is not a typo (although I am known for those). It was bear meat. Like the cute black bears that come up on our deck at home from time to time. Both Cathy and I agreed that it tasted just like any other jerky, nothing to write home about.

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