Sunday, 16 December 2012

Scandinavia ... Copenhagen & Sweden

Destination: COPENHAGEN
Transport:   Plane - BMI Airlines (not the portion purchased by B.A.) 1.5 hr flight
Luggage:   No charge for checked luggage so we did! (inc. the maple syrup purchased at Le Bon Marché + another 1 litre bottle from courtesy of Karen & Rob)
Pills:           1 Jill (  pill must have been old - little or no affect), 2+ joe (k.s. still there… or so we thought!)

We have a new favourite city! It was grey and overcast but it just didn't matter.  We loved everything; our hotel that was a room in a boat ON the river, the Tivoli Gardens all decked out for Halloween, the beautiful people, the bikes, the way the city was designed to handle them, the design of just about everything and to top it off we met up with Sam (our daughter-in-law Simone's brother) for a lovely meal. We told Sam to choose the restaurant  (he is living and working there temporarily).  We were pretty sure he wouldn't choose NOMA and he didn't … but … his friend works there and Sam thought about asking him to TRY and get us in.  Yikes!  Regardless we had a great meal - who cares if we didn't eat in the #1 restaurant in the world!
Our hotel on the river

Hi Sam!

The pipe is to wheel your bike down the stairs

Joseph was feeling much better and we realized he had lost the kidney stone … in Edinburgh!  yippee!

So it was hard to leave our wonderful hotel room (highly recommend it - CPH Living but our cute little FIAT 500 helped!  We drove north along the coast to catch the ferry to Sweden. Such a great drive - the coast on one side with all of the wind turbines and Sweden within spittin' distance and the cutest houses with amazing thatched roofs on the other.    We could have spent longer in Copenhagen but one and a half days was all we had...

Destination: ALMHULT- LUND -  Sweden
Transport:   Ferry - 
Luggage:   No problem! (inc. all of the maple syrup)
Pills:           0 Jill , 0 Joe (k.s. seemed to be GONE!!  yippee)

Off the ferry and straight to Almhult.  For those who haven't been reading their IKEA catalogues, Almhult is the birthplace of IKEA, so if you worked for IKEA and have a house full of IKEA … well then … off you go to Almhult!  So we stayed at the IKEA Hotel in a tiny room full of IKEA furniture and ate IKEA meatballs in the dining room while we looked across there road at the very first IKEA store. It was closing in a few days (replaced by a big fancy new one on the outskirts of town) and there was a closing sale - urgh! 20kgs of luggage to Australia = no (little) shopping!
Ikea hôtel & Fiat 500

The FIRST IKEA store

 When Joseph worked at IKEA, a young beautiful girl came from Sweden to work in his department.  We made friends with Marie. Then and her boyfriend Theodor (Tedde) came to visit so we became friends with him and then her parents came to visit as well and now finally after 22 years we would see everybody again. Marie's parents live in Almhult, so Göta and Sven-Göte treated us to a lovely lunch.   Göta had been practicing her English for a few weeks before we arrived so we were able to have a good conversation.  Marie's father Sven-Göte managed the first IKEA store and he was employee #3 at IKEA; #1 was Ingvar Kamprad, #2 his wife and #3 Sven-Göte Hansson.   I read the English version of a book about the history of IKEA in Edinburgh and saw Sven-Göte's name on page 37!!  No book - no problem!  We ran over to the old store and bought the Swedish version (on sale!!) and right back for S-G to sign it!!  How honoured we are to know such an important person in the life of IKEA! 
Göta and Sven-Göte

Next stop was LUND and Marie & Tedde & family!  Just a two hour drive with some snow (!!) and then a drive right through the centre of LUND, over the cobblestones unaware that it was a no-car zone, as we searched for their house with no phone and just a small map on my iPad. Somehow we found them and how good it was to see them again and meet their three beautiful sons; Phillip, Karl, and Erik. And how kind of them to give up their bed for us to stay with them!  (Note to self: be (much) better hosts in future!)
Marie, Tedde, Philip, Karl and Erik

Now, FINALLY we were able to unload the maple syrup!  All those years ago we introduced Marie & Tedde to French Toast and they have made it a tradition to have it most Sundays ever since!  So what better gift to bring than Canadian maple syrup - well the better gift would have been Canadian maple syrup from Canada, instead of Canadian maple syrup from Paris and Edinburgh!  No matter - it tasted the same!  And I should mention the tradition that Marie & Tedde passed on to us - at summer solstice; singing drinking songs and eating new potatoes and drinking vodka shots.  (Note to self: get the words to "Helan går" - we have NO drinking songs in Canada!) 

Next day was the weekend so we headed to Skänor, which is almost at the bottom of Sweden, to stay in the house that has been in Tedde's family for over 100 years. A wonderful old house just a short walk from the beach. Tedde lit the wood fire and we were so cozy. Up the tiny spiral staircase (there are lots of spiral staircases in Europe) to the bedrooms and our lovely bed with individual quilts.  (That's how it was in both Sweden and Copenhagen and we LOVED it!) Then birdwatching the next day in Falstebo - that is the tip of Sweden. (So many of our friends who have hosted us over the years have been so kind to indulge Joseph and his crazy hobby… surely they will all be rewarded one day!?)  
The house in Skänor

Erik even bought his telescope and they saw a Golden Eagle
and Marie was trying hard to be interested!

Our beautiful hosts

We met Tedde's parents (Stefan & Jenny) and even his 100+  Grandmother (Marta) who used to live in the house we were staying.  She gave me a piece of amber that she found on the beach in Skänor (it often washes up on shore) and showed us the amber necklace made with pieces of different shapes and sizes that she had found over the years.  Oh dear, all I could think of was how much the girls (and some customers) at ONW would love to have that necklace.  I'll treasure my one piece forever!
Marta - 100 years old - wearing her necklace made from piece she and  (mostly) her husband picked up on the beach at Skänor

Such a great visit; we played a crazy card game that Erik mostly won and we ate and talked and then we had to leave.

On the way back to Copenhagen we stopped in Malmö to see the old port that had been rebuilt into a new city district. Wonderful living areas with four-storey apartment buildings of different designs and lots of canals and walking paths and not so many cars and the crazy "Turning Torso" building! How different Toronto could have looked!  Then we crossed over to Denmark by bridge instead of ferry. It was so windy we had to slow to 50kms and I was sure they would find us washed up on the beach at Skänor one day. But of course we made it and the bridge drops you right at the airport … we had to leave, we only had four days…
Turning Torso by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava

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