As a couple coming from two different countries, having lived in a third country and at the moment located in a fourth country you become a little blasé about travelling… which I realised on Saturday when I was casually “country dropping” while explaining our travel plans to our Puerto Rican guests. I didn’t mean to be bragging about our extensive travels, and like I said to a friend on Friday – it is not like we are made of money (to quote my father 😉 ). Nevertheless, we could not go to Europe and not go to both Spain and Sweden, and preferably also Belgium.
Fortunately our expat status within O’s company gives us the right to one trip back to Europe per year, so our tickets to cross the Atlantic are paid for, and we are hoping to travel with air miles within Europe.
Part of the always extensive dairy section of a Swedish supermarket
So what are our travels plans? Well, we are flying out on Saturday morning to Copenhagen (I wonder if we are getting any travel advisory for Denmark this time?), crossing the bridge to Sweden and spending two weeks in Skåne with my family. We are hoping to do the following:
- Eat fried herring for lunch at my grandmother’s
- Go to the summerhouse and spend the weekend there with the whole family
- Long walks on the beach
- Eat warm smoked salmon (varmrökt lax) fresh from the smokery (rökeri) close to the summerhouse
- Get a new passport (P)
- Donate blood (P)
- Fika at my sister’s new place that we haven’t seen yet and to eat those cinnamon buns that O has been talking about ever since February 2006!?
- Eat Lingongrova (bread with lingonberries, both O’s and my favourite)
- Eat pizza at my brother’s place – Swedish pizza is the best!
- Have a traditional lunch at a Gästis (gästgivaregård or a traditional inn) with my grandfather, we haven’t decided on location yet – either Dalby or Sjöbo.
- Play badminton with the family – maybe already on Sunday since I have read that physical activity is a good way to shake off any jetlag!
- Get my father and / or brother to fix my computer battery that is not connecting properly and a general back-up / update of the laptop
- Meet various friends – of course!
I sent an email to the family the other day with our so-called dietary requirements: Prästost (or Priest Cheese as we have translated it for O) and paté (leverpastej) with cucumber on freshly baked rolls for breakfast, oxrullader (beef roulades!?), O’s favourite lavender biscuits, fondue… you might think that we are obsessed by food, and maybe we are 😀
Swedish pizza – al tonno
In February we might go via Stockholm to Brussels (Brussels is for sure, Sthlm not yet) – maybe not the shortest way but our Flemish friends S & I live there and as another friend will be visiting from Belgium, we (or rather I, as I am the travel planner in this household) thought that it would be perfect to join them for the weekend!
We will stay in Brussels for around two weeks* before we head to Spain for another two weeks with O’s family… and then we will see if O has received his visa or not!? I will then return to Scandinavia for a girls’ weekend in Copenhagen first week of March with my Swedish, Danish, Irish and French girlfriends, and then go to Stockholm to apply for my visa at the American embassy and see all my 08-friends (people from the capital are known as 08s in the south of Sweden, it is the regional code when calling).
And don’t worry, I will keep the blog updated with stories and photos during the 6-8 weeks we plan to stay in Europe (or rather that the immigration lawyers have told us it will take for us to get new visas!!)…
*) I actually have a long list with what I / we want to do in Brussels & Spain as well but that’s for another day.