So, I promised something exciting, especially since I have been incommunicado for such a long time. And here it is…my fabulous, amazing, mind-blowing trip to Sweden and London! I’m off for 17 days of excitement across the pond, my first trip EVER to Europe! Over 18 years in the making! We are starting with a two hour flight to New York, and then a seven hour flight to Stockholm.
I gotta give Delta some major props here for a DELICIOUS dinner! Boneless chicken filet baked with chopped broccoli and cheese inside, topped with melted cheese, served with red bliss mashed potatoes (so flavorful!), and a corn, mushroom, sweet pepper sauteed succotash, plus a side caesar salad, Tilamook monterey jack cheese and club crackers, a cinnamon brownie (my least favorite thing, but still very moist and enjoyable). I was super impressed! I can’t wait to pass out for the rest of the flight after such a satisfying, hearty meal. Oh, and the pre-flight safety video? Hilarious! The video had all sorts of internet celebs (hello, cat in a shark costume riding a Roomba, and overly dramatic gopher!). Delta has stepped up its game in a huge way to make flying more pleasureable again. And the plane has interactive screens for every passenger. I’m watching Fantastic Mr. Fox. You can’t go wrong with Roald Dahl and Wes Anderson. Kudos, Delta. Kudos.
Even with Tylenol PM, I wasn’t able to sleep much on the flight. It just made me jittery when it wore off and restless body syndrome (my own description) took over. The seats wouldn’t recline more than a quarter inch and it was just bumpy enough to induce motion sickness if you read a book. Luckily, Rajne slept peacefully since he was our designated driver.
I might not have that level of detail for all of the Sweden posts, just an FYI. I haven’t had time to write since the flight. You’ll understand why in a moment. After landing, we got our bags, went to the bank, then traveled into Stockholm to the police station. Rajne needed to renew his passport, which is far easier and less expensive to do in Sweden, rather than flying to Washington D.C. to spend $600 for it. He got an appointment time and we went to eat lunch. Unfortunately, it is holiday time here, so many of the businesses are shuttered until August. D’oh! One pleasant repast later, we returned to the police station, rumbling with activity on a Friday afternoon. I fell asleep, sort of, on the benches in the main hall while Rajne got his passport. Mission accomplished, we set off for Mariestad, approximately three hours away.
Rajne’s parents, Jan and Gittan, live in Mariestad. They have a lovely ranch home in a quiet community surrounded by mostly other retired folks. The town is charming and sits near a large lake. Jan and Gittan love to sail, though his back injuries from years as a professional athlete now curb further boating. While we were there, we participated in Summer Slam, a sand volleyball tournament that brings players from all over Sweden. Rajne had gotten us membership to the club so we could play, but without rankings, we were placed in the open pool. Open here doesn’t mean the same thing as in the U.S. Back home, open players are the elite level. We won our first match in three games! Yay! And then we lost the next two matches. The second team we played ended up winning the ENTIRE tournament. We managed to get close, 13-15, to beating them, in one game. So, sadly, we did not qualify for playoffs, but the thrill was just participating! Now, I can say I played in Europe like some kind of hotshot. Ha!
Hmmm….this post is getting rather top heavy. I’m going to split it into bits. And add photos! Woohoo!
That’s the first leg of the Swedish tour…
Oh and by the way, if you have trouble with wheat or gluten, beware the white bread. Buy yourself some Redugas, unless you like intense abdominal cramping and excruciating pain. Not sure why, but I reacted badly to the bread. And the cider. Let’s just agree….I’m a mess.