swedish snapshots

It’s been a while since we left Sweden. Slow internet connections come and go, and time passes me by. But it would be wrong to not revisit the time we spent traversing Sweden. It would also be wrong to tell you how long it took me to upload all of these photos. But I will. Three and a half hours, give or take a year. 

While we were in Sweden, it seemed as if we would never make it to Germany. Our stay in the Schengen region of Europe visa-free is limited to 90 days. As such, our goal was to make it out of Scandinavia within 30 of those days, and we pert near made it.

The plan was to take a train from a randomly chosen city which we knew nothing about (Mora) to a destination further south, near the coast (whether east or west side, it didn’t matter much to us). We luckily came to find out ahead of time that very few of the multiple train companies in Sweden allow bicycles. Even luckier, the one possible company we could utilize operates on a line running south from Mora. So while we were not able to make it to the coast, or as far south as we had hoped, we were able to shave a few hundred kilometers off of our cycling itinerary, allowing us to meet our self-imposed deadline.

Pippi Longstocking riding a giant felted twinflower! How Sweden!

Sweden is Norway’s less showy, less prosperous sibling, at least to a casual observer. The houses were not as meticulously clean nor freshly-painted, there weren’t as many roadside tourist-friendly amenities (whether necessary or frivolous), there most definitely were not as many bike paths, and a visit did not break the bank. While still expensive as compared to mainland Europe, Sweden was much cheaper for us to travel through than Norway. We began allowing ourselves more treats, in the forms of coffee and pastry stops, meals out, and occasional bottles of wine.

DALA HORSE FEVER! A fever that could only be interrupted by waffles. Waffles were the theme of our vacation in Sweden. They were also, come to think of it, the theme of our time in Norway. And through to the present day, they continue to be the theme of our trip. These days we can be found frequently indulging in gaufres de liège, sugar waffles. From the supermarket. They come in packs of five or eight. We’re on our fifth or sixth pack in just a few weeks. Life is good.

Mora turned out to be a delightful surprise. We were able to take in crew races on the lake in town, pose with several different dala horses, choose from hundreds more to purchase, and we even stayed in an adorable hut at the local campground. Camping in tiny huts seemed to be a very Scandinavian thing to do, and I am not one to oppose getting more in tune with the Motherland vibes, so a hut it was. While in Mora, we were also able to watch a Euro Cup semifinal (a clue to anyway else who watched the game just how long ago we were there). We watched at a restaurant, outside, on a giant screen. Everyone was really into the game and there were fans from both sides, which made for a very Euro atmosphere. When the game ended near midnight, it was disconcerting how light the sky still was; it made walking through the sleepy deserted town an eerie experience.

The forestry in Sweden was quite different from in Norway. In Norway, they apparently adhered to the same regulated thinning treatment, at least in the areas we saw. In Sweden, there were larger clearcuts, but trees in general seemed to be allowed to grow older, and to a larger size. They looked nicer. There were also varied treatments, which was refreshing after seeing the same identical type of harvest throughout Norway. I appreciated the variability and diversity, and while we didn’t see much for wildlife in either country, hopefully the critters appreciate it too.

The cracker selection in Scandinavia was phenomenal. They also loved pickled herring of all flavors, and various cheeses and meats squeezed into colorful tubes.

Before we left Sweden, we stayed for two nights in a campground adjacent to the above bridge, in Malmö. For one day, we took a train across the bridge to see Copenhagen, and it was well worth the trip. Denmark is the only country that I’ve been unprepared for currency-wise, but since we were traveling directly into the heart of a city, finding an ATM to withdraw some Danish kroner for the day wasn’t a problem.

And then, very close to our self-imposed 30 day mark, we took a ferry from Malmö to Travemunde, Germany. It took seven hours, and we paid for two buffet meals, at which we proceeded to pig out so much that I don’t believe I should say any more.


salt lake city and environs, in pictures

In early June, I spent a week in Utah. The constant sunshine and dry heat were incredible, and were exactly what I could have hoped for after a soggy spring spent crawling through fir thickets. Salt Lake City itself was a tangle of suburbia, a land of wide highways and SUVs, a town with an unmatchable view. And there were plenty of Mormons, too. As converted Mormon Arthur ‘Killer’ Kane, New York Dolls bassist, states in his heartwrenching biopic, “I may be a dreamer…. but the dream has come true.”

And for that one week earlier this month, I felt exactly the same way.


Just look at that morning sunshine. THERE WERE NO BUGS! I can’t even begin to express my amazement at sleeping on bare ground, and waking up peacefully under the shade of a lodgepole pine without a single bug biting my neck. Sheer bliss.

We were in town for a wedding. If you are plan-ning on wed-ding and you live near SLC, check out Louland Falls. It’s secreted away in a canyon en route to Park City, and it’s absolutely gorgeous, as you can see in the following photo.

louland fallspyramid lakeuintasproud bro

We found this gleeful dude lording over downtown Salt Lake. He seemed to be rubbing it in our collective face that we, foolish hick folk from tiny town Maine, had dared imagine we could walk into the sushi restaurant in town and expect to be seated immediately.

He is raising his arms in mock-victory following our foolish hick town folk declaration that no thank you, we will not wait 1 hour for a life-changing dining experience, because goodness sheesh it’s after 8 pm already doncha know.

He clasps the hands of a forgettable somebody [not pictured] to signify the regrettable dive bar / sushi restaurant hybrid that we ended up eating at.

Ordering hot tea has never been so hard.

canyonriver restorationcanyonsnowbirdpipe bridgespuddy

Things to do while in Salt Lake City, Utah:

– Eat Owyhee’s Idaho Spuds and fry sauce (preferably not at the same time)
– Get outdoors, dummy
– Attempt five minutes on the trampolines at The wAIRhouse Trampoline Park before needing a break. Bonus points if you are over 12.
– Visit Temple Square – home to the recognizable Salt Lake LDS Temple, the Tabernacle, Assembly Hall, et al. – in the evening, and see if the guards lock you in at closing time. We narrowly escaped. Sample the water from their fountains if you feel like drinking the Kool-Aid. I narrowly escaped that too.
– Try to trick yourself into losing sight of the mountains while in town
– Schedule your bachelorette party for a Sunday night in Park City if you’d like to have the town pretty much to yourself
– Enjoy the dry heat that allows you to brush your hair without it turning into a white girl afro
– Observe the flock of well-dressed young Mormons at the SLC airport. Admire the dress/skirt-sweater combo favored by the females. Wonder why they’re all making calls on pay phones, and which time zones they must be calling to make midnight telephoning acceptable. Subsequently wonder if any other airports still have this many pay phones. Make a note to check when you reach your next destination.


Oh yeah, and remember to buy yourself a cowboy hat at C-A-L Ranch.