Trip Start May 19, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Sweden  , Lapland,
Monday, June 23, 2008

Good afternoon all! It has been a weekend of festivities in Lulea celebrating Midsummer! As I took to the bike path this morning, I couldn't help but wonder...am I the only one walking a straight line? Due to weather, we decided to not go to Jokkmokk, and stayed here instead. On Friday afternoon we drove to Gammelstad or "Old Town" to celebrate with the locals. Old Town is a traditional Swedish "Church Town" from the 15th century. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. ( http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/762/ )
Gammelstad was packed with families-Dads giving piggy-back rides, pregnant moms with picnic baskets, and children with crowns of flowers in their hair. We saw women in traditional dress, horse drawn buggies, farm animals, fields of wildflowers, musicians, and lines for traditional food. Kyle with his raging appetite got in line.  He paid about $5 for a plate of food: 2 buttered pieces of crisp bread, 4 small golden potatoes, a cup of black current juice, and freshly cooked fish wrapped in foil. In my heart I was really proud of him for trying, but in my mind I was thinking "Eww, fish." We watched the locals smash the potatoes on the bread, pull the skeleton from the flesh of the tiny fish, and then stack it all together like a BLT. I tried a fish-less version and found it to be bland but okay. Kyle ate a few bites of his and shuddered at the tiny fish bones he had to pull out from his mouth. A woman across the table from us started up a conversation in Swedish and then switched to English when we politely told her it was all we could speak. We talked about why we were in Sweden and then she told us about the food we were eating, an old traditional meal. She then continued to tell us that Americans wouldn't be so fat if they ate more fish and less steak. We nodded politely, somewhat in agreement...somewhat insulted. She then pulled open her coat as if to let us admire her aged, yet trim physique. Kyle gave her the rest of his fish, and we excused ourselves to continue exploring.
We then helped to decorate the....well, I don't know what it is officially called, but we referred to it as a "May pole." It was more like a cross with two wreaths hanging from the ends. We helped by adding greenery and wildflowers.  A group of violinists marched through the crowd summoning the beginning of dancing and the raising of the pole. We held hands and danced in circles following the lead of the locals. It was fun, we laughed and pretended to know the words to the songs.
Other than Gammelstad, most of Lulea was closed for the weekend. We noticed an increase in foot traffic down our street as many people shopped at the gas station for beer and other apparent necessities. We walked around town, and Kyle and I went on our first Swedish date, just the two of us. The only restaurant open was Anatolia, serving Turkish cuisine. It was delicious and fancy. I honestly don't know what I ate, but it was packed with fresh vegetables and couscous. Kyle had chicken.
We're looking at the week ahead of us and wondering where the time went. Our flight leaves on Sunday, we get into Paris around 8PM and then take a shuttle to a hotel in Rouen. That is all we know at this point, hopefully we'll get into our apartment on Monday.
Here's to Sweden! May the sun always shine (well, for the next few months at least), may your people stay skinny (...except for the 80% that are pregnant) and may your vodka be smooth and chilled.
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maggiest on

here's to the memories!
Oh, I can just see Kyle pulling tiny fish bones out of his mouth in disgust. And I love the Swedish Diet lady. Hahaha! I think you should spend your last two days in Sweden drinking vodka and wearing flower wreaths...it just seems appropriate. Hard to believe the time is passing so quickly...France, here you come! Can't wait for the next update. Miss and love you both. xoxo

PS: I agree with Julia...we need photos of Lisa and Kyle in 'club wear'. ASAP. I'm especially excited to see leggings with shorts....

kyle-and-lisa on

Club wear
Okay, I posted a photo of our club wear at the end of this album. Sorry we were sitting so you can't really get the full effect of shorts and leggings. But maybe you can imagine!

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