Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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gröna lund

One of many Things To Do In Sweden, as listed by yours truly, is to visit Gröna Lund. Which is an amusement park on Djurgården island, which you can get to by ferry, bus, car, bike, skateboard, walking – and those standing scooter things that I assume were created to increase the spread of obesity the world over. And yes, standing scooter things is an official Google search term.

What I’m saying is, you can get there by many means. Once there, and you have paid the admission fee and possibly bought your ride wrist band or tickets, you are free to run around and explore the wonderful mini-world that is this amusement park.

I’ve been a few times, the most recent time being last summer. My personal favorite rides are the tallest ones, especially Eclipse where you can see absolutely fabulous views of Stockholm.

Gröan 2015

Grönan 2

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Of course no trip to Gröna Lund would be complete without Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!

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All in all Grönan (as the locals call it) is a great time!

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memory lane: the royal castle

As my fifth and final installment of my memory lane series, please join me in the summer of 2011.

It was my first summer living in Sweden, and the Malloy clan crossed the pond to experience the Swedish good life. I say the good life because Sweden in the summer really is the good life, and there is no denying that.

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We visited the Royal Castle in Stockholm. Unfortunately we were not invited for tea with the royal family, but we did get to see their treasure. Before entering I forced asked my family in a charming and convincing way to pose for pictures with a guard. Now I didn’t test this, but the guards here are not like the guards in London, and they will assault you if you stand and yell in their face. Feel free to test that for me next time you swing by the castle.

Royal Castle 2

There are 3 museums in the royal castle, and since it was pretty rainy that day we gladly went in and saw the sights. We first entered some sort of cathedral. Upon further investigation, I now know that we first entered the royal church. A castle simply would not be complete without its own church.

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We then went on to the treasury museum and got to see all the jewels. Followed by a tour through some very intricate rooms. As you can see they have some pretty great art in the castle.

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Castle Art

Finally we went into the armory. You were allowed to try on the knight’s armor. My brother wasn’t breaking any rules. We think.

Ryan in the armory

Tyler in the armory

The very last thing was to catch a ride home.

My ride

It was good fun exploring the castle. Now I just want to do it at night when no one knows I’m there. Like a ninja in the night. Now that I’m a citizen they can’t throw me out of Sweden for “breaking the law”, so it’s totally fine.

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memory lane: a danish weekend

As we continue along this trip, let’s make a stop at May, 2013.

Danish flag

Evelina and I traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark to see my cousin, and meet her beautiful little girl. Who by now has turned 3, but let’s return down the lane and talk more about Denmark.

We arrived pretty late, so the first thing we did in Denmark was sleep. Okay the first thing was to find and check into the hotel, but the second thing was sleep.

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After waking up to a beautiful view of Copenhagen we ate breakfast with my cousin and then proceeded to explore the town.

Exploring Copenhagen

Me & Evelina Copenhagen DK 2013

As dusk fell we found our way to Tivoli, or the amusement park, right in central Copenhagen (next to our hotel, so the finding wasn’t particularly difficult). We wandered around taking lots of pictures of flowers. I’m pretty sure that’s what all the tourists do in Copenhagen. We must have been there on a day of no tourism, because we were the only ones taking flower pictures that evening.

Tivoli

When we returned to the hotel Tivoli started the firework show in our honor.

Tivoli fireworks

We had a great weekend away, and though much of Copenhagen reminded us of Sweden, the ever-present Danish speaking always reminded us that we were a long way from home.

As we concluded our weekend we returned home to Sweden, but didn’t venture far from Stockholm. The evening of our return we caught Pink at The Globe. We ate dinner before the show, and to be honest the food was quite good.

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Pink Globen

If you haven’t yet, go see Pink in concert, she is truly an entertainer. Also, if you have the chance, eat dinner first on a balcony from which you later enjoy the show.

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gaga ooo la la

Evelina and I have had the pleasure of seeing Lady Gaga in concert on two occasions. Both of which I plan on telling you about now.

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The first concert was on August 30th, 2012 and was part of Gaga’s Born This Way Ball. Gaga is amazing in concert. Amazing. You may have guessed that this is my opinion already, knowing I’ve seen her twice in concert, but I think it needs stating. During the performance we saw there were some technical difficulties. Apparently the Globe just isn’t used to drawing in that much power. Gaga took it all in stride and came out on stage and chatted with us. Seriously, it felt that personal, like we were just chatting. Even though she couldn’t hear what I was saying. To be honest I really do feel bad for all the North Americans who missed out on seeing this performance because of Gaga’s hip injury. I am glad though that Gaga’s hip injury did heal well, because it means she was back in Sweden this past fall.

Globen Gaga

September 30th Lady Gaga graced us with her presence once again in the Globe with the artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball. I loved this concert equally as much. Though I was a little sad we didn’t have a one on one chat like last time. Lady Gaga is an amazing performer. You should all go see her in concert.

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I want to see her in Tokyo. Apparently this is where Lady Gaga grosses the most cash money, consistently – so it’s obviously the biggest party. Meet me in Tokyo?

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the vasa museum

On my list of things to do in Sweden I list visiting the Vasa Museum. This is because it is one of the coolest museums I have been to. It takes a turn from your normal museum scene (pictures/painting/art on display, or multiple exhibits spanning years of history). The Vasa Museum has chosen its focus, that focus being the 17th century ship the Vasa.

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The Vasa was a war ship that could hold 64 cannons and 300 soldiers. The ship was ordered to be built by king Gustav II Adolf, who was very concerned with status symbols. The Vasa took almost two years to build by head engineer Henrik Hybertsson.

The Vasa then sank in  1628 on her maiden voyage, after only sailing 1300 meters. Not surprising as the engineers knew it could not sail because of instability. However if the ship were to be built today it is likely the captain would be held responsible for the accident as Söfring Hansson should have sailed with the cannon doors shut to protect against an already unstable boat from sinking. 30 men, women and children died aboard the Vasa, and 15 sets of remains were found upon the ships surfacing. At the museum there is a section called “Face to Face” where you can learn about these people aboard the great war ship.

The boat was carved elaborately and painted beautifully. Color and paint experts have examined the wreckage to determine the probable colors used for this section, as seen in the drawing above.

The boat was carved elaborately and painted beautifully. Color and paint experts have examined the wreckage to determine the probable colors used for this section, as seen in the drawing above.

The ship spent three centuries under water before the Swedish marine technician Anders Franzén found it and began a campaign to retrieve the ship from its watery grave. Once surfaced in 1961 took almost 30 years to prepare and restore the ship and build the museum that the Vasa is standing in today. All new wood & restorations are done in untreated wood, so that a clear difference is seen between new wood and the 400 year old shipwreck wood.

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I have never been to such a singularly focused museum. The ship is impressive enough in and of itself that the history behind it and extra details presented makes the museum a must visit in Stockholm city. Extra points if you sing the Pirates of the Caribbean theme for your entire visit.

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what have i done?!

Do you ever ask yourself, in a panicked squeak, what have I done?

I keep asking myself this. In a panicked squeak in my mind. Why am I repetitively asking myself this? Because I have done something. Something I am not so sure about.

Yes, I question my motives. I question my decision making skills. My sanity.

I have signed up for a marathon. A long marathon. I’ve heard they’re 26.2 miles. That’s 42.2 kilometers. That’s far.

In preparation for my training I have turned to the internet. The internet can solve all your problems. I have learned this. I am here to pass on the knowledge. Surprisingly enough I have not found the perfectly tailored marathon training program to fit all my personal and individual needs. As previously mentioned on this blog I am an active hockey player. This means a schedule of three ice practices and two games per week, starting this week and continuing until the end of February. However, the fact of the matter is, today marks 140 days until the ASICS Stockholm Marathon. So it is training time. Time to go. It was time to go yesterday.

pre-marathon training

I got this t-shirt for marathon training activities. Hopefully I’ll look fitter once the training commences. (Yes, I was paid less for this photo since my face is cropped out.)

I just don’t know how to swing it.

Balancing hockey training and marathon training is going to be quite the act.

Tune in to see how I handle it.

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lindsey visits

This past weekend my friend Lindsey came to visit! My oh my was I excited. Lindsey is the first friend to come visit Evelina and I from the US at our Eskilstuna abode. (Yes, Ryan came to visit last winter, yes, he is a friend, but first he is a brother. Yes, Katie came to visit us in Linköping, and she will forever hold the award for first North American friend to visit Sweden.)

I suppose Lindsey had it easy, since she technically only came from Denmark where she’s studying for her semester abroad. I mean really technically she came from the US originally, so it still counts. Also, no points were deducted from Katie for having flown to Sweden from Spain.

I can’t help but to break down our weekend as I did Katie’s.

Friday:

12:50: Lindsey landed in Sweden, and promptly bussed it to Stockholm Central Station where she trained it to Eskilstuna. She did all this on her own, and I must say I am greatly impressed. (My own personal difficulties in getting on the correct SL trains is a story for another time.)

14:45: I met Lindsey at Eskilstuna’s Central Station. After which we walked to Evelina’s and my apartment to drop off Lindsey’s things before taking a stroll in to the city.

17:00: Dinner at Papas Tapas. This is my number one favorite restaurant in Eskilstuna. It’s a combination of Spanish and Mexican food, and you almost always need to book a table if you want to eat there. So good.

19:30: The three of us, after returning home for a quick change, went over to a friend’s housewarming party. Don’t worry, I told everyone they had to speak lots of English so Lindsey could follow along. I was pleasantly surprised at the over all English skills at the party. (Just kidding guys, I’ve always know y’all are good at English.) But seriously though, give a Swede a few beverages and the English just starts flowin’.

Saturday:

7:00: Early wake-up call today, because it’s time for Three Kronor Hockey School! Just enough time for a quick breakfast before our ride came to get to the rink.

8:00: Arrival at Smehallen. Last Saturday was the first day of hockey school for this season. Evelina and I are coaching the girls, so our attendance was mandatory. Lindsey stepped up and was a big help on the ice. She asked about a few key Swedish phrases to help her talk to the little ones.

  • Stand up! – “Stå upp!”
  • Walk like Daffy Duck – “Gå som Kalle anka!”
  • Do you need help? – “Behöver du hjälp?”

Now you also know all the phrases necessary to teach a small Swedish child how to skate!

TKS

10:30: Still at the rink, our team’s practice started at 10:30. Lindsey was absolutely up for a go at it on the ice, and it was certainly a success. Evelina’s and my teammates were impressed, and most importantly so were our coaches. Lindsey officially has an invitation to come play in Sweden when she has completed her studies in the US. Seriously, Lindsey, you should come.

12:15: Lunch time. Evelina and I did our best to impress Lindsey by showing her the finest cuisine of Sweden. Just not at this meal time…left overs it was.

14:30: After lunch and a little down time we walked into the city again to look around at the shops. There’s a bit of construction at the main square in Eskilstuna right now, but City Hall is still pretty, and there was a lot to see. We were on a quest for shoes, so we visited all the shoe stores. Unfortunately we did not find what we were looking for, so we recharged with a little fika. It was necessary.

The classic Swedish fika, coffee and a chocolate ball

The classic Swedish fika, coffee and a chocolate-ball

16:00: Still on a quest for shoes we walked out to the mall.

The walk there was beautiful. Peppered with views of the changing trees. Fall is here!

The walk there was beautiful. Peppered with views of the changing trees. Fall is here!

Where both Lindsey and Evelina were lucky enough to find some fall shoes! Shoes…let’s get some shoes!

18:30: Once the mall closed we joined Evelina’s mother, Maria, back in to town. We had been invited for dinner, so we enjoyed some classic Swedish home cooked food. Followed by apple pie, coffee and tea. You could say it was slightly better than the lunch we had to offer… In fact you probably should say that.

Sunday:

9:00: Wake up call! Although it wasn’t too late of a sleep in, Lindsey and I had gotten train tickets in to Stockholm for Sunday morning, so up and at ’em! After packing up and saying bye to Evelina we took a stroll through some parts of the city we had missed before on our way up to the station.

10:30: Train departs from Eskilstuna Central Station.

11:45: Arrival in Stockholm. We (I) decided we should walk down to the water and take a look at the old part of Stockholm City. It is one of my favorite places in the city, and not something you should miss. When we first left the train station and looked right we got a good view of Stockholm’s City Hall. My fun fact was that they had recently cleaned all the gold on top of the buildings in all of Sweden for the crown princesses’ wedding (other probably factual things I know about the royal family found here). Along the way in to Gamla Stan (the old town) you get a glimpse of Riddarholmskyrkan, which is most known for as a burial-place for kings. (I say “most known for” I mean most known by me, as in it’s the only thing I know about it. More informed people might have other opinions.) On our way in to Gamla Stan we also walked past Riksdagshuset, or the parliament building. (This time we didn’t venture in side.)

Gamla Stan!

Gamla Stan!

There are a ton of cute little shops in Gamla Stan, so we slowly made our way through.

12:45: After exploring Old Town we arrived at Vapiano. Still my favorite Italian place to eat in Stockholm. The Vapiano in Old Town is my favorite of the three in the city because of the location and the atmosphere. This is how excellent and fabulous the food looks:

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13:15: Once we had eaten our fill of excellent Italian food we took a stroll down to the water again to loop the other way through the city. Looking across the water we saw Grona Lund, some beautiful boats, and the National Museum.

Another breathtaking fall foliage view.

Another breathtaking fall foliage view.

Stockholm on the water

Turning back up to the city by the Royal Castle, we arrived just in time for the ceremonial changing of the guards.

changing of the guards

After which we made our way through the commercial side of Stockholm and saw all the stores and shopping. Since we weren’t looking for anything in particular we had a nice opportunity to have fika outside Ahlens and people watch.

more fika

We then made our way back to the train station.

14:05: Arrived back at Central Station and went over to the Arlanda Express tracks where Lindsey and I said out good byes. I hope you had an awesome visit to Sweden, Lindsey, come back soon!

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