Everöd and Tomelilla

While evaluating Swedish dictionaries at the library today, I came across a book that explains the name/ origin of every town in Sweden.

My 3rd great grandmother came from Everöd. Her family is recorded in the parish as far back as 1725The village appears in records around 1228 the name comes from Old Danish meaning edge or rim/ embedded and reference to a guard post or watch keeping. And it was located along the shore of the Mjö river. Part of the name means “damp earth”. The area to the east of the village grew when a train station (Tomelilla) was built in 1881. That’s the best I can guess at translating! I never found the IPA dictionary I was looking for, but I had fun reading about the names of Swedish towns.

My 3rd great grandfather’s village Tryde/ Tomelilla, is just a short walk from Everöd. It was called Tommorp lille in 1437 and over time shortened to “tomelilla” from tomtmark meaning “building sites”.

Roma

Bryant and I coordinated on our posts about the latest family trip and found it challenging to summarize, but here’s what we’ve got so far!

We wanted to go someplace warmer for winter break, and chose Rome. It was an easy 2+ hour flight from CPH, and we had never been there before. We thought it might be less crowded than usual, though we didn’t anticipate the headaches of new covid restrictions. Luckily we managed to get Vaccine Passports and it seemed like the kids would be OK with their US vax cards. We didn’t realize that those would be invalid 6 months from the second dose so it was super lucky that we returned on Jan. 3 because their cards expired on Jan. 6 (by Italian rules) Sweden isn’t even offering boosters to under 18s yet so we might not be able to travel far for Spring break.

Anyway, we booked flights for an 8 day visit, and nabbed an AirBnB in the historic center of Rome in a cool old building in a neighborhood dating mostly from the 1500 and 1600s.  Here are a couple of pics of the place and a map its nice central location near Castel Sant Angelo.

We were so satisfied with our Tours By Locals experience in Athens that we went for it again. We found a guide with a good profile and asked him to help us out with seeing the key things in Rome. We ended up doing 3 half days – Ancient Rome (Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, and the Colosseum), Villa Borghese, and the Vatican (art galleries and Sistine Chapel) along with Castel Sant’Angelo.  Each outing, Ennio showed us around, told us all about the history and culture of the place, and stories about the art and artists. Seriously great way to immerse in Rome! 

We did a little walking around on our own and saw the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps.

We also really liked the food tour we did in Athens, so we looked to repeat it in Rome. We had a great guide (Chiara) who took us around to lots of little places for great samples – aperativos, great cheese and salami sampler, Roman pizza, Michelin-starred Pasta Carbonara, and tiramisu. All really good. It was a little rainy in the evening, but not so bad and we only needed the umbrella a couple of times. 

On one day that we had to ourselves, we did a little self-guided walking tour, from the apartment to the Passeggiata del Gianicolo with pretty amazing overlooks of the city, in to the Trastevere neighborhood for a snack and a view of a church with a really cool mosaic, across the bridge to the island in the Tiber (world’s smallest inhabited island) and then finally to the Jewish neighborhood, where we ate overlooking the Portico di Ottavia, and back to the left bank of the river.

The weather was pretty good and in spite of the clouds, it was significantly lighter. An additional 2.5 hours of daylight made a big difference. Sites were busy but not overly crowded and the nightlife was vibrant but not crazy. Our location was remarkably quiet except for the birds (gulls?) and city sounds like the occasional ambulance or recycling glass sounds, no big parties or crowd noise. The trucks were sooo tiny, even compared to the small vehicles in Sweden.

Amalfi

After 4 days, we had plenty of Rome, and wanted to see something a bit different. So we booked a hotel on the Amalfi coast in the town of Amalfi. The town was full of tunnels and hidden staircases and passageways carved out of or through the hillside. Hotel Luna was a 13th century convent founded by St Francis of Assisi, and then converted to a hotel around 1818. Apparently it also was the place that Ibsen wrote the Birdcage, and Wagner wrote some operas and was very popular with famous creative types and VIPs such as Sweden’s King Gustav VI. It was a very cool place (stunning Moresque tiles and architecture) but the advertised pool and beach were closed for the season (which was not disclosed on the Booking page for the place …). 

From Rome, we took a train to Salerno (saw Mt Vesuvius from the train), and then a shuttle to Amalfi.  The coast road is REALLY twisty, and we saw a lot of cyclists of all kinds enjoying the curves and the scenery.  Unfortunately, the curves from the back seat of a van made for some pretty motion-sick people!  H was really sick on the way to the hotel, and I was pretty bad on the way back.  Which was a little unfortunate because the scenery was AMAZING.  The sea, the little villages, the steep cliffs, and the lemon orchards were super-picturesque.

The day we arrived was New Years Eve, so we signed up for the NYE prix fixe dinner there. It turned out to be an 8 course monster where 2 courses would have been a full meal. It started at 8 and finished at midnight when everybody got a bottle of bubbly to pop at the same time for a toast.  The kids made it to 10:30, but then had to bail out.  Jen and I stuck it out.  There was some cool music as well – a trio of musicians and singers that played and sang all night.  We took a bit of video here. 

O Sole Mio sung by an actual singer in an actual Italian hotel.

Breakfast was tasty and coffee in the medieval cloister courtyard was pretty nice too!

On New Years Day, we took a taxi up to the clifftop town of Ravello and enjoyed visiting the grounds and museum at Villa Rufolo. 

We had a snack at a little bar on the town square to fortify ourselves for the walk back down to Amalfi.  We had heard about this route that was over a thousand stairs, and figured, as long as we were going down, it cannot be too hard, right?  Well, it was pretty remote and sketchy in a few places, but it was clearly the path as we passed (and followed) a number of signs.

We finally made it back to Amalfi and had a bit of a lie-down, as we all had sore feet. For dinner, we had booked a table online at a place that turned out not to be open (kind of a flaw of the system to let you book for a closed restaurant …) but it was a really happy mistake as we were able to squeeze in at La Gemma, established 1872, which turned out to be the best food of the entire trip.  Amazing pasta, risotto, bread, wine, dessert, the works!  In a super-cute little setting and great staff.

We gathered lots of sea glass, tumbled rocks and tile fragments from the stony beach, but the water was a bit cold for swimming. The last morning in Amalfi was about getting back to Rome, and included the twisty, sickening van ride, and then a train trip that was already longer due to being unable to book on the fast train and then waiting for the ambulance for a sick passenger. Sigh. We ended up back in Rome about an hour later than planned, hungry and frazzled. But lo, what did we find in the Roma Termini? Five Guys? Greasy American burgers in the train station? Sign us up! It was just like in the US except for the pickles, which were not as good.

Our last night in Rome was pretty chill – a bit of shopping for H to pick out a birthday outfit and then packing/cleaning for our return flight to Sweden via CPH, no testing needed and the flight left 20 minutes early!

Andra Julen i Sverige

Our second Christmas in Sweden. How time flies! We had more concerts, parties and events this year before new Omicron restrictions kicked in. On Monday I went to a concert at Lunds Domkyrka with traditional music of the season, including Lucia songs, ambient Celtic style vocals performed in the dark, acapella, candle light processional with chanting, and then more traditional music accompanied at times by harp, flute, organ, and other instruments. It was especially enchanting/ spooky in the dark with only the light from 4 advent candles and those carried by the singers. Later in the week we gathered with the group from Minnesota at one of the Malmo locations. The MN meets Sweden theme for drinks and appetizers was very clever and tasty.

The weather certainly has been colder and snowier than last year which made for some pretty snow covered scenery and lighter night skies …and slippery sidewalks. These have been some of the shortest days of the year at only 7 hours (most of which are cloudy) and we are looking forward to more light. But the dark doesn’t stop most people from enjoying the season. Kids play at the park, folks are out shopping, skating etc, in the dark, and the VinterLund programs in the center are still crowded most of the time.

We did our annual X-mas Eve bookstore visit in Lund just before closing, and it was pleasantly empty, with just a few customers and no lines.

Then home for duck confit, sweet potatoes, green beans and mushrooms, with Passionfruit Pavlova for dessert. Santa was very generous and everyone had some nice surprises, including JenJill who enjoyed her new sled. We haven’t found a snowy hill of the correct scale yet but here she is in the courtyard testing out her sled.

the younger one was done

Tonight we journeyed to Malmo to get our pre-flight covid tests. We enjoyed dinner out at a fabulous Lebanese restaurant, Occo, and then finished our packing. Hopefully travel to Rome will be smooth. It might be hard adjusting to full time N95 masks, even outdoors, but at least we are able to go. I feel like there is so much more to document about this week, but now it’s quite late so I must get to bed. Wishing you all a lovely, healthy holiday!

GOD JUL!

Julbord, Jul Dance Show

Last week we enjoyed a hike around the castle grounds followed by a Julbord (christmas buffet) with friends from MN. Check out Melissa’s blog for more about this fun afternoon!

After the Julbord, we drove in search of a Cut Your Own Tree Farm per request of the younger Noiceling. The older one was home recovering from a cough. Unfortunately it was rather difficult to find, and by the time we arrived it was pretty dark. So after looking around a bit we settled on a pre-cut tree. Now we know how to find the farm next year.

The youngest had a Jul NY Dance Show at Lunds Stadsteater. We were all surprised by how big and elaborate the show/venue was, so it was quite impressive that she was able to get past some significant stage fright and lead her small group in their two dances. She didn’t want pictures posted and we weren’t sure about the dance school photography policy, but a Swedish band provided some musical entertainment and made it clear that we should post about their music. So I only have a few pictures of the two hour extravaganza. The band was called PARi and they have some songs on Spotify. Some of the dance school students were their backup dancers. I’m guessing they are Melodifestivalen hopefuls!

We’re so proud that our kid pushed through the fear and supported her team. And the performance was fantastic. She got a big confidence boost out of the whole stressful event and intends to enroll again. I hope she doesn’t choose the pole dancing class. I’m not kidding. Those kids were amazingly strong and graceful, but I’m not ready to be the mom-in-the-audience for that part of the show, lol.

Before the 2 hour Show

Everything Jul except the weather! More photos from our walking and hiking. Open house in the neighborhood allotment colony, and the strand near Bjärred. The cloudy-meets-clear sky made for some interesting views. Lower left is the same apple tree from before.

After a nice hike out to see the swans…the immature mute swans being pushed around by some adults. They would bop them on the behind with their beaks and shove them! …Bry and I stopped for lunch at the former train station (1901-1938) with original floors and beams, beautifully refinished. Very good food. I had cod in mustard sauce, one of those Swedish things that I have grown to love. Also the Christmas rice pudding, which I have at every opportunity. I think Golden Grove Goods citrus marmalade would work well as a short cut to this dessert!

Gamla Råby and Our Friend, Loki

sculpture at Råbysjö park

This sculpture behind the church in Old Råby (a village just East of Lund and near the new development, Stora Råby) is actually a perfect circle but is distorted by the pano photo. I’ve posted about the church, bakery, Chokladserenad candy shop and ceramics studio previously, but this time I walked out to Råby to see the birds at the seasonal “reserve” called Smelly Tobacco on the map. I can’t imagine it’s a good place for smoking, so maybe the name refers to scented tobacco plant? Yesterday I saw a few swans, lots of geese, and plenty of those cute little ducks that sound like squeaky rubber duckies.

Black cat watching me on the path to Råby… reminding me of Loki

Last week we had the sad news that our cat, Loki Salem McFurFace, died peacefully and was not alone thanks to our good friends who were caring for her back in Minnesota. Since last summer Loki was being treated for kidney disease and other health issues. We were not sure she could adapt to the move to Sweden, and luckily these friends were willing to give her a home with them. Kirstin, Gabe, and especially, Izzi, gave Loki lots of love, and even made it possible for us to spend time with her last summer.

Loki was quirky, curious, cuddly, more than a little loki, and always entertaining. She leaves us with countless funny stories and memories of her escapades. That Damn Cat, as she was sometimes known, will be missed. She was a world-class lap napper, a superb hunter, and a fabulous, furry friend. We loved her.

“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”- Ernest Hemingway

Lucia Dag and a lake in Lund

This year was our first (Dec 13) Lucia Day experience with some in-person activities, but most were cancelled again or moved online. Traditionally, at day break there are Lucia concerts, processions and lussekatter aka saffron buns for breakfast or fika. Many schools and offices have Lucia celebrations. IKEA does, and Bryant has stories to tell about that sometime.

Our Katedralskolan choralist missed the performance due to a lingering cough. Her empty place is front left. All of us are sad that she wasn’t able to perform in her fancy Lucialinne by candlelight but maybe next year. Later in the day Lund had a procession and concert in the main square. It was rainy but that probably kept the crowd size down. The last event on my Lucia agenda was the Helsingborg choir performing at the Domkyrka but it was cancelled with no explanation, just a note on the cathedral door!

It’s been unusually cold and rainy/snowy these last few weeks but the sun came out for a bit today and I walked over to Hojeådalen. It is now a small lake! I think it’s part of the water management system in Lund to collect overflow water there by the river. I’ve never seen the water that high, but it didn’t seem to be flooding.

Hojeådalen

Jul Markets, Knitting, Open House

Painted rocks for Space camp fund raiser a few years back

Inspired by the many works of art on display at the Bosjökloster and Kulturen Jul Markets, I dug out supplies for making painted rocks, a tomte house and more knitting projects. Then realized that I don’t really have the time for much crafting right now. I’ve been making time for tea and pepparkakor, gifted to me by another aspiring knitting friend, or rosettes and Klenor (a donut-like fried cookie) as we enjoy our countdown calendars.

I did start to learn brioche knitting this week with a couple of friends who would like to form a knitting club. We got a bit side tracked by delicious soup, contributed by Carole, and my overly enthusiastic side dishes which took too much time to serve, but were well received by cold, hungry guests who braved some of the iciest streets of our time in Sweden to get to our house. Stephanie got me started on a brioche pattern but I don’t quite have it down.

This all took place during the first Open House at Katedralskolan which included music by Hil’s choir. None of the Open House information was adequately communicated, which resulted in knitting club and the open house occurring at exactly the same time. So I went to the Öppet Hus early and was allowed in after having my Vax Pass scanned and explaining that the new times were never given out to the English speaking students or updated in various channels of communication. And thus I gained entry to the Hallowed Halls of Lund Katedralskolan… 45 minutes before opening time! I was graciously invited to eat dinner with the vaccine pass guards and staff and explore the buildings. I attempted to record the choir when they sang as folks were getting settled for the first presentation, but there was too much commotion and I gave it up. Bryant was able to see the final session of the evening and they didn’t have much luck either (to see and hear the choir). At least we all saw inside the buildings and got a better sense of the school.

Katedralskolan Gate Entrance

JULMARKNAD We’ve been to a few Jul markets now and found that they vary greatly in scope. I didn’t take photos inside the many buildings at Bosjökloster as my hands were full and I was afraid of bumping things with my backpack etc. It was the largest of the markets I’ve seen and had vendors in every building on the grounds, except for the church and the restaurants, one of which was serving a julbord, and the other a soup lunch. I had the fisksoppa which was very nice. We were in a hurry to get back to Lund for the tree lighting ceremony so we skipped dessert and one more section of the market. We could easily have spent the whole day. I made several fun purchases, most of which I can’t mention yet because they are gifts. One purchase I made for myself was a wonderful handmade willow basket by Ingalill Nilsson and another Nisse. I love the basket handle, which is a section of root which was found by the Nilssons, preserved in a peat bog, so it may be very old. Anyway, I love the shape and character of the wood.

And also this week… we had a couple inches of snow, enough for snow sculptures and icy sidewalks! It only lasted three days but the youngest had a blast making a snowman at school. She did NOT enjoy riding bike on the ice and took a couple of tumbles, none serious. Another great surprise was the installation of our new dryer, a luxury we have been living without for more than a year. It was a welcome addition, and I didn’t even mind having to mop the floor from all the muddy snow that was dragged in only one hour after I’d finished cleaning for my knitting party! It was worth it. It also forced me to clean up the basement a bit, which I had not done in a long while. Having a clothes dryer is so much nicer than having to hang everything, especially for the sheets and towels. No more crunchy towels and the entire basement draped with damp clothing!

Nordic-light Duo/ Elsa Beskow concert

This week marks the start of Jul market season, beginning with Bosjökloster (Cloister by the lake) in the town of Höör.

Carole, Beata and I arrived in time for the musical prelude and were surprised to find ourselves enjoying much more than just a few holiday songs. The concert was based on original (some never published) art work and books by Elsa Beskow, set to music by The Nordic-light Duo, Elsa’s great-grandson, Daniel Beskow, a concert pianist, with vocals by Josefine Andersson. The concert and storytelling alone would’ve made a fun day out but we were only just getting started!

It reminded me of reading Elsa Beskow books to my little girls!

Penitence chapel, where naughty nuns were sent.

One thousand year old oak tree on the Monastery grounds.

Femtioett

Since we recently returned from Athens where we maxed out our children’s travel energy and goodwill, I knew that my 51st birthday wishes should be modest when it came to their involvement.

My own celebrations started early in the week with a trip to Malmo to see Melissa and try out the Chocolate “Tea” menu at Peter Beier Chokolade. By the time I arrived after missing my intended train, it wasn’t really Fika time so we went to lunch instead, at my favorite Vietnamese place. Then we returned to PB where she treated me to chocolates and coffee for my birthday. And we managed a full afternoon of walking and shopping!

The IKEA cabinet that I’ve been wanting for years, is now back in stock! The stars aligned, and Bryant and the kids got it all set up for me to display my future knitting and craft projects. Now my yarn stash is elevated to art, and I can enjoy it without any feelings of guilt (for buying more yarns). What could be better for my birthday! Passionfruit is in season (I love it in yogurt, or salad dressing, or any dessert, but especially with chocolate) and I have been indulging in more ambient lighting with timers. And for the ones that do not have timers, IKEA has a new Smart System that Bryant will install for me to enable lights go on and off automatically and with dimming options!

My birthday weekend continued with a short visit to the history museum and fika with friends, and then dinner out at a nice restaurant in Lund. And Bryant willingly DROVE so that I could wear fancy shoes and not have to walk home in the dark chill of November. That means he couldn’t enjoy more than a few sips of alcohol and had to deal with city parking (we actually discovered a great place to park for cheap on the north side!) so this was a special treat. Then the big finale on Sunday, High Tea at the Grand Hotel! Though my British friends did not recommend it for the tea menu, I was satisfied with the novelty and tradition of the event. True, the scones were not the best, but good company and the Grand Hotel vibe made it a beautiful afternoon. It happened to be Father’s Day as well, so we didn’t get the private tea room I had reserved due to staffing issues, which in the end didn’t make much difference. There was a nice selection of sweet and savory tea goodies, and we had a lovely time.