Cykeläventyr: Tirups Herb Garden

The weather has been so nice lately, and I can only hope that Autumn continues this way! Erin and Melissa rode their bikes from Malmö to Lund, where Carole and I joined them for a cycling adventure! I am still not confident about biking except under the most perfect of conditions, so it was a great time to get out of my comfort zone. We were mostly on dedicated bike paths and there was little traffic for the sections that were on the road. The route took us through picturesque countryside to a garden inspiration center (see previous post of the visit with my American friend, Brandie, who has since moved back to USA) with gift shop, cafe, and creative displays of plants and garden art. It’s quite charming. We enjoyed lunch al fresco followed by leisurely strolls around the grounds to soak up inspiration.

I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got home and crashed around 7pm, but still I agree with the group that we should make biking a regular event, at least in fair weather. Next time we’d like to try biking out to the Long Pier and/ or the beach.

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.


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!


The long jetty with bath house and restaurant

It feels a bit like wonderland lately, with so many teas and outings and social invitations that we can’t keep up! I feel like I should take advantage of every opportunity this autumn because, come winter, things will slow down. So the party goes on, and my introverted self will have to hang on a little longer. I slept for 11 hours straight after this busy week! That hasn’t happened in years.

Brunch at the long jetty which is “remarkably long” – I couldn’t find out how long. We never get the timing right to eat here, and this time we arrived on time but with no reservations so we had to eat upstairs. Seems like the best seat in the house to me!?!

Reservations are also an issue for Alice och Katten, the Wonderland-themed tea place which has intrigued me for ages. Finally a friend suggested it and followed through with said reservation and it was lovely. We know for next time that we should order one or two pots of tea for the table to share! Baby Max was a joy, scones and cakes, so-so, Alice atmosphere A+

Lots of people are buying places in Eslöv, a small town which is more affordable but still has easy access to Lund by train, and bike. I went to visit some friends and delivered baby Daniel’s pumpkin hat, my best one so far!

I’m sold on this German-engineered All-In-One kitchen appliance, Thermomix, demonstrated by my friend, Carole! We made the most amazing Butternut Squash Soup and savory custard simultaneously! We even made the vegetable broth base, a paste which can be stored for a long time in the refrigerator and then added to recipes as needed. So I don’t need to ask friends to smuggle in anymore heavy jars of Better Than Bouillon! And no more preservative cubes…the Thermomix can make it!

You clean and peel veggies, prep ingredients, but then the machine does the rest with auto settings from the wi-fi, it weighs, chops, mixes, steams, sauteés, whips and can even velouté (and also sous vide, which will hook Bryant) with very little mess, all at one time. It’s almost the Jetsons. Carole had her first one for 15 years and recently upgraded to the internet connected model. Stephanie already owns one, too, though she left it in Spain. Too bad Google Meets won’t make for a good cooking party, because I think all of us should have one of these babies!

The new knitting exhibit at Kulturen is fun. We got there right before closing one day so I’ll go back for a better look. Their gift shop is always a favorite and I think the restaurant has reopened. It’s still on my list. Also heard there is a cafe in the basement of one of the University buildings that’s very nice. Mostly locals know about it. I can see why they might keep quiet about some of these places. Tourism has picked up a lot in the last few months. It’s hard to get photos with all these people getting in the way, lol!

Cafe in this building on the right.

This area was the Kungshuset botanical garden. Some of the trees were planted in 1889, and some, mostly evergreens, in 1868 when the rune stone ring hill was installed using 7 local stones. The largest stone reads something like “Sven and Torgot made this in memory of Manne and Svenne, God rest their souls, but their bodies lie in London.”

Lund Choral Festival/ Opera

Free concerts all week (Oct 18-24) and one ticketed professional concert each evening, but, alas, the venues filled quite quickly and I only made it in to one free concert! Next year we know to get the pre-paid pass. Bryant and I did manage to get tickets at the door to hear Det Norske Solistkor and it was magical! My favorite was Ørjan Matre: Orphic Songs, but there aren’t any recordings of it available that I could find.

All Saints Church, aka the red church, hosted the ticketed events, probably because of the amazing acoustics. Photo from last winter!

I thought there was another free concert as part of this morning’s Högmässa High Mass at the cathedral. It was just the regular church choir, but it was an interesting experience. I tried to sit in an inconspicuous location, the back row of the first section, thinking that it would be crowded all the way at the back but I didn’t realize the multiple processions would put me in the center of the event! It was all in Swedish, of course, but I followed along OK without understanding much.

The homily is given from the pulpit to the left so I essentially sat right in the front, even though it seemed like the back when I chose the seat. All of the processing ended right next to where I was sitting. The people at the front turn around to face the center, putting me face-to-face with the far back section, argh! And it lasted for and hour and a half. The choir was a good church choir, not like the professional singers of the other concerts, but nice. And it was fun to hear them in the cathedral.

Our Musical Extravaganza continues…On Friday night we went to Malmö to join with some of the MN to Malmö group (all relocated from Mpls for jobs at IKEA) to see our friend, Dom (Bry knew his partner from Target and now IKEA), perform in Glada änkan The Merry Widow. It was a fabulous show and tons of fun even though we didn’t understand a lot of words. Luckily, the show is more about the music and drama, so it didn’t matter. We also read a synopsis in English and watched a few YouTube clips of a London production. Dom was a star in his roguish role, and, on top of having an incredible voice, he learned this role in SWEDISH while also working his other high energy job. He is setting such a great example of embracing a new language and culture. The kids were both suitably impressed and enjoyed the show, too. Dom arranged for us to meet some other cast members after the show and made us feel like special guests. Another lovely experience.

Hilleshögs Dalar and a Sunny Weekend

Bry and I continued our exploration of the west coast, a bit north of our Glumslöv hike. It was just as scenic.

passage grave from bronze age

After our hike we stopped for a quick lunch at Fish and Chips in Lomma. It was too cold to eat outside, but the food was tasty.

It was past time to clean the patio wall, a chore that we put off all summer. I started noticing a greenish tinge last Spring but never got around to cleaning. The wall, which is visible from the living and dining rooms, was looking pretty sickly and I didn’t want to spend all winter looking at it. We need to turn off the outdoor water soon, so Bryant hooked up the power washer and we took turns blasting away what I think is mostly algae. Hopefully not much paint! Algae reminded me of the Agardh algae collection, which I learned about at the Botan.

Carl Agardh studied algae in the early 1800’s and began an important collection that is now part of Lund University. His son, Jakob, was also a botanist and designed blueprints for the “new” botanic gardens in 1862. The octagonal Agardhianum is being restored. It’s such an unusual building, with a rectangular wing on four sides of the octagon. I can’t wait to see the interior! Here’s the patio before and after.

This year we bought pumpkins early- hopefully timed it right so they don’t rot.
Joined the food co-op…Lund Matvarukooperativ. The thing that looks like cauliflower is Lion’s Mane! It was delicious

The Slopes of Glumslöv

On the drive back from Ängelholm we stopped at this nature reserve in the village of Glumslöv. The trail we took leads through lovely hillside pastures to the sea. There are several stone age monuments nearby as well as 2 barrows dating to the iron age, which served as the graves for the family groups who worked the land. The Island of Ven is visible in the distance, and the coastline trail looks like a great adventure for another day. Glacier activity resulted in rare flora and fauna in the valley and along the cliffs. Signs said spring time is especially good for seeing the unusual specimens so we’ll add it to our list! And another castle to check out sometime.

Morning coffee

Bryant and I often walk to Broder Jakob’s for coffee and baked treats on Saturday mornings. It opens earlier than most bakeries and I love the atmosphere. The colors and decor are my style, with creamy white, and pinkish beige walls, high grey-blue ceilings, soft, elegant lighting, lots of plants and vintage photos. I just love relaxing inside or in the patio nice weather. I’ve never taken pictures because it’s always full of people and it feels awkward to photograph them. Then the man sitting at a table across from us arranged himself in the perfect vignette. He looked so much like a painting that I pretended to take a selfie and took a photo of him over my shoulder. I’m still amazed at how a portrait composed itself! Doesn’t he look like an impressionist painting?!

We walked through Stadsparken on the way home and saw the grey heron who often perches on rocks or trees by the pond. The fall colors really made it pop, though it’s too bad I never remember a zoom lens.

On Friday we meant to go to Copenhagen for their big Kultur Natten but it runs from 6-midnight and in spite of our good intentions (I even had a little afternoon nap and energy drink) we just couldn’t muster up the energy to deal with transportation, long lines, and big crowds. So we went only as far as Malmö to meet Bryant for dinner in the City instead. We made new discoveries even though we’ve been in the area many times. Never noticed the Lion Passage before! We were so frustrated with google maps telling us to turn right when there was no street! It was quite funny later in the evening as we came through the passage from the other side on our way back. Then dinner at the place we ate (Ruth’s, formerly Bastard) when we came to Sweden the first time almost 2 years ago! Still great food and those two got their oysters.

Saturday afternoon we drove to Ãngelholm to visit the candle factory but it was closed! I can’t get used to Swedish opening hours. So we went hat shopping and walked around the picturesque town.

Ängeltofta Estate, candle workshop in one of the outbuildings

Island of Ven: Mors Dag 2

We lucked out with one of Sweden’s Top 10 Weather Days of 2021, I’m sure. Sunny and warm with a very light breeze. Caught the 10 a.m. ferry from Landskrona to Ven where we had a little snack at the harbor, then rented 2 tandem bikes and headed out to tour the island.

It was the best mother’s day ever! The riding was pretty easy after a bit of practice. Lily went swimming while I hiked a section of the Skåneleden Trail. We had ice cream, rhubarb cake, sandwiches and delicious pizzas. Next time I’m going to sign up for Alpaca Trekking!!! Enjoyed the Island’s history and the fascinating Tycho Brahe Museum.

The entire island can be covered on 12 km of road/trail. The scenery is spectacular, but I didn’t even get most of the views because it’s impossible to take pictures from a tandem bike! I’d like to go again and stick to hiking. But the kids loved the biking, and I know that a day like today doesn’t come often to the “Isle of Hven”

The ferry is a fun adventure in itself, at least in good weather. It takes about 30 minutes, and it’s possible to see all the way to the Öresund Bridge and Turning Torso in Malmo, Helsingborg and Landskrona up the coast of Sweden plus across to Denmark where even Helsingor and Elsinore Castle are visible. It’s still high on my list once we can travel to Denmark. I chatted briefly with a group of Spaniards from Lund University (heard them mention Minneapolis so I had to say something) Such a great day!