Archive | August, 2013

Dreams of Grandjour

26 Aug

I’m in Sweden and it’s decidedly different than Iceland.

mostly because of the sun
23°C has turned me into a skateboarder/poser.
Pat (that punk I dated in 8th grade) would probably still not be impressed.
Maybe it’s my form.

Anyway, a girl friend of mine has joined me (and since departed) for a portion of Sweden: Two weeks ago Katie Kuhn and I were boarder-line strangers who had gone to high school together. We briefly connected at Paneras in December (you know I have epiphanies there) and now

we’re so close our watches beep at the same time

we’re so close that our watches beep at the same time.

Sweden (vs Iceland) is all about its cities; Stockholm, Kalmar, Lund, Gothemburg. I purchased a Stockholm card to get the most out of my experience. You pay a set price and receive unlimited access to over 200 attractions — a three day marathon of metro rides, museums, boat tours, castles, parks, and gardens. It was worth the money and I was happily frantic, engrossed, studying maps, running around, and fitting everything in.

There is straight up music in the streets

music in the streets tried to distract me from visiting in Stockholm

Most interesting were the places that housed Nobel events: The Nobel Museet (where I learned that ALL the award money, including the festivities themselves, are funded solely off of the interest of moneys left by Alfred Nobel in his will), The Stadshuset (where I leaned that the award dinner has a schedule down to the second . Waiters train for years for this event. If they get nervous – even moments before they are to work – a replacement server has already been trained to step in.), Kulture Huset (where I learned that The King of Sweden actually bows to each Nobel Laureate). I could have spent all day at each exhibit.

Stockholm is especially dignified.

Stockholm is especially dignified.

From the capitol city I went south, ate some delicious Swedish meatballs, and drove the coast of Swedens diaper (I wish I was kidding. Perhaps the abundance of active farms explains ‘that’ smell? As a farmer I don’t think so. But I’ll give Sweden the benefit of the doubt). From south I went west, saw the stunning fjords, walked along beaches, and ended up in Gothemburg where I am now being treated like royalty:

once again, the sun.

still, the weather.

I have lots of planning to do over the next few weeks — a post in each country seems like a reasonable goal. There’s a strong chance you can influence my travels if you despise the song Whisky Lullaby as much as I do.

meatball kisses,


5 Aug

I have chosen a beds-are-most-appreciated-when-you-rarely-have-one approach.

wet off the mountain

awake and wet at 3am with nowhere to go

But I didn’t know that most of the accommodations in Iceland would be sold out.

According to my guidebook — which has tear stains in it — if I had a tent I’d be massochistic. Clearly without a tent is unfathomable.

homeslles, for realz

sprinkling hot pepper flakes on my tuna makes me feel like I’m cooking

But the good news is: I’m really really good at relishing luxury when it comes.

half eaten

It’s a challenge to remember to take a picture when you’re starving.

Thus I enjoy the struggle. Or at least the inevitable sweet relief.

An excerpt from my journal reveals that I’ve been keeping things positive.
¨The bottom of my rain proof pants are wet and getting my other layers wet. Which is terrible and cold. But at least I got to go on that nice hike in Skutustaoir today!¨

I've had at least 8 different rides from strangers who have stopped and picked me up on the side of the road.

Would you stop?

The goodness of strangers

The goodness of strangers

– A couple from Ireland lent me their tent.
– A couple from Denmark let me sleep in their tent.
– Sara dedicated an entire day to help me get ready.
– Washing my hair with soap was rejuvenating.
– Pedro decided to be my friend before we even met.
has rocked me

has rocked me

to my core.

to my core.

– When I don’t have my thumb out people still slow down to ask if I need any help 🙂
– Jose shared his cup of coffee that he had seriously been dreaming about all morning.
– The staff at a fancy hotel snuck me into their special ‘hot room’ so that I could dry out my sleeping bag and other essentials.

This guy took me whale watching!

The captain of this ship took me whale watching.

for free!

sure, I got debilitatingly nauseous

Unfortunately I got debilitatingly nauseous

but that also put things into perspective.
38°F+wind chill, hours of hitchhiking-rejection, ‘sleeping’ on public toilets, rain for days, all turned into a game of ‘Well, it could be worse. At least I’m not still sea sick!’

Plus I got to see a jumping humpback whale 🙂

homeless for realz.

I felt legitimately homeless and dejected.

But I stuck it out and several hours later the local bakery opened

yummy yummy

and this darling woman gave me unlimited hot tea and fresh cakes on the house!


I try to eat healthy

But when I get indoors I tend to fall asleep.

but when I get indoors I tend to fall asleep.

This morning I went into a museum and met the 21 year old girl who works there. She let me chill at the information centre with her all day long.

i worked at an information centre for a day.

I learned about geothermal energy

After work she invited me to her home where her mother owns a restaurant and has tons of leftovers — They have been treating me like royalty!

sweet sweet heaven.

clean clothes. clean sheets. and, not pictured, is the roof.

They insisted I sleep here and before my new friend went to bed she said, ¨Do everything you need and like — make yourself completely at home.¨ ❤

As I write, I'm nuggled into those sheets, listening to the rain falling around the house. Waves of relief wash over me that I'm not outside, I feel humbled by this girls kindness. I'm exhausted by these outstanding, powerful feelings that I must communicate before I fall asleep: I love you until the 90% dark Chocolate Chips. Which is never.