Saturday 29 September 2012

More holidays

I am reminded about the French poem we learnt in school; la cigale et la fourmi. by Jean de La Fontaine. It told of the cricket who sang all summer whereas the ant worked hard stocking up food for the winter.  I have played hard all summer and have a lot to catch up on now it’s over. 

Jewish New Year

We dip apple in honey in order to bring about a sweet new year.  I left no stone unturned in ensuring a sweet new year by using honey in the whole holiday menu; honey in the cake, tzimmos sweetened with honey and honey in the sauce on the salmon.
 My scrumptious honey cake with almonds
 My foliage display

The Jewish new year is a religious festival and begins at dusk the night before with a huge meal.  The morning is spent in the synagogue followed by another huge meal and, for us, it is traditional to have afternoon tea at my Aunty Edith’s with the extended family.  The whole thing is then repeated for day two.  It is a time for every individual to reflect on their character and how they can improve.

 Some of the guests

A trip to North Wales with my sisters  

We spent a great couple of days in Llandudno.  The weather kept fine for us and we manage to do a lot of walking.  We walked round the shops, we walked to cafes and then we walked to restaurants.  We had spent a holiday in the resort as kids and the area has remained basically unchanged apart from the huge increase in traffic.
 Llandudno Pier

 The Orme

 Hotels line the long promenade

 Can't tell which is ours

These were taken at Rhos on Sea

A visit to Conway


We must do it again soon.







Thursday 27 September 2012

The Swedish Experience

We have recently returned from a week in Sweden.  Our visit was primarily to visit our family there including a new grandson and a two year old granddaughter who switches easily from English to Swedish, depending on to whom she is chatting.
 Ruben wearing patriotic colours

We stayed with them at Farsta, a suburb of Stockholm, and during our time there, we had the opportunity of experiencing Swedish life and visiting a variety of interesting places.  Whatever your destination, there are ‘country paths’ lined with trees, wild flowers, benches and children’s play areas, rather than walking along pavements next to a road.

Grandad cutting Freya's hair 

 The deck

Monday:  Lunch by the lake

We walked along to the lake at Farsta Strand, where we had lunch at an old, wooden trading station.  Lunch, vegetarian quiche (paj) seemed very expensive before I learnt that the price includes unlimited, salad, bread and hot drinks or juice. 


On the way back, after passing attractive flower allotments, we stopped off at the popular local shopping centre, Farsta Centrum, which   has won several awards, including the year's shopping center (1999 and 2000), European Shopping Centre Award (1999) and Stockholm's best shopping mall (2002).  Many well-known stores are represented and the central precinct houses market stalls and is a venue for live music.  Here we bought some wine and beer at the Systembolaget,  the government owned chain of liquor stores allowed to sell alcoholic beverages that contain more than 3.5% proof.  

And of course an ice cream for Freya from MacD’s.

        Tuesday:   Djurgården

We travelled by boat to Djurgården, one of the 14 islands on which Stockholm is built.  This island was originally the hunting ground for the royals and, I believe, those with royal blood are still afforded this privilege.  Today the island is still used for recreation; museums, amusement parks and gardens.
 Flower Stall at Slussen, where we boarded to boat

 An old wooden house on the island

We walked around the gardens illustrated by my photos.  We had a lovely bowl of organic onion soup in a large greenhouse, which served as the cafe, and the dirty dishes were placed outside on a trolley for the birds to pick clean!  We bought some crocus bulbs “Gypsy Girl” as a memento of our holiday; hopefully they will be in bloom for the return visit.

 Can you see the birds?

 Flower arrangers dream - pick your own

 Flower arrangement at the greenhouse cafe

 I hope our bulbs turn out like these 

.  "The gaudy crocus flaunts its pride,
And triumphs where its rival died."

-Mary Robinson

Wednesday:  Skogskyrkogården (The Woodland Cemetery; a UNESCO Heritage Site

This Stockholm cemetery was created between 1917 and 1920 by two young architects, Asplund and Lewerentz, on the site of former gravel pits overgrown with pine trees. The design blends vegetation and architectural elements, taking advantage of irregularities in the site to create a landscape that is finely adapted to its function. It has had a profound influence in many countries of the world.

It may seem a weird choice for a trip, never mind a picnic, but this ‘working’ cemetery was a splendid, peaceful space with its flora and fauna and architectural features.  All religions and none are buried here, the most famous being the Swedish film actress, Greta Garbo.  Her manager, Mauritz Stiller is buried in the Jewish section, distinguished by the pebbles left by relatives on the graves.  Here there is an Ohel, a building where the ceremony takes place which has a wall of memorials to those who perished in the death camps.



 The Ohel

 Could it be a relative?

 A master of chess
Thursday:  The Tyresta National Park
The park extends over almost 5,000 hectares. It has been protected to preserve its exceptional natural values and to safeguard its importance for recreation. You can find primeval forest here with pine trees that are 400 years old, clear forest lakes and a large number of unusual plants and animals. You can also see broad-leaved deciduous woodland, open arable land and historical buildings of cultural interest.
A typical feature of primeval woodland is the great number of plant and animal species. Up to 8,000 species of animals can be found here which is four times as many as in exploited forests! Many species are also completely dependent on primeval woodland for their habitats, indeed for their very survival!
It is unusual to have a national park within a capital city, but in Stockholm you can swim and fish in clean water in the city centre.
There are many trails to follow and we took the pram friendly one.  Camping is allowed here and there are facilities to make a fire to cook your food.  We took a picnic of delicious Greek salad.


Friday:   Gamla Stan, Kulturhuset and the Jewish museum 
Gamla Stan, the old town, is built on yet another island.  It is a very picturesque area with the Royal Palace.

 This house has a decoration to show that it belonged to wealthy owners and , in the event of a fire, it would be saved before other poorer dwellings. 

Locks on bridge presumably like they do in Paris; lovers attach the padlock to the railings, write a message on and throw the key in the river.

Kulturhuset – the Culture House
Every month a variety of contemporary cultural events are staged on all floors here day and night.  There are photo exhibitions,  activities for kids, concerts, literary discussions, films, debates and many different eating areas.  It reminded me of the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
We had spinach soup with hard boiled egg, which may sound gross but actually went very well together.
 View from the top

The roof garden with one of its many eating areas
 These photos were taken en route; such a photogenic city.
I have only included a minute proportion of the whole album. 

The Jewish Museum (Judiska Museet)is found in the Vasastan area. We watched a film  on the history of the Swedish Jews and their adaption to Swedish society.  There was a display of jewish artifacts and an exhibition chronicling the lives of two people from a family over the generations.  

We were treated to my usual Friday night casserole made from my recipe, which I couldn’t fault, and a scrumptious apple and cinnamon cake which Emma and Freya had baked while we were out.
Saturday:  A lazy day; we walked to the Farsta Centrum and started off to the animal sanctuary but rain put a stop to it.
Sunday:   We did make the animal sanctuary this time!

Our wonderful holiday came to an end much too soon; at least for us although I can’t speak for Ben and Emma.  Not only were we able to spend quality time with the family, but were treated to fantastic home-cooked dinners and taken to visit some really interesting places.

 Hej då! 

Readers of my blog may wonder why other tourist attractions such as a boat trip in the archipelago were not included in our itinerary.  The reason for this is that it was not our first visit to the area and we have already ticked some boxes.

This is just a taste of our holiday; our memories are too numerous to recount.
Tack för en underbar semester; fantastisk!






“The sea is their grave but this Memorial sculpture is, in many ways, a headstone for the lost trawlermen”

I have always been impressed by the architecture in the centre of the maritime city of Hull, especially the old buildings with their carving...