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Monday, May 25, 2009

Birthday celebration and Stockholm visit

Wednesday I went by train to Enköping (a five hour trip) and was picked up by my father, who had travelled almost the same distance by car. We stayed at a camping site where we rented a cottage. The big party for my grandfather's 95th birthday was Thursday at a service center restaurant. Everybody was there and it was great to see them. His four children with spouses, eight grandchildren with spouses and eight great grandchildren. The youngest was just born, so it was a huge variation in age. The food was delicious, the topics of discussion varied and the children were noisy. We also managed to gather everybody for a picture. Afterwards my grandfather was pretty tired, but happy to have seen all of us. It's very difficult to come up with a gift for a 95-year-old, but the basket with crisp bread, homemade jam, brandy, and other food items my sister had assembled was much appreciated.

Friday my father, his girlfriend and I were invited to my cousin's place outside Uppsala for lunch. He lives out in the countryside at a beautiful spot close to a river. He is active in the garden (with the help of his mother) and we could tell he had done a great job also with the house. After the chicken lunch I was dropped off at the train station in Uppsala and took the train to Stockholm. I walked the distance of two subway stations to my mother's cousin's place near the city library. Rolf, his wife Inger and daughter Åsa and her dog Hugo were in the apartment, greeting me. It had been a while also since I saw them, and we had a lot to talk about.

Saturday morning I went shopping a little with Inger, who knew where some of the nice stores were. We found a store that was closing down and had 70% off everything. I got a pair of pants, a skirt and a sleeveless top there very cheaply. In the afternoon the others had to leave, since they really had moved out to the summer house. They left me to manage by myself in their apartment, and for this I am very grateful. The apartment was located two blocks away from the subway station and it was a 35 second ride to the center of the city (I timed it). It was a wonderful opportunity to explore the capital city and I really did. My feet hurt from walking so much, but I enjoyed the visit in Stockholm very much. Saturday afternoon I was walking in the shopping malls, doing some minor purchases. The dinner was at an Italian restaurant with great food.

Sunday I started at the Vasa ship museum. The Vasa is a large war ship from 1628 that sank on its maiden voyage and was salvaged in the 1960s. It's impressive with lots of ornamentation and two decks with cannons (normally there was only one). The displays were well done and it was a busy museum with enormous amounts of tourists from different countries. To get lunch I took the bus back to the subway station, changed trains once, and walked about seven blocks to the Mississippi Inn in the southern part of the city. I had a bacon cheeseburger there that was very tasty. After some more shopping in that area and walking around also in the Old Town with narrow streets and touristy shops, I was very tired and went back to the apartment to rest. In the evening I walked three blocks to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner; Cobb Salad and fudge brownie & ice cream - also very tasty.

This morning I went shopping at a few second hand stores and found a shirt and a handbag moderately priced. It was my last day in Stockholm and in the afternoon I went back home by train.

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