Day 98

Feeling: runny nose, tired eyes, soft bready texture of a lussebulle
Seeing: the architecture of the Haga neighborhood, the dim candlelit delis, Christmas lights all over town
Tasting: spicy and smoky vegetarian dishes, tortilla
Smelling: blueberry green tea
Hearing: Swedish being spoken on the streets

I had slept in quite a bit, having had gone to bed late the night prior and the sun rising later here than in Ireland. Plus there was the one-hour time difference and my being sick. By the time I got out the door it was around noon or one, so I decided just to take the day to wander the city until I saw Sarah.

I bought a tram pass at the local grocery store, then took a ten-minute ride into the city center. From there I tried to find my way off the beaten path, which took me through parks up to Haga, which could be considered the historic district.

I was determined to find some quintessentially Swedish food for lunch, but the problem was that I wasn’t quite sure what to look for on the menus, as I couldn’t really read Swedish. My basic Dutch helped me figure out some essential words, but a lot of it was still a mystery. So I ended up in this vegetarian (vegan?) deli that had both Swedish and English menus, and got a pretty good deal on soup, coffee, and a sort of tasting platter of some of their dishes. One of the items was red lentil balls, so even if I didn’t have Swedish meatballs I had Swedish veggie balls. I noticed that it and many other places I walked by had plenty of window seats on a long bench piled with pillows running across the inside of the storefront.

I wandered some more and found a long, chic-looking street called Linnéplatsen. But I didn’t let myself wander too much because I needed to make it to Sarah in time, so I retraced my steps.

Regrettably my phone still had no signal but standing outside an Espresso House let me use their wi-fi. We found each other though, and even though Sarah mentioned that she wanted to get the French pastries that she missed, I expressed an interest in trying Swedish pastry, to which she kindly consented. Although I would have loved to reminisce over Brussels’ exquisite offering of sweets, I was glad she took me to Condeco (a popular Swedish coffee joint) because there I tried a seasonal specialty, lussebulle or saffron bun. We had a lovely long chat– fika. Well, from what I can tell “fika” is coffee, even though Sarah opted for a smoothie and I needed green tea more to get over my cold. She recommended I check out an evening Christmas event at a local theme park, Lindeberg. I had some difficulty getting there because I was unclear about which stop I should disembark at. I should’ve gone with my gut and taken the stop next to the illuminated ferris wheel and gigantic Christmas tree. It was surprisingly quiet, and I saw why: the front gate had many people in running gear who appeared to be warming up for a race.  Ah well. I returned to the apartment, where I was graced with delicious tortilla (as in, potatoes and eggs) in tortillas (as in, the flatbread).

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