Friday, September 07, 2007


photo descriptions:
view from the poop cabin
forest in borlange with our friend sofia and her dogs
stockholm -- where I actually saw the troll from my troll post!
some idiot tourist

Thanks for all the well wishes in the previous comment section! I’m home and wanted to give you a bit of info about our amazing trip.

We took off from Minneapolis at 7:00 pm and flew into morning to arrive in Reykjavík five hours later. Iceland is such a bizarre, barren moonscape and I have to go back. We caught another flight to Stockholm, then a two-hour train to Borlange to arrive early afternoon.

What initially struck me about Sweden:

The quiet

Even in town, even in the train station and the airport.
Quiet. So quiet I thought my ears were plugged.

We were met by friends Karin, Linda, and baby Elvira who frowned at us like an old man.

Then it was off to our cottage on the lake, which would later be affectionately called the poop cabin because the septic system wasn’t working.

Things I learned:

I knew about the red houses, but I didn’t realize that 99% of the homes are red. And 99% of Sweden is beautiful. Organic. They live in the landscape, with narrow, winding roads and secret dark forests and deep glass lakes that can turn black in a moment. Clouds that constantly move across the sky. Boulders covered with blankets of moss, and the repetition of white birch and red pine. Fika, fika, and lights in every window. Lots of vivid accent colors that are perfect there, but never look right when you bring them home.


I loved it and miss it.

I didn’t have much trouble adjusting to the time difference. We lost a night of sleep on the way over, so I think that first crash helped me catch up. On the return, we didn’t lose a night of sleep and I’ve had a harder time adjusting. I’m eating breakfast at 3:00 am, and chips and salsa at 7:00 am. Which would be noon in Sweden.

i didn't take enough photos, but i have a few up on flickr:

Sweden photos

cost of our adventure: even though the dollar isn't worth anything right now, the total cost for the trip was a little over 1K. My daughter and I split everything down the middle, we borrowed a friend's car, plus got a partial refund on the poop cabin.


Kelly Parra said...

Wow, sounds very fantastic. How cool you got to experience this!! How was the weather, were there many tourists?

anne said...

kelly, the weather was really nice. we were outside most of the time -- at cafes, walking, boating. the temp range was huge. lows around 35, highs around 65. so as soon as the sun went down it got cold very quickly. we were basically in rural areas, so none or very few tourists. we did spend about 24 hours in stockholm, but i don't think there were many there either since school has started.

Sandra Ruttan said...

So glad you're home safe and sound, and that you had a wonderful time. Sweden was the part of Europe that reminded me most of home, and since I went there several months after being away I really appreciated it. The lakes, the countryside - it is beautiful.

Quite the steal of a deal on the cost, too!

anne said...

sandra, it did remind me of canada. and also parts of MN -- which is why so many swedes settled here.

Christa M. Miller said...

Yay! Welcome home. Glad to hear you had such a lovely time. Now we have to find you a Sweden-like place to write, yes?

anne said...

christa, no shit!!

Heather Harper said...

You mean "yes" shit, right? You would want to be able to poop in your new Sweden-like writing haven, no? ;)

Gorgeous photos, Anne. Glad you had a wonderful time.

anne said...

heather -- lol! yes shit!

i forgot to mention that the cabin owners told us to open the septic tank and tell them if it was full. so martha put plastic bags over her hands and pulled off the gigantic lid while i looked in with a flashlight. i still don't know how you tell if it's full. it wasn't running over our shoes or anything.

Bernita said...

These photos are absolutely beautiful - and so is your description.

Jeff said...

Welcome home, Anne. I'm glad you had a nice trip. I like the photos.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Sounds like a wonderful time. Glad you made it back safe and hope you get a chance to do it again, soon.

Maybe you should spend a few months in Sweden to write.

cinderelly said...

the photos of the lake are absolutely beautiful. it does look like a lovely place! sorry you had to have the 'poop' issue...we had issues similar in memphis! but i looks like you had a great time in spite of it.

Kaycie said...

What gorgeous pictures. Now I want to go to Sweden! So glad you had a wonderful time.

anne frasier said...

bernita, thank you so much. :)

jeff, thanks for the welcome home!

stephen, i was actually thinking about the possibility of writing there for a few months. the seed is planted, that's for sure. someone was telling me of a neighbor who would love to find someone to live in her cozy lake cabin over the winter.

cinderelly, yes, we had a great time in spite of the poop. haha! but when i look at the cabin pics, i still catch a whiff. i wonder if there's a name for that kind of scent memory. it's the reverse of the usual smell it and remember.

anne frasier said...

kaycie, yes, you should go!!

although i do think i got a different view of sweden since i know people there. you really step into their world. my daughter also lived there for a year, goes back all the time, and speaks fluent swedish, so that helped too. most swedes do speak english -- but they're shy and nervous about it.

Jamie Ford said...

Welcome back! Cool pics too. One of my best friends lived there for a few years. His wife was Swedish and wanted to try life there for a while. He loved it--though he did have to attend one of those Swedish classes for foreigners--sort of like David Sedaris', Me Talk Pretty Some Day.

M. G. Tarquini said...

You did Sweden for a thousand bucks? Can I go with you next time?

love the description. Gorgeous photos. Now I have to go back and write.

M. G. Tarquini said...

By the way. It all looks very Ikea.

anne frasier said...

jamie, thanks! i'd definitely have to take a class. i know about ten swedish words, and i didn't feel comfortable using them.

mindy, i'm cheap. don't tell anybody, but i bought some gifts at a secondhand store. hehe! and i saw a shitload of ikea there.

Daniel Hatadi said...

You gave me goosebumps with that description, Anne. My only real exposure to Sweden was through Henning Mankell's FACELESS KILLERS, and I can see what you mean about quiet. That stillness comes across in the book.

Glad to have you back and even gladder you had such a great time!

Anonymous said...

Such gorgeous pictures, Anne, and your descriptions make me want to pull up a Adirondack chair and enjoy a cup of tea. I'd like to experience that quiet.

It's great to have you back, BTW.

Anne McAllister said...

Fantastic pics, Anne. And yes, I could see the quiet in them. You captured it all so well.

Why do you keep looking at points SOUTH and generally excessive for moving to when you have this affinity for cold, bleak (with colorful accents) minimalist places? Not to mention the smell of poop.

Glad you had a super time!

Ripped Off said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anne said...

thanks, daniel and jason!
anne, i realized the exact truth of your words when i was in sweden. i'm drawn to cold, bleak places. but i hate cold weather!!! and my joints hate it! i've decided to face this winter head-on even if it means being sewn into a pair of long underwear. first on my list is a trip to cabela's.

JA Konrath said...

I love the pic of you riding the big red cock.

Sorry. I just can't pass stuff like that up. There's something wrong with me.

anne frasier said...


i kept waiting for somebody to say something like that. you know everybody was thinking it. haha!