Merry Christmas from Sweden

Merry Christmas from Sweden

A Photo Blog by Kent E. St. John

A Christmas tree in Sweden
Stolkholm Harbor

Back to Sweden

My last trip to Scandinavia included only a one night stop in Stockholm Sweden, I swore to return and am sooner than I expected. Max and I are headed to Stockholm and Malmo Sweden next week. We have x-mas markets and museums to keep us busy as well as a dinner party that Sweden Tourism hooked us up with. Add in some snowflakes and I am all set!

Tulips in Stockholm
A Christmas wreath in Sweden

Merry Christmas From Sweden

Arrival in Stockholm is a very pleasant experience and the place feels good! People are filling the streets and good cheer is in the air and yes it is called Christmas, no fudging of what the season is called. PC can be downright boring and useless. I was in Macao one Dec not long ago and trees and shops were getting decked out for the season, yet on the news channels the talk was all about banning x-mas talk, bah, humbug! Merry Christmas from Stockholm.

A booth in a Stockholm market
Santa in Stockholm

Pretty Smiles in Stockholm

We had a wonderful private guide this morning in Stockholm, Ylva da Silva, who actually works as a special guide for the Swedish Parliament.

After visiting the Vassa and other spots, Ylva took us to my favorite area of Stockholm, the old city called Gamla Stan. She and her “partner” just bought a flat in the area. I stress partner because Ylva never married her mate and said that official marriage is not a priority and not common here in Sweden.

Armed with VIP passes for sights and transportation Max and I walked around on our own just checking it out; tomorrow is museum day. The brightest part of Stockholm is the smiling faces we have encountered.

Dinner in Stockholm

Dinner with the Jonsson Family in Stockholm

We had a wonderful dinner at the home of Ann-Charlotte Jonsson and her husband Fredrick last night. The beautiful apartment was matched with the wonderful aroma of delicious food that was cooked to perfection.

We started with the 2007 white glogg and went through several other fine bottles of wine. Max frequently arranges to have a meal with locals when he travels, a great way to really learn about a place. After a great time we navigated our way back to the fantastic Hotel Hellsten for that all important first night sleep, mission accomplished!

Hellsten Hotel lobby

Per Hellsten, Stockholm’s Hotelier

I met a very interesting man today, the owner of the Hellsten Hotel where I am staying. I like this place’s style and now I know why, it reflects Per Hellsten. He was an anthropologist, journalist and PR person before this current gig, hotelier. Somehow he managed to hook up with a Miss Virginia for a few years of marriage in between all the traveling.

This hotel was built to handle media types and with heated slate bathroom floors made from Karystos slate they do it well. The best boutique hotel in Stockholm.

A woman in Stockholm, Sweden

Nordic Beauty

There is a classic beauty to the look here in Sweden yet a great sense of humour also prevails. As I was blogging just watched a hilarious commerical with not one word spoken. In a fancy restaurant an older couple is sitting down to eat, the man reaches for some Nicoret after. A very proper lady walks over to the table and flashes the table, the shocked man then has his pill grabbed by the flashing lady. She then demurely lowers her dress and pops the Nicoret. Okay better on the screen!

A windmill in Sweden
A crane in Stockholm

Two Sides of Malmo, Sweden

Malmo is Sweden’s third largest city and very hot and happening right now. It is very green conscious and has become a mover and shaker in the bizz world. The best part is it also maintains its old-world feel. You can look in one direction and go back in time, turn the other and modern Sweden is right there. Amazing.

Owe Johansson, a silversmith in Sweden

Solid Silver in Ystad, Sweden

One of my favorite part of traveling is meeting some cool people and catching their stories. This smiling face belongs to Owe Johansson, a top knotch Silver Smith whose works are in royal collections here in Sweden. Here he is working at a shop sell crafts to benefit handicapped folks.

We went to the lovely town of Ystad yesterday as well as a wonderful x-mas meal in a castle. The x-mas spirit grows as the heated glogg flows.

Bikes in Sweden

Pedal Power in Lund, Sweden

I took the train today to Lund while Max had some interviews in Malmo. A quick 15 minutes and I was in the second oldest city in Sweden. Lund is also home to the oldest university in Sweden. As I got off the train I was reminded once again that the Swedes are energy efficient, pedal power. Even in cold weather.

A Harley motorcycle in Sweden

Harley Hog Heaven in Sweden

The Johanna Museet in Skane Sweden is Harley hog heaven the number of antique working bikes is astounding. The museum is a collection of thousands of tech pieces that film and tv people use as props. What a cool place to spend an afternoon!

The giant lamp sculpture in Stockholm, Sweden

Swedish God Jul / Merry Christmas Tour

I will remember it as the God Jul Swedish Tour 207, a rare opportunity when Max Hartshorne and I get to travel together. We are more apt to be emailing each other from different parts of the world than meeting in a restaurant after hitting different places in the same city.

Max’s energy level is amazing to watch and I have never seen anyone devour the International Herald Tribune or Financial Times with as much scrutiny and interest. Better yet was his determination to get things done, such as getting our return flight out of Copenhagen instead of Malmo, the extra sleep time was so necessary.

Best though was conversations over small dinners and while walking the streets, watching Max study cafes in order to get great ideas for the GoNomad Café is a study in itself.

Perhaps, though, it is hopping back and forth between our rooms while doing some pre dinner work that I like best, the flow of ideas and glasses of wine back and forth.

We saw so many interesting things on the God Jul or Good Christmas 2007 Tour and the memories will last. It is now time however time to get into the spirit here at home and to wish all a God Jul, safe holidays to all.

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Kent St John

Kent St John

Kent St. John was GoNOMAD's Senior Travel Editor since the website was founded in 2000. During that time he circled the globe many times, visiting more than 80 countries. Sadly, he passed away on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. He had an appreciation of subtleties, always finding a way to capture the nuances and essences of a destination, whether he was whale-watching in Nova Scotia, riding the rails in Australia, bungee jumping in China or worshipping the sun on a beach in Brazil.