On Sunday we went on a 13 km hike along the Uppland trail. We  took the train from Uppsala to Marma and then walked the distance until its next stop, Älvkarleby.

RaspberriesAfter a couple of hours of  changing sceneries and handfuls of wild raspberries we lunched by the lakeshore.Upplandsleden2

Upplandsleden1With regained strengh we continued until we reached Laxön, a small island  in the Dalaälven where one can spot salmon that have returned to their birthwaters to spawn.
LaxönA pit stop for coffee imposed itself before making our way to the Älvkarleby station for the return train, having completed a walk of about three and a half hours. We burst into laughter at the irony when, after five minutes, the first stop was announced – Marma.  

This weekend we celebrated an important birthday: my father’s entering into a new decade.
I can only wish him health and joy.

baloons
Birthday cake
What better is there to wish for? My father is a person who knows what he wants. He is a man of simple, yet distinguished taste. He finds pleasure in taking long walks, scouting the forest for mushrooms and berries,  baking and cooking, building and repairing, gardening….He is not easily impressed by cafes and restaurants, so a fancy dinner, or a spa weekend would not be his cup of tea.

However, we have all been bitten by the same bug, so his birthday present will be a city-trip. I suggested St. Petersburg because I had a sneaking suspicion he would love it. He seemed quite enthused by the idea. So now we need to plan – just enough for this gift to materialise.
St_petersburg-guide
If everything goes well, God willing and weather permitting as I like to say, we might be celebrating some more with blinis and samovar tea in the near future. Definitively something to look forward to.

Oh, the balloons of the first picture were blown up on my father’s birthday one year ago! We kept them for an entire year and solemnly replaced them with a new batch. That’s what I call quality.

 

Monday morning.  I wake up at 04.30 am, jump on the bike at 04.50 to catch the airport shuttle at 05.18 and board the forty minute-flight to Helsinki. At the security check I am queuing with people going on charter holidays.

Climate-wise Helsinki was exemplary. I have always had luck with the Finnish weather, and this time, I appreciated the city more. I enjoyed the long walks by the sea, the market places, the distinguished modern architecture and the friendly people. Finns may not be known for being talkative, but it should be noted that they are very helpful. Spending two days in the capital with a personal tour-guide was definitively the cherry on the cake.Helsinki HarbourCafe Andante

Corner building SundsvallFood trucks
Tant Anci Froken SaraEarly Friday morning I repeat the same exercise. This time I get on a north-bound train to Sundsvall. Every time I travel north it is like taking  a breather. I get that “feeling”. Nature becomes more passionate and majestic, people interact differently. Originality is easier to spot, because everything is lower-scale.

I stroll around the town on a mini nostalgia trip and stop for early lunch at a cafe cum restaurant. While I slowly work myself through my gluten-free pesto sandwich, I overhear interesting conversations as clients come in and chat with the owner. I am loving the moment.

Before I know it though, I have to take the train back. Just like that, I have spent five days in three different locations in two countries.

Frustrations of the novice urban gardener: reckless weeds, snails that feast on precious greens, seeds refusing to sprout; to the former I should add the hours spent on weeding in stark contrast to the saddening sight of barren beds.

Hope spires when I see my shallow sea of summer flowers and the blackcurrants that ripen of their own accord, asking for nothing in return.

BlossomsOther sources of joy are the bonus wild strawberries, the lemon grass, thyme and different kinds of sage that I’ve planted; the suede that is growing leaves and hopefully also big and juicy roots.GreenPeaPlantLast, but not least: my budding green pea which is showing me the magic of pure plant willpower!

Harvest1JamFruitmixfrozenNicecream1Pie

Like any serious business, harvesting the fruit of the forest involves:

  • Identifying and exploiting opportunities;
  • Assessing the maturity of the market;
  • Adopting global approaches, or opting for niche strategies;
  • Getting your hands dirty;
  • Optimising search techniques and choosing the right battles;
  • Knowing your field and adapting to changing environments…

Also, gathered hair is a classic for a reason.

Status quo: the Greek government has submitted a new bailout plan. I am afraid that despite the recent referendum and more than five years of speculations and devastating austerity, it will just be same-same, but different. What can I say, politics…

balkongutsiktIt has been raining and raining this week, so anything I’ve said about summer bitter-sweetness I take back. Yesterday, I exploited a window of opportunity and took a bike ride to the flower market and picked some plants for the balcony.balkongväxter1

Lavender and marigold.balkongväxter2Illuminating the grayness as I write.

 

Finally summer is here; as the heat takes over, life is conjugated in the present tense and I experience joy tinged with melancholy; somehow the sun almighty, pinned to the same position on the sky for hours and hours, reminds me of the unbearable lightness of being – such is my psyche, what can I do?

I love July, though. This crazy, temperamental summer child that wants it all, now. Even when the rain comes, you just know your at the very heart of the season, and it’s beating fast. sunscreenSo, I have unearthed some summer skirts, bought myself a cheap pair of flowery shoes and found my Japanese style hat. I apply sun cream on my pale face from a tube that was bought on a hot day in Chennai, last March: along with the sunblock come beautiful sticky memories of a lovely weekend of self-indulgence.floweryshoesshadows veteThe landscape is turning voluptuously green including the unsolicited plants that are rampantly taking over my vegetable beds, calling for immediate weeding.mangoAlso very importantly, the season of frozen fruit has officially opened. Melons, mangoes, bananas and berries are placed in solitary confinement in the freezer, before they come out deliciously iced. All in all, the pieces of the summer puzzle are coming together. The only element  missing now is water – indeed, every cell of my body is longing to plunge into the sea, but a pristine lake will also do. 

 

 

sofiawise

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

Chick on a Pea

a glutenfree vegetarian food lab by a chick who loves exploring flavours, people and places!

Sadness Theory

Music with passion for the environment

zee pause café

taking a moment, having a coffee, writing down some thoughts

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