A Winter Day in Sweden

Dear blog visitors – I wish you a Happy New Year!
Staying in Sweden the week between Christmas and New Year as a tradition the last couple of years, we had a jolly good time. We are a small colonies of about 100 Norwegian families with our own vacation home in a small town, Mariestad. It is called the Pearl of Lake Vänern. Situated beside the lake gives Mariestad its unique character. 140 kilometres of coast, a huge inland sea and a splendid archipelago of 22,000 islands, islets and skerries all combine to give the city a very distinctive quality. For visitors to Mariestad there is a great choice of accommodation. Camping by the lake, the touring hostel by the harbour or an elegant hotel room at Stadshotellet (the first pic) are just a few examples.
Walking around at the town’s central market place a winter day blessed with snow, I could not resist capturing this charming town. It was the last day in 2005 and we had a jolly good time entering the New Year together with the Norwegian Colonies.
The town was founded in 1583 by Gustav Vasa’s son Karl IX, who named it after his wife, Maria af Pfalz. Cobblestone streets, charming wooden houses in Gamla Stan (the Old Town) and a beautiful cathedral (but no bishop!) all bear witness to a long, exciting history during which plenty has happened.

The Return of the Sun

I had another quality time with my wife yesterday as we where at a meeting in the morning. After the meeting, leaving the parking lot, we both saw this wonderful view – the sun rising on the horizon, so nice and brightly. I soon had my mobile phone camera ready of course and capture this wonderful senary with the local village town hall in front. Below the sun there is actually the fjord where we go swimming in the summertime. Now covered with ice, yet so warm and tempting from the end of May until at least the end of August. I can’t stop being fascinated by the four seasons in Norway as we really enjoy the winter and snow for the time being, but also are looking forward to the warm and sunny season.

It’s a time for everything and right now to start the Christmas holiday. We kicked of Christmas early yesterday on a lovely family gathering with all the children. On the menu was one of my favourite Christmas dish: Pinnekjøtt – Salted lamb ribs with yellow turnip mash. Since it was a special occasion, I had a special pick in our wine cellar and found an Aziano, Chianti Classico Ruffino from 1999. Another quality time with quality food and special people around the table – who can actually ask for more as a start to the Holliday Season? The sun is on its way back to the Northern part of the globe and Julenissen (the Santa Clause) is coming with his gifts tonight. I just count my blessings and am looking forward to the lovely quality times to come :-)
For you who want to know more about Pinnekjøtt, take a look at my favourite food blog: Oslo Foodie!

This Julenisse appears in different ways and shapes as a mythical creatures. A special one is called Fjompenissen. He is the small version who comes through the chimney the night before the Christmas Eve to decorate the house. As children we went nicely and early to bed that night, not to disturb Fjompenissen. It’s amazing how parents can use such tricks having their private pleasure to excites the children in the morning:-) More about Julenissen or in Sweden called Tomten, here!

Merry Christmas to all you blog visitors!