Saturday, September 29, 2012

September 29th, 2012, "Returning Home"

Great Stockholm coast line
from Estonial Ferry.
     Getting home is always nice, especially after a 3 week trip like we just completed. However, our hearts are heavy, because we miss our Granddaughter very much! God, I wish we were closer.
     With that said, we returned to Stockholm last Tuesday morning from our trip to Estonia. We had a great time, had great food, great sights, and as always great company!
Abby, Becca, Scout, & Ann
in Stockholm.
     Upon our return, Becca, Scout, Abby, & myself stay in Stockholm and Jesper heads back to Dalaro. We're going to meet with Ann Malmberg for lunch, then hang out with her for the afternoon. We meet at the Swedish Museum of the Arts and have a great lunch. After lunch we walk, maybe 800 meters to the Royal Palace to take a tour. The history lesson is always good and the palace, well you know is a palace! No photos allowed inside.
     After our tour, Ann & Abby head off for some girl time alone, getting to know each other better. Abby tells me, they had a great time, having coffee and cake, walking around "old town" and just plain chatting. Becca, Scout and myself head off to do some last minute shopping and Jesper with Pillar pick us up and we head home to Dalaro.
Scout, Becca, Great Grandfather Ulf,
& Jesper.
     The last days of our visit to Sweden is wind down time and packing time for our trip home. Again we would like to thank Jesper's aunt Eva and uncle Clause for their hospitality in letting us stay at their summer home. It was great!
     On Thursday, Jesper's grandfather comes out for lunch and family time. Grandfather Ulf is quite the charmer, as he enters the cottage, Abby is sitting with Scout and Ulf says to Becca, "This is your sister?" We have a simple lunch that Jesper prepares, potato and brat's, served with some very good Estonian mustard Jesper brought back.
Goodbyes are always hard,
Becca, Scout, & Abby at
Stockholm airport.

 Friday morning comes before we know it. Up at 4 am, to make our 1 1/2 hour trip to the airport. Leaving is never easy for us, whether if it is Becca leaving the states or as it was yesterday, us leaving for the first time Sweden. This time was no different, in fact worse, as we're leaving Becca, Jesper, and now Scout. Tears flow, hugs & kisses and off we go. We can't wait for our next visit!

Going Home.

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24th, 2012 "Our Last Weekend"

     Our last weekend of this glorious trip started Thursday in Stockholm, with Abby & I going on a mini travel adventure by ourselves. Becca took us to the 869 bus into Stockholm which was at 7:30am, this was about a 30 minute ride, the others on this double bus were commuters, with ear phones in, laptops on, books and papers in hand, theres not much interaction between all of the occupants.
     Arrival at the tube brings us to a game of follow the leader, Becca told us when we get off the bus to follow the crowd to the boarding area and get on the tube and take it to the central station. Our tickets for all of this was on Becca's smart phone, she purchased them and they are good for 1 1/2 hours, for both the bus and tube. She told us that more than likely the driver of the bus wouldn't even look at the ticket, and she was correct, he waived us to the back. The gentleman at the tube only looked at one of the passes, I then fumbled with the smart phone and he promptly said to go on that he had seen the other email message. Good eyes he had.
     Again the ride on the tube was about 6 stops before getting to central, same as the bus, morning commuters with ear plugs in, laptops on, papers up, very little talk. I don't really understand it, as I usually talk when going on a commute for work, either on the phone or to myself.
     Getting off of the tube again becomes a game of follow the leader to get out of the subway up to street level. Hailing a taxi to take us to our departure point is easy, but have you ever noticed that more times than not, the taxi driver is more foreign than you are. Oh well, he got us there and for not to much of an expense. It's around 8:30am, the ticket office opens at nine, so we take a little walk to look for coffee, we see a lady with a cup of the good stuff and ask her where we can find more of it. She directs us to the mall right in front of us and we get our cup and head back to the bus stop.
     Others start milling around at the bus stop, trip starts at 9:30am, we meet a couple from North Carolina and Florida, have a nice visit. The bus comes, we board, it's a double-decker, not open air, thank God, it was chilly this morning, we put in our ear plugs, tune to English, there's a pattern here, oh my, we're just like the commuters now! The bus tour last about 1:10 hours, lots of history, lots of beautiful views of old architecture, sail boats, and people going to work. Stockholm is an old city, built on lots of islands, therefore lots of bridges to cross. We find that this works out the best for us to take these tours of places we have not been and you usually find the top 10 items in a city to see.
     Our tour does not end after the 1:10 hours on the bus, we now switch over to a boat and sight see from the water. We both enjoy the water, so this is an added bonus for us.
Seafood Platter at the B.A.R.
     After the tour, we have around 2 1/2 hours to have lunch and then meet Becca, Jesper, and Scout for the ferry ride to Estonia. We been referred to the B.A.R. for lunch by Jesper's mother and father, we get there when the noon business lunch's are ending and have a wonderful meal. We enjoy eating certain foods when we vacation and do have some rules that we follow. When we're near the coast, we like to eat seafood. When we're inland, we look for good beef, pork, or even lamb. Today Abby has a 3 course lunch with a King Flounder, risotto, and zucchini stir fry, then top it off with ice cream and cake. I, went for the seafood platter, oysters on the half shell, shrimp, crab, crayfish, and muscles. It was all very "delicious".
On board the Baltic Queen
     We meet Becca, Jesper, and Scout at the ferry, tonight we ride the Baltic Queen, from Stockholm to Tallin, Estonia. Now this is not just any old ferry, it's a cruise ship, lots of restaurants, bars, gambling, and shops to take in. The big thing is the "duty free liquor" buying that takes place. We taking a long weekend to Estonia, but Becca tells us they have a cheaper fair over to Tallin, a 6 hours in Tallin, and back to Stockholm, for those on a liquor run. Leaving Stockholm we view the literally 100's of islands that make up greater Stockholm. Some of these have many homes on them, some only 1. With the sun setting this makes a beautiful sight.
     We do supper on board, then go to our cabins for a good nights rest. We arrive in Tallin at 10am, our rental car is there waiting for us, a quick stop for some supplies, and it's "road trip time".

Strolling in Parnu.

     After our 3 days of driving in Estonia, we find rural Estonia pretty much the same from coastal areas to inland. It reminds us of Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, & Northern Minnesota. Lots of forrest, farm land, and bogs. We see the remains of small grain harvest, lots of hay bails, and some cattle. We quickly find out the action is in the cities.
     Our first stop is Parnu, we find a Hotel, rest a little, and off to find supper. Becca does the research, and finds "Trahter Postiepoiss". Now for all garlic lovers out there, Estonia is definitely the place to visit. We enter our adventure this night with thoughts of starters and main course. We end the night with just eating the starters. Garlic toast, dumplings with garlic, herring with garlic, beans and garlic, you catch the pattern here. We entered the restaurant with no one there, by the time we leave the dinning room is full. A tour bus of Swedes is one of the group and they fill up half of the dinning room. One of the leaders ask us if it is ok for them to play some of there traditional music and we say no problem. He goes and ask every table and gets the ok from all. Out comes two accordions and the music begins. Grabby and Scout gets into the music and Scout gets her first dance. A wonderful time was had by all.
     The next day we spend around 2 hours in "Old Town Parnu" and then hit the road to Tartu, Estonia's oldest city. We arrive, find the "Hotel Barclay", check in and do it all over again. Tonight we find the "Gunpowder Cellar", an old gunpowder bunker converted into a lovely restaurant, we go upstairs to find a table, the ceilings must be 40 yards in height, all brick. The waitress dressed in traditional flair. The food again is heavy in garlic and all very good. So is the beer!
     All of our lodgings include the morning breakfast. Eggs, toast, porridge, herring, bacon, juice, cheese's, jams, are found on all, which makes a great start to a day.
Old Town Tallin.
     We take a walk after breakfast, find the local meat market, stroll through it, lots of fresh pork, and I mean all of the pork if you can imagine. Cheese, fruits, breads, spices are all found there. One thing about the European countries I find most enjoyable is their breads and pastries are hard to beat.
More views of Old Town.
Happy Birthday Abby!
     Road trip time to Tallin, the nations capital, our stay tonight is at the Merchants Hotel in old town. European "Old towns", all are similar to me, narrow streets, cobble stoned, tall buildings, unique architecture, shops upon shops, restaurants of all variety await you, Irish Pubs, British Pubs, traditional food, modern food, all to be found. Tonight we celebrate Abby's birthday at a British Pub, fish and chips for Abby, Becca, and Jesper, with a chicken melt for me, all served with chips British style, and beer British style. A good time is had by all.
     We end our journey with a long day in Tallin, walking around "Old Town", before heading back on the evening ferry to Stockholm.

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17th, 2012

     This last weekend took us to the Trosa, Sweden area, a small, bayside village on the Baltic. Jesper's grandfather Malmberg has a summer home on a small fresh water lake. They allow no motorized watercraft on this lake, as it is their fresh water source. This weekend was a working vacation, helping Jesper complete some projects for his grandparents.
Jesper's grandparents summer home.
     The summer home is a modest place, two bedrooms, which are very small, they waste no space for just sleeping. You'll also see that most summer homes will have multiple building on the site. Here there is a little cabin, which Jesper, Becca, Scout, & Pillar slept. This was also one of the projects we undertook this weekend, painting the cottage.
Catching Abby at her best!
     It is very peaceful here, hearing only an occasional airplane fly over. We're about 2 miles in from the highway. Faint sounds of the highway could be heard on a still night. The sky is big, the big dipper we see from a different angle than we're accustom too.
     Daily walks are a ritual, not a lot of wildlife to see, however a solo set of moose tracks was spotted the other day. I want to see this critter, it's stride is one step to two of mine. It must be hugh.
Becca, Scout, & Jesper in Trosa.
     The village of Trosa, population around 5,000+, but that doesn't matter, is a Baltic Sea port village. No neon signs flashing above the small shops. Clerks are egger to serve you. They gladly speak English if you ask them. A yarn shop was a first stop for us, the proprietor was friendly, ready to explain her product, her craft, as she made a lot of the items in the quaint shop, a pair of wool mittens and felt slippers purchased, and we continue down the street. Sporting goods, soft goods, mens and ladies apparel, ice cream and chocolates are to be found. Ah, chocolate, a must stop, mostly hand made in the kitchen above the shop. These small shops take you back to simpler times in life. My father's business, Teale's cafe, Zorn's grocery store, Five & Dime stores, May's hardware, the Polewach store. Some of you reading this remember them all. One of the ice cream shops offered 24 flavors, they have a way to go to catch Moore's!
Scout content after supper!
Scout, Abby, & Becca
at Fina Fisken.
     Sunday night supper takes us to Fina Fisken, a lovely restaurant, channel side, finds Abby, Becca, Scout and I dining, Jesper is fighting a cold and felt like staying home and nursing it. Rye crisp, bread, and salted butter always comes to the table. Beer or wine, your choice will be served. Choose a starter if like, tonight we choose a shrimp over toast, topped with roe, and a sprig of dill. We should of stopped there but we continued onto the entree, Abby had smoked cod, baby potato, waxed been in a white sauce. Becca and I went for the herring, marinated in mustard then fried, mashed potato's, and lingon berry. This was my second meal served with lingon berry's, remember my meatballs.

     We finish up our stay at the lake tomorrow, then back to Dalaro until Thursday, Abby and I plan on going to Stockholm early for a tour of the city, then we start our cruise to Estonia at 5 PM Thursday night for a long weekend, more to follow........

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September 13th, 2012

     September 12, 2012 took us into Stockholm with Abby, Becca & Scout. Jesper dropped us off at the  tube and we ventured into Stockholm to go to the Vasa Museum, to get there we took the ferry. The harbor is a busy place, boats and ships of all kinds, sailboats, cruisers, classics, ocean liners of all kinds.
     The Vasa is the world's only 17th Century Ship preserved. The ship sank on it's maiden voyage, only traveling around 500 meters before capsizing and sinking. The rise of the Vasa was a miracle on its own, but the restoration is a a sight to behold!

     Stockholm similar to New York, is on 14 islands(you can fact check any of my stats and I won't be offended), and the Vasa Museum is on one of them, along with some other museums and parks. We went next to the Skansen Museum and Zoo. Traditional ways of all trades are demonstrated, some are bread making, glass blowing, wood working, mechanical, etc. No photos are allowed inside each display. The zoo consisted of a petting and traditional Nordic animal displays.

     Lots and lots of walking brings us to our final stop of the day, dinner at the "Den Gyldene Freden", which has served food for over 350 years. Well, the food was great, the beer cold, and the wine was splendid! I had the traditional, what I would call this nations dish(at least to this American!), Swedish meat balls, mashed potatoes, & lingon berries. For appetizer's we had sour dough bread, lingon berry bread and the famous rye crisp. Also several kinds of herring: one marinated with sea buckthorn  (pickled of course- that's the preserving method); strömming (west coast herring) in a cream and chile sauce; and another pickled herring with toasted hazelnuts . Our best herring of the day was at the Vasa, where we got a sampler "swedish tastes" plate. It included "stekt inlagd strömming", which is fried before it is pickled; regular marinated herring, and my favorite "senapsill"- this one had a mustard and dill sauce and was very tasty! I have never really tasted herring to this point in my life, the herring you see on the salad bars in the USA looks way to nasty for me to try. The lady's had "Gnocchi", which is a garlic, goat cheese, and hazelnuts, and "Crawfish soup with smoked, "Sik", part of the salmon family.

     This was Scout's first day long excursion and she did wonderful! So this trip's blog must include a photo of my "Min lilla dotterdotter", my little granddaughter, daughter, & "mormor" which means mother mothers!

     Thursday is a rest day and then it's off to the inland retreat of Jesper's father's. More to follow.....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First day of Summer 2012

Yet another summer comes upon us, our spring brought us growth in the flowers, crops, and all are looking good so far. The wheat is starting to turn gold in the Dakota's. Harvest will start in mid July. The young geese are starting to turn colors from fuzzy yellow to their mature color. This never gets old from year to year.

We're preparing for a trip to Sweden in September. Our first grandchild will be waiting for us. We look forward to the next generation coming into our family tree.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3/14/12 It's a Wrap!

Three days into the work week and I'm just getting to the conclusion of our trip to Texas. I'll rank this one in the top 10 trips we've taken. It just doesn't get any better. We had warm weather. Lots of friends to spend some time with. Some new sights to see. Some new sights that will warrant a return trip someday.

Last Tuesday found us on the golf course, an Arnold Palmer course, it was windy, but being from South Dakota we didn't let that stop us. The girls only wanted to do 9 holes, but Larry and I completed 18. It was great to hit the links again.

Supper that night was a potluck at Larry and Mary's  condo. Actually it was a fish fry, and then the members brought a dish to pass. Lot's of great food to eat. Of course a lot of the folks were from Minnesota and you know they're the kings of "Potluck", you know what I mean eh! We concluded the evening with a game of 15. A card game in which probably 20+ people played, Abby got 4th place, but it was winner take all. We did have fun and the people were really friendly and accepted us as one of them.

 Wednesday found us going to Corpus Christi for some shopping and good eats. CC we find as a fairly large city, with lots of great shopping and beautiful homes. Larry took a drive down the lake shore and the homes were spectacular.

Lunch found us going to Water Street Oyster Bar & Grille. Yes one more time for Oysters. I really hate that I'm the only one that likes them of the four, but if someone has to eat them, well it might as well be me.

Well we got up early on Thursday and started our trip home. Twelve hours later found us in Wichita, KS and yes we found one more Bar BQ place to eat supper. "Hog Wild" on the South side of Wichita was a fast food place, but their ribs were wonderful, maybe the best we had all trip. Hard to believe I would put them ahead of Rudy's and County Line, but I'm going to do it. This day of travel was our worse day weather wise, it rained on and off all day long.

Friday we woke to sunshine and a nine hours to reach home. It was a very nice day to travel and it was really nice getting home.

Thanks to you all for reading this blog.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

3/5/12 Port Aransas, TX

We're into day three of our stay with Larry & Mary Mediger. Day 1 was a trip to Rockport, TX, for oyster fest, we stopped and picked up a friend of Larry & Mary, Vicky Hamm. We got to Rockport, paid our admission and it was off to the feed.(at least for me) A 1/2 dozen on the 1/2 shell, yummy, tabasco sauce, doesn't get any better!

A walk in the craft tent, lots of nice stuff! Belly dancers, photo to follow.

The ladies oyster eating contest was, well, very interesting! The time limit was 5 minutes, 3rd place ate 147, 2nd place ate 149, (with one slipping down inside her t-shirt), and 1st place ate 150. Unbelieveable!!!

Tuesday Larry and I went fishing. Our first stop was for Kingfish, about 20 people on the boat, it took us 20 minutes to get our limit of 2 Kingfish per person. Then off to a different spot for Vermillion snapper. We caught a few of them also.(Photos to follow)

Our evening was supper at Snoopy's on the bay side. Very good shrimp they served up.

We rounded out our evening in the hot tub, very relaxing.

Today, a light lunch, golf, then a potluck fish fry at the condo's, more to follow on today's activities.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

3/3/12 One week down

Our first week is complete, and we're sleeping in this morning. Not much planned for the day. Maybe some returns to the spots we liked. Maybe a trip to a Mexican restaurant we got a tip on.

Here's Abby in the cavern we toured. We ended up going down 185'. Like previous caverns we went into we thought this would be chilly. It wasn't, it was very warm and humid!

Our dinner on Thursday night was to the towers of Americas. aka the space needle of San Antonio. The view was wonderful! The food was great! Abby had the snapper and I had Ahi, seared just right, the wasabi could have had a better kick!

Friday was up to Fredericksburg.  A nice drive through the hill country. Fredericksburg is larger than we thought, about 10,000. The stores were wonderful, not a lot of repeats stuff like a lot of tourist areas. Lots of high end merchandise. We had lunch at a German restaurant German beer, german hotdogs and pastrami, white bean soup, & german potato salad. Very nicely done. We didn't tour the Museum of the Pacific War, didn't have time, but talked to a gentleman from, hard to believe, Watertown, MN, and he said this was one of the best museums he's seen. A return trip is in the works and next time we'll lodge there, take in the museum, and get on a wine tasting tour bus.

We stopped at two winery's on our way back. I think two is all Abby could handle! haha. Tasted some very good wine, bought a couple bottles to take home.

We'll finish today in San Antonio, pack up and will be heading off to see our friends Larry & Mary tomorrow.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

3/1/12 Thursday in San Antonio, TX

Wow, it's already Thursday, two more days in San Antonio area.

Yesterday was a busy day for us. Started with a visit at the Alamo, then the double decker bus tour of the city, a walk on the river walk looking for some tex mex to eat, we chose one, it was ok, but I think there are better places. Then a little more walking, you know most of the tourist shops have all the same kind of merchandise. Pottery, gadgets, belts, straw hats, leather goods, etc. etc. It's all the same junk.

We went back to our apartment, for those of you who don't know, we rented a place through Air BNB. This is a company that list rooms, flats, homes, that are available for rent by the day, week, or month. Plus this is the company our daughter Rebecca works for. Check it out at

The night took us back to the river walk. Supper at Durty Nelly's Irish Pub with a piano bar. ( A pint for each, split the rueben and fries, then off to the river boat ride.

Thursday was a trip to the Market Square. Ditto to what I said prior on the tourist shops. Then a side trip to Woodcraft. While there we asked the clerk what might be a good place to eat lunch. He pointed us to Willie's Grille & Icehouse ( This ranks right up there with the best food we have had so far. Starters, fried mushrooms, and oysters on the half shell, entrees, John had the grilled catfish and Abby the pulled pork. Very, very, good food! One more thing about the oysters on the half shell, 1. Only John would do these, 2. Tabasco, horse radish, and cocktail sauce. Abby said my expression after each oyster was that of being in "horny goose heaven!" Amen!

Then off to a golf driving range, to check our the swing, and Abby's knee. Horray! The swing is good and the knee had no pain! Next stop soon, 9 holes! Then a quick stop at Edwin Watts golf, no new clubs or shoes.

Finished off the afternoon at the San Antonio Art Center. This was more of a history museum than art in my mind. It's nice, but not what I look for in a Art Gallery.

Tonight it's to the Tower of Americas for supper at the Chart House( more to follow on this.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Two Visits down......

We had a wonderful time with Dean and Deb. They took us downtown Dallas to the Kennedy memorial. Then out to South Fork. No didn't see Bobby or JR. Dean prepared us a great dinner and we then watched the Oscars. You know, at times the Oscars are so predictable. All you have to do is think political correct and sazam, you have the winner, if you know what I mean.

Monday was a travel day to Austin. We stopped at Waco and took some time to look at "Texas Ranger Museum". What a very brave bunch of men and women there. God Bless them all.

We met up with Dave and Tegan in Austin. Bar B Q is the flavor in Texas! Last night is was at the County Line. Wow, what a great supper! Ribs, Chicken, Pork! Dave and Tegan looked great! We had a very enjoyable night with them. It's fun talking with people you knew as "kids" but are now adults. They enlighten me!

Well good places to eat and check offs of this trips bucket list.



Both are great bbq places, and both are chains.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Winter 2012 Trip South

2/25/12-Norman, OK, 63*F when we arrived, back home maybe 20*F, it's nice, looking forward to two weeks south. Our first stop in Texas will be the Dallas area, with a visit at Dean & Deb's. Our next day will be Austin, will meet up with Dave & Tegan. Then five days in San Antonio, being tourist. Then over to Corpus Christi area meeting up with Larry & Mary. Look for some upcoming photos and more discussion.