gäster och Tynningö: guests and the island of Tynningö

My dad Bill and stepmom Char braved being our first visitors. Leaving sunny Oregon, they arrived in Stockholm last week Wed. night. I've finally figured out the rabbit warren which is Stockholm's central station, so I met them at the train station. After a stop at the (fully underground, full size-in- the train-station) grocery store, we navigated the subway towards their hotel.

On Thursday, we let them sleep in while Elizabeth managed her 2.5 hours of school (student, teacher, parent conferences for her). Met her after school at 11 AM and found lunch in the neighborhood. Fun to show our guests around the neighborhood and see it from their eyes (photos from my dad below).

Full family field trip on bicycles on Thursday night out to the island of Lidingö, where Chris and Stephen have been doing orienteering. Gorgeous fall evening and some fun wandering in the woods. Also cool to see the truly epic set up for the Lidingöloppet- a running race with 60,000 (!!!) people scheduled for Saturday. The finish line is in the park where they've been doing orienteering.

Friday provided a fun day to explore more of Stockholm on bike- the bike paths on the next island over (Stockholm is made up of 14 island), then the outdoor zoo/cultural museum of Skansen (sample of traditional bread making below, along with a lively wolverine), followed by the next Friday climate march (an estimated 30,000) people. After joining the crowd for a while, Dad and Char went to the Vasa Museum while Elizabeth and I biked home. Quieter evening of dinner at our nearby Asian Restaurant (quite good), and prep for the Lidingöloppet.

Wolverine, view from Skansen, old rune (all from Skansen)

Friday, Sept. 27th Climate March- estimated 30,000 people!

 Saturday & the Lidingöloppet

Chris and Stephen headed off early on Sat. morning to bike to the end of our peninsula and catch a bus to the race. The Lidingöloppet is one of four major races in Sweden, which includes a cross country ski race, a bike race, a swimming race, and this running race. All are epic distances- the actual Lidingöloppet is a 30 km run.

Other than the 30km, there were other options: they had signed themselves up for the 15 kilometer race- further than either has either raced before. Normally, Stephen gets quite nervous before running races but he was entirely calm- perhaps the prospect of running with thousands of people ensured no chance of winning, so decreased the nerves? It was cloudy in the morning and predicted to rain up to 0.25 inches that day- so figuring out how to dress and have dry clothes afterwards was a trick. I'll let Chris and Stephen describe the race from their perspective.

After Dad & Char joined us, we took a field trip to the grocery store (always entertaining), then followed them out (bike in the rain, parked the bikes, waited in the long lines for buses to the race start but they were running bus after bus to the start). People absolutely everywhere at the start- I had been trying to figure out where the registration/bus drop off was vis a vis the finish area (about .8 km apart), but it wasn't hard to find- follow the crowd of athletes backwards. The race app allowed us to track runners by name-- my tracking device indicated that we'd be close in meeting them to the finish line. A quick check as we navigated the crowd- they'd finished. Ah well. Made it to the finish area/chaos and astonishingly found them coming through the hordes of people. Happy but tired. We poked around the race finish area for a while soaking in the scene, then took the bus back.

Post-race snacks...

Home for a bit, packed up our stuff into hiking backpacks, and got back on bikes- the gentle rain had converted to a soaking rain. Biking with heavy backpacks through the city in the pouring rain = less than fun. Dad didn't see a curb and managed to grab a fence as he went down- sliced his hand in a couple of areas. After picking up the pieces, we biked to the ferry- did a bit of clean up while waiting but soon boarded a ferry. Perhaps should have taken a detour to the emergency room for stitches, but instead went to a remote island in the Swedish Archipelago (the island of Tynningö).

Realized that the apotek (pharmacy) on the nearest populated island was closed. No medical facilities open on a Sat. afternoon except the ER. Nice folks on the ferry helped us with bandages. Decided to keep with our plans and hope for the best.

Ferry dropped us off at a small ferry stop. Tynningö is a long island- maybe 7.5 km? Had a spectacular bike ride down one of the two roads on the island to the house we had rented. Cool structure- looked like a farm house added to over time. Quick dinner, a movie, and some sleep were a good recipe for recovery all around!

Sunday saw us having a quieter day- after breakfast (ah, the excitement of cooking in someone else's kitchen), we went hiking and exploring around the island. Quite a few houses and about 380 year around residents, but a lot of summer places. Gorgeous views and cool exploration. After a while, we started to work our way back- figured we could find a trail near the inner-island lake. After a false start that led to a mossy cliff, we found our way down to the lake. Sunshine broke and a loon landed in front of us, calling out. Nice to sit and simply be.

Navigated our way out through the woods and found a set of abandoned apple trees. Picking apples for a crisp is far faster than picking huckleberries for a pie! Chris ate 5 while we were at it.

 Quiet afternoon, apple crisp baking, reading, a movie, some downtime, some jumping on the trampoline, some more exploring. (About cooking in someone else's kitchen: 15 minutes in, I realized that I had nearly torched the top of the crisp somehow. Readjust the oven settings to something more mellow.) Lovely and quiet dinner, some card games. 

On Monday, the kids were out of school, so we were taking advantage of the time to stay in the islands. We got up, cleaned up, and headed to one of the other ferry stops- took a short hop to the island of Vaxholm (where we'd been before).

Explored the island on bikes, paddled a bit in the Baltic, and had a lovely lunch before taking another ferry back to Stockholm. Got home just in time for Stephen's bass lesson, a trip to the grocery store for Char, and a trip to the doctor for my dad and me to get his hand looked at.

Got home just in time for Stephen's bass lesson, a trip to the grocery store for Char, and a trip to the doctor for my dad and me to get his hand looked at. Turned out the recommended location for a doctor was the emergency room (don't you always bike to the ER?). In trying to check in, one of the front desk staff noted that we didn't have the famous Swedish personnummer, so pulled Dad into a room to check his hand. Couldn't believe he'd want to pay $180 for an opinion since stitches were well past possible. She re-bandaged his hand, sent him on his way. No charge. 10 minutes. Ended the visit with a hug. Nurse Annika to the rescue!

Quiet dinner and some laundry- Dad and Char headed back to their hotel and we reconfigured for the week. Short week as the next adventure is coming soon- I head tomorrow to The Netherlands (Chris and the kids come on Friday).