Thank Kew

A few weekends ago, we went to Kew Gardens to check out the just opened Temperate House that had been closed for a five year long refurbishment. It didn't disappoint! Originally built in 1860-63 it houses 10 000 plants, some of which have been grown from seed. It's going to be so interesting to see how much everything will grow over the next few decades. We went on the very warm and sunny Bank Holiday Monday, and there were long queues to get in, but as Kew Gardens is so huge (121 hectares/300 acres) it was really easy to lose the crowds. I know I go on about it in every post I write about it, but Kew is just brilliant, and I really enjoy going there at different times of the year. Can't wait to go back.


Made me laugh

I found him like this, waiting for us to get ready to go out for the day :)


The last few hours

Our flight back home wasn't until the afternoon, so on our last day in Stockholm, me and Oomoo spent some time wandering around Söder, as there were a couple of shops I wanted to check out, and more than anything, I needed to stock up on my Swedish teas (yum!), and so I snapped these random pics. In the past year, at bedtime, when I stay and chat with Oomoo in the dark for a little while before I say goodnight, he's asked me for the past six months or so to tell him a story about something that happened to me when I was a kid. Racking my brains every evening I've told him all my highlights, big and small, from my years in Stockholm, and once I ran out of those he wanted more stories from before he was born. Anyway, walking around town is so much fun, as I can say "That there is the park where I slipped into the lake, remember?" and "This here is where we went ice skating after school, and built burrows in the deep snow" and "That's where I went to the dentist and faked needing braces (I told you he wanted to know everything)". On this trip I even took him to see my old school, where so many fun things happened, and showed him the walk home from there that I'd take on my own - at his age. As weird as I now feel about my hometown, I still have very fond memories from there, and I wouldn't have wished my childhood there to have been any different. I am so happy to be able to share the language and a bit of the culture with Oomoo now, and I hope he'll have fond childhood memories from there when he's a grown up too.


Gamla Stan

I texted my friend Z in Amsterdam a picture from this square saying "Surprise! We've just arrived and we're on our way to your house!". She replied "Cool! I'll put the kettle on." I don't think I fooled her.

Caught these ladies 'gramming. Loved the graphic shape of the light.

These guys. So excited about going to Serieboden and getting their mitts on old comics.

Oh my goodness. That font. Want.

Those window reflections. That blue sky. Those old old houses.

The streets are very narrow in Gamla Stan. I wish I'd taken more pictures, but I was looking after the boys by myself, so no time to dawdle with the camera. I need to go back.

This was the first warm day of the year. These guys worked in a tattoo parlour, but I guess they weren't that busy at that particular moment... Swedes flock out into the sunshine in spring like no one else - those long dark winters makes them appreciate the warmth of the sun sooooo much more. I did too when I lived there. 


Again, again, again and again

I don't know why, but I kept taking pictures like these on this trip, over and over and over and over again.


An afternoon walk

Me and Oomoo spent another couple of days in Stockholm after the ski trip, whilst Mr Famapa had to leave for work. My friend A's eldest son is nine months older than Oomoo, and had to go back to school straight away, but we came and picked him up from school one day, and took the long way home, walking from Gamla Stan to Hornstull where they live. They sometimes take this walk to school when time and weather allows, and it was such a cool walk. I wish I had more time do these simple things when we visit in the future, as it always feel so rushed with family duties, and we never stay long enough to be able to just hang out. These 40 minutes or so were so nice, and I really enjoyed discovering Stockholm anew, and noticing things more as it's all so foreign now. I mean, look at how ridiculously colour co-ordinated all the houses are! Heaven forbid you paint your house blue :)


Snow snaps

Snapped this whilst we stopped on the drive up to the north at a lay by, with public loos, a shop, a car park etc. You'd never know it was there looking at this. Oh the joys of picture making.

Mr Famapa in the same spot, walking out on a frozen lake. The ice/snow was all thawed and gone by the time we drove back to Stockholm nine days later.

Watching the cross country skiers getting a literal lift on a snow tractor going up the mountain. We hedged bets on who would fall over first. No one did.

I love how the trees look so graphic in the landscape.

Getting ready to toboggan down the hill. Sure beats the puny runs we get here in London.

Walking down the mountain as another load of cross country skiers came up. As you can see, there are no mountain ranges like in the Alps. I quite like this vista though; it'd be boring if everywhere looked the same.

Sticking to the path.


Cabin days

After one day in Stockholm, we drove the seven hour drive up north to Vemdalen, to A & D's cabin. It was built in the mid-60's and was originally built for A's grandfather. I'm so glad we got to go again this year, and that it didn't feel as rushed. When we weren't skiing, there was a lot of cooking, film watching, Easter egg eating, sauna-ing, and snowball fighting going on. There was way more snow this time round, which was way more fun. When I was still living in Sweden, A used to invite me to come up there when we were teenagers, but I never went. I didn't ski or snowboard then, and I honestly felt no desire to go there, as surely it would just be really cold?! I'm so glad things change. And man, are my friends are insanely lucky to have this place.