Stockholm part 2

 Travel  Comments Off on Stockholm part 2
May 212017

By luck and interesting corporate policies, we were “forced” to have a hotel in Gamla Stan, the oldest part of Stockholm. Wonderfully clean, incredibly well preserved, very very touristy. A few doors down from the hotel was Kungliga Slottet, the King’s Palace – precisely like Buckingham Palace, complete with a changing-of-the-guard ceremony.

I didn’t figure it out, but on this side of the building they had what I presume were “traditional” uniforms and rifles. On the other side were real active duty soldiers in modern uniform with automatic weapons…. doing their own changing-of-the-guard thing.

Apparently the King has cats that play with ping-pong balls too. He even had statues made.

A few blocks over is Stortorget – Market Square – the original real market, centrally located between the docks and the local villagers. They still have a market there in the winter. The ground floors of all the buildings in the area are now restaurants, cafes, and stores; the upper floors are most likely offices, or flats for very rich folk. There is NO parking to speak of, and no grocery store in the entire neighbourhood.

Right on the square is the Nobel Museum. One fact I didn’t know: Alfred Nobel, the originator of the World Peace Prize, earned his substantial fortune by…. inventing dynamite.

This is a typical Swedish restaurant, also right on the square. They all have blankets so you can sit outside even when it’s cold.

We ate there, I had the meatballs. (No, really, I had the meatballs – when in Sweden you may as well try them once –  not bad, but the moose carpacchio appetizer was better).

 Posted by at 21:09


 Travel  Comments Off on Stockholm
May 202017

Your first hint that things will get interesting: your boss asks “do you have a passport”?

Being the honest soul that I am, I said yes. Next thing I knew I was off on a whirlwind trip to Sweden. When your plane takes off mid-morning Saturday, and you land at your destination late on Sunday….. turns out that Sweden is #2 in the world in coffee consumption. Good thing.

Stockholm is a series of islands, off the Baltic Sea. There is water everywhere, and ships, and bridges – and historic buildings; that’s the opera house in the distance. On the wall is one happy seagull – he’s just caught a live salmon:

(Yeah, bad pic…. I’ll save you my rant about the quality of cell phone cameras). Bird was pretty happy about this; fish did not look happy at all.

This was right across the water from my hotel, on another island; that’s a museum on the left, and the ship is apparently now a hostel. I meant to get over to check it out, but it was about a 1 km walk and didn’t have time.

There are some very very familiar sights in Stockholm; this is the square right in front of the Royal Palace, complete with a statue of Admiral Nelson on his horse, the Lincoln Memorial, and some random church. This is a public street – but with the cobbles and masses of tourists, there are very few cars.

And being Sweden there are lots of tulips…. wait, that’s wrong. It did snow twice while I was there (which the locals swore was the first time it’s snowed in May) but there were flowers blooming.

One thing about Sweden….. it’s north. Far, far north. This is the view out the front of the hotel….. at 3:00 AM. No camera trickery – it just never really got dark for the week I was there. On the other hand, I do NOT want to go back in February, where I suppose it won’t really get light for a week.

 Posted by at 20:15

Cat Life

 Cats  Comments Off on Cat Life
May 032017

First there’s some king-of-the-castle battles – the chair next to my desk is apparently prime real estate:


Later there’s the mutual washing session, when they realize they can both fit on the chair:

 Posted by at 23:21

Spring Flowers

 Town  Comments Off on Spring Flowers
May 022017

Spring comes *fast* in the desert. One day everything is dusted with snow; the next there are flowers. This one popped up in our front yard:

No idea what it is. Previously it was just the spiky green leaves at the bottom.

Right beside it is what I think is a prickly pear cactus; you can see the old plant in dull green, new-this-year parts in bright green, and potential flowers starting around the edges. Apparently people eat these…..

And this is (from what I’ve been told) Indian Paintbrush. It’s all over the desert right now. Not sure why, but red flowers always come out first; yellow and purple ones come later.

 Posted by at 23:04

Cat What?

 Stuff  Comments Off on Cat What?
Apr 082017

There’s this car parked up near some storage units beside the airport; finally stopped by to figure out what was going on:

Now I’m not a fan of Lincoln Town Cars, but I wouldn’t go so far as to paint that on the side….

Turns out there is a lens cleaner brand named “Cat Crap”. No, I am sadly not kidding; you can even buy it on Amazon. (And no, I did not check out the list of ingredients). So apparently this was (literally) a marketing vehicle for the products.

Now if that’s a marketable commodity, I can get you some wholesale.

And if you thought that was scary, it gets worse:

 Posted by at 20:47