Tag Archives: travel

Cafe Culture and Neighbors

On this week’s episode of the podcast, Olga, from Ukraine, talks about Ukrainian vs. Swedish cafe culture, getting to know your neighbors through fake traditions, and the beauty of rules, among other things.

Just type in ”Life in the Land of the Ice and Snow” anywhere you get your podcasts, or choose one of the links below. Don’t forget to subscribe to get new episodes each week!

Spotify: https://tinyurl.com/y24ufzn9

Gotland – a different kind of island

On this “Summer Edition – Swedes Explain” episode of the podcast, the Swede of the week, Jorun, tells us about the popular tourist destination of Gotland, an island in the Baltic Sea.

Spotify – https://tinyurl.com/yyxc4lzp

iTunes – https://tinyurl.com/y2ysn8c7

Main site – https://iceandsnow.se/

Player FM – https://tinyurl.com/yy84yqcl

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West Coast!

Looking for the right place in Sweden to relax on your summer vacation? Why not try the west coast? On this week’s summer edition of the podcast – “Swedes Explain,” Isadora describes the idyllic scenery of spending a summer in this part of the country.

Available anywhere you get your podcasts by typing “Life in the Land of the Ice and Snow” or at any of these links:

Spotify – https://tinyurl.com/yyxc4lzp

iTunes – https://tinyurl.com/y2ysn8c7

Main site – https://iceandsnow.se/

FM Player – https://tinyurl.com/yy84yqcl

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Is not opinion. Is fact.

Just back from a 3-week long trip to Italy. Wonderful time, beautiful scenery and excellent food! Why do we keep going to Italy? Well, as you see from this sign:

Italy is the most beautiful country in the world.
This is not an opinion, there are incontrovertible numbers that prove it.

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Podcast #17 – Tapas are the Greatest Invention

I ask Rosa, from Spain, to fill me in on how people in southern Europe can eat dinner so late and still get up for work in the morning. We also talk about having to wear uniforms in school and about how tapas are the ultimate way to eat a meal.

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/se/podcast/17-tapas-are-the-greatest-invention/id1440431070?i=1000432461934&l=en&mt=2

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6zUBJEMI6MltS0essRyXe4…

Main Site: https://iceandsnow.se/…/17-tapas-are-the-greatest-invention/

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A week in Athens, Greece

My family and I spent the first week of the new year in Athens. Being around ruins that still exist after thousands and thousands of years makes one feel not so old.

A few interesting things to know if you are planning on visiting Athens for the first time:

  1. In most places, you cannot flush your toilet paper. It must go in the trash can. (Tip, stay in a modern-ish hotel or wait to go to the bathroom at a huge, modern museum – like we did!)
  2. Almost every street is lined with orange trees! They are full of seeds, but you can still eat them. Free breakfast or juice!
  3. These people really like sesame seeds.
  4. Don’t bother rushing for your camera to get a photo of the small 11th century Byzantine church. There will be another one in two blocks…. and then another one after two more blocks… and so on.
  5. You can get a special Greek wine made from pine resin called Retsina. It’s allright.
  6. Stray cats EVERYWHERE! On the flip side… no rats!

Athens was a really nice city, super friendly people, good food and lots to see. I’d definitely recommend it as a fun city trip. Maybe not in the summer when it’s overcrowded, but the winter was perfect (though we happened to arrive on the one week of the year it was actually cold).

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Just because I SOUND like a caveman…

This past weekend, I took a shortcut past a brand new tram stop that had not yet opened. A very confused looking woman asked me in Swedish when the next tram was coming. I explained to her, also in Swedish, that the stop would not open until the next day, as it was a new stop for the new line. 

From her confused look, I deduced that I had once again messed up my Swedish grammar in some way. However, I’m fairly certain I got all the key words correct. “New station” “Opens tomorrow” I’m not THAT terrible at Swedish. 

It seems the problem may have been that this woman was not familiar with Stockholm and it’s transportation system. She kept insisting that she arrived at this stop a few hours ago and was trying to go back. Figuring she most likely was not a time traveler from the future, I tried to tell her that there was a different train (not tram) stop about 400 meters up the road just behind a large building. Perhaps that was where she arrived?

But because of what I can only assume must have been bad grammar ( “Different train, you go other side of building, different station.”), she did not trust my local knowledge. In a move I’ve experienced a few times before, she stared at me for a beat, then proceeded to approach another person to ask the exact same question. 

It’s so frustrating to take time to help people when they totally ignore everything you say, even if it is in a caveman-like accent. Just because I’m missing a few adjectives doesn’t mean I can’t answer your question! 

I need to find out the Swedish equivalent of “But that’s what I said!” and “I told you so!”  Otherwise, I might just practice a standard phrase in perfect Swedish and use that for any question from now on. Example: “You only need to wait here 5 minutes. Have a lovely day.”

This will be my response for all future questions, whether they are “How long until the next train?” or “Where can I find something to eat?”. People will trust my confident, perfectly-spoken answer and wait for something that will never come unless they dare to trust information from someone with an accent. 

Cavemen have feelings too!

Tourist activities

Another trip to Italy coming up this fall. What do you think of my itinerary?

We can start at the Egizio Museum, have a coffee at the Piazza, swing by the GATES OF HELL and maybe round up the day at the cinema?

 

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Jellyfish and wine

My husband and I are soon leaving on a long weekend trip to Portugal. I was able to pack for the trip 3 months ago as the temperatures between Lisbon and Stockholm differ 25 degrees. That’s Celsius of course. After 17 years of turning my brain away from  Fahrenheit, I’m too tired to switch back again. Google it.

In preparing for this trip, I realized that I know nothing about Portugal except for the dangerous ‘Portuguese Man o’ War’ jellyfish, which apparently doesn’t have much to do with Portugal except that the shape looks like an old 1800s Portuguese war ship. I guess you learn something every day, though what I needed to learn was something about Portugal.

At this point, I’ve researched castles, churches, restaurants, local food, customs, etc. My husband prefers to go with the flow and research nothing, except possibly a restaurant or two. I think our traveling styles probably compliment each other. I like to know that I’m not missing anything by researching carefully before leaving. My husband likes to simply discover things he didn’t know about, which must work out great for him since I lead us to places where things are actually interesting.

When asking him if he knew what kind of food the Portuguese like to eat, he replied, ‘I know they drink wine, so we’re good.’

He doesn’t care much for seafood though, so unless the wine can take away fish taste, he might end up a bit hungry. Luckily his amazing wife, me, has done plenty of tapas, steak and pasta research.  I should totally start a travel agency.

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Super Awesome Travel Video (or what I do when I’m bored)

Some friends of mine are going to Nice in April and asked if I had any tips. I decided to make them this handy 1-minute travel video. I think I may have a career in professional video making (in the 80s). What do you think?

Brothers… all the same

My youngest son was talking about how he wishes we could hurry and invent teleportation.

“We’d already have it if it weren’t for the Marx Brothers.”

I thought about this for a while, but could remember no scenes relating to teleportation in any Marx Brothers movies.

I asked, “How did the Marx Brothers ruin our chances at teleportation?”

“Because they invented the airplane, so everyone focused on that instead!”

“Um, you mean the Wright Brothers.”

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Isn’t this how everyone boards RyanAir?

Apparently a RyanAir passenger was late for his flight and decided to run for his plane on the tarmac. CNN may be shocked, but to me, this is basically how one normally boards RyanAir.

I wrote about this airline in my book. We took it only once and decided NEVER AGAIN!

To board a RyanAir plane, the normal procedure is to make a mad dash across the tarmac to the two sets of stairs leading to the front and rear of the plane. Because seats are not assigned, people push aside the elderly and infirm to get a prime position.

Granted, the plane still had stairs and WANTED us to board for our one experience with the airline, while the man in the news story seems to be chasing a moving plane, but I still say it doesn’t seem that much of a stretch from normal RyanAir boarding procedures.

And to emphasize my point, RyanAir actually let the man on the plane.

Article here: http://tinyurl.com/h6slz5k

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No politics at all !

Just reminding everyone that I have a new book out – “As Long as I Have My Own Bathroom” – which is great summer reading while you’re on vacation, but most of all, IT CONTAINS ABSOLUTELY NO POLITICS!

For sale in the U.S. here – https://amzn.com/1530292964

For sale at other Amazons, such as – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1530292964

For sale in Sweden here – http://tinyurl.com/zfjql79

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Buy My Book!

Buy my new book “As Long as I Have My Own Bathroom” and learn the secret of the mysterious Leprechaun Museum.

Available on Amazon (for the U.S.) – http://amzn.com/1530292964
Available Amazon.co.uk (for the UK) – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1530292964
And AdLibris (in Sweden) – http://tinyurl.com/jyjfkro
And most likely on other Amazon services around the world so just check!

Thank you!  All money goes to ice cream.

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Cat in the Hat

My husband and kids have wanted to visit Japan for quite a while. Of course they all want to go there because it’s a video game paradise, and it would be a cool place to go, but I’ve never been completely sold on spending that much money and flying so far for a trip.

However, a travel article on CNN today might have changed all of that.

I give you…  Nitama, the new stationmaster of Kishi Station in Wakayama Prefecture. She has been praised for her “hat-wearing” skills.

Checking into tickets now.

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I wrote a new book!

I have a new book out! (also available on Amazon.co.uk) !
How would you act if you accidentally arrived with your extended family on a nude beach in France? Or if a Turkish salesman in the grand bazaar in Istanbul offered to replace your husband with a new one? How about having to go to the bathroom in front of your friends in the forest behind a sheet with the words “ladies room” painted on it? Heather Jonasson has handled these incidents, and more, on her trips around Europe and the US. Heather Jonasson is a native Texan who moved to the small, frozen country of Sweden in northern Europe for love. Now, follow her along as she tells of her travel adventures in Europe and the US.
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Life on the Riviera

This weekend, I felt warm sunshine for the first time in six months.

I also wore something other than a large, down-filled coat and waterproof boots for the first time in six months.

My husband and I spent a long weekend relaxing in the French Riviera city of Nice. If you haven’t experienced six months of winter, constant cloud cover and darkness at one point in your life, then you probably can’t understand why I had tears in my eyes when the weekend was over.

As we sat in the sunshine sipping wine during the afternoons, we asked ourselves the same question we ask every time we are in southern Europe: Why do we live in Sweden?

Don’t get me wrong; Sweden is beautiful … in summer. It’s even a bit charming around December with the Christmas lights and children sledding in the snow, but that’s about all of winter we can take. Once January rolls around, this place is a slush-filled wasteland that honestly doesn’t get much better until around May.

I apologize for sounding bitter, but please take a look at the following picture. One is breakfast in Nice and the other is before dinner the same day back in Stockholm (picture frozen lasagne waiting at the end of this desloate trail). Which one would you rather be living in during March?

I rest my case.

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What to wear…

I’m trying to pack for a vacation, but living in Stockholm and wearing a coat and boots for 6 months now, I’ve forgotten what other temperatures feel like.

Here’s what I’m faced with (Vacation above, Stockholm below). Sorry these are in C, but in F, Vacation is going to be between 60-65F, while Stockholm is (surprisingly warmer than usual) 39-44F.

Also, see how there’s not really sun here? Oh sure, it peaks out here and then, but we get no warmth from it until around April. So what is Vacation place like in direct sun? I bet it’s warm. Or I’d like to imagine it is.

I guess it’s layers as usual (with a hopeful bathing suit underneath).

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New book coming soon!

When you have around 6 months of winter and darkness here in Sweden, you can do one of three things.

  1. Take a vacation to the sun (smartest idea, unfortunately, I’m not that smart)
  2. Hibernate
  3. Find a creative project to put meaning into your day.

Well, I’ve gone with number 3 (I really need to save up for number 1 next winter) and I’m about to publish my second book of essays, this time all about transportation and travel!

Here is a short example of what you will find in this book:

I made my husband eat alligator when he visited me in Texas.
He made me eat snails when I visited him in Europe.
True love.

Another update next week when I make it available. Until then, here’s a picture of a very well-dressed cat.

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This really irritates me

Someone posted this in a Facebook group yesterday. Here’s my problem with this every time I see it in a movie…

In most of these movie situations, the person is moving across the country, taking another job, or going back to someone else – otherwise there would be no last minute dash to stop someone from leaving forever. If they’re just on spring break to Florida, it can wait until Monday.

So now that we’ve established it’s a life-changing, never-come-back flight…  Can you imagine the time it took to pack up everything for the move? And what about the cost of hiring movers, plus extra luggage on the plane? To make it even simpler, what about the price of a plane ticket? You’re looking at $500-2000 depending on where you’re moving.

After you’re stopped from getting on the plane, can you imagine how much trouble you have to go through to remove your luggage, if it’s even possible when the plane is already boarding (as it always is during these scenes)? That means you need to go to the desk to file a luggage claim, which takes forever. Plus, if it was your decision not to board, there’s no refund for that. You’ll also have to pay the movers to bring everything back. Is this love-of-your-life going to chip in for costs? Unpack boxes? Or even wait in line with you to fill out forms at the luggage counter?

This is my problem with this type of scene. Thank you.

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