Monday, September 30, 2013

swedish rodeo

actually, it's austrian rodeo via spain about 500 years ago: the royal lipizzaner stallions of the spanish riding school!  we got some very last minute tickets to see them at stockholm's ericsson globen and were thrilled to have done so--it was like equine ballet.  although not as loud or manic or spectacle-y as the houston livestock show and rodeo (and, really, what else is?), it was lovely.  it was slow, elegant, mannered, intentional, european...and oh my god those horses were remarkably controlled.

unfortunately...i forgot my camera, so these are iphone pictures, hence they are kinda crappy.  sorry about that. least my family stayed awake...

and...the famous royal lipizzaner capriole kick, which must have freaked the hell out of anyone fighting against the habsburgs:


Friday, September 27, 2013

neko case in stockholm!!!

i squeaked like a fangirl upon finding this!
i know where i'll be on november 25th.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

helsinki / helsingfors

we're back from a lovely 2-day trip to helsinki, finland.  it was interesting--much more russian/baltic than we expected; very different from sweden, which surprised us.  we thought the combination of geography and genetics would make them more similar, and they do but not from sweden--they come from the east.  in any event, it was a good trip.

we've discovered the joys of norwegian airlines, which can best be described as the southwest airlines of europe--they're super cheap, simple, and their planes are brand-spanking new.  perfect.  i'm working on some other weekend trips through them.  anyway, it couldn't have been easier:  we left the apartment at 6:15 in the morning, took a subway to t-centralen, took the årlanda express train to the airport, checked in using a kiosk, and got on the plane.  50 minutes later we were on the ground at helsinki; 40 minutes after that we were in front of the central train station and a 5 minute walk from our hotel.  public transit kicks major ass in europe--i have no idea why we resist it in the US.

so, by 10:30 in the morning we were ready to start our helsinki/helsingfors (the swedish word for helsinki) adventures...

all the street signs are in finnish first and swedish second...which made all of us realize that we really need to take our swedish studies more seriously

first stop was the botanical garden, which was right next to our hotel--sophie and i loved it;  rich and gus got frustrated by all that nature crap about five minutes into it and left

and while i was shooting things like this...

...sophie was in the background stomping through the fermenting apples

" DON'T feed the birds here?  i hate finland."

this is the deli counter that sophie and i picked for our lunch at the helsinki saluhall--i defy you to identify anything on that menu (lasagne doesn't count...and we couldn't identify it in the case)

sophie just pointed at the meatballs and potatoes without prompting--she's learning how to function without ever speaking a word to anyone

the whole time we were eating lunch, this was going on behind us--there was a line to use this machine, while an apparently unlucky one next to it went unused

and even though our lunch kiosk looked reasonable and clean (and it was perfectly good), it was harder than you might imagine to find something to pick up and eat right away...

...or things that were cooked--finns (and swedes) are far less squeamish about eating raw fish...even if it's not sushi-grade...than we are

funny little squirrel bunnies on a building

gossiping trolls

we tried to go to the big lutheran cathedral (helsingin tuomiokirkko), but there was a wedding inside...

...and a classy stretch hummer waiting out front!   this is the culture we are exporting to the world...nice.

i don't know what sophie was thinking about here, but it was certainly devious

not what i usually think of when i hear "amarillo," and i checked--it is for the city, not the color.   there was a place called "santa fe" selling food called tex-mexia across the street and "memphis" selling clothes down a little further.  it's little america!

so...this is a site that i really wanted to take more pictures at, but it closed about five minutes after we got there--this is the rock church (temppeliaukion kirkko).  it is literally a church built into the dynamited crater of a rock in the middle of a nice residential square in the eastern töölö neighborhood.  unfortunately, in addition to the abbreviated visit, a severely mentally ill man clutching a box of domino sugar with both hands out in front of him (where the hell did he get that from?) took a very unhealthy interest in gus and sophie...and we had to basically flee the area.  it made for a bit of tension to say the least, but rich and i swooped in and got everyone out of there safely.  it was kind of a drag.  everyone's fine.

two freaked out kiddos posing with an equally freaky looking thing

beautiful sunset at the end of a very interesting day in helsinki

next morning:  off to the cone of silence!  actually, it's the kamppi chapel of silence (kamppin kappeli), located in the middle of probably the busiest commercial area in helsinki

you have no idea how happy it makes me to see my children taking pictures of anything

interior (roof), chapel of silence

altar, chapel of silence

weird, cool, giant felt stones, inside the chapel of silence

no matter where we go, sophie always finds a 4-legged friend

uspenski orthodox church (uspensken katedraali)--gus and sophie decided those rocks below it needed to be climbed

now that's an iconostasis!

interior, uspenski cathedral

interior, uspenski cathedral

interior, uspenski cathedral

interior, uspenski cathedral

very old icon--from the i think the 16th century--and i liked this one, especially the kiss marks on the glass (most of the icons had them)

i didn't get to see this one as it was stolen a few years ago--this is/was saint nicolas the miracle worker. unfortunately, this cathedral has a rather bad history of getting its objects stolen.

one last shot of the beautiful rooftops of helsinki...then it was off to the airport. goodbye helsingfors!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

last one about ducks, i swear

today, at rålambshovenparken.  i wasn't worried until she tried to shove it in the bread bag...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

some really cute kids and random stockholm street scenes

 astrid's adorable class at the international school

i spend most of my days walking, walking, walking around stockholm while the kids are in school--i don't always have my camera, but i do always have my phone.  these are iphone pictures of random things i've come across on my walks that seem interesting (to me, at least).  enjoy!