Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Long trip this summer, first to Borlänge in Sweden, then to Istanbul in Turkey. The reason for Sweden was my brothers wedding. Per and Sanna have been together for many years already so it's not really a major change in practice, but it's a fun reason to bring family and friends together. And it really was fun. I don't get to see my relatives very much, and this was a rare chance. I met some I haven't seen for many years, and made a couple of new friends as well.

Torsång Church
Torsång church, with my parents. It's an old church, and insanely popular for weddings. I noticed there were another two weddings booked the same day.

Another view of the church and the clock tower.

Per and Sanna did seem quite happy about getting married.

Rural Dalarna. The milk stand and metal canisters are almost certainly only left as decoration. The cool custom Saab 94 on the other hand, is likely in happy use by its owner.

Edge of Civilization
When you spend your time in cities it's easy to forget that much of the country is all heavy forest. But now and again, that border between urban life and wilderness becomes obvious.

The area is quite beautiful in summer when the weather is good. That's about three weeks per year or so; the rest of the time it's freezing or raining.

I love tunnbrödsrulle. Sausage and mashed potatoes wrapped in a roll of northern flatbread. The lettuce, tomato and cucumber adds a light, crispy texture to the heavy mash, while the onion, mustard, ketchup and pickles add spice.

After years in Osaka, Borlänge feels, well, empty. There's just not a lot of people around, and not a lot is happening. That can be very pleasant for a while, but I'm happy we're back home.

We spent a day in Stockholm on our way back. The return flight left in the morning, and it's much less painful to get to the airport from Stockholm than taking an early dawn train from Borlänge.

Catching rays
For once Stockholm had great summer weather. People were enjoying the sun and the warmth any which way they could.

Hotels are expensive in Sweden for some reason; almost ridiculously so. On the upside, even the cheapest places seem to have the budget to spruce things up a little, with fun design, good breakfasts and so on.

S/S Orion
Much of the city is built on islands, so there's waterways and piers everywhere. And where there's water there's boats. Here S/S Orion, on Skeppsholmen.

Sail Boat
A beautiful wooden sailboat on Skeppsholmen, with a public transport passenger ferry in the background. At times like this I could see myself living here. When it's -1°, pitch dark and the air is full of sleet, not so much.

Nighttime view of Stockholm. I do miss those long summer evenings.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Coffee and Happiness

I get good quality beans and I grind my own coffee, both at home and at work. Sometimes, just for fun, I also roast green beans myself, though admittedly the result is usually worse than what I can buy. I usually brew filter coffee, though we have no shortage of other ways to make coffee at home by now. And normally, the end result is good. Pleasant, drinkable, and quite a lot better than what a coffee chain will serve you.

But once in a while it all comes together. The bean, the roast, the amount of coffee and water, the grind, the temperature, brewing time — it all aligns precisely, and the resulting cup of coffee is amazing. Divine. A cup of bliss I would pick over any other drink in the world. I can spend half an hour happily drinking it, savouring each and every drop, and trying to prolong the pleasure as much as I can. One day I'll be able to make this consistently. One day.

I'm slowly chewing through all the images from our recent trip, but it takes a while. Deadlines at work are coming hard and fast. Zoning out over a perfect coffee certainly doesn't help. Things are bound to slow down eventually, though.