ohio on route 6

The wide open space of the backroads Northern Ohio.

It’s that time once again when everyone feels compelled to look back on the year that is about to end. Far be it for me to be left out of a trend, so here’s a brief look back at my travels and other adventures. To not give you too much of an overload, I’ll cover January to June here and do a separate post on the rest of the year.

January: Back in Ohio.There’s something reassuring about going back to your roots, seeing family and friends, a  familiar landscape and shopping, happy in the knowledge that prices are so much lower than in Stockholm. Plus, the longer I am away, the more easily I can appreciate where I’m from. Robert and I spent Christmas in Cincinnati and new year’s in Port Clinton for the great walleye drop where yes, a giant fish is dropped at midnight to celebrate.

hobart, tasmania

The view from our hotel room in Hobart, Tasmania.

February: Tasmania, Sydney, Canberra, Darwin and the Outback. What’s not to love about 1) Being in Australia in summer and 2) Leaving winter in Stockholm behind? After traveling for 37 hours, more than 10,000 miles through 9 time zones (I think) and five airports – including Stockholm, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Sydney and Hobart – we finally arrived in Tasmania. I loved seeing the brand-new MONA art museum there and this post continues to be one of my most read of the year. Sydney is always tops in my estimations, but in the Northern Territory, we encountered crocodiles, kangaroos, floods and cyclones, making this one of my most memorable trips of the year.

first day of spring

This is the first day of spring in Stockholm. The Baltic Sea is still frozen as you can see here and the snow keeps coming.

March: Living in the Arctic.  After already having had four solid months of continual snow, we got even more of the white stuff. After falling when I attempted to switch to regular boots outside, I wore snow boots every day. It seemed that I spent most of the month checking out new restaurants and bars and exploring the Soho-like neighborhood around me. Eating and drinking is really all you can do to cope with this relentless winter stuff. It’s a good thing I like snow.

cherry blossoms at kungstrgården

Playing chess under the cherry blossoms at Kungsträgården in the center of Stockholm.

April: Transitions. At the beginning of the month, there was still snow and ice. Everywhere. By the end, the snow was finally gone and Stockholm was starting to bloom. I could be outside again without freezing or wearing snow boots. At last. I felt alive again, especially when the cherry blossoms came out at Kungsträdgården. And there were a lot of parties too, including one for Prince William’s royal wedding. I got a teenage thrill seeing Swedish band Peter, Bjorn and John in concert and getting to dance with lead singer Peter.

lake dellan

An escape to the middle of Sweden.

May: The Swedish countryside. Unbelievably, we got more snow at the beginning of the month. But it melted quickly and we moved on with spring. On a press trip into the middle of the country, I got back in touch with my Swedish side by staying in a manor house that was built in 1775, eating some fabulous husmanskost or home cooking – including reindeer, meatballs, salmon and cloudberries – sweating in the sauna and hiking in the forest with deer.


One of the many Amsterdam canals.

June: Amsterdam. I love this city more every time I visit it. Sure it’s got that rap for being seedy, what with its infamous red light district and coffee houses, but this place is so much more than that. Pretty canals, fantastic art museums, international cuisine, great live music, flower markets, tasty cheese and beer, charming architecture and alleyways – all of which can be easily explored by bike. It’s my kind of town. Back in Stockholm, we celebrated my favorite swedish holiday – midsommar – with snaps, herring, good friends and yes, we did do something called the frog dance.

Coming up in the next half of the year, the archipelago, Austria, Croatia and more.


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2011: the best in food. | writes4food | cooking, eating, drinking in the Midwest
December 30, 2011 at 15:06

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sophie December 30, 2011 at 12:15

Some exciting places you’ve visited this year, Sandra. Tasmania is high on my list. Just have to bear those 37 hours in the air. It’s less than one hour to Oslo… just sayin’…

Hope our paths will cross in 2012 :)

2 Sandra December 30, 2011 at 13:29

Thanks Sophie. Somehow, I am sure your list is even longer than mine! As for Tasmania, it is well worth a visit. And it’s been a while since I’ve been to Oslo, so I will have to go again in 2012.

3 Carole December 30, 2011 at 16:37

Love Amsterdam, too. I spent three months there in the late 70s, close to the Vondelpark. I have a good friend in Sydney but have yet to make the trip. I traveled quite a bit in my career (most major American cities plus Dusseldorf and Nancy, FR) but now am a day-tripper. Wonderful that you are traveling to all these great places!

4 Sandra January 2, 2012 at 10:23

Carole, Thanks for the comment. I think I’ve been to Sydney 10 times now, but need to check my passport to be sure. It’s my favorite city in the world and I highly recommend that you visit it! I’ll be there again in February.

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