STOCKHOLM for a Minute



There are little blocks of time here and there on every trip that are either wasted spaces or rest stops. It’s whether you’re a glass half-empty or half-full person isn’t it? I’m always trying—and sometimes succeeding—to be the latter…all because mom insisted I read Pollyanna.

I booked a day over in Stockholm because the thing I most do not want to do on this trip is rush to anything anywhere anytime. So this day until 5pm when the ferry leaves counts as a rest stop—and I think I’m discovering the more of these I get the better.

My travel god is surely UNM’s Dr. Mojtahed, without whom I would not be this far along on my trip and, if I were, there would have been many miserable stomach aches and sleep-challenged nights between then and now. Finished the medication routine for the bacterial infection so efficiently diagnosed by Dr. M. and have had zero stomach issues of any kind since the second day on the regimen. Should also thank my other favorite doc, Stoerner, who made the referral when I called his office in travel-panic mode. My impression from initial phone calls to other offices is that most of the medical practices in town would still be trying to get me in for an appointment. Should we have to be this impressed when someone like Dr. M. steps in and makes things happen? And how big of a role does UNM play in his ability to do that? So it’s all good and I’m happy and the top people on my list for travel souvenirs are my two doctors to whom I owe….sitting in the Swedish morning sun with a wine and my Surface and my blog.

That’s not about travel you say. Having been sick here and there around the world, most notably Namibia and Australia, I can tell you it is very much about travel. Health and her evil cousin, ill health, were the major concerns approaching this trip. Again, thanks to aforementioned docs, so far so good. Although I am being careful—had yogurt instead of Swedish meatballs for dinner last night for example but I’m slowly spreading food wings. A wine a day. Ferry food, what will that be like? And Riga, what do people eat in Riga? More European, Russian? I will soon know this.

Reading Wikipedia. Riga was a center of Viking trade. There they are again. I won’t really leave Viking territory until I’m deep in Siberia … where Genghis’ boys take over the rape and plunder business. Riga also has a number of its original Art Nouveau buildings intact. Which friends tell me is the highlight of a visit to the city.

About food. Here’s something from a website Latvian cuisine: If you’re looking for something light and healthy to eat, then you’ve come to the wrong place.

In truth, Riga’s dining scene offers plenty of options for people who prefer to avoid fatty foods and even a couple of vegetarian restaurants, but if like most visitors you’d like to chow down on some local cuisine then pop your heart medication, pull out your pocket defibrillator and get ready to get greasy.

Where to begin? That’s easy. A Latvian meal is seldom complete without pork. Even if you order a dish without the national meat, there’s a good chance that the chef has snuck it into your food somehow, usually by cooking other food, including vegetables, in bacon fat. Karbonāde ar kaulu (grilled pork chops), karbonāde (pork schnitzel) and cūkas stilbs (pork knuckle) are all favourites, but for more exotic pig dishes keep an eye out for cūkas ausis (pig’s ears), grūdenis (pig’s head stew) and cūkas kājas (pig’s feet).

Kartupeļi (potatoes) are served with nearly all Latvian food and they’re usually either  boiled, fried, boiled and then fried or mashed.
Sometimes, traditional restaurants will also offer griķi (boiled buckwheat) instead of potatoes. If in doubt, stick with the potatoes.

Kāposti (cabbage) also plays a major role in most Latvian meals. Sometimes it’s served cold as a salad or hot as a side dish likeskābie kāposti (sauerkraut). We, however, prefer šķovētie or štovētie kāposti, which is like sauerkraut but sweeter and darker in colour as it’s stewed longer with sugar.

Pelēkie zirņi (grey peas) is another side dish worth trying.”

Okay then. Especially looking forward to a pig’s ear with gray peas. Hey, there’s always yogurt and Lay’s Potato Chips. But seriously I am thinking potato pancakes and borscht, the stuff I like a lot, will abound. Bon Appétit…Bon Voyage…Later.

Here’s my entire Swedish album. Honestly, like Johannesburg, it doesn’t seem right to be here without DANCE.

One Comment on “STOCKHOLM for a Minute

  1. Oh my…..the food options surely must taste better than they are described? I am eagerly awaiting your food experiences. this is getting very interesting;……

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