Stephanie Burgis
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We're back from Stockholm! And it was wonderful. We'd been there once before, in October 2006, and it was fascinating to see how different the city is in summertime - dazzlingly sunny, VERY hot, beautiful, and full of tourists! I missed the quiet streets of the gray-skied Old Town in October, but oh, it was beautiful in the summertime heat and sunshine. We spent every day walking almost non-stop, pausing only for lovely, lingering café trips to refuel with excellent loose-leaf tea, hot chocolate, and/or amazing Swedish pastries. Swedish apple pie, served hot with cream on the side...heavenly! And Swedish chocolate cake - mmmmm! - and oh, those Swedish cinnamon rolls...

Yeah, I spent a LOT of time eating Swedish pastries! It was unhealthy, but oh so wonderful. And of course I adore the way hot chocolates are served in my favorite Gamla Stan (Old Town) café:
Stockholm hot chocolate

I am going to have to avoid sugary treats for the next month, at least, to make up for last week's excess...but oh, it was worth it!

And of course we visited my favorite SF/fantasy bookstore in the world, where I used my birthday money to splurge on four new fantasy novels (including Melissa Marr's Ink Exchange, which I loved - such a great, empowering ending, and the whole book was even better than her first novel, Wicked Lovely). Later, I bought a wonderfully frivolous Italian hat to cope with the unfamiliar sunshine...and on Saturday we braved the intense heat and took an hour-long steamboat ride through Lake Mälaren, out to Drottningholm Palace, my favorite 18th-century palace in the world (which is saying a LOT). This time we didn't tour the palace itself, but for the first time, we wandered through the many, many gardens, picnicked in the warm grass, walked around the hilariously weird and cool Chinese Pavilion and its accompanying faux-Turkish Guards' "Tent", and I ate an amazing waffle with raspberry jam and cream at the Chinese Pavilion's adjoining café (yes, you knew it would come back to food again, didn't you?). Later, back in the city, we ate dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, Sabai Sabai, then went the next day to an amazing Japanese restaurant...

I think I'd better stop myself now, before this entire entry becomes a total food-fest. But mostly: I had an absolutely wonderful time. It was relaxing, fun, and incredibly stimulating - just walking around that amazing city filled my head to bursting with new story ideas, and by the time we got back, late Tuesday night, I was raring to go on Kat by Starlight, which I've spent all of this morning working on very happily. Of course, coming back home wasn't nearly as much fun as going on vacation - we landed in chilly, rainy Leeds to discover that all our luggage had been left in Amsterdam (including my laptop's power cord, and ALL of our sweaters and raincoats - which of course we hadn't used once in Stockholm, but which would have come in handy back in Leeds!), and I spent most of yesterday on the phone to KLM, trying desperately to get it back. (The suitcases finally arrived late last night. Whew.) But we also picked up Maya yesterday morning, who was wiggly happy and excited to see us - but also, equally obviously, very well-taken-care-of and happy with her dogsitters - and getting her back made coming home completely worthwhile.

I've posted a few pictures below, and you can also see a whole bunch of other photos in my Stockholm 2008 set on my flickr account.

Patrick in Gamla Stan (the Old Town):
Patrick in Gamla Stan

Drottningholm Palace (as seen from the approaching steamboat):
2nd view of Drottningholm Palace from the boat

Me behind Drottningholm Palace, in front of the first rank of formal gardens (and wearing my very beloved new Italian hat!):
Steph at Drottningholm Palace

...And of course, now that we're back home, Maya is back in exactly her favorite place!
Back home...

You can see the rest of our Stockholm photos here.

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