Hello, I’m back!
After a few weeks of radio silence, I think I’m ready to embark upon this project again. Where I officially left off in mid-December, I had concluded recapping our time in Munich. I then jumped ahead in our trip timeline to publish a flurry of Christmas-related posts. Northern Europe is an easy place to get into the Christmas spirit, and I wanted to share some of the Christmas markets and holiday decorations we had seen while it was still fresh; I reasoned that it’s not as much fun to talk about Christmas when it’s already over. I didn’t make it through everything, unfortunately. I wanted to do posts about Stockholm (which I’ve dubbed “Christmas City”) and visiting my family in Northern Sweden as well. Alas, I ran out of time and wanted to spend some actual time with my relatives, instead of huddling over my laptop. It’ll still be fun to do those posts when I get to them.
We did have a magical time in Sweden, especially when we went up to my family’s cabin. There was so much snow! We got to go snowmobiling on a frozen lake, drink lots of glügg (mulled wine), enjoy some fika (coffee and snacks), and feast on a few traditional Jülbords (a smorgasbord of several traditional Christmas foods, served buffet-style).
Fika! (Very loose) translation: how Swedes cope with very little daylight. (The muffin on the right tastes exactly like Christmas).
A delicous Jülbord!
In the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s, I took some time away from blogging because I had to read 7 novels in 8 days in order to meet my yearly resolution of reading 52 books in 52 weeks. I made it, with one day to spare!
Below: Reading and napping. Accurate depiction of me having a perfect Christmas vacation.
Unfortunately, our holiday took a turn on December 30. After going into town to watch the new Star Wars movie, we came home to the news that my paternal grandmother was really ill and had been taken by ambulance to the hospital. I was staying with my dad’s brother and his family, so we were all in this together. My grandma had been sick for the last few days, but we all thought it was just that horrid flu that was going around back home. It was also bitterly cold in Alberta, with temperatures around -30 C and a wind chill making it feel like -40 C. It was a terrible time for people to be ill. She passed away only a few hours after being taken to the hospital. Unknown to everyone, even herself, she had an advanced stage of lung cancer, and had developed pneumonia.
To say it was a shock is an understatement. Even now, it’s still hard to believe she’s gone. I can’t think about it for more than a few minutes at a time without getting upset. Her decline was so quick. And I can’t yet accept it. Although she’s been struggling with health issues for a while, she always came across as being so strong and determined. I thought we still had years ahead of us. I had just sent her a card, some Swedish chocolate, and a little decorative Swedish horse ornament as a Christmas gift. It didn’t make it to her in time.
Before Neil and I left on our trip, I went to Alberta for a week to visit with my family. I’m so glad I did. The last time I saw my grandmother, we sat down together and I showed her some pictures and video I had taken on the Isle of Skye when Neil and I went to the U.K. in June and July of 2016. I was excited to also show her some pictures of the small middle-of-nowhere Scottish village I had traced her ancestry to. But we were in the middle of getting dinner ready for a big family gathering, and so I told her that the next time I saw her I would have a blog post about it all ready for her to see.
A blog post I have yet to write. You think you have all the time in the world to get to all the things that matter. I started recapping our trip to the U.K. in the first half of 2016. I wanted to finish the U.K. posts before Neil and I went to Paris in June/July of 2017, but only managed to get through England. Scotland and Ireland are still on deck.
(Scotland = so many sheep).
Then we launched on this year-long adventure and I thought, foolishly, that I would be able to keep up with what we were currently doing and catch up on our two previous trips. I’m just behind on everything at this point.
So I’m just going to give up on any attempt at staying current in the interest of being comprehensive. With the next round of posts, I’ll be going back to Scotland. Then I’ll move onto Ireland. After that, I’ll deal with Paris. Then, we’ll finally get back to our current trip. I’ll then move through Nuremberg, Berlin, Copenhagen, Malmö, Stockholm, Timrå, Rome, and Sorrento (where we are as of today).
I’m sorry if it’s going to be confusing! Eventually, Neil is going to make some changes to the layout of our blog so that there will be categories you can select for the different countries we’ve been to. (Something similar to what you’ll find on this travel blog that I enjoy).
Having too much to write about is definitely a blessing. I’m thankful if you have the patience to follow along with me! I am really excited to finally write up some posts about Scotland and Ireland. Both of those countries are so beautiful, and I would go back to the U.K. in a heartbeat. (Part of me wants to try and convince Neil to go there in the fall, but I have a feeling I’ll be super eager to just go home at that point). Check out my Instagram account if you want to see some pictures from where we currently are.
So, without further ado, let’s go back and see what we were up to in Edinburgh.