Swedish Summer – Still Umeå

Today we’re leaving this beautiful city with really nice people and its wonderful nature for our next adventure: Gothenburg.
When we first got to the hotel here in Umeå four days ago we were all so beat that we fell asleep first thing. Well, the boys fell asleep. I can’t during the day, call it a curse. Anyway, they slept until 2 pm and from 12.30 I thought “they’ll be waking up soon”, so I never left the room to go out by myself. Unfortunately. I could have gotten my hair cut and dyed – I could have gotten a freakin’ bridal masterpiece done before they woke up and got out. Once we were out of the hotel we looked for a place to eat. The choice was simple – sushi.

1) Because I love it.

2) Because they can make it vegan for Husband Shaun Vegaun.

3) Because Igge The Offspring loves rice, avocado, tofu and seafood so he can freely steal our food. He firmly says “Nej dagg” (=nej tack = no thank you), if you give him a plate loaded with his own food. If he gets an empty plate but gets to steal from other people, to put on his plate to eat, then he can eat a horse.

We soon noticed how insanely difficult it is to eat out with a child like ours. Before Igge I looked with dispice at parents who let their kids run around in restaurants. First of all because food is my religion and I don’t want to be disturbed by fat, dirty little fingers in my bible while I’m praying. Second of all, I worked as a waitress for many years, and knee-high people with no motor skills nor the ability to stop while moving are a work  hazard. So, logically I’m against children whom are let loose without rules in enclosed environments. I mean, what are their parents thinking? Where’s the upbringing? Can they not handle their wee ones? *Rolling my eyes*

Then we had Igge.
We are strict. We are pedagogical. We speak to him, make sure he understands why and why not. Yet, he’s a bloody Houdini and so far there’s no harness or closed off area he hasn’t been able to get out of, which he certainly proved in this town. Husband and I found a sushi place and ordered. We got the food and Igge did his absolute best to use sticks. It went… Everywhere. Admirably, he didn’t give up and managed to eat four pieces of sushi and all our avocado and then… He was “all done”, as he puts it. When he’s all done, he wriggles out of his seat and stands up in his chair. There, he shouts “all done! Aaaall doooone!”, dances a little while waiting for somebody to take him down and wipes his hands messy on his clothes. Here’s the first problem when eating out with some kind of Northern Wildling in a mini-format. We, THE PARENTS, were NOT all done. We had hardly begun since we tried to keep the restaurant neat while our 17 month old practised eating with sticks while flirting with the granny at the next table. After about 30 seconds it became unbearable with him standing in his seat shouting at random people walking by and we had to wolf down our massacred, avocado-lacking, sushi and yes; leave. We caved in.

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Mastering eating with sticks. In about 90 years

As we walked around this quaint little town we realised that nothing is further away than 15 minutes, which is really handy. Umeå’s got tons of places to eat and drink and they’re very forward thinking when it comes to the environment and eating green. Walking around here is a pleasure, it’s so cute and clean and even though you’re in the centre of town, you’re in the nature. People who grew up in Umeå or somewhere else in Västerbotten, would probably laugh at me. “I can show you nature!” they’d probably splurge out, and I know they’re right. But I’m a big city child and to me this is a magical town in the middle of the great northern forest. After walking around and letting the wild one run off some steam we figured we could sit down at a really cool outdoor bar we found for a glass of wine.
We were wrong.
Igge got some sparkling water, which is like champagne to him, and he played with it for about 10 seconds before he spilled it all on purpose, got out of his harness, stood up in his chair and held a speech. (Which I strongly suspect was about emancipation.) We had to let him out if we even wanted to have a sip of our wine, but we made a cage for him. It’s not as bad as you think – it’s probably worse. We put chairs and flower pots around the table, and on the other side there was a fence, so he wouldn’t get out that way. Wrong, wrong, wrong. All of a sudden I saw him squeeze out through the fence where he got stuck. At first. Suddenly he was out on the other side and I husband had to jump the fence to catch the child, who was running away from us whilst making his “freedom – scream”. In shame we had to leave the bar.

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Holding a speech about emancipation

Umeå is so far north that it never goes dark in the summer. Therefor, our hotel had great curtains for this specific reason. Our room was pitch black when we pulled them, and surprise! We all slept like logs until 9 am the next morning. Wonderful. We walked to an outdoor museum, The museum of Västerbotten, where we all had a really great time. We didn’t expect much when we got there but it was quite amazing. If you like walking through beautiful nature, if you’re interested in history and/or if you have children, I strongly recommend this place. Igge could take off anywhere he wanted and scream as loudly as he wished without anyone making a frown – he was extremely happy about it. Of course, his favourite part wasn’t the Sami village or the old soldier’s cottage – it was the area where they were doing construction work. Well well.

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So much fun in the woods…

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…yet this was the favourite of the day

We continued back into town and took a tour around Guitars – The Museum. It was Shaun Vegaun’s idea, but I must say that to impressed me. I’ve never seen so many guitars in one place. Jimi Hendrix’s favourite guitar was there (the one he played on the most) and they had a Magic V hanging on the wall. Igge’s favourite? The collection of old toy cars. So that’s where I was during 87,6% of the tour. Husband said it was amazing though.

Guitars – The Museum. Although Igge found the car-corner…

Done and dusted we went out to my uncle’s house to watch the Sweden-England football game, which we now know, went straight down the drain. (Because I*m Swedish.) What didn’t go down the drain was Igge and my uncle’s dog. It’s a big grey dog who is half wolf and not used to children, so I was a bit worried… At first. Igge got obsessed by Azko the wolf-dog and wanted to play with him constantly. I sat outside and watched them, and I realised that Azko really enjoyed playing with Igge. Once dinner was served and everyone sat down, it took five strawberries and then Igge stood up on the chair and proclaimed “aaaall doooone”, climbed down from the chair by himself (because we were not going to help him) and went to the garden door.
“Don’t worry, he can’t get out to Azko. I’ve looked that door” the hostess said as the door somehow was bent open with the help of a metal shoehorn and opened just enough for a 17 month old baby with a head the size of a water melon to squeeze out to get to his new best friend. Igge doesn’t play much with children his own age, so it warmed my heart when we discovered that Igge was gone, but that he was shouting with happiness, running around the garden with a wolf. Amazing.

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Azko and Igge

We’ve had a few really great days in Umeå and I recommend everyone to go here. Choose what time of year you want to come here though, because they have severe seasons. During spring the whole landscape around you starts to live. So many animals and plants come to life at the same time and it goes from darkness to brightness. Summer, as in right now, leaves nothing to hide with the constant sunshine. We’ve been really lucky with the weather, it’s been hot our whole stay! When it’s fall, it is fall. There’s so much forest here that it looks like you’re surrounded by fire. But with rain storms. Winter – a ton of snow and frost bite on whatever body part isn’t covered in down when you look out your window. It’s dark around the clock, but according to my uncle, the moon and stars shine so bright that you can stand outside at midnight and read the newspaper.

One last thing – the hotel we stayed at… Wow, what a service they have! We asked if it was possible for a baby crib to be placed in our room, a detail we had forgotten about. They said they were going to see if there were any available. When we got back to the hotel the first day, they had put a baby crib in, made with the cutest sheets, towels for Igge and a water boiler. I love when the service fixes my problems before I discover I have them. Also, we’re leaving the hotel at 5.30 am, so they arranged an “early bird” breakfast for us. How good?

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The best possible grade for a city must be that you leave it with the thought “next time we’re here we’re going to…” Right? When we got here, we had some stuff we wanted to do, but no real expectations. Now we’re leaving in sadness and our checklist for What to do in Umeå has become 20 times as long.