Author: Yellow Duckie
For every journey there must be an end and my 5 ½ months escapade in Stockholm has finally come to an end. Being drown in the bucket of mixed emotions, I wasn’t quite sure if I was sad to leave this place, excited about going home or anxious about moving to my new place in Nairobi. Whatever my feeling was, I am certain that I will miss Stockholm terribly…as I already do.

Someone asked me one question couple of days prior to my departure: What is it about Stockholm that you like? Without hesitation my answer was the Nature in Sweden. After having thought about it, I realized there are so many things that I like about Stockholm:

There is never a shortage of parks for one to indulge themselves in various nature trails and have a picnic. Be it 5 mins walk within the city or 30 mins walk from your apartment, there will definitely be a place for you to spread your picnic mat and spend a serene afternoon with your favourite book under your favourite tree :)

I think the Swedish has got a rich culture and I am glad that during this short period of my stay here, I am proud to say that I have had a fair share of experience of the Swedish culture and I must say that I am impressed by the variation of culture from the north to the south of Sweden! Not only that, I particularly love the way Swedish handles between work and pleasure. I must admit, if you want to learn to enjoy life, just watch the Swedish. They remind you that life is not just about work as your own personal life is also a priority, in fact, of top priority.

I realized that I am going to lose a big share of my freedom to venture around when I am in my new home in Nairobi. It made me appreciate the freedom of traveling and venturing Sweden on my own so much that the thought of moving to Nairobi crippled me with fear about being confine to my apartment.

Although it may be expensive to earn Malaysian ringgit and spend in Swedish Kronor but I realized that shopping here is excellent as they have a wide range of products. After careful scrutiny of the prices, depending on what product, some are cheaper to get here and some are expensive but when it comes to the Summer sales, it’s really a SALE and you will find it so cheap to shop here.

These are the four main items that I would say covers all on why I like Stockholm and I hope to return someday…
Author: Yellow Duckie
I had the thought about skipping the Kick Off Party for ... actually I had totally no clue about the organization (the huge umbrella) I work in...but I know it covers the Africa, Central Europe and Middle East market. I am glad I took my colleague's advise not to miss it as the dinner location was an excellent choice and it will be a unique experience. He was right...

Fancy watching broadway? How about enjoying dinner while being entertained by a broadway show and being served by the the actors/singers. This is what you will get at the Wallmans. The setting of this restaurant was simply fantastic, practically feels like being in an old theater. Although it was alot smaller than I thought but it is extremely cozy.

I must admit that it feels extremely weird for you have the waiter who took your orders earlier is singing and dancing his heart out on the stage. Mind you, I don't see any difference in their performance compared to a famous celebrities! They are extremely good!

I can't recall much about the food but the sweet melodius voice and flambouyant costumes stays clear in my head. It was indeed an enchanting evening and a remarkable dining experience.
Author: Yellow Duckie
The sign of mushrooms blossoming carries a reminder that summer will soon be over (at least to me). This time of the year ( Aug - Sept) is where many will visit their secret spot where they would rather not share with you to harvest mushrooms.

Although I personally did not get a chance to experience such joy of harvesting them but I get to buy them at the store. Chanterelle seems to be in season although I was told that it is not yet the season for it but it's widely sold everywhere!

Apart from the edible mushrooms that springs to life, one has to be cautious about those that are none edible. You can see them all over the field and side walks. It's easy to tell if they are non-edible: it will stay there for weeks until they rot. I wished I could have them on my frying pan...

Author: Yellow Duckie
Read and heard so much about this Hansenic Medieval town that I just had to see it for myself. Indeed, it was one of the best choices I have made in my life. A boat journey of approximately 3 hours from Nynashamn Port (about one hour drive from Stockholm) will get you to this magical island where many would come for their vacation.

The walled city of Visby is stunning. The moment you set foot into the city, it felt as though that you have left the world behind and traveled back time. The tiny cottages that live through time stood proudly displaying its beauty and glory is simply breath taking. This place does not get enlisted as one of UNESCO Heritage site for no reason and it’s hard not to notice why.

I came with a mission and it was to explore the walled city of Visby, cycled round Gotland (my Swedish friend couldn’t stop laughing at my attempt, not to ridicule my inability to do so but rather at my ignorance on how large this island is!), enjoy the beach and be at the Medieval Market. I am so proud that we did it all, except of course, cycling around the entire Gotland.

Walled City
I was so attracted to the cottages within these walls that I wished I had the chance to see what it’s like inside. It has been well maintained and taken care of as most of their gardens are blooming with flowers giving these cottages such a lovely touch that one could just admire in awe. The quaint shops with interesting interior is also quite worth the visit. One step into the town square market place you will know that Gotland produces wool (although I didn’t see much sheeps around).

A swim at Tofta
We decided to enjoy the beach and some sea water at Tofta. Many sun seekers were already there when we arrived and I must admit that this beach looks different. Color of the sand, the plants that grows around (plants actually grows in these sand) and even the level of saltiness of the water is different, a lot less salty than those back home (Malaysia)! Thank God the sun was out to warm up the chilly water!

Cycling from Visby to Lummelunda
I still could not believe that I cycled that distance and still survived. On a rough estimation, we have cycled at lease 15 km! This would be an activity one should never miss when you are in Gotland. You will come across beautiful meadows, farmhouses, beaches and shipyards.
We decided to settle in Lummelunda for lunch. The attraction in Lummelunda is the limestone cave, a geological museum, café and a couple of souvenirs stores to cater for the massive crowd of visitors. We walked on to the beach and decided to set up our BBQ pit. It was not the perfect choice of location (as you can’t swim due to the huge amount of sea weed deposit in the sea) but privacy was what we had. The only annoying thing about having a BBQ there was the massive amount of flies we attracted! Simply disgusting.

Cyclist, this way

Lunch at Lummelunda

Medieval Week
During the first week of Aug every year, the town of Visby will hold a Medieval week where all the Medieval activities (medieaval sword fight, shows, etc) will be carried out including a huge medieval market. We were just in time to enjoy the first day of the Medieval week where most of the town folks take the trouble to dress up for the occasion. With the back drop of the town, you really feel that you have gone back to the Medieval Era. The Medieval market is really interesting as you can see goods from the medieval period are being sold, from food, weapons, jewelries, clothing to leather goods are being sold. I spend almost the entire day at the market just admiring the goods!

Townfolks buying cloth

I will never forgive myself if I ever give Gotland a miss. I will definitely make another trip to Gotland, perhaps this time to see the other side of the island
Author: Yellow Duckie
The journey to the office in Bahrain is literally, through the scorching heat and fury sandstorm. Basking in the midst of 45 degree celcius, one could hardly find air to breathe. Thank God that the humidity has not built up yet, else, I don't even know if I could survive through my trip in Bahrain.

Coming from a tropical country, I should be able to handle the heat but I supposed, I have to surrender when it comes to the heat in Bahrain. I tried to stick my face close to the car window to get a good look at the city but I was drawn away by the burning sensation I get ( I am not exaggerating)
My first impression of Bahrain: Luxurious. I am not too sure what drives me to feel that way but everything in this city seems brand new. It's a flat land with no mountains at sight and fantastically designed sky scrapper is found all around the city. One could hardly see much greens around and the entire city looks barren.

I can't say much about Bahrain except for the existence of great shopping malls in which you could find familiar brands from the Great Britain and the United States and hotels with interior that leaves your jaws dropped. Although there are signs on the street about saving energy, it seems to be ignored by the buildings here where lighting surrounding it (or in it) . They outshine the sun!

We had dinner at the Gulf hotel (5-star), apparently famous even among the locals as it has 8 restaurants in this hotel alone. It was a delicious dinner accompanied by a band that sounded pretty much like a broken record. My first exposure to a real lebanese food (unlike those served at the Kista Galleria in Stockholm), where we were first served with tiny dishes like tapas. I can't recall the dishes' names but it was really delicious, the portion were so generious that by the time our main dish arrived, meat on grills, we barely touched it. Not that it was not good but because we were all filled to the brim.

What I saw , according to my Bahrainian Colleague, is the good side of Bahrain. There are slump areas where poverty does exists. Perhaps I was ignorant, thinking that Bahrain, like Saudi, all the citizens are rich, however, in Bahrain, you still can find Bahrainian who works as Taxi drivers. Although blue collar jobs are not off limits to the local, walking into the mall in Bahrain makes me feel that I am in Manila, Philippines as almost 99.9% of the staff behind the counter are Philippinos.
Everything in Bahrain is expensive, holding 10 dinar in your hand, you can pay for your entire day's meal and what amused me (and still does) is half a dinar exist in notes, it's like a fifty cents in notes instead of a coin.
Author: Yellow Duckie
During the month of June to Sept, you can find various types of berries grown in the wild. For the first time in my life (You see, where I came from, berries are either sold in can, frozen or packed), I see the berries on its branches.

Blåbär (Blueberries)

Hjortron (Cloudberries) - A ripe hjortron is yellow.

Hallon (Raspberries)
Röda vinbär (Red Currant)
Körsbär (Cherries)

Lingon (Cowberries) - A ripe lingon is cherry red :)

Take a walk in the forest and pay attention to the scrubs along the path, you'll find millions of berries waiting to be devoured.
Author: Yellow Duckie
There is no better way to spend a weekend in Sweden than to be invited to your friend's summer house. It was really sweet of Dorothy and Roland to take me to their summer house in Aldesö. Situated about an hour drive from Stockholm, this place is on an island on its own and Roland's cabin is situated close to where "The Landing" is. I was told that "The Landing" is where the dock where the alcoholics or drug addicts is transported to/fro the rehabilitation island. Birka, the viking town can be seen from the lake close to their cabin. The interesting part of getting to Aldesö is by the ferry which transport both human and car across to Aldesö

So what does the swede do when they invited their friends over to their summer house? They practicaly do what the Asian do: eat, drink and be merry. Adding to their guest list was Jasmine and her partner. The meal times were so close that it feels like a eating marathon. I must admit it was pleasurable.

I believe this summer house is quite old although both the interior and exterior of the house does not show any sign of it. I got it from the fact that the bathroom is situated in another building with no flushing system. I am still not quite use to this type of toilet and I am not sure if I will ever adapt.

Apart from that, I had a great time harvesting all sorts of berries grown in their garden and enjoying the nature walk around the neighbourhood.

By the lake

Meal 1: Coffee complimented with Coffe Bröd (Coffee Bread)
Meal 2: Cheese, bread and smoke shrimp

Meal 3: BBQ dinner

Dessert: Vanilla Ice with the harvest from the garden, assorted berries.

And of course,to complete my swedish experience: my first taste of Snaps (A strong alcoholic drink which the swedes enjoy dearly). I only took a small sip and that was enough to fire up my throat! No wonder the swedes enjoyed it so much, especially during the cold season but I have to admit, it's not my cup of tea.