Snow in Helsinki, snow in Stockholm. Rather than feel diminished in my ability to travel freely, I see this greeting as a blessing. In Helsinki, the only downside was the humbling tumble I took out for my 3rd morning run in a row. Apparently, salt is for herring - not for roads & walkways - in Finland. Here in Stockholm, I let an early walk through the medieval charm of Old Town with the flurries and fresh few inches of the white stuff falling suffice. That and a massive hotel breakfast has me prepped to get out driving Sweden's highways and byways.
I'd welcome the chance to sit down with everyone and recount some of my Finnish interactions. Another time, perhaps. I'll offer a few random examples, though. Like how I've decided to become an at least temporary "fish-itarian" following the plate piled to heaping with "authentic Finnish meatballs" at the Sea Horse restaurant (ravitola, in Finnish). Overwhelming, to say the least. Haunting, more likely. I'm still approximately 30% meatball and I think I've hit my lifetime quota. And I'd love to paint a fuller picture of the hilarious, stone-cold awesome college student/taxi driver in suit and tie who drove me to airport yesterday. If I get a absentee vote for the future President of Finland, I've found my candidate. Plus his "pro tips" sent by email last night for my return trip to Helsinki were spot on, given where I'd already been trolling on both sides of the proverbial tracks. Anyone who says the Finns are reserved to a fault hasn't been making the effort needed to find the (at least anecdotal) truth.
I'll get that return to Finland later in the week - a few final days and interviews before heading back to the States. My more immediate plan is to drive today from Stockholm to Gothenburg (Goteborg in Swedish, with a few extra marks added to their trademarked vowels, and pronounced "You-tee-bor-ee-ah" with the last two syllables largely swallowed). In a perfect world, I'd get to drink from the cultural firehose here, there and everywhere. I have to call my shots, though.
The buried lead must be mentioned. I'm both looking for parts of the larger story intertwined with my current book project, and digging at my ancestral roots where they might be partially unearthed. Fortunate doesn't begin to describe my current state of affairs. Inspired hits closer to the mark.
Before I can get there, however, there's the small matter of testing the sort of snow tires come equipped on Swedish rental cars. Wish me luck, as I do the same for you.