November 27, 2013

Nobody like a Sister!!

My little (17 year old) sister Katja flew all the way here to visit! It was her first time flying solo and she did so well!!



We have been having a blast here in Stockholm! We had been thinking of going on an excursion sometime in her 10 days she had here but nothing worked into our schedule! That is the great thing about living in Stockholm, there is ALWAYS something to do! 



Right away that first night we went to 'Catching Fire' I thought it was even better than the first one! I planned it this way because I knew it was an easy way to keep Katja awake that first evening! 



The next day we went down to Gamla Stan and briefly explored the Christmas Market! Oh how I love this time of the year! We spent the rest of the day shopping in Östermalm and The Galleria. We ended that night with a twilight marathon! Katja lasted a little longer than me... 



That next day we went to Circus Scott's JulCirkus! It was in a big top tent and was wonderfully performed! The whole show is wild animal free, so nice to see circuses going in this direction! The only acts with animals were horses performing dressage and two dogs catching frisbees! Later that night Sam, Katja and I went out for Sushi and a Mongolian Barbecue. At the end of our meal we were all so full that we couldn't stop laughing about it! 






We awoke the next morning and drove to Drotningholm palace with Raylan! Walking the grounds was my favorite part if my last visit so that is what we did.  That night Sam had a home hockey game vs. Södertälje.  Katja got a case of the 'sleepys' and missed quite a bit of the game! She was awake to see Sam get a nice assist ;) 



Yesterday Katja and I went out to lunch at a cute Italian restaurant in Gamla Stan. Sam met us after practice and took us to the Vasa Museum. I have already been there too many times so I sent Katja in alone and walked Raylan with Sam on Djurgården island by the museum (Don't worry mom, I gave her my phone and stayed close by).  From there we went to the outdoor skating rink downtown and had just a magical time! I don't think anything compares to outdoor ice surrounded by Christmas decoration! Finishing off the night with some frozen yogurt at Frozzys (just opened 1/4 mile from our house... Terrible and wonderful) followed by some oversized game play in Tolve. 










So far today I took Katja to my Swedish gym. While there I got a hole in my newest LuLu's... such a bummer!  Tonight we are going to see the Swan Lake Ballet at the Opera house downtown! Naturally we watched The Black Swan last night to 'get in the mood'!  

Nothing like having your best friend in town!! Xoxo 


November 18, 2013

Riga


My father and I met each other at the Riga airport on the 12th. As recommended by the travel information office we took a bus to our hotel. The directions were to get off after 'Akmens Tilts' and we would be in Old Town and easily find our hotel. Somehow we managed to get there on our first try & for only .7 LV each! 


Look who it is!!

Dad was pleasantly surprised with my choice of hotel... Maybe not surprised. I was presently surprised by the free upgrade! All I wanted was a bath tub & here we had a jacuzzi! I know... bathing in a hotel bath.. Gross. It's just something I miss so much in Sweden that I take a bath everywhere I travel while here! (Maybe not everywhere but any nice, clean hotel) The breakfast at the hotel had Champagne... enough said. 

Dad and I spent the first evening walking around the old town, taking in the beautiful sights! Latvia has only been free from Soviet control since 1991. You can see the progress but you can also so clearly see the history! We saw things like the freedom monument, the Riga Dom, Old Town, St.Peters church, the House of Blackheads, and the Central Market! 

The Old Town of Riga

We went to the open market both days. I have died and gone to heaven! Seriously everything is so raw and fresh! They have everything you could ever want to cook to clothes to cutlery to home decor! All the food is bought in measurements of weight (Hg) even spices. The most strange one was that all the dog feed bags were open and you would buy them by the measurement as well... That wouldn't exactly work for my Hummer-Like puppy Raylan. The amount of feed she eats is ridiculous.. Chances are we would have to buy that somewhere else. I ended up getting a few too many sweets at the market.  I also got some Honey Comb, honey candles, and also some peanut butter that was cut off of a huge chunk, the most beautiful pomegranate of my life and some smoked salmon! 

The pet shoppe! 

This market is the most successful market on all of the Baltic states. The buildings are really cool too because they are old Zeppelin hangers that have been converted. There are 5 old hangers in total. One is all Fish/seafood. The second is mostly veggies & fruit. The third is a lot of bread and dairy. The fourth is sweets and  more packages foods or pre-made foods. The fifth is meat. Lots of meat. Basically whole animals cut apart and every EVER part of them is sold. At least that's what it seemed like. They actually were still cutting the carcass of all the animals through your the day, made me feel a bit queazy.  

The meat market was very.. 'Fresh & Lively'.  Many of the fish were still breathing and the eels were very much alive and squirmy & escaping from their tubs onto the floor.  Sanitation didn't seem to be the #1 priority. 

Dad and I went to eat at a cafeteria style restaurant with so many Latvian options. I even got pumpkin soup :) The restaurant was called Lido and I would highly recommend it! 


What a wonderful night :) 

So happy to see my dad again! 



November 10, 2013

The Lofquist's are here!

I'll start by saying visitors are just the best! Especially family & people you love & miss!

Sam's parents arrived two days ago and we have been having fun ever since. The first (tired/jet lagged) day we walked around the neighborhood and area around the rink, and in the night we walked around Gamla Stan. Thinking back now... that was a lot of walking for very tired people! Raylan had a great day!



Didn't realize how big Raylan is getting until I saw this picture! 






The second night we had a nice dinner at home! 



Dinner was followed by Elderberry Mousse at the Viking Restaurant (Aifur) in Gamla Stan. It's a very festive, well decorated place! 



I didn't take this picture, but many people are dressed as Vikings in this place. We even saw a girl with elf pointy ears! 

Looking forward to a few more fun days together before I leave for my trip! I'm meeting my dad & brother in Riga on the twelfth! We will be spending a week in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia! 






November 5, 2013

1/2 a year old today

Raylan is growing so quickly.  If I had to guess I would say she is 45 pounds.  She is turning out to be everything we wanted, actually even better than we wanted! These six months have gone by so quickly.

She is so snuggly and always wants to be 'right by you'


When she is cold she still can get into such a small ball! 

Just getting comfortable 


Meeting some other puppies 


Raylan playing with a Rottweiler and Terrier. She is the one in front, she always likes to be chased. 







Raylan is partaking in 'Movember'





Sleeping on her toys. 






This hanger is her absolute favorite toy. I think it's because she is a girl and it's fashionable. 


She has changed so much since we got her! 






The first night she fell asleep like this 


I know... I'm obsessed with her! Sorry, can't help it! There will be more :)