India Day Two – Shri Manguesh Temple

My driver dropped me off at the bottom of the walkway that leads up to this temple.  The walkway is lined with stalls selling lots of souvenirs

, hats to protect from the sun (I was already wearing one) freshly made sugar cane juice, and flowers to give once inside the temple.  It was a long hot walk with lots of people yelling for my attention.  Once inside the area of the temple building you were instructed to remove your shoes.  I did so and then quickly stepped to a shady area – yikes it was burning hot on my feet!

I was wearing a skort and a woman appeared to help me wrap my cotton scarf around my legs so that only the bottom part of my legs showed.  Once you walk through the silver doors of the temple you are not allowed to take photos.  I wish someone had been along to tell me what was happening.  There were multiple priests behind the railing at the front of the temple.  They would take flowers from the worshiper, along with cash, and then dump the flowers into a large bowl.  You could see that there was another ro0m behind these priests where there were lit candles and more people sitting.  In the front, where I was, there was an area where people knelt, in a line, on the floor.  The woman knelt on one side and the men on the other.

Klaradal closes after 14 years

I made the decision this January that I needed to close Klaradal.  It’s been a labor of love but, unfortunately, not a big money maker.  The past few years saw declining sales and the past two years we lost money.  So… was the only choice.  I told my employees first and then my customers.  My goal was to find a new job for the woman who helped me manage the shop.  A customer stepped up and offered her a new position.  It was great to see her on her way but also left me understaffed for the last 45 days. [Read more…]

Back to Stockholm

Friday it was time to check out of Akerblads hotel and head back to Stockholm.  I didn’t want to leave that beautiful oasis so I lingered.  First I did a walk down to the lake (It was a straight shot so no fear of getting lost again!)  and then I went for a quick swim (indoor pool!) and some sauna time.  When I finally hit the road I was thoroughly relaxed and ready for some en route shopping.  I continued my farewell tour before heading into Solna and my favorite little apartment hotel (2home)  I had so many things to unpack and, in the midst, was lucky enough to have a handsome runner insist on helping me lug in my purchases!  Ahhh Chivalry is NOT dead! 

Thursday shopping near Leksand

Woke up to another beautiful morning in Tallberg.  Take a look at my view from breakfast.  I put on my shoe grippers to keep me upright on the snowy driveway and sidewalks and headed out shopping.  I Visited a number of my favorite sites and took farewell photos of the owners.  When I came home, I decided to have dinner at the hotel and then went for a walk.  I felt great, securely walking with my steel grip covered shoes and took in the quiet night.  I was excited to spot two jackrabbits…something I’ve only seen once before here.  The walk was great until I realized I was lost!  Every house is red, and every house seems to have a lit tree in front of it.  The hotel is rather large and lit up, but I found myself on a somewhat dark road surrounded by single family homes.  I thought I would turn on my phone to get location help but discovered the battery was drained!  Luckily after more walking, I spotted a familiar hotel and, from there, was able to get back to the hotel.  Needless to say, after an almost hour walk in freezing temperatures, I slept well!


A Snowy Wednesday in Rattvik

View from my window Wednesday morning, Tallberg.

I awoke after a great night’s sleep on my Swedish Hastens mattress to discover it had snowed overnight!  My little balcony was filling up with snow, and the swirling flurries made it impossible to see any distance.  I must admit, though…it made my heart happy.  Snow!!! After dressing, I walked down one flight to the restaurant which features a traditional Swedish breakfast with some American additions:  Scrambled eggs, fresh squeezed orange juice, yogurt, loaves of bread, cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, smoked salmon, and sill.  (Herring)

Fortified with breakfast, I ventured, by car, to the town of Rattvik.  There is a second-hand shop there that is ONLY open on Wednesdays, and I wanted to be sure to be there when they unlocked the doors.  I made it, with 5 minutes to spare, despite slow travel due to road conditions.  I found some unique items including fun vintage linens.

My next stop was an Antique store in the center of town where a poodle greeted me as I came through the door.  I found an antique bread bowl with a beautiful patina, a blue tin French key holder, and a pastry server in the Gamla Fransk pattern.

I then drove to the local Hemslojd to see if I could find any gifts for the Klaragals.  They had some unique items and lots of woolen pieces but nothing that caught my eye.  I’d been to the shop many times before but had never realized there was a second floor.  When I climbed the stairs, I discovered a mini museum of folk costumes and an abundant number of costume skirts, pants, blouses, and vests.  If you are ever in Raatvik be sure to stop in to see their collection.  

Before heading home, I popped into the local bakery to get a Semlor to enjoy back at the room.  The snow, as I drove home, became heavier and driving proved challenging.  I relaxed, once back at the hotel, with a swim and visit to the sauna. Their sauna is glass enclosed, and the steam is infused with herbs.  I forgot all about the snowy drive.  And soon it was time to enjoy that Hastens mattress again!

First night in Tallberg, Sweden.

My bed at the Akerblads hotel. The green and red colors are reminiscent of those at Sundborn the home of Carl Larsson.  

Wonderful jetted tub and sink with storage in my room at Akerblads.








I am staying at my favorite historic hotel in Tallberg,  Sweden:  Akerblads. This family run hotel goes back centuries and each room is decorated in a unique way.  This time I lucked out and received a large double room with jetted tub – despite my bargain rate!  The view from my window lured me outside for a walk last evening. It was a bit slippery but the scenery and sheer quiet made it all worthwhile.

Kick sleds outside of my hotel.

My Farewell Tour

I made the decision to close my brick and mortar store, Klaradal, in early January which was after I had already booked an early winter shopping trip. I decided to go ahead with the trip since I also had art, which I had purchased at Swedish auction houses in the fall of 2016, that needed to be retrieved.
My husband, who has a cousin who is ailing, decided to join me for part of the trip. We arrived Friday, February 17th and spent the afternoon picking up the aforementioned purchased art.  We then checked into the mini apartment in Peter’s cousin’s building and enjoyed catching up over cocktails (mixed by the best bartender I know – Peter!) and a late dinner.

Saturday morning we headed to another auction house, picked up our purchases and bought some art boxes for when I air freight these items home.  Dinner included Peter’s other cousin who had traveled from Gothenburg to visit with all of us.  It was a fun evening.

Sunday morning we hit my favorite Sunday flea market.  I found a couple of paintings to buy and a few small items.  Mostly I was just saying good-bye to my favorite vendors.  We then went to a Cafe Bel Monde – which is a short walk from the square.  I enjoyed a latte and classic Swedish cinnamon roll.  Peter chose the healthy fresh salad with chicken.  We thought we would head over to the Antique Fair which was on its last day but….jet lag took over and we instead headed home for a pre-dinner nap.

It was the perfect way to re-charge before cooking dinner for the cousins.  

Stockholm Bound

I’m heading to Stockholm for my final Klaradal shopping trip. I’ve already purchased some paintings that I will bring home for a “reveal” on Saturday, March 11.(A few are shown below)  I won’t buy much when in Sweden but promise that what I do purchase will be special!
I plan to blog, when wifi is available, most every day.

The Estonian Kringle – as I know it!

My sister-in-law Tina with her winning Kringle!

Thirty years of marriage to an Estonian American has made me relatively familiar with the special foods of this culture. My favorite food, by far, is the kringle. This is a pretzel-shaped pastry traditionally served for Birthdays. Peter’s Mom used cardamom, almond paste, and golden raisins in her kringles. We thought all Estonians did…but this weekend we learned otherwise. The Estonian House, a social club in NYC, was hosting a kringle (Estonian spelling kringel) concourse. We traveled up to the city to support Peter’s sister who was participating with a kringle she made using her mom’s recipe. There were four participants in the kringle category and each item could not have been more different from the next. There was a showstopper gorgeous kringle that looked very much like what you see when you google Estonian Kringle. The main flavoring, however, was cinnamon which resulted in something that tasted a lot like a cinnamon bun without the white icing. There were two more kringles one of which featured saffron and another that was topped with chocolate. Tina had the one kringle that was closest to those prepared by pre-Soviet occupancy Estonians and it was delicious! It apparently sparked a memory in others because Tina, with the little kringle that could – won!


Gorgeous looking Kringle that seemed more like a cinnamon roll to me.

another Kringle entry…reminded me of a Lucia bun.

Unusual chocolate top “bundt like” Kringle.

Bittersweet Memories

It’s appropriate that the wonderful orange berry vine growing wild in fall along the road is called pumpkin-girl-klaradalbittersweet because what can be more bittersweet then Halloween, All Souls Day and All Saints Day?

Every Halloween this little brown bag pumpkin girl gets a place of honor in our house. My mom made it years ago and I can’t look at it without thinking of her or of how special she made each holiday. I know that a lot of what I do at Klaradal comes from the joy of the holidays she instilled in me.
Did you ever see the movie “One True Thing” with Meryl Streep as a mom dying of cancer? In it the daugher comes home from her New York career to help her mother prepare for the holidays. She is overwhelmed and asks “Why do you do this” Or something to that effect. Those of us who do all of “this” know why. I think the existence of Etsy and Pinterest shows that there are throngs of us out there who care about what others would call trivial.  We know it is anything but….
The pumpkin girl will go away and out will come the beaded tree skirts and stockings my mom had made. I, of course, remember my mom each holiday-how can I not?  She’s made herself impossible to forget!