How Coronavirus Has Changed Everyday Life

How Coronavirus Has Changed Everyday Life

United States

March 19, 2020 was the day the coronavirus social distancing began in California and has now escalated to complete social isolation. Starts from Wuhan, China, now the entire world is under tremendous pressure and stress.

The virus spreads like a wildfire, we are powerless and helpless. Some of the most well-known celebrities have tested positive for COVID-19. Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Boris Johnson, Prince Charles, Pink, and more.  Some who’ve already died tragically of the virus. It is sad. No one knows if life will ever go back to the way it was before.

Grocery stores and large retailers like Costco and Target have implemented changes to deal with social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. Costco now require all shoppers to wear face masks while inside the warehouse. The same is true for Home Depots, you can’t enter without properly cover your face.  Many people are getting frustrated and bored at home but we also need to be considered to others.

Wholefoods

Whole Foods is asking shoppers wear masks. However, masks are not mandatory to enter the store. You can still find some shoppers have no mask on. 

Customers shopping at Wholefoods have their face covered

All the cashier wear masks and gloves and the plexiglass installed at the checkout station.

Plexiglass installed around registers

L: Shoppers maintain distances of 6 feet apart from other people. R: The staff has a plastic visor on

Nijiya Market

Shoppers are waiting in lines

Shoppers face lines at Nijiya market

Nijiya: update on coronavirus

Downtown Castro Street

Downtown MV

Delivery Robots

Since we need to minimize human-to-human contact. Tech companies have stepped up to get more robots out in force to deliver. Robots can deliver essential items (drugs or meals) to people who purchase online and are quarantined at home. This can also help to reduce cross-infection since robots are immune to infection.

Food/Grocery delivery robots are getting popular in the local area

Grocery/Food Delivery Robots

Line to Enter Trader Joe's

Line to Enter Walmart

The World’s Largest Light Illumination”Kingdom of Light” at Huis Ten Bosch Park, Sasebo, Japan

The World’s Largest Light Illumination”Kingdom of Light” at Huis Ten Bosch Park, Sasebo, Japan

Japan Thailand

Burj Khalifa | The World’s Tallest Building

Huis Ten Bosch is known as one of the biggest theme parks in Japan. In addition, this theme park is sort of a Dutch Disneyland, with the whole idea being a recreation of an old Dutch city.

Huis Ten Bosch holds “Kingdom of Light” as an illumination event every year. Their Christmas light extravaganza runs from November into March and has millions of Christmas lights. In other words, this is the best time to visit Huis Ten Bosch. If you are planning a trip to Kyushu around Christmas & New Year, you may want to visit this spectacular winter wonderland!

After research, I decide to take my family (2 aunts and my mom, average age 65+) to Kyushu for the New Year holidays. And, where else can you enjoy a classic new year eve celebration with music, fun and fireworks? Huis Ten Bosch come into my head. Not only this place is like an adult’s Disneyland, but also a memorable, family-fun way to celebrate an awesome year of fun.
Read more info about Huis Ten Bosch.

Huis Ten Bosch Entrance Gate

Waiting for the Canal Cruise

It can’t be Amsterdam without Canal tours

We arrive the park around 10pm and don’t have to wait in line for too long. The canal is covered with rainbow colors in the evening and when canal cruisers pass, illuminated fountains are sprayed. Meanwhile, the outside weather is about 1-2 celsius degree so it’s nice to stay inside.

Light and Fountain Canal

Light and Fountain Canal

Canal Cruise at Huis Ten Bosch

Visit the Dutch Village in Huis Ten Bosch

Japan’s Secret Dutch City

Japan’s Secret Dutch City

Good outdoor seating area to eat and enjoy the view.

Huis Ten Bosch at night

ハウステンボス

Huis Ten Bosch food court

Huis Ten Bosch Food Court

On New Year’s Eve, there is a live concert with DJs and Japanese artists at center stage, which leads up to a countdown to midnight and fireworks celebration. At midnight, 8000 fireworks launched into the air over the water. This is the largest New Year’s Eve fireworks in Western Japan.

Huis Ten Bosch New Year Countdown Fireworks

Huis Ten Bosch Countdown Fireworks

Huis Ten Bosch New Year Countdown Fireworks

Huis Ten Bosch New Year Countdown Fireworks

Huis Ten Bosch Countdown Fireworks

Huis Ten Bosch Countdown to Midnight

Huis Ten Bosch New Year Countdown Fireworks

New Year's Eve Fireworks | Huis Ten Bosch

Bring your dogs! It’s a dog-friendly theme park!

Huis Ten Bosch Countdown Fireworks

Huis Ten Bosch New Year Countdown

The tower is the landmark of Huis Ten Bosch. It is beautifully lit at night.

tower city in  huis Ten Bosch

Tower City

The Most Impressive Firework Display for New Year’s Eve in Dubai

The Most Impressive Firework Display for New Year’s Eve in Dubai

Dubai Thailand

Burj Khalifa | The World’s Tallest Building

When I think of where to celebrate the New Year’s Eve, Dubai’s spectacular New Year Eve firework display at the Burj Khalifa come to my mind. The city is known for hosting a magnificent display of lights every year. People travel to Dubai to have an experience of a lifetime.

The Burj Khalifa is located in Downtown Dubai, next to the Dubai Mall. In the New Year Eve, security was bolstered everywhere to ensure public safety. Make sure to plan ahead as roads and access to the Downtown area will be restricted after 8pm for crowd control. It’s almost impossible to get in unless you enter the mall hours before the show starts. Even then, getting a good spot at The Dubai Mall is extremely hard. 

Dubai Mall | Dubai doesn’t do anything small

The Dubai Mall is located right next to Burj Khalifa. This is the most popular location for watching the New Year Eve’s fireworks show. This Mall is gigantic. It’s got not only shops (over 1200 stores), department stores, food outlets, but also has a indoor ski resort, ice skating rink, movie theater, waterfall and an aquarium. The architecture is jaw dropping!

Dubai Mall on New Year’s Eve

Dubai Mall decorations

Roads are closed in Burj Khalifa downtown area

Burj Khalifa fireworks to ring in 2019

Roads are closed and barriers set up inBurj Khalifa for crowd control. Hundreds of thousands headed to the family viewing areas in Burj Khalifa to witness the iconic show. The area is swamped a few hours before the fireworks. It is extremely difficult to walk back to the hotel from the Dubai Mall.

Huge crowd waiting across the Dubai mall

People wait to witness the fireworks at Burj Khalifa

Manzil Hotel NYE pass

The hotel stuff told us as long as we have this NYE pass, then the security will let us come back to the hotel. Well, it turned out the security guard at the Dubai Mall doesn’t recognize this pass. We had to try other routes in order to get back to the hotel. It was quite frustrated.

Hotel Manzil Dotwntown

Finally got back to hotel Manzil Downtown to watch the fireworks.

Burj Khalifa fireworks to ring in 2019

The fireworks are lit just after the stroke of midnight. We get back to Hotel Manzil Downtown just in time to catch a good spot to watch from.

The fireworks display at Burj Khalifa on New Year’s Eve in 2019

The duration of the fireworks display is about 20 minutes. Emaar host the world-renowned firework display on the world’s tallest building this year (Emaar is the master developer of Burj Khalifa). The fireworks display on New Year’s Eve is phenomenal!

The fireworks display at Burj Khalifa on New Year’s Eve

Fireworks explode around the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Lasers beam from the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building

Visit Hohenschwangau Castle in Winter

Visit Hohenschwangau Castle in Winter

Germany

Füssen to Hohenschwangau Castle

We choose Fussen as a home base town (less than 10 minutes drive to both castles) as the closest and convenient place. The main attraction is still Neuschwanstein castle. We went to Hohenschwangau Castle so that we could at least see one castle (Unfortunately Neuschwanstein castle closed on 12/24 and 12/25) during this trip. Hohenschwangau Castle is the birth place of King Ludwig II. All of the furniture and fixtures are original.

Walk up to the Hohenschwangau Castle

Climb to reach the castle’s entrance – on a very long ring road.
Hohenschwangau castle

Hohenschwangau

The childhood home of King Ludwig

You can visit the castle of Hohenschwangau on a guided tour and learn of all the history of King Ludwig and his family. The 30-minutes English guided tours give a good glimpse of King Ludwig’s life. You will explore rooms on two levels with the King and the Queen’s bedrooms, the Tasso room, the Oriental room, etc. and one of the most impressive rooms is the Banquet Hall. The castle is still in quite good condition. It was lived in for many years by the young Ludwig II as this was the home of his father, King Maximillian II and used as a summer and hunting residence.

That’s Neuschwanstein Castle!

I didn’t realize that these castles were so close together. It’s totally worth it to take the tours of both castles in the same day. The castle is beautiful in winter with great views of Neuschwanstein Castle.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Horse drawn carriage

Since it was so cold, we decided to get on a horse drawn carriage on the way back to the ticket center (for just 2€ each person).

The Fairytale Castle – Neuschwanstein Castle

We found a great photo spot for Neuschwanstein Castle. Both of the Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disney Land are modeled after Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein Castle. Even thought we didn’t get to visit this time, we were very happy to see it. It was so pretty with the snow!
Neuschwanstein Castle in Winter

Füssen to Innsbruck

The drive from Füssen to Innsbruck (via B179) was so pretty. We stopped by Restaurant Zugspitzblick in Biberwier real quick for some photos.

One Awesome Day Trip in Hallstatt Austria

One Awesome Day Trip in Hallstatt Austria

Austria

The drive to Hallstatt is very scenic and passed some lake viewpoints just like these in Sound of the Music. We were on a trip from Vienna and had about 2 hours to wander around.

Hallstatt Old Town

People often said that Hallstatt is Austria’s most beautiful lake town. After being there for just a day, there is no doubt why this is the most Instagrammed town in Austria. It is truly spectacular with the beautiful mountains surrounding it.

Hallstatt serves as a relaxing break between Vienna and Salzburg. Just browsing here for a few hours and you will fall in love. After all, this is Austria’s oldest salt mining town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hallstatt lake

Hallstatt Winter

Very Touristy!

After lunch we marched straight to the spot for the “Classic Village Viewpoint”.
Hallstatt tour groups

The area is absolutely packed with tourists. Therefore, ff you want to enjoy the tranquility that Hallstatt is famous for, it’s better to arrive before 10am or stay there the night and leave in the morning. However, most of the tourists on day trips leave by 5pm. Also, Hallstatt is mostly closed during winter but cafes and souvenir shops were still opened.
Hallstatt Tourists

This is the postcard picture!

View of the lake

What a joy to see the snow dusting the wooden houses up the slope and the mountains surrounding the lake. Meanwhile, from the viewpoints, you can see dozens of elegant swans on the water’s edge.


Central Square Marktplatz

This is a beautiful Austrian central square with fountain and the buildings are closely grouped and display the typical Austrian architecture. The old town by itself can be toured on foot in within one hour. So just walking the little village streets is amazing! The views are spectacular. Above all, if you every want to see Hallstatt in snow, plan your trip near and after Christmas. We are very happy with the snow on the rooftop, roadside and basically every horizontal. That blanket of white everywhere just adds a little touch to the quaint little town.

Waterfall channeled through the town

Mountain water rushing between the buildings creates a spectacular view!

Lunch

Fresh trout.

New Year’s Eve Magic in Chiang Mai, Thailand

New Year’s Eve Magic in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thailand

Chiang Mai has always been a popular destination for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Every restaurant and bar is packed full and street vendors can be found all along the major streets. Fireworks, sky lanterns, delicious food, and all manner of party objects to add to the atmosphere.

Thai traditions for this New Year Eve’s celebration

Thai people often exchange gifts or cards with family members and friends during this day. They celebrate in their hometowns with family and friends eating, drinking, and preparing meals together. It is also common for Thai people to pay a visit to their local temple to mark the changing of the year with good luck and prosperity either on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Making merit and giving alms to monks are common. It’s the Thai spiritual way to begin the new year with peace of mind. If you want to catch a unique cultural experience, I recommend you go to one of the prominent temples in Chiang Mai.

Wat Phra Singh (Gold Temple)

For the most memorable experience, try to coincide with a festival.

To receive blessings from the temple

De Naga Hotel Chiang Mai

For four nights we stayed at De Naga Hotel, a small bed and breakfast located in the historic old city of Chiang Mai. Only 5 minutes walk to the Tha Phae Gate. The location was perfect, close enough to walk to many shops and restaurants. After our new year eve dinner, we walked around the Tha pae Gate and the night market that leads up to it. 

De Naga Hotel New Year Eve Buffet

De Naga Hotel Traditional Thai Live Music & Dance

De Naga Hotel Buffet

Chiang Mai Night Market

Chiang Mai Night Market

Tuk Tuk

Wat Phan Tao Temple at night

Next to the famous Wat Chedi Luang, the entire temple was made from teak wood and had been previously part of the royal palace. The monks began their ceremony around 10:30pm. Thousands were gathered here with the monks to spend the last few hours of the year in meditation and chanting in a serene candle-lit hall. The place was fully candle-lit, lanterns hang from the trees, and the water was lined with sparkling lights, which made the atmosphere feel even more magical.

Lanterns twinkle in the water in Wat Phan Tao Temple

New Year’s Eve Magic in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Pray with the monks at the Wat Phan Tao

Wat Phan Tao Temple at night

Along the banks of the river

This was the scene along the banks of the river in Chiang Mai during the New Year’s Eve celebration. We spent a while just absorbing the environment and watching all the different folks light their lanterns. The candle was placed inside the lantern, the flame then heated the air within the lantern causing it to rise into the sky until the fire went out. According to tradition, releasing a lantern in the sky symbolizes new beginnings and good luck.

Dozens of people lined along the banks of the river

Beautiful lanterns released into the night sky

Lanterns light up the river

Tha Phae Gate

Tha Phae Gate was the place to release lanterns. This was the most central location for the countdown to midnight. As it got closer to 11pm, we joined lots of people at the main square near Thapae Gate in releasing lanterns into the sky. We had bought one big lantern to let off for good luck in the new year. As the clock counted down to zero, you saw thousands of lanterns released into the sky. We made a wish and released the lantern. Our lantern floated into the sky and joined the hundreds of other lanterns disappearing into the darkness. It was such an amazing night. We had lots of fun! The experience celebrating the new year in Chiang Mai was an unforgettable one. The last day of 2017, I felt blessed and grateful and being with awesome friends who make the world a better place.

Letting off lanterns

SFFC lantern

SFFC lantern

Chiang Mai New Year Countdown

The square was filled with Thais and tourists from all over world enjoying the celebrations together. It was truly spectacular to see hundreds of sky lanterns floating up into the night sky.

SFFC lantern

Our own milky way of lights!

Sky lantern during New Year’s Eve in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Watch dazzling fireworks illuminate the night

Must See Temples in Chiang Mai’s Old City

Must See Temples in Chiang Mai’s Old City

Thailand

We spend four nights in Chiang Mai, Thailand. There are a lot to do here day or night. Temples are still a central part of Thai life so we decided to do temple hopping during the day time. There are lots temples in Chiang Mai. We set out to see four temples for this trip. As always at temples in Thailand, made sure to dress properly and act respectfully. Shorts, T-shirts, bare shoulders, and any overly casual clothing should be avoided.

Wat Phra Singh Temple วัดพระสิงห์วรมหาวิหาร

Founded in 1345, Wat Phra Singh is the most elegant and culturally significant temple within the old city of Chiang Mai. The grounds and buildings are beautiful and spiritual.

Wat Phra Singh Temple

Main Chedi

The oldest structure on site is the main chedi, which was constructed in 1345 by King Phayu to enshrine the ashes of his father, King Khamfu. 

Wat Phra Singh Woramahaviharn

New Year’s Eve at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai

Main chedis (pagodas) at the Wat Phra Singh (Gold Temple)

The golden yellow Chedi is blindly bright in the sunlight

Monks sat in the traditional lotus position in front of a sacred Buddha statue

The decoration inside is also quite rich. There is a brocade-like gold and red pattern on parts of the roof and back wall behind the altar.

Wat Phra Singh Woramahaviharn

From Wat Phra Singh, you might want to go on to Wat Chedi Luang, which is just a short walk away. In addition, another important temple within the walls is the oldest: Wat Chieng Man. It’s another short walk away

Wat Chedi Luang Temple วัดเจดีย์หลวง

The original temple dates back from the 14th and 15th centuries. Wat Chedi Luang was possibly the largest structure in ancient Chiang Mai, Thailand. It must have been the most impressive temple back then. The chedi was mostly destroyed within a few hundred years of its construction. 

Wat Chedi Luang Temple

Inthakhin Pillar Vihara

Why Can’t Women Entry Inthakhin Pillar Vihara

A sign outside reads, in part:

“Women are prohibited to enter because they menstrate. It is believe that it humiliates and ruins the sanctity of the city pillar. Besides, men who dress inappropriately are not allowed to walk in. It is believed that any disobeying of the rules will cause social instability.”

Inside the main prayer hall, the altar is backed by a magnificent standing Buddha

Wat Chedi Luang Temple

The pagoda has been partially reconstructed

Wat Chedi Luang Temple

Wat Chiang Man วัดเชียงมั่น

Wat Chiang Man is Chiang Mai’s oldest temple, which was constructed at around the city’s development in 1296.

Wat Chiang Man

Wat Chiang Mun

Wat Chiang Mun

Elephant Chedi

The Elephant Chedi is the oldest construction within the temple complex. In addition, you can recognize it from its life-sized brick and stucco elephants carrying the upper levels of the construction on their backs. They are guardians that had been standing watch since 1296.

Wat Chiang Man Elephant Chedi

Wat Chiang Mun

Wat Chiang Mun Elephant Shaped Tree

Wat Phan Tao Temple วัดพันเตา

Wat Phan Tao is next to the famous Wat Chedi Luang Temple. Particularly, the entire temple was made from teak wood and had been previously part of the royal palace. It is one of my favorite temples in Chiang Mai.

New Year’s Eve at Wat Phan Tao

At night, thousands were gathered here with the monks to spend the last few hours of the year in meditation and chanting in a serene candle-lit hall. The place was fully candle-lit, which made the atmosphere feel even more magical. 

New Year’s Eve at Wat Phan Tao in Chiang Mai

Pray with the monks at the Wat Phan Tao

Life Lessons Learned From Climbing Mount Fuji in Japan

Life Lessons Learned From Climbing Mount Fuji in Japan

Japan

Beginner’s Guide to Climbing Mount Fuji

Let me start off by saying I am not an experienced hiker. Also I don’t exercise regularly (kinda out of shape). I don’t know the technical ins and outs of hiking. All I know was I had always wanted to hike Mount Fuji but never got around to it. Climbing Mount Fuji was one of the hardest, yet most rewarding experiences I have had in my life. I was glad I did it, pushed myself to the limit and felt more alive. 🙂

Official Climbing Mount Fuji Season:
Yoshida Trail: July 1 to September 10, 2017

Two Day Climbing Mount Fuji Equipment List: Backpack, sunglasses, gloves, sun hat, warm hat, thermal underwear, waterproof trousers, warm fleece jacket, waterproof jacket with an attached hood, hiking boots, wool socks, gaiters, head lamps, hiking Stick, etc.

Fuji Subaru 5th station 富士山五合目

Altitude: 2305 meters
There were tons of people in the Subaru 5th station. We took Yoshida trail (吉田). There are 4 main trails leading up to the summit of Mt. Fuji. If you are a more experienced climber and prefer it to be less-crowded, consider taking other paths such as Fujinomiya (富士宮), Subashiri (須走口) and Gotemba (御殿場駅) trails.

Even if you have no intention climbing Mount Fuji, you can spend some time in the Fuji Five Lakes area. It is a really nice resort area. Lake Yamanaka, Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Saiko, Lake Shoji, Lake Motosu.

Yoshida trail – Started climbing Mount Fuji! Departed at 11:17am.

Mt. Fuji 6th Station 富士山六合目

Arrived at 12:18pm. Altitude: 2390 meters
Mostly pebbles and red soil trail. The walk from 6th – 7th Station was wide enough to fit the crowd, to pass others and climb at your own pace.

Mt. Fuji 7th Station 富士山七合目

Arrived at 2:04pm. Departed at 2:40pm. Altitude: 2700 meters
My level of commitment increased as we approached station 7. There was no turning back you just had to move forward. Station 7 was almost all giant rocks where you need to use some arm works like rock climbing but still manageable. Getting difficult!

Toilets cost 200 yen entrance fee. Like most places in Japan the toilets worked and were clean, although no fancy high-tech toilets.

Mt. Fuji 8th Station 富士山八合目

Arrived at 6:08pm. Departed at 6:18pm. Altitude: 3250 meters
This was where weather changes drastically, I added three layers of top and wore snow hat here.

The sun had almost set and the clouds had completely enveloped the world below.

Mt. Fuji 8th Station Tomoe Kan 富士山八合目トモエ館

Arrived at 8:25pm. Altitude: 3400 meters
By the time we reached our mountain hut, it was already dark. We checked in and were given bags to put our shoes in. Ate curry rice for dinner and got ready for bed. There were not much water to brush teeth or wash hands. The hut had no private bed, just a sleeping area with a pillow, sleeping bag and a hook to hang your bag above your head. I didn’t know if I’d be able to sleep (turned out I slept for about an hour).

Sunrise from 8th Station Tomoe Kan 富士山本八合目トモエ館

A sunrise with clouds was so beautiful. Watching it from Mt Fuji was magic. The view made it worth all of the effort!


Breakfast

Departed at 5:50am.
After hiking for not too long this morning, my chest was instantly a little tight due to the altitude. I was having more trouble breathing. We tried to walk slowly and took multiple stops and it helped.

Mt. Fuji 8.5th Station 富士山八合五勺

Arrived at 6:17am. Departed at 6:22am. Altitude: 3450 meters

Mt. Fuji 9th Station 富士山九合目

Arrived at 7:15am. Depart at 7:20am. Altitude: 3600 meters

Top of Mt. Fuji 富士山山頂

Arrived at 8:10am. Departed at 9:25am. Altitude: 3756 meters
Finally, after our legs had started to give out from the long ascent, we approached the summit. Unfortunately the post office and restroom were not opened yet…

Back Down | Mt. Fuji 8th Station – 5th Station 富士山八合目 – 五合目

Arrived at 11:20am. Departed at noon. The hard part was just beginning! The climb down took us almost 6 hours since we took a lot of short and long breaks. There were tons of volcanic rocks everywhere causing you to slip and slide down the hill. At some points, I lost patience and tried to run down like other people did and sprained my ankle. Tendon strength took about 3 months longer to build up. My tendon was still relatively weak to support myself and the weight I was carrying. The hike down sucked. I just wanted it to be over. Also no place to purchase water after the 8th Station. I was hydrated for too long. Afterwards we were absolutely exhausted.

Lessons Learned from climbing Mount Fuji: Always takes your time (slow down especially when hiking down hill), be patient. It takes time to get strong. It takes patience to keep with it until you get there. Don’t give up, take a break whenever you need it. When I sprained my ankle I was ready to call an ambulance but it seemed to be a lot of trouble to get one. Afterwards we managed to walked down slowly. Trust yourself, you can do it!

Checked in Hotel Konanso Yamanashi

After we arrived Ryokan I was vomiting and couldn’t keep anything down. It was still hard to believe that we had actually climbed it. Glad we made it back safely! Climbing Mount Fuji was on my bucket list and I was glad I did it. Every step was worth it. This is something you’ll never forget in your life!


Ekstedt | Stockholm | New Nordic Cuisine

Ekstedt | Stockholm | New Nordic Cuisine

Sweden

3 of us had the 4 course menu and 2 had the 6 course. We got to try everything. I also did a non-alcohol drink pairing and it was great. The restaurant uses fire as its key ingredient. Cook in old Scandinavian ways,  giving flavor to meat and fish through fire and smoke.

Reindeer heart taco

Reindeer heart taco

Cold smoked mackerel, kohlrabi and pine

Oysters (served complimentary)

Bread / Dried deer, vendace roe and charcoal cream

Juniper baked turbot, white asparagus and bottarga

hay-flamed dairy cow, wood-fired oven baked cabbage and salsify

Birch fired pork, turnip and lovage

Wood fired oven baked almond cake, rhubarb and herbs

Donuts

Stockholm | Vasa Museum

Stockholm | Vasa Museum

Sweden

Vasa Museum

It’s a must see in Stockholm! Even if you have little interest in ships, this is definitely worth seeing. The Vasa is the most well preserved 17 century warship in the world. More than 98 percent of the ship is original, and it is decorated with hundreds of carved sculptures. Vasa never made it out of Stockholm harbor. It sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. Nearly 400 years later, it is magnificently displayed to light your imagination.

The museum is well designed to allow visitors to experience the ship at different levels. To maximize the visit, do a guided tour (about 30 minutes) and also watch the movie in the auditorium. It will bring you even closer to the whole story.

Vasa Museum Stockholm

Stockholm Food Festival

The food festival occurs during the first week of June (1 – 6 June 2017) in the King’s Garden Park. Many of Stockholm’s local restaurants serves food during the festival and cover everything from traditional dishes to international cuisines around the world.

Strandvagen

After visiting the food festival at King’s Garden Park, we took a stroll along Standvagen. It was also on the way to the Vasa Museum. This seemed to the center for cruises, buses and water taxis. From here you will get a European city feel. Beautiful view of fine architecture on one side and the seaside on the other.

2017 ASICS Stockholm Marathon

The course is regarded as one of the world’s most scenic marathon routes. Runners pass buildings such as the Royal Palace, the Royal Opera, the City Hall and the Houses of Parliament.

Stockholm Old Town

This was our 2nd time to visited the old town, strolling down the various cobblestone streets and alleys is a must. Lots of nice souvenirs shops and cafes around. If you have time you might as well explore the Noble Academia Museum. Changing of the guard is also well worth seeing in the royal palace.

Mathias Dahlgren | Stockholm, Sweden

Mathias Dahlgren | Stockholm, Sweden

Sweden

This was our second visit. The menu is an a la carte, offer small plate selections. We each ordered 1 at a time and swapped so we got to try more. In total we ordered 6 dishes. We left feeling satiated but not overly so.

Beef tartar / Swedish squid

Langoustines from Bohuslän

Charcoal grilled lamb

White asparagus & artichokes

Variation of passion fruit & cape gooseberry

Fäviken Magasinet | Jämtland, Sweden

Fäviken Magasinet | Jämtland, Sweden

Sweden

Most exciting and unique food experience

We flew from the States and committed 2 days out of our 10 days in Scandinavia for this experience. We had 6 months of anticipation after the initial booking to begin our journey. This was my second visit to Fäviken. With very scenic drive through the countryside, we arrived Fäviken around 5pm. 

Östersund airport to Fäviken

In June the weather here was still cold. It was snowing for about 5 minutes after we arrived. You can’t tell! The sky looks so blue!

Complimentary drinks & reindeer sausage while you relax in sauna before dinner

Pig’s head, dipped in sourdough & deep fried, gooseberry, tarragon salt

At dinner time all guest gathered outside and inside the restaurants lower level to start the dinner at 7pm. Didn’t get to see chef Nilsson at the door this time. We were seated downstairs to share a big table (8 people total) where the appetizers and the rest of the dinner was served. 

flaxseed and vinegar crisps

Roe

Tofu

Bread

Scallop

All ingredients came from this region of Sweden or Norway. The scallop is the dish chef Nilsson is most famous for. It had been cooked in its own shell without any seasoning over burning juniper branches. The texture of the scallop was so good not to mention its delicate sweetness.

King Crab

Pork

Markerl

The food came with exciting flavors and big contrasts in modern presentations meeting traditional ingredients. I felt it was like the future of food steeped in the past.

Clam

Egg

Asparagus

Pork

What was him making?

Dessert

Ice cream

maccrron

Dessert

cream brulee

meat pie

sweets

duck egg drink

sweets

The box of snus marks the end of the meal

From a bone marrow brulée, a savory meat pie (so good!!!) , a box of candy, to duck egg liqueur and homemade snus. These will be an experience I will not forget!

Tipi & Fire & Cigar

Outside, there is a tipi complete with a bonfire burning inside. At the end of dinner, you are offered cigars that you can smoke in a fire lit tipi. It was my first time to smoke cigar inside a Tipi. What a special night!

It was 11:48pm! June, the month of endless days

Good morning! Time for breakfast 🙂

Happily arrived our breakfast table

breakfast

breakfast

Warm yogurt/grains

breakfast

People said this was a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip, and we were lucky enough to experience it twice! I would have loved to have done it all over again, will have to wait for another season for different ingredients.

Bye Fäviken! See you next time!