Around Stockholm

Family in Europe

In July we were very fortunate to have mom and Steve with us for two weeks in Europe. The first week we enjoyed the great summer weather in Stockholm while visiting the cities best sights: Vasa Museum, Skansen, Gamla Stan and the Archipelago town of Vaxholm. We also managed to spend a couple night at the summer home in Vätö swimming, barbecuing and communing with nature (while using the outhouse :))

Vaxholm ferry to Stockholm

Vaxholm ferry to Stockholm

It’s so much fun to share our Scandinavian experience with family and friends. DUS and I for forget sometimes how “isolated” we’ve been here in Northern Europe and often we need to remind each other to stop boring our guests with fun facts and experiences from life in Sweden (ok, I guess I’m mostly the culprit here).

Summer home fun in Vätö

Summer home fun in Vätö

After a week of “relaxing around town”, we venture off to the heart land of Europe, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Categories: Around Stockholm, Europe Travel, Sweden, Swedish Living | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Freelance Travel Photographer – And Writer?

I consider myself and amateur photographer. A majority of the images I make are for “artistic expression,” or for the non New Yorker reading individual, a personal vision of how I see the world. So, maybe it’s not that surprising that I’ve been able to turn this passion into my first “paid” photography job in Sweden. That’s right, Erik Funfar – freelance photographer. To celebrate, please visit my semi-new website at Here you can view my 365 day photolog that I started in June.



On the heels of this photography job also comes my debut as a “travel correspondent” in Stockholm. Writing as the American Norseman for the last couple years has been mainly for family and friends. I’ve really enjoyed this work but I though it might be fun to expand my horizons. So a few weeks ago I contributed material to a U.S. based travel website. Check it out here. As “exciting” as it may sound, the work doesn’t pay much but I have to say it’s really fun contributing to the travel community.

Farmor Berta once said, “The world works in mysteries ways.” This is very true. But, it could also be said that directing energy, positive or negative, towards something will bring unforeseen results your life. I’ve come to believe both are true. These two “jobs” were not random nor did I seek them out. I believe they found me. And this begs the questions: What else could one do with this type of energy? Maybe that’s how people become president.

Categories: Around Stockholm, Personal, Sweden, Swedish Living | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Erik Funfar says, “Lubricate yourself with suntan oil”

Don’t you love the little things in life that make you say, “did that really just happen?”

Last week I was sitting in the park reading for school when a young guy with a note pad and an old guy with a camera approached me. Like every other occasion in Sweden, the conversations starts in Swedish and goes for about two minutes before I can politely say “Jag förstår inte svenska,” which isn’t completely true but that’s another story.

Anyway, I come to find out that he is a reporter for the Swedish newspaper Expressen and he’s writing a story on how to get the best sun tan in Sweden. Hmm… I seem to remember a discussion about this, where was it? Oh yeah, my last blog post.

So, the reporter goes though a lengthy list of questions asking: “Do you think you can get tan this time of year?” “How much time do you spend in the sun?” “What’s the best way to get that golden tan?” I polity answer his questions, “I’m not in the sun that much” and “I always use sunscreen.” But, these were clearly not the answers he was looking for. Finally he asked, “You’re from California, how do they tan there?” “Well that’s easy” I say, “They use suntan oil, obviously.” And there you have it.

Erik Funfar says, “A good way is to lubricate yourself with suntan oil.”

Now, that’s pretty funny in itself. California guy, sun tan oil, it fits.

What doesn’t fit is the fact that I’m the whitest person in the photos and that everyone else say’s things like, “I’m not in the sun that much” and “I don’t really pay attention to it.” YEAH RIGHT!

Erik Funfar says, “Lubricate yourself with suntan oil”

Erik Funfar says, “Lubricate yourself with suntan oil”

Categories: Around Stockholm, Sweden, Swedish Living | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Stockholm, The Tannest City in the World

We’re havin’ a heat wave here in Sweden. The Skåne region in the south reached record temperatures last week and here in Stockholm the Swedes are taking full advantage of their 4 week summer vacations. Beaches are packed with sun bathers and you’ll be hard pressed to find a nice rock on which to spread out your picnic gear.

One thing that has caught my eye since last summer is the amount of tan Swedes. You start seeing it in early summer ~ perfectly tan people walking the streets showing off their tanness. Now, I’m not talking about farmer/sunglass tans. No, I’m talking full body tans. Behind the ears and on the eye lids kind of tans. I spent 29 years in the Golden State of California where world renown beaches and sunny weather did not produce this per capita tanness. I’m definitely not an expert in tanning, but I feel something may be awry in Sweden.

In the 1800’s Victorian women decided fair skin was all the rage. It was meant to show society that they were never in the sunlight and hence didn’t have too work outside. In fashion forward Stockholm, I think it would be fair to argue the opposite is true. Being tan is an eye wink to your fellow Swede that you’ve been “pressing.” Pressing is the Swedish term for sun bathing (the sun is pressing on your skin). My interpretation is that the more pressing you’ve been doing, the more vacation you’ve had. If it’s early summer, you’ve been to an exotic place where the sun is shinning – a badge of prestige if you will.

This is all well and good. Being tan is nice, but in Sweden you have two problems: cheaters and skin cancer. First the cheaters. Remember the full body tan I spoke of above? Those are the cheaters. Stockholm has a lot of fake tanning booths and they are set up like automatic car washes. No attendant on duty, just add a few SEK to the machine and the tanning booth door will open. This leads to the fairly obvious fake n’ bake tans that are ever so common in early summer (sometimes even in the middle of winter!?). Second, is skin cancer. We all know that UV rays are harmful. Despite this known fact, DUS and I have seen Swedes pressing for 12 hours straight. Last year in the archipelago we camped next to a group that was “pressing” in the sun from 8am to 8pm non-stop.

Anyway, the Swedes love tanning and being tan. I can’t really blame them. The past winter was brutal and these few weeks of sunshine have been euphoric.

Stockholm Summer

Stockholm Summer

Categories: Around Stockholm, Sweden, Swedish Living | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

American Norseman on the Radio

As you may know, I’m a big fan of the travel guide Rick Steves. A few months ago I received an email saying they were taping a new radio show about Stockholm, so… I called.

The episode aired nationwide on NPR in the U.S. this week. If you’d like to listen, here is the link

Travel with Rick Steves: Stockholm, Sweden

Around the 19:20 mark, you may hear a familiar voice 🙂

Rick Steves’ Scandinavia
is a great resource for those of you traveling to Northern Europe in the near future.

Categories: Around Stockholm, Europe Travel, Sweden, Swedish Living | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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