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Ski, Eat, Drink, Sleep. Repeat.

A White Christmas in Are

snow 0 °C

My brother, D’ell’s, fiancée is Swedish, hence finding ourselves winding down our world trip in Are, a picturesque little town roughly in the middle of Sweden that – once the snow arrives – becomes something of a domestic ski haven.

The view at twilight from our chalet out onto the town of Are. It was like looking down on a tiny model village!


I truly believe that skiing is something that needs to be first attempted before the age of ten. After that, life experience of pain and injury seriously complicates things and the first time I tried skiing last December, I was so bad that I was taken out of my group beginners’ class and given the instructors’ instructor for a private lesson! So, I’m not sure if I’d have signed up for another opportunity to humiliate myself if Christmas in Sweden hadn’t also been billed as the pre-wedding party for D’ell and Emma.

Soon-to-be-wed: my brother D'ell and fiancee Emma, pictured during dinner on the 23rd.

Lloyd skis very well, and so spent several happy days with some combination of D’ell, Emma, Steve, Jill and/or Simon on the slopes. Of course, a remedial skier like me can only dream of going as high as the ski lifts go, but it looks like there is some pretty stunning scenery up there…

Are-Sunrise-on-slope.jpg Are-Fox.jpg
Lloyd was accompanied by a friendly fox that came trotting out right onto the slopes!

Me? Well, I suffered another session with a painfully bad instructor who reported at the end of my lesson, “well, maybe skiing isn’t for you”. A little rude, maybe and – if I hadn’t been so shocked – I might have had the good wits to retort “Judging by the quality of your tuition, I’d say maybe skiing isn’t for you either!”. But his insult was enough to keep me on the nursery slopes with dozens of two-feet high munchkins whizzing by me for hours and, thanks to Lloyd, making good progress on my turns. I have a long way to go before I could even attempt to ski with the rest of the group, but Lloyd and I will try and squeeze in a few trips to Tahoe when we’re back in California so I can try and at least catch up with the ten year olds….

Me with my ski class. Enough to cut anyone's ego down to size....

Not good enough to ski with the big kids. But good enough to carry the skis...

Accompanying the skiing were the associated traditional activities involving plenty of food and more champagne than is feasible for our party of seven. Lloyd and I haven’t seen anything like it for the last six months, so good quality red wine and excessive quantities of edible food (although the smoked reindeer heart probably doesn't qualify here) was a bit of a shock to the system but you’ll be glad to know we quickly got into the swing of things.


The bride-to-be prepared a tremendous Swedish feast on Christmas Eve, which meant that Lloyd and I truly had our work cut out for us come Christmas Day. But between us we managed to conjure up 10 kilos of Roast Turkey (I know, what were we thinking?) with all the trimmings, served to an appreciative audience. We almost had a disaster, though, with the realization that we had drunk all the wine intended for the meal the previous evening. Sweden has some pretty tough regulation concerning alcohol sales which are limited to government-run “Systembolaget” shops. Despite the fact that the supermarket was open on Christmas Day, the “Systembolaget” had been closed since the 22nd. Faced with a critical wine deficit, D’ell, Steve and Jill engaged in a wine smuggling operation. No doubt the waitress in a local bar was a little confused when the three of them ordered a bottle of Pinot Noir. Each. And the sight of the three of them hoofing it down the street with three open bottles of wine carried in inside pockets must also have been interesting.

Steve and D'ell - Caught in the Act...

With no christmas tree in the chalet, we had Lloyd fulfil the function. Useful, no?

We enjoyed a wonderful White Christmas with friends and family in Sweden ahead of what promises to be a wonderful wedding weekend in Gothenburg. In the meantime, thanks to D'ell and Emma for hosting us in Are over christmas, and hello to Jill and Steve and Simon who also made it such a memorable time.


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Posted by jacquiedro 21:55 Archived in Sweden Tagged round_the_world

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