I really want to write about the most wonderful summer holiday ever, before I forget the details. But for now, this week has been a lovely transition between holiday and mundane life. I'm back at home, but hatam_soferet is here, which makes it far more fun. And I'm back at work, but I'm getting started gently.
The rest of Stockholm seems to be in a similar state; enough people are back that the city is actually running more or less normally, but the weather is still good and people are still in a holiday mood, and there are summer-type activities going on. This led to the most wonderful shabbat ever yesterday:
Joanna very kindly lent us her flat so that hatam_soferet could spend Shabbat within walking distance of shul. We got started very slowly on Friday, having a long leisurely breakfast with lots of chatting, and gradually getting ourselves to the point where we had provisions for shabbat camping in someone else's flat and being able to eat without having to cook. We took advantage of the fact that Örtagården keep doing their tasty and impressively cheap vegetarian buffet lunch until 4 pm to get food. That left us a nice little chunk of afternoon to wander through the free culture festival going on in Stockholm this week. We followed the route marked by bright pink ribbons, and didn't see much of import, mainly a huge multi-choir gospel event with 1500 singers in Sergels Torg, the big square outside the station, and a not very good piece of street dance performed by deprived teenagers. But it was fun and pleasant and free. We returned to Joanna's place to watch the sunset from her balcony and gradually relax into Shabbat. hatam_soferet was nice enough to put up with my singing and do the musical bits of the Friday night service with me. We fell asleep before the timers switched the lights off.
Saturday morning we walked to shul, a very pleasant walk across pretty, interesting bits of the city. The service was nice, and there were tasty cakes for Kiddush and congenial people. We went to a bit more culture festival in the afternoon; the kendo demonstration and the bad electro-rock concert were missable, but the Indian dance (a mixture of traditional and modern performed by teenagers in gorgeous costumes, and with a very avian Balinese bird dance by an adult performer as a finale) was fun. We also caught the last part of an absolutely awesome performance by young acrobats from Circus Cirkör, involving stacking kids into a very high tower of little blue boxes. They had absolutely the ideal mixture of breathtaking feats with playfulness and some of the best tumbling I've ever seen, even from adults, and the undersized eight-year-olds leaping from about first-floor level were particularly impressive.
By the time we'd walked back across town, stopping to notice little details of architecture and humanity on the way, we were pretty exhausted, so spent much of the afternoon curled up together on Joanna's enormous beanbag, reading and cuddling. I went to EBH's 70th in the evening; I had misunderstood the ironic understatement of her invitation and thought she actually meant informal nibbles and chat, but it turned out to be a full-scale dinner party. I was only slightly underdressed, but did feel a bit embarrassed about having made plans with hatam_soferet to rejoin her after only a couple of hours.
Anyway, we met up safely in spite of not being able to use communications. And we went to the Royal Opera's taster session, with a full orchestra on an open-air stage by the harbour. We spent a glorious evening listening to snippets of their current season and watching the sun set and the gorgeous full moon rise and then get eclipsed. I'm pretty convinced that I should actually get my act together and attend a real opera performance; Lars Cleveman did some very impressive baritone solos, and Sara Olsson made a really beautiful performance of some Verdi arias. I am not at all convinced by the plan of setting Samson and Delilah in modern day Gaza; apart from anything else the two sides are the wrong way round!
We walked home along the shore, watching the rest of the eclipse and bidding farewell to a perfect shabbat by observation as the stars came out in a perfectly clear sky. Getting ourselves back to my place was a bit of a hassle, but once we got here we slept for about ten hours. And today the weather is grim so we've just been pottering about a bit, most relaxing.
In other news: my new cousin was successfully born, and as far as they can tell with a newborn is a healthy girl, but I don't know any more than that.
And we have sorted out the connectivity issue here; it turns out that the reason I hadn't made a note of my wireless password is that it's written on the bottom of the router. D'oh! Thanks to everybody who made helpful suggestions. Now hatam_soferet is typing away industriously just across the room as I am posting this.
Oh, and in between eating glorious fresh fruit straight from the trees in my garden, we have been out to a really excellent dinner at Fenix with fivemack, and we are planning to go to Hermans this evening with SA. Yay.