Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Spring in Melbourne

Living in Bali is convenient for visiting diverse cities.  Asian cities pop in mind first, but the cities of Australia are only a non-stop flight away.  We decided a visit to Australia's most European city, Melbourne, would be a great break from Bali's long dry season.  For just over two weeks we stayed in a nice Airbnb apartment that backed onto Fawkner Park.  It was an easy walk to the Royal Botanical gardens, city center as well as to the sub-city center of Prahran with its wonderful markets.  Six months in advance we booked seats for three performances of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra which was only a 25 minute walk away.

Melbourne is a great destination for real food, both in the markets as well as for dining out.  One thing we miss in Bali is a selection of cheese.  To compensate we shopped in Prahran's cheese stands, bought pate from the local French bistro some great dining out with our friends Ley and Neil Langford at places such as the  wine and cheese, Milk the Cow in the Carlton area.  They have a huge selection of international cheeses; however, we focused on the offerings from Australia, mainly Tasmania.
Half of our cheese selection at Milk the Cow licensed Fromagerie
We did some nice excursions with Ley and Neil too.  After the visit to Milk the Cow, we toured the Heide Art Museum located just outside of Melbourne.  There was a special exhibition by the interesting Australian artist Mirka Mora who immigrated to Melbourne from France.
Ley and Susan with the farm animals at the Heide Art Museum
Not far from city center Melbourne are rolling farms and vineyards.  Neil and Ley took us to their favorite, Tahblik Winery.  Tahblik dates from 1860 and was one of the first wineries in Australia to focus on varietals rather than styles associated with European wine regions.  They are quite famous for their wines made from the grapes of Marsanne, Viognier and Rousanne that are usually associated with the fine wines of the upper Rhone valley in France.
Neil, Ley and Susan in the cellar at Tahbilk

the tasting counter at Tahbilk

Self explainatory
Many thanks Neil and Ley for showing us so much of Melbourne and their family and friends in Williamstown too.  We continue to enjoy the steaks and cheeses we brought back to Bali.
Melbourne skyline from the Shrine of Remembrance

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

August in Sweden

We returned to Sweden for the first time in four years. This has been a warm summer there and our first week was rather like Bali, but it reverted to normal and the day time temps were 22C or less. We began in Uppsala where we spent a delightful week with friends Claes and Karin Höjenberg from our post-doctoral days at the Biomedical Centrum in Uppsala. The city has really developed nicely and it is very enjoyable. Walking or biking are the preferred modes of transport. Like most Swedish cities, there is a real effort to discourage use of autos.
Susan (L) with Claes and Karin
After a week exploring the Uppsala area and enjoying the fine meals prepared by Claes we took a Waxholm's ferry  to the Island of Lådna.  The island is 3 hours east of Stockholm in the middle archipelago.  We stayed there for two weeks in July 2008 in a charming cottage owned by Ann.  This time we booked on Airbnb.  Before Ann had her own website.  It was very nice to see Ann again and to enjoy the nature of the island.  A real benefit to staying here is that this is one of the few islands which has a grocery store open year around.  
Ann's dock on norrvik (north bay)
Our third week was spent in a very nice flat on the Stockholm City island of 

Södermalm.  We lived only 15 minutes walking distance away from this Airbnb flat for 13 years.  

While in Stockholm we visited more friends, did shopping for Bali and Susan cooked some really nice meals in our apartment.  Stockholm is a great city for walking and having coffee and pastries in the numerous konditori and bakeries.  It is also a nice place to provision.  While not exactly Paris, we were able to get some very nice Nordic cheeses to bring back to Bali.  

Our return flights were with Qatar Airways.  Very smooth connections in Doha and very effiecient lasting only 16 hours in total.  Of course we were happy to arrive back at Villa Cengkeh!

Sveavägen 21, Uppsala, Sweden - we lived upstairs in 1977-1978