The weather here is beginning to turn. The trees still have their foliage, but the air is cool and crisp. More than ever one must continually check the hourly forecast for rain; I've taken to stashing an umbrella in my purse at all times as well as gloves.
Last weekend I took the commuter train out to Märsta, northwest of Stockholm, and then a bus to Sigtuna. As I watched the city transition to suburbs, large buildings and parking lots gave way to open fields broken up by paved bike trails and cottage-like houses whose red clapboard exteriors made them resemble miniature farmhouses.
Situated on Skarven Bay, Sigtuna is a quaint town dating back to 680. Its medieval church ruins, Norse rune stones, and picturesque historic main street attract visitors, though when I went on a weekday morning it was pretty dead save for an elderly tour group.
Nonetheless, I welcomed the tranquility as I wandered the quiet streets and observed ducks navigating the calm water after a rough work week. I stopped at Tant Brun's, a rustic cafe with low ceilings, antique wooden chairs and tables, and strong coffee served up in copper kettles that took a lot of milk to become, as my sous chef would say, "hamster-colored." (Fika, the Swedish concept of having coffee - and usually with a pastry, is something I've embraced whole-heartedly). Afterward I returned to Stora Gatan to admire its brightly colored and endearingly rickety shops once more before heading back to Stockholm, and reality.