Pitea, day 2

Friday 3/27:

We drove to town looking for breakfast.  We strolled up and down a “walking street” and found a nice bakery.  It had a well-decorated dining area with votive candles on the tables; we’d noticed before that Swedes like candles.

Our next stop was the Tourist Bureau.  It was closed; however, the Chamber of Commerce president came along and gave us a lot of good information.  He told us that in January and February when the sea freezes, he does an 10 KM run around two islands in the bay in front of his house, wearing spiked running shoes.  His son drives his Go-Kart on the ice.  A friend of his came along and told us that once a year he goes with a group that breaks a hole in the ice.  Then he jumps in the water, to see whether his heart can still take it.

We went shopping at a large grocery and variety store called Coop (maybe it’s a cooperative?).  Lance wanted cheese spread.  In a refrigerator, I found a low, squarish box labelled “Norrgott;” it had a picture on the front of a bowl of spread with a knife, a slice of bread and cucumber slices.  We agreed it must be cheese spread; but it turned out to be butter.  Lance had better luck with a package labelled “Philadelphia.”

IMG_6625We drove to a small ski area outside of town.  They were getting ready for a kids’ race; they told us we could ski for free, but we had to stay off the trails they’d be using.  These were, of course, the freshly groomed trails; ours were pretty chewed up and, in places, so thin they were tan with dirt.  Lance described the snow as “dust on crust”–a sprinkle of powder on old icy snow.  Now and then I ran into a thicker drift of powder and it was a lovely quiet glide; the rest of the run was a sideways-skidding, ankle-twisting, scraping, clattering ride.  Still worth doing, tho!  We are in Lapland here; Lance saw six reindeer with fuzz on their antlers.

As we got ready to leave, families were bringing their kids in for the race.  I had a sore throat; so I went into a building, looking for hot tea.  I found a group of moms cutting cake, just like a PTA at home.  They gave me a cup of tea, but didn’t understand when I said I wanted to donate to their club; so I let it go and just thanked them.

We had a party in Lance’s room and shared some groceries.  Mary Rose gave everybody bars of soap.  We looked out the window and realized it was snowing.  This could be good or bad.  Tomorrow we’ll find out which.

Dinner was at Thai Garden Restaurant.  I thought it odd that a group of Americans in Sweden should eat Thai food; but we were tired of sausage and meatballs.  The restaurant was beautifully decorated with intricately-carved wooden panels, and the food looked delicious; but it was dreadfully salty.  I couldn’t finish my order, and brought none home.  “If the people who work here ate this every day, they’d all be dead,” I concluded.

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