axel munthe's villa san michael

From Munthe’s Capri

Majestic view after an exquisite lunch on the island of Capri at Villa San Michael, the former home of Swedish-born physician, psychiatrist, philanthropist and animal lover, Axel Munthe.

sorrento

Limoncello

From one of many small lemon gardens that are scattered throughout the city of Sorrento, along the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy.

budhas rosteri i lycksele

Specialty Coffee at Budhas Roastery

Experiencing something totally new is especially exciting and I’m the first to admit of being a junkie of almost anything that tickles my curiosity.

So, when the opportunity to gain some rudimentary insight and subsequently produce an article about the amazing story of a former Balinese DJ and his wife/partner running a popular specialty coffee café in the far north of Sweden arrived, I naturally jumped at the opportunity.

For about half a day, I hung around one of the country’s foremost experts on the subject, the Master Coffee Roaster, and long-time protector of the Coffee Galaxy’s Light Side, Budha Sutedja (pictured above) and his wife, Katarina Johansson at their extremely popular café in Lycksele, Lapland, Sweden.

During my short visit, Budha guided me gently through some of the fundamentals of the intricate – some would even say scientific – roasting process, all the while hammering in the importance of being mindful about the symbiosis of mouth and nose when reporting and recounting some of specialty coffee’s amazing plethora of flavors and smells.

Stay tuned for more on this percolating topic. 

umeå river run

10k Norrland Run: Umeå River

The weather here in Umeå is spectacular. Much warmer and dryer than in Malmö right now, I’m told. I headed out early this morning for what turned out to be a most refreshing and rejuvenating run along Umeåälven, a river that is approximately 400km long and is connected with smaller waterways and river veins that originate as far west as Norway.

hotel lappland lycksele

Lycksele, Lapland

Short trip to Lycksele in the southern reaches of Lappland Province. First time here but I feel the same blissful calmness as when in Rikgränsen. Budhas Kafferosteri, Vindel River and the rapids of Vormforsen are included in my assignment to convey what I still think is one of the most beautiful and exotic regions in Scandinavia. I took the above shot last night after an excellent char and mash potato dinner at Hotell Lappland on the Umeå River, where I’m staying.

Nineteen year wedding anniversary

Today’s Wedding Anniversary

The 15 of August is special. Very special. It marks Charlotte’s and my wedding anniversary. We were married 19 years ago today at Brunnby Church between Arild’s chapel – where we got engaged exactly a year earlier – and where both Charlotte and our daughter Elle were baptized. Our wedding dinner was celebrated royally with about 100 good friends and relatives at Mölle by the Sea. A spectacularly joyous event, by any definition.

So here we are a year before celebrating our “Porcelain Anniversary. It’s long been clear to us how unique our relationship is. Fact is, we only have but a few friends who can honestly say the same about their marriage. Many seem to live together for convenience and seem almost to embrace every opportunity to quibble and fight.

Not that we haven’t seen our fair share of challenges along the way. But because our love grew out of genuine friendship and has always been based on respect for each other, we are able to shield ourselves from whatever obstacles life throws at us.

If you ask me, what characterizes our marriage most though, is that we always have fun together. That’s how it’s been since we met for the very first time back in 1996. In our lives, laughter is never far away, and although we don’t have the exact same sense of humor, we can always find common topics and situations that make us laugh hysterically. Fortunately, our amazing daughter Elle has inherited our ability to laugh at ourselves and the weird stuff that just seems to happen once in a while. That’s an magnificent inheritance, indeed.

Tonight, somewhere in Copenhagen, we’ll lift our Champagne glasses, smile at each other and rejoice for yet another great year together.

A Momentary Lapse of Time

Shot today, Sunday the 13th using an old iPhone 6s and my constant pocket companion, the everso versitle iPhone 7+.

Charlotte-Crayfish-Party-Benestam

Crayfish Commie Critters

Historically, I don’t think this has ever happened before. Probably won’t be a sequel, either. Consequentially, I’m feeling some physical fatigue after two back-to-back crayfish parties. Combined, Charlotte (pictured blurrely above) and I likely chewed and sucked my way through a hundred of them lil’ red Chinese and Turkish critters.

talldungens gårdshotell

Reviewed: Tallldungens Gårdshotell

Though only about 1.5 hours from Copenhagen International Airport (a little less from Malmö across the border), once you arrive at Talldungens Gårdshotell, the contrast couldn’t be more visually profound.

Just a few clicks from the gorgeous east coast of Sweden to where softly rolling hills and lush green valleys of Österlen take over the landscape, is where you’ll find a uniquely picturesque farmstead called, Talldungen Gårdshotell.

This bright yellow hotel is neatly nestled in a small grove of towering, ancient pine trees just outside the tiny village of Brösarp.

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talldungen

In da Woods

Shot this beautiful house last night sometime in between the third and fourth course of a fabulous dinner at Talldungen – a rural hotel just outside of Brösarp in Österlen, the that stretches along the eastern seaboard of Skåne County in southern Sweden. Talldungen will be part of an upcoming “Sweden Weekend Getaway” story.

Never do nothing

The Motto

The other day I remembered that I’d once had a postcard sized framed text hanging just above the light switch in the bathroom of my old bachelor pad in Göteborg. It had a single statement that read,

“Never do nothing.”.

I can’t remember whether I coined that phrase – or just stole it. In any case, the three words worked well for me then – and I still try to live by them today.

The objective of hanging the motto was to remind me to stop avoiding challenges. It gave me a well-needed shout-out to take a driver’s seat approach to life and steer forcefully towards my goals – however lofty or banal they were.

The motto also inspired me to start making mental to-do lists and then consciously rank them in accordance with what I thought could be reasonably accomplished each day.

As a consequence, I started competing with myself. A habit I’ve continued with ever since.

Admittedly, at that stage of my life, in the mid 1980s, I certainly needed something to get me to stop procrastinating. Back then, I was dividing my days between painting canvases in my kitchen studio, working part-time as a substitute teacher in (Philosophy, English and Art) and spending weekends either working for or patronizing several of Göteborg’s most popular bars and restaurants.

It was both a creative period (in which I produced some 200 paintings), but also an undeniably self-destructive era where I indulged in way too much of pretty much everything.

I remember often feeling guilty for not working harder at my burgeoning career as a painter of abstract art and eventually taking the plunge to work full-time as an artist. And to make matters worse, the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle I led back then really took its toll on my ability to focus. There were just too many distractions and diversions. And because I’ve periodically had a hard time making decisions, I’d often end up doing absolutely nothing. Nothing meaningful, anyway.

I won’t go as far as to say that thanks to the framed motto, everything turned around for me. But it certainly helped remind me to never do nothing.

Rebecca Reflection

Rebecca Reflection

As I was working on this image, I was ever-so lightly reminded of David Hockney’s iconic painting, “Peter Getting Out of Nick’s Pool” which is part of a themed series from his very first visit to L.A in the 1960s. The model in my piece is Rebecca, a former elite level competitive swimmer. We spent a couple of hours in shooting in the pool at Kockum Fritid here in Malmö as part of a commercial assignment to document their various activities.

Quality of life

Earlier this morning, here in Västra Hamnen, Malmö. First a strengthening session at Kockum Fritid’s gym just a few hundred meters from our condo and then a dip in the chilly but refreshing Öresund Sound. Priceless quality of life.

Mini portrait: Anna Eriksmo

I shot this mini portrait with triathlon competitor, Anna Eriksmo a while back. This is a new and tighter edit of a lengthier version. Anna’s so amazingly focused at whatever she does.

Compared to What?

If you don’t dig this, well, then we have one less thing in common. Cool cats, Les McCann and Eddie Harris classic, Compared to What, recorded live for their album, Swiss Movement, at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1969. Aside from the tune’s great grooves, listen to the lyrics. So apt.

 

Öresund Sunset Barsebäck

Nuclear Dusk

organic weather station

The Organic Forecast

Beach-People-Seychelles

Beau Vallon Beach, Seychelles

Boeing-777-Seychelles

Last Night’s Plane

king of palm tree

King of Palms

The Strawman’s Hut, Seychelles