Tag Archives: trip

Clarion Hotel & Congress Malmo Live

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One of the highlights of our Swedish trip was a stay at the Clarion Hotel & Congress Malmö Live. This new and glittering glass tower is not typically the type of accommodation I go for but they really nailed it on the decor. Once you are inside, the wrap-around floor to ceiling views over the entire city of Malmö and her ports is breathtaking. We watched the sun set every evening into the ocean behind a magical dance of ever changing Swedish skies and mapped out the neighborhoods we wanted to discover on foot, just a short walk from the hotel.

One of the most fun features is the restaurant on the top floor created by New York City chef (who we shot for a Tiffany & Co. campaign!) Marcus Samuelsson who was born in Africa, raised in Sweden and now lives in Harlem. The food here at Kitchen & Table, like Marcus, is bright, eccentric and delicious.  Even if you are not staying at the hotel, I would highly recommend a dinner here just to take in the views while you dine.

Plush velvet couches, insane bed lines, and fresh flowers in all the rooms made this hotel stay feel more like luxury apartment living than wayward traveler passing through. This really was the jewel of Malmö.

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Above, wearing new pants by Swedish designer HOPE

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Sweden’s Midsummer Celebration

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One of the most rewarding parts of travel is when you get to partake in other culture’s traditions that differ from the ones you know from back home. Until preparing for this road trip around Sweden with Volvo I had never heard of Midsummer before. I would soon come to learn it is the 2nd most important holiday for the Swedes after Christmas.

So what is Midsummer?

Around mid June at the time of summer solstice, this celebration kicks off the summer season followed by a five-week annual holiday which is important in a culture with a short summer season. The day begins with the picking of flowers to adorn the maypole, the centerpiece of the celebration where people gather to sing and dance around with traditional songs. Everyone from men and women to boys and girls make flower crowns, and we even saw a few dogs with flower collars! The gatherings of community, friends and family proceed after the morning’s activities to a large banquet lunch traditionally of herring, boiled potatoes with toppings and a good amount of schnapps. Throughout the course of lunch a fun variety of midsummer songs are sung about always ending with a toast and another gulp of the fruity liquor. Toward the end of lunch the songs get quite a bit more racy as the drinking games progress all in good fun.

It was absolutely magical to be immersed into this cultural tradition with our host family Vibs and Robert Sohlberg who made us feel like one of their own and who happen to own the wonderful little down to earth inn on the water, Slussens Pensionat, where we stayed during Midsummer. This hotel is such a fun escape with live music on the water and an organic, sustainable restaurant worth a visit even if you are not staying the night.

Perhaps my favorite tradition for Midsummer is the final of the night. You pick 7 different types of flowers from the garden and place them under your pillow and as legend goes, you will dream of your one true love. Now that is something I would like to bring back home with me.

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Ladfabriken Inn

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Tucked away on one of the 8,000 small islands off the west coast of Sweden is this charming and colorful hideaway on the sea, Ladfabriken Inn. Previously an old shipping warehouse, these two creative owners Marcel and Johan (Johan is a Creative Director at Reebok) transformed this old working structure into a living world of light, life and inspiration. Art, quirky collections from world travels in previous careers, and their two dogs make this B&B rich with stories to be shared over a glass of wine while watching the sun slip down below the sea.

We more than welcomed the perfectly prepared home cooked dinner Marcel served up with his colorful and clever table arrangements followed by a breakfast extravaganza that is not to be missed. I think, however, my favorite aspect to this unique place, is the exploding garden that wraps around the entire home. You are greeted by a wash of colors and smells the moment you pull off the main road, and it’s a wonderful welcome. Throughout the Inn, and next to your bedside, Marcel leaves traces of the outside garden with his beautiful flowers arrangements perfuming the entire home.

This is one of my favorite stays on our journey with Volvo around Sweden!

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Gunnebo House & Gardens

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Just a quick drive out of Gothenburg, Sweden you will find this organic farm-to-table, historic 1700’s estate of Gunnebo House & Garden. It’s a perfectly quiet and secluded spot surrounded in beds of lettuce, fields of livestock, rows of flowers with a sweet little country restaurant serving traditional Swedish dishes with simple country ingredients mostly grown right there on the farm. It was a beautiful example of a balance of life and alluring look back into a piece of Sweden’s history….

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