Location: Cafe Årummet
This Friday, I will have spent a month in Sweden. I keep reflecting over that reality, and it startles me whenever such a conversation arises. One whole month. I’ve tasted independence for this duration, and already do I sense an inner growth sprouting from my travels abroad. An awareness of self, of how I’m capable of adaptation – something I did not wholly expect – and of grounding myself somewhere entirely new, able to make friends and learn my way around and even pick up bits and pieces of a foreign language.
I partway thank my cafe hopping for this. The phrases I currently know in Swedish stem from ordering food, and now since I’ve garnered a familiarity with a couple of joints, I’m able to foresee the questions workers ask me and not hesitate to answer them. In this way, too, I can actually pay attention to what they’re saying, and catch knobs of language from their roots. It’s a nice sensation, assimilation is.
I have, as of now, two favorite locales for fika/lunch: Cafe Linné, and this delectable cake-and-cheesecake spot called Cafe Årummet just in front of the River Fyris. Some seats afford beautiful views of the Fyris, which are especially marvelous when the sun’s out, as it has been the past couple of days: a glimmer catches on the gentle folds of water and reflects through the windows and onto the cushions of the chairs overlooking. I wish I could show you.
I met a friend for fika around noon today at this spot, as she hasn’t been and I tortured her with photos of my carrot cake last week whilst she took a weekend cruise to Finland. The place was quiet when we first arrived, but picked up in time. I ordered a slice of chocolate brownie, layered with rich chocolate cake and a sort of mousse frosting. The dish is speckled with fruit and finished with two scoops of ice cream (note to self: the girls always ask if you want cream or ice cream. Don’t just say “ja” in response. Specify which.)
Alongside I asked for en cappuccino med sojamjölk, which arrives on a near little saucer neighbored with a chocolate-covered mint candy. This whole ensemble totaled 89 SEK. Not bad for such decadence.
Cassandra ordered the carrot cake I raved about. Her face upon first taste can only be described as “I think I just saw Jesus, and He was glorious.”
Admittedly, since arriving in Uppsala I’ve spent the majority of my money in the different cafes and Nation menus. In fact, I think that’s the only real source swallowing my funds, aside from day to day necessities. Cafe life is my favorite part thus far about Sweden: it is much livelier and more inviting than anything I’ve experienced in the US (granted, I have only really sampled Florida, and it does not par at all. I’m sure places like Portland and the Pacific Northwest may compare somewhat better). The bustle in the dining rooms is warm and not overloud. The practice of coffee-and-cake is a norm, encouraged amongst the culture. Grab a latte and something sweet with a friend, take a break from the daily stresses and movements. Uppsala is speckled with perfect fika parlors, regardless of your preferred cafe style: eclectic, modern, posh, warm. You name it, you’ll find it. And I love this aspect of the Swedish experience.
One of the best parts about the food here is how fresh and real everything tastes. I knew ahead of time that European chocolate tends to be less sweet than American, but such appeals more to my palate. This cake appears rich, and it was indeed, but I am never left with a cramping stomach or the urgent desire to lay down and nap for three hours. The tummy feels full and happy. Admittedly, it’ll be quite difficult returning to the cooking and baking methods of the States after tasting this whole new level of freshness and attentiveness to food quality.
But, I digress.
My life otherwise: class is decent. I have a course entitled Writing American Selves, which deals mostly with American captivity narratives: I enjoy the lectures and the readings, so it is worth my while. English Language History is a whole different story. My instructor is rather sweet and I know means well, but she rambles on about irrelevant things that don’t much help with regards to the material we are attempting to learn. I had that class today, and could not wait to leave.
Cake was much needed to recover. And so the story goes.
Do you have a favorite cafe, or favorite cafes, where you live, or somewhere you’ve visited?
Actually, on that front:
I am quite keen to know of cute eateries and worthwhile attractions in Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Cassandra and I (and potentially others) may plan a trip to those locales sometime in the spring. Any wisdom you could share would be much appreciated.