Tuesday, January 09, 2007

If Swedish breakfast was holy, I could call myself a pilgrim

Having been awake for 24 hours already, keeping me alert from Amsterdam by chatting with my neighbor on the plane about the US, the state of the Swedish automation industry, and how it was lake vacationing in Holland, I boarded a Malmoe Avivation flight from Gothenburg-Landvetter to Stockholm-Bromma around 7 pm.

The sore throat and itchy nose-thing that broke out sometime after takeoff from San Francisco airport kept me tried but awake, and while descending to Bromma I thought I saw Stockholm made out of gingerbread houses, with sleighs and reindeers moving around. I closed my eyes and saw colleagues and friends dressed up as Santa, or made out of gingerbread. Closing my eyes was like going into some kind of semi-sleep state where you are strangely aware and may control some but not all of the content and flow of your thoughts, thought that cause all kinds of stupid shit to visualize inside your head.

About an hour later, after grabbing a cab at the airport I arrived at the Hotel Anglais, instantly passing out on the bed. 4 am I woke up, after 5 hours of sleep. Not the least bit tired. There goe my sleep-awake-rhythm, I thought to myself.

I made travel arrangements for that day and got ready to eat breakfast at 6:30 am.

The breakfast, the first Swedish breakfast in a very long time, was maybe the closest to a religious experience I have ever come. Eggs and "Kalles kaviar", really good dark bread, incredibly nice (meaning cute) serving staff, "filmjölk" and tasty cereal. Dim lights, still dark outside, lit candles. The feeling of not having to hurry anywhere. Fresh orange juice and real strong Swedish-roasted coffee. The rich taste of the cucumber and tomatoes..
I was close to shedding a tear when the realization of all this beauty hit me.

Business people, in suites and the like, were sitting around me in the sparsely occupied dining hall, discussing something or reading their newspapers. The scene was calm, tidy, proper, beautiful.. divine.

I choose not to pick up one of the newspapers, but to just sit there and watch the scene while eating my breakfast, studying the other participants. Maybe they were going to meetings, conferences, fairs. Maybe the fates of their companies were to be decided in a few hours. Who knows? It's silent. Every once in a while a car passed outside of the large windows facing the street.
Later in my room, I turn on the TV with the morning news while preparing to leave for the US embassy. The broadcast too seemed calm, as if a spell was cast to make everything that morning slow and relaxed. There was a news break about a big section of highway near Gothenburg collapsing because of heavy rainfall. With a yawn I turned it off and headed out to meet the day.

Robert


2 comments:

sunny said...

Thank you for this beautiful description of that Swedish breakfast.

I would like to create such a calm atmosphere for my breakfasts as well.

Linn @ Swedish Home Cooking said...

I know, the Swedish breakfasts are amazing! I'm just preparing a new episode of my online cooking show, about Swedish breakfasts! I will be up in a week, check it out if you wanna re experience the occasion!