Weekend breakfast at RISØ, Tromsø, Norway

Weekend sunshine with RISØ´s CEO Arne Risø Nilsen. Arne is co-founder and co-owner RISØ, a café and coffee bar that serves some of Tromsø´s best coffee brews.
Text Photo & Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

As the weekend rolls around, morning coffee and breakfast at a local café in Tromsø is something to look forward to. It´s pretty much autumn here in the Arctic, where you can typically get a string of grey and rainy days. Depending on personality, I think rainy autumn days are perfect to grab that mug of hot chocolate, cozy under your blanket with your favourite book and read. As it happened, it was a weekend of brilliant weather with sunshine and clear skies. Which meant, a café breakfast morning.

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Pickled cucumber Swedish style 2020

The Swedish Västeråsgurka is a late summer harvest. Often turned into a delicious pickle for sandwiches, we hope this year´s harvest will make enough jars to find their way to the Christmas table.
Text Photo & Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

It´s rewarding to see your spring planting efforts bloom and fruit. This year´s growing was alright. There was a short strawberry season, literally lasting about a month when we could get strawberries from the garden. But the tomatoes and Västeråsgurka (a variety of cucumbers known to grow in Västerås, Sweden) are still growing, and we get small harvests now and again.

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Summer BBQ, Styrsö, Sweden 2020

Fava bean burger with ketchup, tzatziki and mayonnaise, Styrsö, Sweden.
Text Photo & Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

Swedish summers are marked by numerous BBQ-parties. Sometimes, it can feel as if you´re in an implicit neighbourhood race to fill the air with the aromas of BBQ grilled foods. I was in fact, introduced to the Swedish BBQ-party on my very first trip to Sweden when I was still in my university days. It was mid-May and a warm 10 degress celcius outdoors. I met with a group of young men with beer in hand. They lounged in nothing but shorts in beach chairs pulled up close to the smoking BBQ pit. I wore an orange knitted turtleneck sweater and thought I should really have brought a light jacket with me. I was promptly introduced to the group of BBQ party-goers, some of whom looked at me as if they had questions to ask. My introduction was then followed by “she´s from Singapore”, to which there was an acknowledged round of nods. Even if the smell of meat on the BBQ grill was fantastic, after ten minutes, I politely asked if I could go indoors to warm my hands on the oven stove.

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Black turtle beans with Herbs de Provence marinara sauce

Black turtle beans or svarta böner as they are known in Sweden, baked in the shape of spheres, served atop fresh tagliatelle. The baked black turtle beans are smothered in a marinara sauce infused with Herbs de Provence and parmesan. The delicate green leaf-stems on top of the dish is Olivenurt (Santolina Viridis). This herb is native to the Mediterranean and in this case, was imported from a cultivator from Denmark. It is highly aromatic of olives and popular uses include pasta, pizza, salads, meat / fish cooking.
Text Photo & Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

An pan (Japanese red bean bun), Dou Sha Bao (Chinese sweet, steamed, red bean buns), Penang Tau Sar Piah made with savoury green bean filling and Ling Yong Bao (sweet lotus seed paste steamed buns) are some identifiable warm aromas of the Singapore morning hawker centres, usually located adjacent to wet markets. These sweet and savoury food items were also some of my early childhood favourite eats.

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A walk around Marstrand island, Sweden

Onboard a ferry, going across to Marstrand island, Marstrand harbour, Sweden. The ferry ride is about 5 minutes, crossing the channel.
Text Photo & Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

The high cirrus clouds signalled fair weather for the day and it looked perfect for a drive up along the Swedish west coast. We headed for Marstrand, a pearl of an island for summer visits located in the Kungälv Municipality of Sweden. This island is a well loved tourist destination. We too, love this place and this day’s drive would be the second sweep around Marstrand to see if we would make it out to Marstrand island this summer.

Under the global circumstances of uncertain international travel and increased domestic travel in 2020, an indication that it was a good day to hop across to Marstrand island was the short and quick moving queue of people waiting to board the ferry. There are 2 ferries that run consecutively, which allows for fewer passengers onboard, without the sacrifice of travel time to Marstrand island. In the summer of last year, the ferry queue snaked around the ticketing house and up into the lanes where the nearest grocery store is located. On this visit, the ferry queue was short, going about less than 20m from ferry terminal to where the fruit stand was located. For sale at the fruit stand were locally grown, organic strawberries. Lovely and delicious reds in boxes if you wanted to bring some with you to Marstrand island.

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Sinnenas Trädgård, Marstrand, Sweden

At Sinnenas Trädgård, Marstrand, Sweden.
Text Photo & Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

After completing the morning’s errands of some grocery shopping, the brilliant Swedish west coast weather beckoned us in taking a slightly longer drive up the length of the coast. We decided to head to Marstrand, which was a comfortable distance from our grocery shopping place of the day. Driving up into the roundabout of the ferry terminal to Marstrand, we noted that it was not overly crowded. Perfect indication to buy two ferry tickets to cross over to Marstrand.

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Kungälvs Havsdelikatesser, Kongahälla Shopping Center, Swedish west coast 2020

Shrimp, salmon and cheese salad at Kungälvs Havsdelikatesser, Kungälv, Swedish west coast.
Text Photo & Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

Although culinarily fairly homogeneous (take for example, varieties of preserved herring and boiled potatoes and/or meatballs with lingonberry jam), the food in Sweden does carry regional variations and characteristics. Seafood and fish tend to distinctly characterise west coast Swedish regional food, not only in terms of the variety of food types but how they are prepared, plated and eaten.

There is little chance at getting bored with the vareity of pescatarian food creations in the Swedish west coast region. This year’s new find is Kungälvsröra and the Kungälvsbakelse from Kungälvs Havsdelikatesser. Kungälvsröra is a creamy mixture of shrimp and mayonnaise with red onion and dill. Kungälvsbakelse, is Kungälvsröra served on top of seeded dark rye bread and topped with savoury lemon gel. These delicious mirror glazed lemony confections are sold in neat squares that on quick glance over the counter, resemble a sweet lemon curd dessert.

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Styrsö Bratten, Styrsö, Sweden

Text & Photo / Video © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

A morning view from a ferry from Styrsö Bratten. Styrsö is a southern archipelago island to the city of Gothenburg, located along the Swedish west coast with about 1400 inhabitants. The island has several popular summer bathing spots that include Uttervik (north-west of Styrsö), Sandvik (north) and small sandy beach pockets right at Styrsö Bratten (north-east of Styrsö) where the boats dock.

Tjörn and Restaurang Tjörnbron, Sweden

Along the Swedish west coast across the islands of Tjörn and Orust, Sweden, Summer 2020.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

If you take the E6 expressway from the city of Gothenburg by car, you’ll get to the islands of Tjörn and Orust in about 45 mins. The twin islands are perfectly charming places to visit particularly during the summer months, with many antique shops for browing, and cafés to serve as rest stops.

It was just about lunch time when we drove across the Tjörn bridge, so we thought to try lunch at Restaurang Tjörnbron. Known for its excellent menu and friendly service, Restaurang Tjörnbron is located at one of west coast Sweden’s most scenic spots, at the top of a lookout point into the waters of Tjörn, right at the corner of the bridge.

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Creel caught Scampi (Langoustine): A Swedish west coast delicacy

Scampi (Nephrops norvegicus) is a stable population European crustacean that live primarily in the Nordic oceans. Differing from sweet water crayfishes, this crustacean is available all year round only depending on demand and weather. These scampi are KRAV-certified [1]. KRAV is a sustainability standard for the labelling of fish that has been farmed / harvested ecologically in Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

While food quality has always been a topic of discussion, food sustainability has in the past decades become a subject of increasing interest for consumers [2-4]. Consumers today are more educated on food ecology and the impact of food production on the environment and climate. They often inquire at the shops after product origin and methods of harvest / farming. They also want to know about plant (how much use of pesticides?) and animal (how humane were the animals treated?) welfare. In the Nordic countries, even prior to Covid-19 travel and trade restrictions, short food supply chains (SFSC) were in the early 2000s, being discussed and implemented as means to sustainable food consumption and food safety [5]. In Sweden, “närodlat” (regionally produced) and in Norway, “kortreist” are selling arguments that allow for agri-products and food services to command higher prices.

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Midsummer’s reflections 2020

Pickings from the garden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

On Saturday, 20 June 2020, Sweden celebrated Midsummer’s Day. A celebration that traditionally coincides with the summer solstice. Usually the inevitable – How’s your Midsummer this year? question, would be answered with the similarly inevitable reply; – As usual. Plus 10 degrees, and rain. – Ah, same as New Year’s eve then, – Yep.

It might sound sarcastic but really, I can’t think of a sunny Midsummer’s Day since I first landed in Sweden in 2002. I remember when I first landed that I wrote home to my parents and told, “Sweden got only two seasons leh”. They had winter, which was cold and wet, with possibility of some snow, and summer, which was cold and wet, with no snow. This year was certainly different. There’s been as much sun as you could wish for, in Sweden. I can only assume that this, in some kind of quantum entanglement of weather, is dependent on me having relocated to Tromsø, the very arctic part of Norway. Living in Tromsø by the way, has given me a completely new understanding of winter, and summer. Tromsø also has only two seasons. Winter, without daylight, and summer, with daylight. Endless dayligt. Sunrise in February and sunset basically in November. This said, to be fair to Sweden, I have over the years managed to get some nice midsummer pictures in my album labelled “Sweden”.

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Midnight sun, Tromsø, Northern Norway

This was filmed at ca. 0130 in the morning. Tromsø coast, Northern Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

“It must be so romantic, to experience the Arctic midnight sun!” She said.
“Yes, it is.” the Other She replied. “But you can´t sleep either.”

The prosaic quips above reflect but only a partial reality of what I find unique about living in this compact Arctic city of Tromsø in Northern Norway.

Special on this part of the globe is the shifting polar light from spring/summer to autumn/winter. Most travel brochures speak of the spectacular Northern Lights that appear when the skies darken over the winter months, and when the sun hardly rises above the horizon. At this time of year however, it is the opposite. The sun hardly ever sets. From 18 May to 25 July 2020, the sun does not go below horizon in Tromsø. The midnight sun is not much advertised in travel brochures as an experience to be lived for long because for those who are sunlight sensitive with functioning circadian rhythms, this might mean a whole lot of lack of sleep days. It is not unusual to observe nightlong parties and people out on the streets of Tromsø at 0200 hrs, as if it were late afternoon in southern Europe.

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20200523 Weekend walk along Tromsø coast, Northern Norway

Outdoor gym and meeting seagulls on a weekend walk along Tromsø coast, Northern Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

It´s been some frustrating weeks for everyone with the current global health pandemic that has led to disrupted lifestyles and socioeconomic consequences. In Northern Norway, society is cautiously opening.

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Telegrafbukta, Tromsø, Northern Norway

Telegrafbukta / Telegraph Bay, Tromsø, Northern Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

Telegrafbukta was one of the first places I visited when I landed in Tromsø. Known as Northern Norway´s Gran Canaria, Telegrafbukta is the choice location of the annual Tromsø Bay Festival, one of Northern Norway´s most popular music festivals. It has also been the case that every time it´s been decided to gather at Telegrafbukta, the weather decided otherwise. Windy and icy-cold, it gets difficult to hold a coherent conversation when your teeth literally chatter.

Short walk by the beach at Telegrafbukta. Beautiful when warm, but when it gets clouded over and it´s windy, it is cold.

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Lapis lazuli to steel grey, Tromsø, Northern Norway

Spring in Tromsø, Northern Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

When I moved to Tromsø just over a year ago, it challenged the notion I had that tropical Singapore was the only place where you could have rain in your backyard and sunshine in your front yard. This Arctic island city has minute shifting weather. Clear blue skies one minute and in another, clouded over, threatening ice-cold rain against a background of steel grey.

But I´ll take the moments in time. It´s spring. The lapis lazuli of the ocean hypnotizes.

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20200413 April snow, Tromsø, Northern Norway

In April snow, Tromsø, Northern Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

From the pages of Ken Wilber´s One Taste [1]:

“As the Witness, I-I do not move through time, time moves through me. Just as clouds float through the sky, time floats through the open space of my primordial awareness, and I-I remain untouched by time and space and their complaints. Eternity does not mean living forever in time—a rather horrible notion—but living in the timeless moment, prior to time and its turmoils altogether. Likewise, infinity does not mean a really big space, it means completely spaceless. As the Witness, I-I am spaceless; as the Witness, I-I am timeless. I-I live in eternity and inhabit infinity, simply because the Witness is free of time and space. And that is why I can drink vodka in New York and get drunk in L.A.

So this morning I went jogging, and nothing moved at all, except the scenery in the movie of my life. (p.68)

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Hemgjord leverpastej and pâté de campagne

A Swedish hemgjord leverpastej [1] is a rich spreadable pâté that complements most festive tables in Sweden from Christmas to Easter. Here, it´s served with cumberland sauce and French cornichons.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

In the midst of my 2019 Christmas marketing in Gothenburg city´s oldest market place, Saluhallen, I picked up by chance, the most wonderful rustic/country pâté made with the livers of duck, chicken and pork. The terrine that sat on the market counter simply read “3 Confit – Duck, Chicken, Pork” and it looked like a fine spreadable pâté. We bought some, took it home for our Christmas table and it was such a treat that I went back to Saluhallen, determined to wrap some to bring with me to Northern Norway for after the New Year´s. But there was none to be had, with the reason given by the charcuterie, “That is a very special dish, we only order it for Christmas.”

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Marina in early April 2020, Tromsø, Northern Norway

April weather in the Arctic. Snow dusted over a thin layer of ice in this marina along the coast of Tromsø, Northern Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

Different from the Swedish west coast marinas and Tromsø marinas is how the boats remain moored through the winter season. On my walk this morning, I found several people tending to their boats, doing spring cleaning of sorts on the inside. Temperature outdoors this day is around -3°C with alternating snow and sunshine. Along the Swedish west coast, no one would consider tending to their boats if temperatures were in the minus outdoors.

Thursday, 19 March 2020 marked the spring/vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere. In Tromsø, you can feel daylight stretching to cover more hours over the day. There´s still snow outside but there´s much more sunlight too, which cheers people up some. I wonder if the neighbour´s heavy dragging of metal over the balcony floors meant they were readying the barbeque grills for the summer? Here in the Arctic, seasons don´t really languidly morph from one to another. Overly long winters means that summer rather rushes up at you as a concrete floor to your face when you´re in free fall, so best to bring out those summer things already now.

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20200328 A different bruktbokhandel in Tromsø, Northern Norway

A Saturday used books haul, Tromsø, Northern Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

In the past week, I´ve returned to reading some of Ken Wilber´s works that appear in scientific journal articles. In particular, my favourite paragraph thus far is from an article of his that appeared in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology in 1982, when Wilber unpacks structural analysis and deep structure in cognitive development:

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Semla of the Year 2020 at Ahlströms Konditori, Gothenburg, Sweden

Settling in at Ahlströms Konditori in Gothenburg, Sweden, for that semla fika.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

It’s been a number of years since I stepped into Ahlströms Konditori, one of Gothenburg city’s oldest confectionaries. Here, you’ll find that the late morning crowd consists mostly retired elderly individuals. They sit, absorbed in their own worlds, and read the news in a scene that could come from any early 1900 Paris café postcard. It´s a beautiful scene to observe. The atmosphere at Ahlströms is languid but very much cheerful. The city’s local newspapers have done their annual semlor best-in-test for 2020, and Ahlströms won top-3 for serving up the city’s best semlor.

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Experiential dining onboard the M/S Bjørnvåg, Tromsø, Northern Norway

Standing with the M/S Bjørnvåg co-owner and Chef de Cuisine, Eivind M. E. Austad.
Text & Photo © F. Boije af Gennäs, JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2020

The clear night sky was a velvet obsidian, and the air was winter crisp. Standing dockside in Tromsø harbour whilst waiting for the taxi to arrive, I marveled at how Tromsø night sky shades could range from variations of deep blues to vantablack, depending on the time of year. That the seasonal mørketid is all dark is not true. Experiencing a winter´s night such as this in January and February (just past mørketid), when the region records its lowest annual temperatures, releases in you a feeling of the intense magic associated with living in a city located in the Arctic.

As my taxi left the Tromsø harbour for the main road, I watched how the light from the street lamps lining the Tromsø bridge were mirrored in the water below. I said to the taxi driver, that it was a beautiful winter’s night. “Yes” he replied, keeping his eye on the road. “It is a nice night. But too much snow.” Not hearing any reply, he added with a slight touch of cynicism, “We are near the North Pole you know.” Still looking out through the window, I noted how the boats moored at the quay swayed with the wind. One of them was a beautifully restored wood hulled passenger boat from the 1950s. Its name is M/S Bjørnvåg.

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Christmas magic at MR Cake, Gothenburg, Sweden 2019

At MR Cake bakery and café in Gothenburg, Sweden. Offering some of the city’s most visually appealing and innovative desserts, MR Cake is located across Stenpiren at the corner of Comfort Hotel.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Some things in life are meant to be. For example, serendipitously finding my way during lunch hour on the eve of the eve of Christmas, to MR Cake in Gothenburg.

I had been away from Gothenburg for a while, but that was enough given time for some substantial changes to be made in the city centre, with new bridges and roads constructed, and more delightfully, new cafés, eateries and restaurants lining the city’s harbour front.

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Christmas marketing in Gothenburg, Sweden 2019

At Gothenburg’s Saluhallen located at Kungstorget, central Gothenburg. Saluhallen is an old-fashioned wet market cum food hall that offers customers direct contact with regional agri-food producers, as well as importers of produce such as cheeses, vegetables and meats.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It was a little bit of a shouting match at the Christmas market this year at the heart of Gothenburg city, only because there were so many people in an enclosed market hall that the arena resembled more like a stock exchange floor. People used sign language to get their orders across to the counters, and the traders signalled right back, which cashier counter had the shortest waiting queue. There was no shortest waiting queue to any one cashier.

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100% Dark hot chocolate at Hotel Chocolat, Narita, Tokyo, Japan 2019

Our hot chocolates are served, made with Hotel Chocolat´s “100% dark”, no syrups, no powder, just chocolate.
Text & Photo © K. Aprilia, JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

This would be my second visit to Tokyo, Japan, but it´s a first experience walking into Hotel Chocolat for a warm cup of hot chocolate and a delicious browse of their products.

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Mururin – The St. Magnus Cathedral at the Færoe Islands, 2019

About an hour´s drive to the south west of Tórshavn, the capital of the Færoe Islands is the village of Kirkjubøur. The road there is mystic when swept in the mist, giving you a strange feeling of traveling in time as well as place. Here, a surreal encounter with some Færoese geese, who seem to actively contemplate their options/chances with the oncoming truck. No geese were harmed in this incident. The Færoese goose is likely to be the oldest form of tame goose in Europe, brought by Icelandic people during the Medieval period.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

St. Magnus Cathedral is a cathedral ruin located in the village of Kirkjubøur on the island of Streymoy in the Færoe Islands. The ruins are the largest medieval building in the Færoe Islands.

The building was initiated by Bishop Erlendur around the year 1300. The building appears as never having been completed but it is unclear how close to completion the project come. During recent investigation pieces of a roof vault and some fragments of paint have been found. It also appears as if details of the interior might have migrated between various churches on the Islands making it difficult to tell what was actually intended to be where.

What is interesting is naturally to which extent the material ruin can help us understand the earliest history of the Færoe Islands and thus, the earliest history of all North Atlantic tribes and cultures.

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Roykstovan at Kirkjubøur, Færoe Islands 2019

On our way to Kirkjubøur, or ‘The Church Village’, about an hours drive to the south west of Tórshavn, the capital of the Færoe Islands.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The small village had its largest economical importance in the Middle Ages. At that time it was the episcopal residence for the Diocese of the Færoe Islands and as such, was the spiritual centre of the society. In those days the village is said to have had around 50 houses that unfortunately were washed away by a fierce storm in the 16th century. This storm traditionally created an islet that contains ruins from that time. It is speculated that the church located the diocese here to establish a christian stronghold to block off the nearby heathens up the coast to the north west.

This area holds three main ancient memorial points. The oldest is the white Saint Olav’s Church. It is now rebuilt and renovated to some kind of mid 19th century style but its origin date to the 12th century, which makes it the oldest still used church of the Færoese people.

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The Tarv, Tórshavn, Færoe Islands

The Tarv is a steak house that serves traditional Faroese cuisine together with en eclectic selection of barbecued specialties. It is newly established in the former premises of Poul Hansens Heilsøla in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands. The white façades, to the left in the row.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Some of best restaurants in the Faroe Islands are clustered around its oldest center, the Tinganes, which has served as the governing center of the islands as long as written history can tell. Around this peninsula are the two harbours of Tórshavn. If given the opportunity to return to the Faroe Islands, I will definitely revisit The Tarv.

The Tarv is located at the corner of the larger of the two harbours of Tórshavn. It´s a restaurant that serves some of the best of Faroese raw produce, fish and meat, in one of my preferred methods of cooking, grilled. The essential list of side dishes that accompanied grilled meats included Béarnaise sauce and pepper sauce were enough to make my evening.

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Etika, Japanese cuisine with a Færoese twist, Færoe Islands

Etika, the only sushi restaurant in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, serving a fusion of Japanese cuisine with raw produce sourced from the Faroe Islands.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

With Japanese sushi restaurants being found everywhere on earth it was a given first thing to do to see what a sushi restaurant could do on the Faroe Islands, where access to fresh seafood – whitefish, salmon, shrimp, mussels, whale – are abound. Etika opened in July of 2009 and in 2019 seems to remain the only sushi restaurant on the Faroe Islands. Etika serves classic Japanese cuisine with a Faroe twist. Its modern and cozy interiors extends to its flavour innovations reflected in their dishes served. Just the tiniest hint of orange made the salmon maki intriguing.

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Dinner at Skarven

At Biffhuset, Skarven, Tromsø, Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

While Tromsø is known for its fresh seafood, in particular, its varieties of fish, sometimes it is that you just crave meat for dinner.

A restaurant that I’ve returned to several times is Vertshuset Skarven. A multi-culinary themed bar and restaurant, Skarven is known for its excellent ambience and friendly customer service. The dim lit and warm interiors of this restaurant are furnished in dark wood, in a colour scheme reminiscent of a different era, such as the use of a deep forest green for their menu hardcovers.

Dinner was fairly simple. An order of beef steak served with sides of potatoes and greens, and a draft beer. It was good.

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Sunday morning breakfast and Tromsø harbour walkabout

Having a morning single shot espresso Capuccino at Scandic Ishavshotel, located along Fredrik Langes gate 2, Tromsø, Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Weekend mornings are a fairly quiet affair at the heart of the city of Tromsø. Visitors from the larger cruise ships are most likely asleep onboard, and around the city centre hotels, there might be one or two tour groups headed off farther inland. On days of fine weather, exploring the surrounding fjords and sightseeing along the coastal regions can render some picturesque postcards for keeps.

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Farmer’s autumn market, Haga, Gothenburg

Saturday morning marketing in Haga, Gothenburg. Picking up autumn harvests for sale from farms in the surrounding region of the city of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It was a dark and stormy night…

Well, no. Not quite. But yesterday morning was a little wet and windy to do some proper marketing. Still, the charming cobbled streets of Haga in Gothenburg is always inviting, rain or shine.

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European food fair, Tromsø, Norway

My absolute favourite moment on the Saturday city walkabout. When the perfect song begins to play when you’re at the perfect food stall at the summer food fair in Tromsø. “Sugar, ah honey honey”, The Archies from their album Everything Archie’s. (1969)
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Tromsø is a little city that sparkles. Almost every other weekend sees some kind of exciting event. This weekend, 1-3 Aug. the Tromsø Skyrace was complemented by more grounded activities such as this petite European food fair held in the small square located adjacent to the city centre’s main shopping mall, Nerstranda. At Torgcentret, some couple of hundred meters from Nerstranda, was an ongoing Saturday farmer’s market and flea market.

This European food fair was exciting. Condensed into a small space, you could literally taste several of Europe’s most famous produce and dishes, from fudge, Belgium waffles served with raw, farm produced honey, to candied dried fruits.

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Art Café Tromsø: A passionate combination of art and food

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro and Ivonne Wilken, Art Café, Tromsø, Norway 2019

At Art Café with Ivonne Wilken in Tromsø, Norway. Ivonne is a writer and artist. Her sculpture exhibition titled “Connections” is currently on display at Art Café, Richard Withs plass 2, 9008 Tromsø, through the months of August and September 2019.
Text & Photo © Art Café, T. Altintzoglou, JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The summer months of Tromsø is warm, languid and beautiful. The university is closed for the summer holiday and this makes a marked difference to the atmosphere of this city, that has as its core activities, education, medical expertise and tourism. Tourists still dock off from the majestic looking cruise ships that pass by, but the crowds are fleeting and transient. What is, are the long hours of summer sun, to be enjoyed at one’s own pace if you’re spending your summer here.

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At Art Café Tromsø: Connections by Ivonne Wilken

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro and Ivonne Wilken, Art Café, Tromsø, Norway 2019

At Art Café with Ivonne Wilken in Tromsø, Norway. Ivonne is a writer and artist. Her sculpture exhibition titled “Connections” is currently on display at Art Café, Richard Withs plass 2, 9008 Tromsø, through the months of August and September 2019.
Text & Photo © Art Café, T. Altintzoglou, JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

I met Ivonne Wilken about a year ago, not long after I moved to Tromsø. Born in Emmen, Netherlands, Ivonne studied journalism in Zwolle and anthropology/criminology in Utrecht. She’s a writer, writing in both Dutch and English. You can find her book published in English titled VIS-A-VIS available in Kindle version. She’s also an artist. Her sculpture collection currently on display at Art Café is titled Connections, and it’s a personal exploration and expression of relationships.

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Skärhamn, Swedish west coast, summer 2019

At Skärhamn, about an hour’s drive upcoast from Gothenburg, sitting with a docked fleet of Norwegian wood boats, built in the late 1800s. These boats were part of the Hurum Trebåtsfestival 2019 that took place between 31 May and 2 June 2019 in Sætre, near Oslo, Norway. They are here for the Swedish Träbåtsfestival in Skärhamn.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It felt like an exchange of realities when we stepped off the ferry that took us from Strysö to Saltholmen. Saltholmen is the gateway ferry terminal that leads to the southern archipelago islands of Gothenburg city. We met with large numbers of people, most were crowds of tourists intent on a summer day’s visit the southern archipelago. The southern archipelago islands are exotic. With beautiful bathing spots and large yachts docked strategically around the islands, in front of equally beautifull coastal houses, the southern archipelago of Gothenburg is Sweden’s Côte d’Azur. So it felt surreal that we would escape this reality (if only for a few hours), and head in the opposite direction of the general Saltholmen crowd. We were taking a drive further upcoast to a small fishing village called Skärhamn, located at Tjörn. It’s one of my favourite summer-dos.

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Trave Lübeck, Germany 2019

Crossing a bridge, on the way to Marktplatz, Lübeck, Germany, July 2019.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It’s been about a decade since we last visited the market square in Lübeck city in Germany. In 2009, our visit to Lübeck coincided with the Harley Weekend 2009. The market square was absolutely packed with a crowd enthusiastic for both metal rock music and Harley Davidson motorcycles. I preferred the Harleys on display. A similar model to the Harley Davidson V Rod “Denim Black” custom by German company 69Customs caught my eye in 2009. A visit to the 69Customs website shows up some extremely drool worthy photos of tailored Harleys. I still remember in 2009, I met a woman who owned a Harley, who was there for the festival weekend. She totally rocked a black leather pants and high heeled boots with leather jacket look. She was almost 60 years old and shared that one of her great loves of life is to be on her bike, on the road. It beats normal retirement plans of old folks homes for her.

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Schweriner Schloss Localitäten, Schwerin Palace, Germany 2019

At Schwerin Palace, Germany, July 2019.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

We were headed to Lübeck, Germany, as one of Sweden’s favourite summer things to do. A visit to Lübeck for hypermart grocery shopping is practical for when you’re catering for large parties, summer or otherwise. Else, it is for anyone with food insecurities and believe that enough food to fill 3 family pantries for 2 years on any average day of the year is perfectly normal.

Since we’ll be in Lübeck, I googled the map to find places of interest to visit that was in driving distance from Lübeck. It was a Tromsö moment for me when I clicked on Schwerin and a gorgeous fairytale castle [1] appeared on screen as the feature of Schwerin. I fell in love with what I saw onscreen. It looked magic! I could not not visit this castle, especially when docked at Lübeck for a day or two.

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Styrsö festival weekend. 5-6 July 2019.

Styrsö, Swedish west coast, July 2019.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Tourism is certainly in full swing this summer at the southern archipelago of Gothenburg. 5-6 July 2019 marks the much awaited Styrsö Festival 2019 (styrsofestival.se) with 20 music artists performing over Friday and Saturday. By noon, the ferries were packed with visitors on their way to the islands, ready to party! With slight winds and clear skies, we’ll be expecting an electric evening with good music at Styrsö Bratten.

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TOPO Belém, Lisbon, Portugal

At TOPO Belém, Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Dining at TOPO Belém, on the 3rd floor of the Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB) is surreal. This bar and restaurant was a serendipitous find. The intention was to visit the modern art collections in the Museu Coleção Berardo museum, but thought to have a coffee just before the walkabout. We asked the information counter where we could find coffee, and maybe some food. We were told, “There’s a restaurant, you go to the 3rd floor.”

The CCB is both spacious, and built to accommodate a sense of space. It sprawls 140,000 m², catering for exhibitions, conferences and other activities/events. And you certainly got this sense of vast sprawl when looking for TOPO Belém. It was quite a walk to the third floor of the CCB getting to the restaurant. For a moment, it looked more like we were entering a different wing of another modern art collection. But restaurant it was.

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Convento da Ordem do Carmo, Lisbon, Portugal

Contemplating, at the Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Lisbon, Portugal.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It was suggested from a very young age, that I become a nun of the Carmelite Order. For the simple reason that my father was once in the brotherhood and it was a sort of tradition.

There were more questions that came to my mind even as a child. Was I to stay a Carmelite forever? Or could I leave the Order if I wanted to marry? Could I listen to music with ear phones under the habit whilst keeping my vow of silence? How was I going to meet a man if I was technically holed up in the Convent all day? Would I marry a Priest who would similarly leave Priesthood? That seemed the only option since circumstance and environment would make that the monastary grounds as most likely the best dating realm/scene. It was also understood that nuns of the Carmelite Order did not speak unless spoken to, in which case, if it was during certain hours of the day, they might not reply, but redirect the query instead. To whom would they redict the query if everyone in the Convent kept their vow of silence?

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Breads and pastries in Lisbon, Portugal

Padaria do Bairro, Rua da Misericórdia, Lisbon, Portugal
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

I could eat cake for breakfast. But when in Lisbon, I discovered that this eating cake for breakfast could well be epigenetics at play, because in Lisbon, a lot of people eat a lot of cake for breakfast. It felt very much like home when upon entering the morning breakfast spread at the hotel, where I was greeted with what seemed like two-thirds of the total breakfast spread dedicated to various breads, cakes and pastries. Breakfast could take some time in Lisbon, I thought.

The Portuguese do pastries so well that they simply did away with the cumbersome Danish (pastry), and the bread around the Norwegian Skolebrod to produce one of their conconctions of greatest repute, the custard egg tart, pastel de nata or in Lisbon, also known as Pastéis de Belém. There are variations of this around the globe, such as the Cantonese or Hong Kong egg tart, or in Macau, known also as pastel de nata. But pastel de nata is but one sweet temptation. Walk into any bakery or pasteleria in Lisbon, and you’ll find an array of gorgeously prepared pastries that even if you didn’t have a love of sweet bakes, would encourage you to sit and sample. And this, one could do almost anytime of the day, beginning at breakfast.

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Stalking Louis Vuitton since 2006

Lisbon, Portugal 2019

Along Avenida da Liberdade at 190A, Lisbon, Portugal.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The city of Lisbon has just about 3 million inhabitants, although on an average summer’s day on the streets, the crowd feels much thicker to meander through due to the number of visiting tourists. In 2017, Lisbon saw 3.2 million visitors explore its music, food and culture. There are various means of navigating the city’s smoothened cobbled streets, on foot, by bus, trams, tuk-tuks and not the least, by taxis that make for an affordable, more private option.

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Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland

Looking on from the church yard, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin was founded in 1191. This was just after the Viking period (800 to 1066) and in parallel with the Chinese Song Dynasty era (960-1279). My system was trying to recover from this step through of a time warp from 2019 into an arena that was built about 1000 years ago, when not a few meters from entering the cathedral, I turned right and was accosted by a cast of the skull of writer and satirist Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels written in 1726.

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Liffey around Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland

Coffee around River Liffey, in a sailing jacket and beach hat. Very Dublin.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It was a typical tourist thing to do. Read up on the top ten things to do when in Dublin, Ireland, and then make a to-do list. Most reviews recommended pub crawling at Temple Bar. I’m personally drawn to waterways and the ocean, so walking along River Liffey was certainly on my list. That, in combination with some kind of Irish scone with raspberry jam and cream in hand, would’ve made an ideal evening activity. So it was mostly a matter of logistics of how to have scone in hand, tea or coffee in another, and stroll down River Liffey without knowing much about how to navigate Dublin. As the evening turned out, it was that the city navigated me. My antennas were out for something sweet, something rich, something… chocolate. And where I found that, would be the starting point of my evening’s activity. That happened to be Dollard House, along River Liffey, at Gratten Bridge.

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