The swedes have gone the extra mile to make us (myself and two other teammates that both played soccer at University of Wyoming) comfortable. Right now we stay in a guest house in a nice little neighborhood a 5 minute walk away from the center of town. It's spacious, clean, and cozy! Of course, the girls got to go to IKEA to get some essentials for our home for the next 6 months (our own choice of sheets, towels, etc.). Also, we have a fully furbished kitchen and bathroom equipped with a washing machine! There really is nothing I can complain about.
Everyday we get to eat at the hotel in town. It's actually a Best Western, but you wouldn't know it if the sign wasn't displayed. Upon walking in there are real candles lit through out the lobby and dining area. On nice days we can eat on the patio decorated with flowers in dainty pots and oh man is there sun here!! No wonder the swedes are considered the world's happiest people. Though, I haven't been here in winter! Back to the food, it's actually delicious. We eat both breakfast and lunch here during the week. For breakfast they have meats, cheeses, yogurt parfait buffet, and they always have a massive basket of all different types of bread (which I naturally try to avoid-but of course sometimes I can't resist!). They also have hard boiled eggs, bacon, and scrambled eggs. I usually have yogurt w/ muesli, raisins, finely shredded coconut, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, chopped hazelnuts, raspberries, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of cinnamon! There is always fruit to grab too. They have a coffee machine, regular, coffee, and an extensive tea collection!
Now to lunch, which is amazing! When we first walk in for lunch we ask what is on the menu since we cannot speak or read swedish! I've picked up a few words and know usually what meat or fish it is, but no idea how it will be prepared. They have a different lunch every day with a second option in case you don't like there main dish. Then we fix ourselves a salad or grab a cup of soup. Once again, there is always is bread! The salad bar is on point. They have a mixed green house salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded carrots, etc. Then there are various other salads that change day to day. My favorite are their bean salads that often have cashews added- a nice addition if you ask me. We are served lunch shortly after we walk in and every meal thus far has been good. Usually it is meat with potatoes and vegetables, but I have also had tuna and salmon. They offer a lot of pork here, but it's tasty. And, if we are up to spoiling our athlete diets, they have ice-cream and coffee cookies/cake at lunch. For dinner we are on our own, but I don't mind because we like to cook! Carmen has made us tacos and last night I made some coconut curry stir fry :).
On to the town… Everything is walking distance for the most part, but having a bike is definitely a bonus (and yes we have bikes). There is the gym, grocery store, a couple salons, a theater, a bowling alley, a liquor/beer/wine store and other little shops including H&M! We are pretty much set. There is no Starbucks, but Vetlanda has their own coffee place. We go here A LOT. They call it "fika" and we will spend hours just sitting outside talking and sipping coffee. The place also has a bakery and tasty treats--but once again I try to avoid! The portions here are much smaller than the states.. and so are the people for the matter! Well, they are all tall, but almost none obese. As for going out, the hotel actually turns into a bar/club on Saturday nights. There are 3 different bars- a lounge area in the basement and the other two upstairs near the dance floor. They play house music, but I don't mind!! This means a lot of me jumping up and down and everyone wondering what's wrong with me.. but I thought that's how you dance to house music! Either way, great place for the young people to go.
The chairman of our team always checks in on us and makes sure everything is going well. He has asked if there is anything we would like to do etc.. and I said I wouldn't mind access to the golf course and where I could find some trails. He has shown us both. The nature here is unreal. I feel like I am living in a romantic novel, but where's my husband!? The streams, trees, flowers, wildlife, and lakes are plentiful here. The peacefulness they have translate to the people. Everyone is so nice! They are classy, educated, mannered, and mature-- think the opposite of a college town! But everyone lets loose every once in awhile.. after a few drinks anyway! Ahh the only drawback here,alcohol must be purchased before 2pm on Saturday or you will wait until Monday. Apparently the government believed there to be a drinking problem in Sweden, but not anything crazier than what I see in other places around the world! We are here to play soccer anyway so it doesn't really affect us.
Here would be a typical day for us:
Breakfast at the hotel
Bike ride to a turf field for a technical session with the local school
Lunch at the hotel
Gym sesh or see the trainer or Fika!
Get picked up by coach or teammate for team practice which is in the next town over
Watch champions league or whatever football match is on :)
Like I said.. I can't complain!
our lovely neighborhood
the guest house we stay in
one of our practice fields
Carmen (Canadian), Ashlyn (California), and myself
my cappucino at "fika"
Carmen and I on one of the trails
crossing the bridge
crossing another bridge
doing a back bend on a bridge
panorama of a bridge!