Saturday, March 30, 2013

IKEA beer and raw eggs

My third day in Stockholm turned out to be just as adventurous as the two before. Since I was in Sweden, I got the idea to visit an IKEA. It turns out that the first ever and largest ever IKEA is near Stockholm. Greg and I made our way to the free IKEA bus that picks up near our hotel. The front of the bus read "Happy Easter" in Swedish and sped away just as we walked up to it. That definitely wasn't very happy for us.

As a side note, despite the fact that many people in Western Europe are not religious, they are HUGE fans of Easter. I saw more chocolate bunnies and eggs here than I've ever seen in the US. But, it seems that folks here all get a week off of work for the holiday.

After the bus drove off, we headed for the train station. We took a crowded train to a part of the city that seems to have people from all over the world living in it. It was really interesting to see so many different cultures all together there. And, they still had some snow!

From there, we caught a bus. The IKEA is so big that it's a stop on the bus route.

Upon arriving, we rode up to the 5th floor of the building to the IKEA restaurant for lunch. They always have good, cheap Swedish food - and this time they had IKEA beer! After eating, we wandered through every level of the store. I recognized furniture, rugs, candles and even shoes that so many of my international friends have all over the world. It's amazing how big IKEA really is.

They even sell kitchens. In Germany (and possibly other countries), a kitchen is not considered part of the furnishings. You have to bring your own. I'm talking about the fridge, the kitchen cabinets, the dishwasher (if you're lucky enough to have one), and even the SINK. I cannot imagine how much harder moving would be if you had to install a kitchen every time!

After IKEA, we came back to our hotel to change for dinner. We decided to go to a nice Swedish place near the opera house. I had a shrimp dish and Greg had a beef dish. This meal turned out to reveal an issue that I'm fearful I may encounter a lot on my trip: raw eggs.

Earlier in the day, I explained to Greg that I seem to have an allergic reaction to raw eggs. He wondered what in the world they would be in. The answer is mayonnaise, icing, drinks, and more. The list goes on and on. Typically fancy restaurants use raw eggs for a reason I don't understand. And unfortunately the staff at most restaurants are usually uninformed that the eggs are in the food. When I asked if the meal contained raw eggs, I was told "absolutely not!" Then when I saw the meal, it had boiled eggs with a side of mayo. So I asked again, but this time I was more specific. I asked about the mayo. To the servers surprise, it did have raw eggs. Luckily, I wasn't exposed, but even having the mayo on my plate made me not want to eat.

After dinner, we headed to the Grand Hotel. They have an amazing bar with a piano player. Everything about the place makes you never want to leave. The pressed ceilings, the chairs, the eye candy. We ordered Argentinian Malbec and listened to the music. I had hoped to get a pretty cocktail, but their foamy tops made me suspect more eggs.

The one thing about wines in Europe that has really stuck out to me-- Every restaurant or wine store has wines from ALL OVER the world-- except the US. There are no California wines anywhere to be found. You can find liquors such as Jack Daniels anywhere, but no wines. I wonder if its because wine in the US is more expensive, but I'm not sure.

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