Showing posts from February, 2015

Bahamas Blue

I've visited the Bahamas many, many, times but I don't recall being so struck by the startling blue water and sky. Every where I stepped on the small island of Bimini, I felt enveloped by the dreamy blue landscape. I was so taken that I coined the phrase Bimini blue whenever I became awestruck by the island's beauty, which was every time I strolled along the shore. When I arrived on the larger island of Nassau and realized that the scenery was still the same serene blue, I decided to change it to Bahamas blue. There are 700 Bahamanian islands so I don't know if all of them share the same beauty but there was enough on these two to soothe any winter-worn soul.

Next Stop: Bimini

I'm extremely excited to visit the Bahamian out island of Bimini this week. Located 50 miles off the coast of Florida, this little island is the closest Bahamian island to the U.S. but its old school culture and history is a world away. I'll be tracing the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who wrote part of his Nobel Peace Prize speech while relaxing and sailing in Bimini and Adam Clayton Powell, the first African American  to represent New York in the House of Representatives and also an activist and minister who introduced MLK to his island retreat. Bimini is also noted as the place Ernest Hemingway loved to game fish and where the Lost City of Atlantis possibly originated.  So I'll have lots to post about! Look out for pix and updates from this fascinating trip soon.

Sampling Semla in Stockholm

The quickest way to understand a place is to dive into the culture. In Stockholm, I was extremely lucky to be invited to experience the Swedish ritual of fika . An important part of Swedish life that involves enjoying coffee and pastries with friends, family or co-workers, fika reveals the Swedish love of home life and sweets. Strolling the narrow streets of Stockholm, I noticed that every cafe was crammed with people lingering over coffee and big, puffy, rolls. Turns out those rolls, called Semla, are a hugely popular part of the Lenten ritual of fattening up before the fast. Only people seem to gobble more Semlor (plural) than they practice Lenten fasting these days. I was fortunate to arrive in February, just when the Semla craze stirs up and even more fortunate to have two Stockholm based friends, Lola Akinmade Akerstrom  and Germaine Thomas  to invite me to fika  and guide me through the tradition.   Fika (pronounced fee-cah)  is like a coffee break except it's not

A Glimpse of Stockholm's Gamla Stan

When I landed in Stockholm for the first time, I was surprised at how familiar it seemed. Perhaps it was because of the daily snowfall and the people rushing through streets and train stations bundled against freezing blasts. This is my Chicago reality and Stockholm really was not that different at all. Gamla Stan, the city's old town and city center, was where everyone suggested I start my exploration. So I hopped on the metro and arrived in the winding labyrinth of Gamla Stan streets. This sculpture is the first thing I spotted as I climbed out of the metro. Stockholm is a city filled with art and aesthetics but this was my first up close look at an art piece. I was charmed by the whimsical lines and the parents sheltering a smiling child. I thought it was a good representation of Stockholm's overall welcoming vibe. Gamla Stan was built in the '1300s but most of the buildings date from the 18th and 19th century. The cobblestone streets were narrow and slippe