Monday, June 8, 2015

Our first weekend ride: Drottningholm + the Blue Lagoon

Karamellan Drottningholms Slottcafe  |  Drottningholm Slott Palace Castle in Stockholm  |  Our first weekend ride: Drottningholm + the Blue Lagoon on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

For our first weekend motorcycle ride we decided to head northwest of the city, an area we hadn't really ever explored before, apart from one afternoon spent apple picking on a farm last fall. We had planned to find a place mid-way out on our drive to stop for brunch, but the only thing my trusty Google Maps revealed among the inner archipelago islands looked a bit too rustic for us. Then I realized we could just have brunch at the beginning of our ride, versus the middle. Somewhere closer in to the city. Somewhere the opposite of rustic.

Like the royal palace.

Turns out Drottningholm, one of the residences of the royal family, has a lovely little pavilion on the grounds serving all sorts of yummy treats perfect for brunch, so we stopped there first. And since there was quite a wait for our dishes to be ready, we had time to take a walk on the manicured lawn and alongside the waterfront.

Drottningholm Slott Palace Castle Cafè in Stockholm  |  Our first weekend ride: Drottningholm + the Blue Lagoon on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Drottningholm Slott Palace Castle garden in Stockholm  |  Our first weekend ride: Drottningholm + the Blue Lagoon on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Drottningholm Slott Palace Castle garden in Stockholm  |  Our first weekend ride: Drottningholm + the Blue Lagoon on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Drottningholm Slott Palace Castle garden in Stockholm  |  Our first weekend ride: Drottningholm + the Blue Lagoon on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Drottningholm Slott Palace Castle in Stockholm  |  Our first weekend ride: Drottningholm + the Blue Lagoon on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Drottningholm Slott Palace Castle garden in Stockholm  |  Our first weekend ride: Drottningholm + the Blue Lagoon on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
After we ate we hopped back on the bike and headed further out in Ekerö towards Munsö, where I'd read that a (not exactly natural) phenomenon known as Stockholm's Blue Lagoon was situated.

As soon as we had left the castle behind the highway turned into windy country roads, just like the ones I was used to driving along in Virginia. There were no big-box stores, very few stores of any kind, actually, and lots and lots of horse and sheep farms dotting the meadows we drove by. In fact, as we got closer to the Blue Lagoon, we saw quite a few people out riding their horses, including one young girl with blond hair flying behind her, followed by her dad racing along in her hoofprints on his bicycle.

When we turned off onto the road towards the Blue Lagoon, which I thought was a driveway to a farm (and which it technically was), the road suddenly turned into a pathway through a forest, which would have been impossible to drive on in a car, but it was no problem for the motorcycle. We wound among trees and bushes down the hill and around a few bends before we finally came upon the lagoon.

We were the only ones there (at first), so we spread our blankets out in a choice spot in the sun, turned our cast-off jackets into pillows, arranged our bottles of water, deck of Scopa cards, and my book around us and settled in for a little nap.

The Blue Lagoon // Den Blå Lagunen in Stockholm  |  Our first weekend ride: Drottningholm + the Blue Lagoon on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
The Blue Lagoon // Den Blå Lagunen and horse in Stockholm  |  Our first weekend ride: Drottningholm + the Blue Lagoon on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
But less than 10 minutes later we heard the sound of a horse crashing through the underbrush leading out to the "beach". The girl and her father we had seen earlier had just arrived and she galloped her horse right into the lagoon. R spoke with her father for a few minutes as we admired the sweet horse and found out that he has a knee problem so he takes in a little water therapy every few days and sure enough he suddenly began kicking each leg in turn.

Once he'd gone through his exercises, they took off. And then two dogs—a large, floppy-eared Golden Retriever and a teensy Chihuahua came tearing around from the other side of the lagoon. The Golden throwing himself right in to it, while the Chihuahua watched curiously from the sand before they took off chasing each other around on the sand before they, too, disappeared into the brush.

And so it was for the rest of the afternoon, every so often a few people arrived by motorcycle or horseback or on foot with their dogs trailing them for a little dip and some sun. But it'll still be a few weeks before it gets really crowded, so we enjoyed the stillness.

Until we suddenly got hungry with an irrational craving for Indian food. Being too faint with the image of naan bread and curries and pickles dancing around in my head I couldn't Google, so we decided to drive all the way back to Hammarby Sjöstad where we had remembered seeing an Indian restaurant near the waterfront, one we had never tried but had looked promising. Despite it being a 45-minute drive away, we entered it into the GPS and headed south.

When we finally arrived, I remembered how much I loved living there and really miss the atmosphere of that pretty neighborhood.

But given how delicious the Indian food was at Namaskaar (naan and paratha bread aside, which were oddly sweet), I'm sure we'll be back, though maybe next time we'll get our meal to go and set up one of our old picnics on the pier.

Indian food at Namaskaar in Hammarby Sjöstad Stockholm  |  Our first weekend ride: Drottningholm + the Blue Lagoon on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

All in all, a very successful first pleasure ride.

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One year ago: 1st day of SFI & Have needles, will travel
Two years ago: Date night, sort of & Turmeric tummy tamer

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J.