Back from Stockholm

Back again in Malmö from what turned out to be a splendid weekend in Stockholm. One of the highlights was a two-hour kayaking tour with buddy Henry around the island where the converted prison we were staying at was located.

At some point during our three-night stay at the old prison, which was nice and perfectly located, I reflected on how much pain and suffering must have gone down in the hotel’s cell rooms and elsewhere in the correctional facilities. It gave me pause about how far would be okay to repurpose an institution of this kind. In two hundred years, will it be okay to convert Auschwitz or some other concentration camp into a resort?

The Colosseum in Rome was an arena where some serious brutality was showcased for the enjoyment of Roman citizens up until the last recorded gladiatorial fights in the early 5th century AD. While not a hotel or a resort, the Colosseum (aka Flavian Amphitheatre) is one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions with more than 7 million annual visitors.


Stockholm

Back in a seductively beautiful early summer Stockholm. As usual, when I visit the city this time of year, I want nothing more than to move here. It’s been like this for decades. Not so much during the winter months, though. My masochism doesn’t extend that far anymore.

Yesterday’s 32,100 steps got me from the old prison Långholmen past Slussen to Fotografiska, then across to Skeppsholmen and Moderna (where I took the opportunity to vote in the EU election).

Then through Kungsan and via Söder Mälarstrand back to the prison and after a much-needed shower and change of clothes straight back to Mosebacke before a pitstop at the bar on top of the new Gondola restaurant. Finally, my buddy Henry and I had dinner at Brasserie Süd near Mariatorget. It was an all-around superb Friday in the capital.


Varvsstaden

Spent the better part of yesterday afternoon riding around the old industrial shipyard area now called Varvsstaden. It was too windy for aerial photos but I found a rooftop that sufficed nicely. My main focus was on the new red bridge across one of the harbor inlets. A version of this image will definitely make into the book about this area.


New Book: Male Aging
About eight months ago, while staying here at Levante which is one of the very best hotels I’ve ever been a guest at (seriously, it’s really that good!), I started a new project. I had turned 60 a few months before but was still struggling to come to grips with being that old and accepting how all the more or less subtle changes in my body and mind – which I’d certainly been aware of for a few years – were all part of a perfectly natural conspiracy known as “Andropause”, or male Menopause.

So, while I was at this amazing Mediterranean sports hotel again early last fall, eating well, and working out at least three hours a day, I decided to start writing about how I was experiencing the new, strange phase I was going through and in detail describe the various ways it was impacting different aspects of my life, physically, mentally, sexually and emotionally.

Eventually, the project evolved. I realized that I not only wanted to write for myself but also for other men my age who might read the book and feel some comfort in knowing that they aren’t alone in tackling this aging thing.

I’m no stranger to embarking on colossal creative journeys. That’s kinda been my MO: taking on challenges that are way above my pay grade and range of ability is what has kept my career so interesting and invigorating. The “I can do that!” mentality has been my motto for as long as I can remember. That said, this has by far been the toughest project of my career.

I’m extremely competitive with myself and get easily bored when I have too much repetitive work that doesn’t provide me with an adequate amount of “imposter syndrome” and “failure anxiety”.

Earlier today, from the very same spot where I wrote the book’s outline in September 2023, I sent the 250-page, 11-chapter manuscript to David Pahmp, my trusty Swedish book designer, Art Director, and fellow Visual Artist – someone I’ve worked with for more than a decade on at least a dozen book projects.

When the layout and cover art are finalized, hopefully sometime next week, I’m going to self-publish my new book on Amazon’s bookstore. And since a couple of iconic Swedish publishers have shown interest in the project when it’s available in Swedish, my ambition is to have it translated within the next few months.

ειρήνη (peace)

WarGames

Whenever I’m feeling nostalgic and just need a hit of something comfortingly familiar, I usually end up pulling out an old movie. One of the few perks of getting older is that over the years, I’ve forgotten enough details about films from my youth that rewatching them still offers entertainment value.

The screenshot above is from a recent rewatch – the 1983 film WarGames where actor Matthew Broderick hacks his way into the mainframe of a NORAD computer called “WOPR” from his bedroom. While full of plot holes and a typical over-the-top Hollywood finale, it’s still kind of crazy how a film from the ’80s can capture so much of today’s global tensions, armed conflicts, unprovoked aggression, you name it.


Preseason Greece

Back in Greece again to do a story about how wonderful this island is to visit during preseason – before it gets too hot and too crowded. Charlotte and I are staying at the lovely Levante, a four-star sports hotel in Afandou, Rhodes where I’ve been twice before and adore for its delicious Greek food, friendly staff, and a plethora of group and solo training options.


Mother’s Day with The Blue Angel

This seems like a fitting post for Mother’s Day. Yesterday, while doing some research for a new book project, I found one of the few films my mother, Swedish actress Solveig “Ina Anders” Andersson acted in. She only has a couple of scenes in the 1959 remake of “The Blue Angel” starring fellow Swede May Britt Wilkens, but she plays them rather well, I think.

May Britt was married to Sammy Davis Jr and according to stories my mother told me as a child, back in the day, both were frequent guests at my parent’s parties when we lived on Alfred Street in West Hollywood

For several reasons, some due to really bad choices, some beyond her control, and some genetically embedded within her, my mother was a horrible parent. But as I get older and understand how complicated life often is, I feel less and less angry about how badly she screwed mine and up my brother Tyko’s life.


Long Run with Kevin & Casey

I woke up at 5:00 am this morning, which isn’t unusual per se. If I’m heading to the gym, which opens at 06:00 am (Mon-Fri), I typically get out of bed around then. However, it’s Saturday, so the gym doesn’t open its doors until 09:00 am, so I went for a long jog instead. It was my first 10k jog of the year, so I took it slow and easy. No records were broken, but neither did I break any bones. I’m slightly sore in my sixty-year-old hips, though.

I ran to a beautiful Scandinavian sunrise along the beach, all the while listening to what might have been the simultaneously funniest and most interesting episode of Kevin Roose’s and Casey Newton’s excellent show, Hardfork, since I started listening about a year ago.

The podcast version is here and the YouTube variant is here.


Colorful China

This is from the Li River near the city of Guilin in China’s southern province of Guangxi Zhuang. Several years ago, Charlotte and I spent a couple of weeks in the region to produce a comprehensive travel guide commissioned by the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet’s travel section. Interestingly, the guide is still online here.

When domestic tourists visit places in China (and elsewhere in Asia), they often dress up in costumes that reflect local culture and heritage – as well as provide themselves with nice selfie opportunities.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting China five or six times and enjoyed each visit. It might be time to return.


CAR WASH NOSTALGIA
As far back as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by old school car washes where once the car has gone through the wash and dry part of the tunnel – via an automatic conveyer belt – a crew of uniformed men took over.
The car wash closest to where I lived as a child on Alfred Street was down the steep hill from my old school Saint Victor’s on Holloway Drive.

I preferred taking the shorter route home via the Bowling Alley on Santa Monica and La Cienega, but once in a while, I’d walk by the Santa Palm Car Wash on Santa Monica Boulevard.While two guys polished the car’s headlights and cleaned its windshield and rearview mirrors, two others vacuumed the car’s floor and then used large blue rags to clean the interior windows, seats, side panels, dashboard, and steering wheel

There was always a radio playing loudly and the men working there seemed synchronized. I’m sure the physically exhausting work was made just a little bit easier to endure with some good tunes.

This short video is from a fully automated but still visually intriguing car wash we visited just a few days ago here in Malmö.


The Hopper Prompt

I wrote the following “creative brief” (prompt) to the artificial intelligence bot ChatGPT4/DALL·E the other day to see what it would come up with:

Create a photorealistic image of a 1950s-style American diner/sandwich shop with hungry guests served by staff in classic waiter/waitress uniforms. Most people are sitting at a bar eating their sandwiches with huge smiles on their faces. There’s a jukebox and several pieces of Americana on the walls. Use Edward Hopper’s classic painting “Nighthawks” as a visual reference.

Despite that I did not specify that the composition should be based on an actual scene from the 1950s, OpenAI’s LLM (Large Language Model) and generative image creator did just that. Hence the lack of ethnic diversity. As an African American friend pointed out, in those days when Jim Crow laws were still widely (and often brutally) enforced, only white people would be allowed in a diner like the one above. My buddy’s comment prompted me to look up when those segregation laws were rescinded. It was as late as 1968 when I was 5 years old. I’m more shocked by that fact than I am impressed by the AI-generated image.

The US certainly has a shameful past and I am not convinced that the country’s future is looking a whole lot brighter.



Book Signing Yesterday

This is from yesterday’s book signing. The event went well and it was nice meeting so many people who follow my work on I Love Västra Hamnen and then signing a book or two for them.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who came by yesterday and bought my new book, “Västra Hamnen, Mosaic of Memories: Moments to Remember, to Love.”. Thanks also to Kent Haglund and his great team at ICA Maxi Västra Hamnen for another fun collaboration. The book is available in the store and feel free to contact me if you would like to have it signed!

Wishing everyone a beautiful May Day!

Photo: Charlotte Raboff & Anders Hallbeck.


New Book: Västra Hamnen 2004-2024

So this new book has been on my mind for nearly a decade. My last book about the area where we live in Malmö, Västra Hamnen, was published way back in 2015. While we were in Asia last fall, and even more so once we got back, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Lightroom catalog called Västra Hamnen where over 4000 RAW images are stored.

Hope you enjoy the short video above. Want to watch the Swedish language version? Check it out here.

You can order the new book from these two online stores:

BOKUS

ADLIBRIS

AKADEMIBOKHANDELN


Dead Moose & Grandma Agnes

I don’t think much of it, but once in a while, when I have time to take a deep dive into my photo archive, I realize that I do have a fairly well-rounded body of work. Not even sure if I can call it a career, but if I did, I’d say that the best part of it has been that I’ve been able to visit and experience so many places and meet and get to know so many interesting people.

But I’ve also been privileged to encounter some truly magnificent animals. Like this majestic moose that I saw chilling somewhere in a thick forest of southeast Sweden.

My grandfather Eskil was an avid hunter and spent much of his autumns hunting in the mountains of Halleberg and Hunneberg near Vänersborg in southwestern Sweden. I remember one afternoon in the late fall of 1973 or 1974 during a prolonged visit to Sweden, when I saw the bloody carcass of an enormous moose lying on old newspapers on my grandparents’ cold, cellar floor.

The dead moose was cut in half, and my Grandmother Agnes was bent over the front end of the animal’s body, cutting and slicing it with surprising precision and strength. She was like a master butcher, and her enthusiasm was a little scary. Agnes was wearing an old fur hat, yellow gloves, grey, knee-high boots, and an old wool coat. The coat was buttoned down, but its lapels stood upright and probably provided some protection from all the blood and fluids from the cuts and tears she was accomplishing with Grandpa’s sharp hunting knife.

Now and then, the knife’s blade would sparkle in the bright light from the cellar’s naked lightbulb.

Even though I was completely captivated by my grandmother’s remarkable strength and determination, I just had to leave the basement and the smell of death that stifled the room.

I ran upstairs where I opened a window and breathed in the crisp autumn air coming in from Örtagårdsvägen, the peaceful suburban street where my grandparents lived just outside of Trollhättan.

None of my friends on the street below knew what was happening right then in Grandpa and Grandma’s basement, and even though I had made it up to the second floor, I could still clearly hear Grandma’s chopping and puffing as she worked her way through the dead moose.

That the half-corpse in the cellar was Grandpa’s share of the moose he and his hunting buddies had shot was obvious to me. But I wondered if it was my Grandpa who had fired the fatal bullet(s) that killed the moose.

I’m guessing that there’s considerably more meat on the back half of a moose, so maybe Grandpa Eskil wanted the head as a trophy and let his pals take the rest.A few days later, my Grandmother asked me to fetch a bucket of ice cream from their giant freezer in the cellar. The smell of death was almost gone by then. When I pried open the freezer’s wide lid, I saw several neatly wrapped white packages of what I assumed were meat cuts from the dead moose.

As that winter transitioned into spring, there were fewer and fewer packages in the freezer. I checked almost daily, even when ice cream wasn’t on Grandmother’s mind or menu.

I don’t remember that we ate a whole lot of meat that winter. Then again, maybe I’ve just suppressed the memories of too many moose meals. But I’ll never forget the slaughter in the celler and my grandmother Agnes unmistakable carnivorous demeanor.


Printing a new Book

If all goes as planned and promised, 500 copies of my latest book will arrive from a Latvian printing company later this week. For several previous book projects, I’ve flown to Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius to approve the first pages that come off the Heidelberg printing presses prior to the main print run. Not this time.

Though I took a semester of “printshop,” an elective at Bancroft Jr High in 1977, I have next to zero knowledge about offset printing.

About the above photo:

One afternoon, while serendipitously walking along Calle Neptuno, a busy, non-tourist street in the historic neighborhood of Havana, I came across a wonderful print shop.

Sadly, I wasn’t mindful enough to capture footage of this place, so you’ll just have to imagine the cacophonous sounds coming from all the old printing presses, street traffic, and chatter between the men and women working the shop’s antiquated machines.


Gothenburg

Back in Göteborg for a short visit, mostly helping Charlotte’s parents but also spending some time with friends. This is our third visit in almost as many months and I’m sure we’ll be back soon again. It’s a bit of a cliché, but there is definitely a uniquely tangible upbeat vibe and positive attitude in Göteborg that I don’t know exists anywhere else in Sweden.

Shot the above view from on top of my old neighborhood “Johanneberg”, a couple of years ago.


Sunset Season

Sunset season is definitely upon us and hopefully, we’ll also get to enjoy some warmer temperatures soon. In about a week, my new book covering Västra Hamnen 2004-2024 is arriving from the printer in Lithuania. Looking forward to seeing how it turned out.


Love of Italy

Monday. Evening. Random Italy.

Arrivederci, Italia. We’ve once again had a blast. Sure, I love Portugal, France, and Spain, too. But only Italy can simultaneously provide all my senses with so much intense pleasure. But like with any passionate relationship, it tends to get a little overindulgent.

I first fell in love with Italy way back in 1983 when I traveled like a hobo from north to south courtesy of Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, the then famously unreliable, state-owned railway system. Even though very few Italians I interacted with in those days spoke English, communicating wasn’t that hard. Hand gestures, some stick drawings, and a lot of smiling were yesteryear’s translation apps. They worked slowly but flawlessly.

Some thirty years later I have yet to visit a country that offers as much to life’s great delights as Italy. Food, wine, art, music, design, architecture, fashion, geography, history – Italy really has it all. Yet this wonderful country of Medici, Caravaggio, Galilei, Bocelli, Armani, Fellini, and Ferrari, not to mention Modigliani, DaVinci, or Rocco Siffredi, the country’s notorious erotic star stud, is still ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the Eurozone. A haven of nepotism, bribery, and ties between public officials and Cosa Nostra, the mafia, the mob, the made men.

But maybe that’s just it. Maybe it’s the country’s rebellious character and unwillingness to trust or be subservient to authority that brings forth these amazing creative talents and extraordinary passions they so fully embody. Even some of the men and at least one woman who captained the vaporettos we took between Venetian islands had larger-than-life personalities. Watching how restaurant hierarchies work, even at simple trattorias, could be like having front-row seats at an opera. Drama queens everywhere.

Within almost every Italian man lives a Berlusconi and a Mario Andretti. In every woman resides a Maria Montessori and a Gina Lollobrigida.

Since my very first visit at the beginning of the 1980s, Italy has had 30 governments. Thirty. Yet the country is also one of the continent’s largest economies and produces some of the world’s most well-respected brands and goods. Go figure.

Just think of the fact that when Rome was in its peak era, pagan tribes in what is now Sweden were still forging their blunt Iron Age tools.

As relatively slow-paced and laid-back as Italian life is in places like Pienza, Cortina, Capri, Siena, and the villages of Cinque Terra, I’ve found that it’s in the cities where the full-throttled Italian experience is best observed, absorbed and enjoyed. Naples, Milan, Rome, and to a lesser degree Florence all offer a level of edginess that keeps the blood flowing and pulse beating.

Staying on the Venetian island of Giudecca, right across Canale della Giudecca from Dorsoduro, turned out to be another one of Charlotte’s brilliant location strategies. Giudecca is as calm and local as San Marco is bustling and touristy. But you got to have a little of both.

The last time we visited Venice, about 15 years ago, was also in April but not nearly as hot and crowded as this time around.

According to a few locals I spoke with, temperatures as well as the amount of tourists will soon almost double. Yikes!
Flying less than two hours from Copenhagen down to Venice and then taking a comfortable bus to Cortina in the Dolomites (Italian Alps) was easy-peasy and a great way to combine skiing and hiking with a few days of amazing Venetian canal culture.

The days when a delicious meal cost 5000 ($4) lire are long gone. A pizza in Venice (or Cortina) is on par with what they charge in Malmö. But then there’s the taste factor…


Venice: La Giudecca

Our Italian spring-themed travel story culminates in La Giudecca, the quiet island located just across the Venetian Lagoon with spectacular views of Old Town and where mostly locals live. The combo Cortina-Venice is really quite unbeatable. Coincidentally, the very last episode of the brilliant new Netflix black and white mini-series “Ripley” which is based on the author Patricia Highsmith’s book series, is played out right here in Venice. And though there is no footage from Cortina, the exquisite resort town has a fairly important role among the show’s many locations.


Spring Ski in Cortina d’Ampezzo

I’m wonderfully exhausted. As an integral part of our travel story about what makes legendary Italian ski resort Cortina a destination worth visiting in the spring shoulder season, I spent four glorious hours skiing the pistes of Faloria Cristallo today. Since the winter season here in the Dolomites is more or less over, the remaining lifts will close in a couple of weeks, there were no crowds on the hills and no lines to get back up to the top chairlift station, which was terrific as it allowed me to get in a ton of runs before the spring sun melted the snow to slush.


Charlotte’s Birthday

Today is my greatest love Charlotte’s 59th birthday and as per tradition, we’re celebrating in Italy. This time we’re in the Queen Of The Dolomites’, Cortina d’Ampezzo to produce a story about this storied destination.


Across the Öresund Bridge

I moved to Malmö in 1998 and Charlotte the year before. The Öresund Bridge above was completed and opened in 2000. With the exception of 2005 and 2014, we’ve lived in Malmö for nearly 26 years. That’s longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in the world, including Göteborg, and almost twice as many years as Los Angeles. Time flies…

Before the bridge was built, we’d have to take a ferry to Copenhagen Airport (CPH) and on a few occasions, a helicopter shuttle from a heliport located not too far from where this was typed.

Aside from having the always inspiring Copenhagen so close by, for folks that travel as much as we do, the Öresund Bridge has brought with it so much convenience. Without it, I’m not sure we would still be living here. While not the most spectacular bridge in the world, its logistical worth makes it absolutely invaluable.


Elephant on Koh Chang

I came across this photo while looking for something totally different and it got me thinking.

I had hired this beautiful creature and his mahout for the cover photo of a travel guide we had been commissioned to produce by a Swedish newspaper. In addition to the elephant, I’d also hired a local Thai girl wearing traditional garb to ride on his back. Everything went well and the cover is still available to view here.

The above scene comes from after the shoot when the female elephant was taking a well-deserved bath in the sea off the coast of Koh Chang (aka Elephant Island, named for the island’s shape, not the popular Thai beer).

If memory serves, at the time, the elephant was a teenager and even if more than 20 years have passed since our collaboration, she might still be alive. Hopefully in a peaceful sanctuary.

Qigong in Katterjokk

From a magical return to Lapland a couple of years ago. Weather-wise, Sweden is currently being pulled back into winter. It will pass, for sure, and once spring arrives for real, all will once again be forgiven. Personally, I can’t wait to be able to practice Qigong outdoors again. Haven’t decided if I will have time to reactivate my Qigong group here in Malmö. Time will tell.


Two New Books

Though undiagnosed, I’ve known for a long time that I’m somewhere on the spectrum. I probably had a feeling I was way before there even was a “spectrum”. It’s something most creative people deal with more or less consciously. Over time, I’ve become aware that whatever acronym applies to me, it can be harnessed and used as a positive, creative force. Case in point: I’ll have completed two new books in April. One is a 248-page visual retrospective that documents the 20 years we’ve lived in Västra Hamnen. The other is a 240-page guidebook for male aging. Of all the books I’ve published this far (22 and counting), these two were by far the most challenging – especially the one about aging which I began writing last September and has yet to be given a final title.

The photographic book will printed this week and I’ve just sent out my first pitch email to a publisher for the aging book. I feel cautiously optimistic yet keeping a level head about how it will be received. The book’s subject matter is unquestionably important (in my mind, anyway) and I’ve done my best to cover all the interesting stuff. But regardless of how it goes, finishing it is liberating as I’ve got a few other books in the works…


The Venue vs The Artist

Yesterday, before lunch, I spent some time at Hasselblad Center, the popular photography museum/art space in the center of Göteborg.

One of Sweden’s most acclaimed photographers, Anders Petersen, is having an exhibit there called “City Diary”.

I’m not sure what to think.

First of all, in my opinion, there were way, way, way too many images. Maybe I’m just no longer capable of absorbing so much visual information (150 photos) in one small place. That’s probably probable.

Secondly, and this might have to do with the sheer amount of photographs on display, the vast majority of Petersen’s subjects (and the compositions he used to portray them) just didn’t involve me. I’m sure there were plenty of interesting backstories. Perhaps I was just missing context in the sea of imagery.

Documenting people in society’s “underbelly” is almost always intriguing – until it comes across as being too staged, posed, and completely disconnected contextually from when and why it was captured. That’s how I felt about most of the exhibit’s photographs. Which is likely why the show is called “City Diary”. Petersens is sharing his personal visual diary, leaving the rest of us in the dark, detached.

Maybe the exhibit’s title is just a retrofit. 

When Elle and I visited Copenhagen Contemporary a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned to her that whatever we saw enjoyed cultural legitimacy just by virtue of being exhibited there.

I kinda got that feeling yesterday while trying to figure out if Petersen’s exhibit was as important as the venue it is shown at claims it is. I’m not saying Petersen isn’t an important photographer or documentarian. But as a retrospective, I think “City Diary” could definitely have been more emotionally involving. Sometimes, less is more.


Jungans in Göteborg
Before heading down south to Malmö this afternoon, I ate a delicious shrimp sandwich topped with roe from northern Sweden (Kalix) at Jungans, one of my old hangouts from a different life. A life when I lived in Göteborg.

What used to be a very approachable place to have a simple egg and mayo sandwich with a hot pot of coffee when I was between 16 to 20 years old, has now, some 40 years later been transformed into a somewhat posh a la carte restaurant.

In my heyday, the then-owner was an elegantly clad older woman from Poland who lived just down the street from Jungans. She had an enigmatic, possibly snobbish quality about her and if memory serves, only employed young teenage girls.Jungans was my go-to place every day of the week and where all kinds of rendezvous took place; from blind dates to all-day hangovers with my friends at the time. ¨

Everything changes and I wasn’t particularly sad to see how Jungans had metamorphosed into something barely resembling my old favorite café. After all, I barely resemble the young dude who sat there sipping coffee some four decades ago.


Back in Göteborg

Spending a few days during Easter in Gothenburg with family and friends. Always have mixed feelings about this city. On the one hand, it’s the first hometown I had after leaving L.A. Than again I got tired of my repetitive life  here. Still, given the opportunity and the right location, I would move back. If for no other reason than for the optimistic atmosphere and bundle of good friends we have here.


Creativiity

As focused as I have to be while writing the aging book, when it comes to working on the Enigmative series, I feel so liberated about how little of the creative process relies design.

I’m slowly beginning to understand some of the fascinating biological and neurological underpinnings of the creative drive. It’s literally mind-boggling to think about how the unique wiring of a brain and the interplay between its different parts facilitate the process.

Creativity is, of course, a reflection of the world around us –shaped by curiosity, fueled by a need to express ourselves and empowered by education and the technology that allows us to bring ideas to life.


Enigmative: Haywire
When I saw this image while going through captures from Berlin, was intrigued by how abstract it had come out. It’s a seven second exposure and it was the erratic motions I made with the camera during those seconds that created the movement of light sources. The composition made me associate with chaos and how tumultuous the world seems to be right now.

Then again, I find a decent amount of soul-softening solace in remembering that the world has always been in a state of flux and that haywire is the norm, not abnormal. There have always been wars and there will always be some that see only violence as a solution. There will always be people who need a religion, who need to believe in a dogma. Regardless of who or what it is.


Titanic Jump

About twenty years ago, I jumped from our local viewpoint, for some reason called “Titanic.” I’m not sure what the name refers to – possibly the ship, possibly the adjective.

In any case, when I saw this clip in my archive, the kid’s fearless jump intrigued me.

As we get older, we tend to lose much of our courage and willingness to be foolish. To me, this seems counterintuitive, as the older we get, the less we have to lose.

Then again, with age comes frailness and a propensity to injure ourselves. So, the mind tells the body not to take too many risks, leaving us feeling safe but bored and lacking the adrenaline rush we enjoy when we push our limitations, jump, and take a leap of faith that destiny will still be in our favor, as when we were young.


American Brunch in Malmö

At last, a revelation in Malmö for the American palate! Earlier today I was introduced to Brunchoteket – where my decades-long search for a great American brunch in Sweden is finally over. Imagine a meal where every single bite is a wonderful reminder of an American diner. The Full Brekkie was my choice today, and it turned out to be a perfect assembly of fluffy American pancakes with the rich flavor of real Canadian maple syrup, delicately scrambled eggs, the finest Swedish bacon, and sourdough toasted to a perfect crisp. Friends, this was not merely a meal; it was more of an experience – generous, satisfying, and utterly delicious.

Despite a bustling atmosphere, I enjoyed exceptional service with a smile, thanks to a team of the most cheerful gals I’ve ever been served by in this city. For those looking for the quintessential American brunch in Malmö, look no further. Brunchoteket is not merely recommendable; it’s simply a must. Oh, and this is one of those dog-friendly restaurants, too.


Adieu Kutaisi

After an early-bird and relatively smooth flight from Kutaisi, Georgia, we are now back in sunny Sweden. I’m now even more intrigued by the Georgian people, culture and architecture and look forward to visiting again. This was my view from the Rioni River that runs through the city during yesterday’s 25k walk.


Blooming Magnolia’s in Kutaisi
I enjoyed a traditional Georgian lunch at Magnolia Restaurant with Mrs. Raboff today during an unusually cold afternoon spring rain. Georigia’s diverse culinary delights didn’t happen by chance. Positioned at the heart of ancient trade routes that bridged the East and West, Georgia was perfectly placed to adopt the most delicious recipes from the Greeks, Mongols, Turks, and Arabs who traversed along the country’s portion of the Silk Road route.

The blooming magnolias in front of the restaurant and namesake hotel were quite the site to see – and smell. Speaking of which, among what we ate today was a local cheese that tasted like it was half buffalo mozzarella and half feta. An absolutely perfect blend of two of my favorite cheeses.


Back in Georgia

Flew into Kutaisi in the Imereti region of Georgia yesterday afternoon. I’ve been yearning to return to this remarkable country ever since my last visit in the fall of 2021. The 4-hour direct flight (in an Airbus) from CPH to KUT was very smooth.

Kutaisi is one of the world’s oldest cities and while perhaps not as formidable as the capital Tbilisi, it’s still perfectly situated for excursions westward to the Black Sea and up north to the Kaukasus mountain range. Might try to do both during my week here.

Last night we had a fabulous dinner at Palaty (პალატი), a somewhat upscale yet traditional and very relaxed Georgian restaurant not far from our hotel. Looks like it’s going to rain today, so I’ll have plenty of time to do some editing in the aging book. I’m in the part of the tunnel where I can now actually see the light at the other end.

Colchis Fountain above is one of the most amazing public art installations I’ve ever seen. It’s so wonderfully over the top.