Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Swedish city of Helsingborg lies across the Oresund sound from Danish Helsingør with its castle Kronborg, which Shakespeare famously transposed into Elsinore, home of Hamlet, Gertrude and a host of other dysfunctional Danes. The only time I'd been to Helsingborg before was for the wedding of the coach and his charming wife.

Until today.

It was gray and clammy, but the lilacs were in bloom. And, quite coincidentally, I was taken to lunch to the very same place in which the wedding supper was held nearly four years ago. It hadn't changed a bit, all pale painted wooden rafters and many-paned windows and a view of the beach and changing rooms far out in the water, built at a time when men and women wore heavy woollen bathing suits: cold bath houses, the Swedes call them.

It made me long for my friends, living an ocean away, in Boston. Who, in a cosmic and mind-boggling coincidence, were in fact married four year ago this very day. Cue theme music from The Twilight Zone.

The Swedish word for the day is Skåne, which is the southern most county of Sweden, usually translated as Scania. The local accent - Skånska they call it - is thick with gargly Danish vowels and difficult for my poor ears to understand, accustomed as they are to the Stockholm way of speaking.

- by Francis S.

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