“I know 54 words!”

Mirinda has organised to have a holiday day every week for the next umpteen weeks. She was due holidays but because of the stupid virus, we’ve not been on holiday with the same fury as usual. It was a case of use ’em or lose ’em. She booked her days off to coincide with us being in Sweden.

Today was one of those holiday days. (Mind you, she did make two work phone calls.)

To celebrate today’s holiday, she found a dog friendly café on a small island, not far from us. In fact, when Mirinda rang to make sure they were open and asked if dogs were welcome, the woman on the phone answered “Absolutely!” as if a dog was mandatory.

We cranked Max up and headed for Notholmen Island.

The café itself is over a bridge from the ‘mainland’ and to get to the bridge, we had to walk through the most beautiful park. It was made even more beautiful by the autumn colours gradually falling from the trees.

We also had to park in a chargeable car park. I downloaded an app, and we were good to go very quickly. The price for parking was very low. The app was like RingGo but different enough to prove initially quite confusing. Though not for long. Hopefully, car parks throughout Stockholm will use the same app or I’ll be loading them all over the place.

The park was once part of a palace. The palace, which looks exactly like a chateau from the outside, is still there, perched high on a hill.

During the summer, in non-plaque years, you can visit Tyresö Slott (Tyresö Palace). Usually, in the winter, you can still visit the museum level though, this year, only the restaurant is open. And maybe the toilets.

The palace dates from around 1630, built by the Lord High Steward Gabriel Oxenstierna, passed down through various hands and then, eventually sold to someone before being donated to the nation. It looks rather stately.

Later, Whatsapping with Denise, she said that she may have visited the park and Slott when she and Trace did their Scandinavian holiday.

But, before we discovered the Slott, we had a date with a small but perfectly formed café on an island.

And it was, quite simply, delightful. The staff, the food (brilliant broccoli soup with blue cheese), the assorted buildings but, possible most delightful, the actual island.

After a bit of nourishment (and coffee) we wandered around and through the island. It was quiet, peaceful, perfect. We will definitely be returning.

As well as book holidays and find dog friendly eateries, Mirinda has also been learning Swedish. Word by word she is building up her vocabulary. While everyone we’ve met so far has perfectly good English, it’s nice to be able to use Swedish for conversational niceties. Like ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, thank you very much’, ‘awesome’, etc.

While ordering our soup, Mirinda threw a few Swedish words in, impressing the woman behind the food bar. When asked if she spoke Swedish, Mirinda proudly proclaimed that she had learned 54 words. The woman behind the bar was well impressed.

Of course, I’m always impressed by my wife, so I don’t count.

Today, this happened

On October 26, 1902, a group of Russian Polar explorers, left Bennett Island and were never seen again. They left behind a note saying they were all well and healthy with enough provisions to survive up to 20 days.

They had been on Bennett Island since July 21, 1902 and, while there, had charted it, built a shelter and waited to be joined by another group of Russian Polar explorers. The second group arrived but the first lot had left.

Bennett Island belongs to Russia these days but it was discovered by George W De Long in 1881, and he claimed it for America. It was named (by De Long) after the chap who financed his expedition.

Obviously George couldn’t have named it after himself given there was already a Long Island. Not that it stopped a whole group of islands being called the De Long Islands.

But, back to 1902 and the ill-fated Russian expedition.

The group was headed by the famous polar explorer Baron Eduard Toll who, along with a whole bunch of other explorers, was searching for the mythical Sannikov Land, a phantom island in the Arctic Ocean. Sannikov had been seen but never found.

First spotted by Yakov Sannikov in around 1809, it remained as elusive as the icy mist that lay all around it.

Then, in 1886, Baron Eduard Toll claimed to have seen it.

In 1936, a Soviet ice-breaker headed off to try and find the elusive Sannikov Island but never did. One theory is that it was a mirage of Bennett Island. But, like the Marie Celeste, it remains a mystery and an intriguing one at that.

Perhaps Baron Eduard Toll did make it to Sannikov and his descendants are living there today, glorying in milk, honey and lots of ice for their vodka.

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