I'm now just hours away from hopping on a plane and heading back to the States. We had this day to tie up all our loose ends, pack and rest before the 16 hour trip. I made the most of the day and can't wait to tell you about it.
Let me start by telling you that last night I had the opportunity to go to dinner with a few of our friends from Toping. That city was most of our favorites because the people were so kind and in tune with what we were interested in. They drove 2 hours just to have dinner with us before we left! They chose a seafood restaurant for us to hang out. I was envisioning a 1 1/2 hour get-together with a simple fish dish and water and then time for bed. Boy did I underestimate the evening! When we arrived to our table we had the most magnificent view. I could see a large portion of Stockholm from my seat where where I sat under a heater and with a blanket draped across my lap. The mood could not have been more perfect. I was served a delicious, white pinot grigio that went well with the bread and olive oil dipping sauce we were served at the start of the meal. The man who put this together, Herman, told us not to order off the menu, that he had already ordered a special treat. Out came two waitresses with these huge silver platter full of lobster, lots of shrimp and oysters! It was two tiers of deliciousness! We also got several sauces to accompany the seafood that was fresh and tasted scrumptious. After stuffing ourselves full of amazing food we got to order off the dessert menu! It's possible this was the most exquisite dining experience I've ever been a part of. For dessert I ordered rhubarb with vanilla ice cream and a light sauce drizzled across the plate. The rhubarb was marinated in a sugar-based sauce that made it delicious. I also had hot, jasmine green tea to complete the meal. Magnificent. Truly a great experience and a chance for us to reminisce about the great times we've had in Sweden and become closer to these new friends we've while here.
Today Meg and I had a spa to visit. Yes, I feel spoiled these last two days by the great food and now a spa, but I assure I'm exhausted from all the presentations we've done on the state of Alabama, visits to television stations and traveling. Nonetheless, Meg and I thought this spa adventure before our long flight would do us good. We arrived at 10:30 and left about 3. I first slipped into a white robe, put my belongings in a locker and headed to my first treatment- an herbal cure bath. I was locked away in a dimly lit room with a wooden jacuzzi bathtub. There were candles in the small room and I chose to have an almond flower scented oil added to the bath to soften my skin and make the water smell decadent. I laid in the hot water for about half an hour before toweling off and heading to the sauna. I love the sauna! After this trip I know that I must have one in my home. I saunaed for about 15 minutes before heading upstairs for my hot stone massage. Goodness it was amazing. The masseur pressed hot stones into my muscles to loosen them up. My body is not in great shape after all the lugging my stuff around for a month and he could tell. He added oil to the rocks to allow them to slide frictionless across my body. The experience was so relaxing. Meg and I then met up to enjoy a light lunch, I had a green curry soup- yummy. Then more sauna and steam bath while reading a book. I didn't want to leave. Finally I decided it was time to rinse off, get dressed and head to the mall to buy one last-minute gift. The rest of the afternoon I've spent packing, as of right now it's not all fitting in the suitcase! So in a bit I'll head to dinner and then hit the sack before coming back to the Wiregrass. I'll be sure to write one last time when I get back to work on Monday to let you know that I'm safe and tell you about the long trip home. Thanks again for taking the time to read about my adventures- I feel a little less homesick knowing that you are sharing in my trip. Please keep me in your prayers as I travel home. Crossing my fingers the volcano doesn't act up!