Hello blog world,
Yesterday was a Sunday, and a free Sunday all to myself. Back to its well-behaved best, the Sun was shining in a sky of a blue colour that I’ve only witnessed as bright as here in Stockholm, and that same sky was cloudless, something as a novelty to the boy who has lived most of his childhood in England’s wettest big town.
I was going to a gym/swim combination, but I felt it wrong to let this fantastic weather go to waste. Why be inside in the increasingly precious hours after all?
Before the Sun went down, I took myself on a lovely walk around amazing Akalla, how I love this place I live. Since the riots in neighbouring Husby (note, not here), it has been funny to see that politically this area of Stockholm is getting a little bit more attention in upcoming-budgets.
Some money spent on the area has already been put to good use. On one of my many walks around this beautiful city, we have on occasions stumbled across these outdoor gyms in the middle of forests. This is perhaps not so glamourous, but a lovely spot nevertheless. Located on the edge of Akalla’s edge, this outdoor gym actually sits on the grounds of Akropolis FC in the 4th tier of Swedish football, and you have to squeeze through the gates to get in.
Now, British readers will tut at the idea of an outdoor gym being any good. In the UK our conception of these contraptions is one of ridicule and failure. The most popular ones placed by councils are green, metal, and have no resistance at all. They feature treadmills where you run on hollow cylinders and exercise bikes where it feels you are powering through the air, with no contract to anything else around. They are, unsurprisingly, built to ensure all possible safety in using them is assured, ensuring nobody can hurt themselves using them. I still can use them a little bit – the pieces that make press ups and sit ups structured are handy, and one of the weight machine uses your weight at the resistance, but you can’t help but feel their only real purpose is to take off 2 or 3 lbs from those mums carrying around two pre-school kids to the park for a day.
In Sweden, this is serious stuff. They are made of the finest timber and they are certainly not play things. You are bench pressing, completing chins, lifting huge logs above your head. Even though I’ve been training for a few months now, and am finally once again stronger than the dearest lady, those big logs at a little bit daunting on some of the positions. Not daunting enough though for the favourite games of little kids to jump up on them in groups to pull them down, and then get whipped up as one drops off the beam. We just would never take that risk…
The sit ups here are at a 30 degree angle, and give you a tough workout. There are these jumping logs you have to try and get onto, and I’ve seen people tackle the tallest one direct from standing adjancent, to jump to the highest clearing the kids I teach in Year 4 easily. And it’s lovely, and it’s looked after, and most importantly I am still feeling my thighs and triceps the evening after.
Yesterday was just another day of feeling so lucky to be here. I felt lucky to have a fun night out with MFKlubben, I felt lucky to sleep until 10 (although, I was in bed at 4…), I found new weird fruit on offer in Lidl I just had to buy. And then saying out pumping the guns and jumping over the hurdles until the sun set before crossing to the nearby swimming pool to set some PB’s on the waterslide and teach myself how to do underwater handstands (ish – I’m getting there, but I’ve always had a funny turn about going over myself and I daren’t even try a forward roll).
When I give people, like my parents, a tour of why this lovely suburb is the best place in Stockholm to live, I now have another little tourist attraction to show them, one full of fun and, as I try to climb into bed, full of ache and pain as well…