Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lund Sweden Recommendations

The first in a series of blog postings on nice places I have stumbled upon on my travels.

I have been to Lund twice in the past two years reviewing an interesting transport research project. The first visit was in June 2008 when the city was in the midst of their university graduation celebrations. Great fun with lots of noise. The second visit was last week (early March 2010).

One of the cool things for a transportation planner about Lund is that from Vienna you get there via Copenhagen (Denmark) airport. There is a train station directly under the airport and trains leave every 20 minutes on the about 45 minute trip to Lund (trains will be even faster next year when the tunnel under Malmo opens). The train drops you off in the center of Lund.

I stayed at the Grand Hotel on both my trips. The first time I was sent their by the hotel I had a reservation with because they were full (normally I would not stay in a place called "Grand Hotel" but boy was I wrong!). It was great, not cheap, but a wonderful old hotel (high ceilings, nice rooms, not so hermetically sealed windows, a great open staircase with art nouveau  stained glass - why take the elevator? - etc.).

The Grand Hotel has a very nice restaurant with a large selection of wines by the glass and the bar seems to be a favorite place for locals to gather. Breakfast is great, they even have fresh passion fruit! It's not cheap, but a great experience.

The old town in Lund is very nice to walk around. Lots of interesting buildings and crooked streets (many for pedestrians and bikes only). The cathedral is quite beautiful, don't forget to go downstairs to the crypt. There are nice parks to sit and relax: the weather was great in June, but I had less desire to sit outside in March.

On my first trip we had a very nice dinner at a restaurant called Stortorget, first we had a beer outside watching the graduation parade and activity on the square. Then we went indoors for a very nice dinner, somewhat French bistro style. I had venison and my colleagues had steak. We also shared a nice bottle of Italian wine.

On my second trip we had dinner in the Grand Hotel restaurant. I had an appetizer of smoked tuna with a cold bean salad, then the Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes (what can I say, I wanted comfort food!). I had a dessert that combined chile with passion fruit ... two of my favorite tastes.

The next night I went to dinner at Klostergatans Fisk, a combination fish market and restaurant. It was perfect. I was eating alone and the waitress remembered me from making a reservation. She showed me to probably the best table in the restaurant for someone eating along (in a warm corner, away from the door, with a view out of the window and the whole dining room). When was the last time you ate dinner alone and had such a nice table?

I started with an amuse bouche a small piece of smoked fish, fabulous. Then a superb Jerusalem artichoke soup with fish roe toast served with a great glass of French Chardonnay. My main course (photo above) was a steamed fish covered with fresh horseradish on a combination of boiled potatoes and beets served with an Alsatian Riesling (one of my favorite places and wines!). I ended the evening with a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a nice dessert.

I probably would never have gone to Lund if it had not been for the research project, but I would certainly go back to enjoy a peaceful day or two if I am ever in Southern Sweden or Denmark again. Here's a link to my google map of Lund Recommendations.

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