Travel truly does educate. If I hadn’t flown to Gothenburg, I wouldn’t have known what this Fika thing is about. Fika is the Swede’s practice of taking a break from a day’s work and making time for friends. It’s a socialisation that relies heavily upon coffee (or tea) and a little snack. It’s more than a social behavior, it’s an important culture that, as I’ve read, the Swede’s are very proud of.
The first time I read about fika, I thought it was like taking a siesta minus the sleeping part. It is still, essentially, taking a break. I thought that this Swedish practice was making time for one’s self, and just letting go of the worries we’ve encountered in the day for a mere hour or so – while sipping that deliciously smelling coffee of course. Well, it is kinda. I was almost there. As I read more and more about fika, though, I learned that doing it by yourself is simply just a coffee and snack break. Although they’ve revolved fika around coffee as its most important factor, it isn’t just the mere drinking of coffee; its second most important factor is being able to make connections with the people who’ve gathered with us.
But still, I wanted to try fika. I thought I’d been doing fika all along whenever I went to coffee shops alone during my layovers. So I told myself, “since I’m in Sweden, I’m doing Fika too.” So I strut myself to Haga, Gothenburg’s famous neighborhood, known for it’s one street that’s lined with cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops. It also had a Kawaii shop – yes, a shop filled with kawaii items like Sailormoon’s clothes and TONS of Pikachu products – and a Unicorn and Sons store, which sold multiple items with either pictures of unicorns or unicorn horns on them! EXCITING.
But I digress.
So after setting foot on the street and admiring the trinkets on display and the people sitting in the restaurants, I searched for my very own cafe to kill time in. By the end of the street stood Cafe Hebbe Lelle, which sold Sweden’s famous cinnamon buns known for their bigger-than-normal size (for a vague point of reference, they’re bigger than my face). Since I have such a sweet tooth, I was lured in. I ordered that and a cappuccino, and spent my afternoon in that one spot.
Work has not had the best effect on my physical and mental health lately, so I wanted to go away for a few days keep my mind off things. With the privileges I’ve been given, I could have gone anywhere I wanted to but I chose Bali. Particularly, Ubud. The place is peaceful, popular amongst yogis, and heaviy strewn with villas in the middle of rice fields.
I wanted to be somewhere where I could only see green and blue, where I could just sit for hours staring at nature’s beauty and not get bored, and of ourse where I could only breathe in fresh air. Ubud was the perfect haven for me.
A friend of mine shared her experience with one villa called Santosha Villas and Spa, I was such in awe of what she had told me that I booked the same place for my little getaway. There were a few bad reviews about the place, but I couldn’t have cared less as long as I was in the middle of nowhere taking time for myself.
When I got to the villa, I thought of how perfect it was for me. The size of the room was enough for two or three people even though it was only me staying there. The bathtub and shower were situated outside and had a sunroof. A round wooden table was perched on the porch, perfect for a healthy breakfast and greeting the early morning breeze. The only negative thing about the place is probably the fact that you wake up to tiny lizard droppings, and when it rains, multiple insect wings. It’s understandable though when you keep in mind that you are in the amidst flora, the breeding ground for all the tiny forces of nature.
I’ll give the place a 4 out of 5 stars. Although the food choices were limited and there’s a certain stone-y, moldy scent in the bathroom, nothing beats the personal care that the hotel’s staff provide. They make sure everything you want is put in place. Need a Yoga instructor at 8 a.m. sharp everyday? Say no more. Want that breakfast delivered to your room while you shower at 9 a.m.? No worries. Need a taxi in 5 minutes? You got it. Want personalized tour that’s not even part of the hotel provided package? They’ll make it happen.
Santosha also perfectly set the ambience of the place that it’s become the main bait for me. From their yoga station, to their swimming pool you’ll hear calming music so soothing to the ears that it feels like the day isn’t going slow enough. Just reliving this entire experience makes me want to quit work and move over to Bali.