This blog post is an excerpt. You can read the whole post at A Romantic Getaway at Ystad Saltsjöbad at the Expat Blog at Sweden.se.
Have you ever heard about the one marshmallow/two marshmallow dilemma?
In the late 1960s, Stanford professor of psychology Walter Mischel ran a series of tests on children to measure their levels of self-control. He would allow them to choose a treat of their choice (one of which was a marshmallow), and then leave them alone in a room with the treat. The children got a deal, though: if they could resist the temptation to eat the marshmallow until the researcher came back, they would be rewarded with an extra marshmallow. Pretty sweet deal… if you can resist temptation.
When I was young, I was a classic two-marshmallow kid.
Lindt truffles, for example, were a special treat for extra special good behavior. I would carefully bite the little ball in half and save the second part for the next day. My mom thought there was something wrong with me. (Or just as likely, that I had been switched for another woman’s child at the hospital.)
These days, the two marshmallow behavior manifests itself in my habit of spreading out special treats and events so that the calendar is evenly peppered with things to look forward to. The bigger the treat, the more likely I am to postpone it so that I can look forward to it for a long, long time.
Which brings us to last weekend, when Simon and I finally took advantage of the romantic getaway to Ystad Saltsjöbad we had been given for our wedding a mere five months or so ago.
Part of me is tempted to just say, “HOOOWEE! WHAT A WEEKEND!” and leave it at that.
You guys have seen The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, right? So you know what life is like in Sweden. Just take Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and put it in a spa, take out the violence and abuse, and add ridiculous amounts of eating, and you’re so there. Catch you on the flip side.
Ok, fine. Back to Ystad (which is, by the way, pronounced something like EEE-stahd, in case you were wondering.)
Ystad Saltsjöbad is practically an institution in Skåne, rich with history like other legendary hotels such as Sun Valley Resort in Idaho or the Biltmore in North Carolina. To be honest, though, since we weren’t getting any spa treatments, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Actually, the main thing I was looking forward to was eating (obviously) and getting to wander around in a robe and slippers. Which I did.
Everyone gets a complimentary set of monogrammed slippers plus a bathrobe to wear, and people just shuffle around the premises with this outfit and the contentedly glazed-over expression of cult members fresh out of the latest brainwashing session. It’s fantastic.