30 September 2010

The historic route

From Uppsala one can go north on a road that an ordinary road map will designate simply as route 272. Where route 272 ends one can continue north on route 83 - all the way to Ånge, some 90 km (~50 miles) west of Sundsvall. This way is believed to have been used as a road for at least 2000 years, which is why it is known as 'the historic route' - and why it has its own homepage.

We had heard that it was supposed to be a beautiful journey through Swedish landscapes and had also been talking a little about renting a car to drive some of the route (the entire trip is 400 km (~ 250 miles)). However, it wasn't until we discovered that the route passes through the Swedish town with the incredibly beautiful name Harbo, that the planning got serious.

In the end we decided on another road trip with our faithfully returning (summer) camp visitor.

Lake Tämnaren

Just outside Harbo we made a stop in Kalvnäset natural reserve where we ate our cinnamon rolls by the shore of lake Tämnaren.

The Dal River

Later the trip continued to Gysinge where the route crosses the Dal River and passes through a corner of the national park Färnebofjärden. Here we had the opportunity to learn a little about hydropower by the aid of an interactive installation.

How a mill can exploit hydropower

In the last hours of daylight we came the very pretty way over lake Storsjön into Sandviken (a city which sadly didn't inspire us to visit it for long) before we headed for Gävle and drove home along the coast.

Down town Sandviken

25 September 2010


Lisbeth on Grinda

Just like we made a trip in the archipelago early in the summer, we also went for a boat trip one of the last summery days in Stockholm this year - and by coincidence it was the last day of the summer schedule for the archipelago boats. It turned out we should count ourselves fortunate for bringing along the schedule - the summer schedule had already been replaced by the fall schedule at the boat stops out on the islands (a similar stunt was pulled by SL, the public transport agency in Stockholm county, for the bus schedules).

We went to the island Grinda, where we had lunch and went for a walk around the island.

Tove and Tue eating lunch - Tue is wondering how they can call a piece of toast with a breaded fillet of fish 'fish burger' on their menu..

18 September 2010


Tomorrow it is election day here in Sweden (we'd like to point out that tomorrow is a Sunday, which is interesting to us because in Denmark elections are always held on a working day). Three levels of administration are up for election: the municipal councils, the county councils and the parliament. As non-Swedish European Union citizens we have the right to vote for the first two of those.

Which municipality one gets to vote in is determined by which municipality one has residence in on August 20th - so we belong in our new municipality. By following the campaign we have learned a few things about Lidingö.

Important issues on Lidingö are summer jobs for juveniles, more dog-toilettes and not least the opening of a second branch of the national alcohol monopoly Systembolaget! Did we hear anyone say 'privileged municipality'?! Lidingö is known as the Island of Health, hence all the parties are in favour of protecting the green areas, a green municipal economy (whatever that entails) and organic foods for the young and the elderly alike.

Where the differences between the parties are apparent, is in what they believe is best for the environment. One of the biggest questions is the commuter infrastructure of the island: should they spend some 100 M$ on blasting a new road tunnel out of the bed rock, expand the existing roads, or simply go all-in on public transportation?

Even though education and schools have been a key issue also in the national campaigns we have been quite mystified as to why it was so central to everybody on this island that the school meals be locally prepared from organic produce - until we suddenly remembered that in Sweden (unlike in Denmark) warm meals are eaten for lunch.

Unlike in Denmark, where you receive one very long ballot containing all your options upon entering the polling station on election day, they use different ballots for each party here in Sweden. These ballots are often distributed by the parties themselves along with the rest of their campaign material in the weeks before the election. This is just one reason why it is easier to vote before election day here in Sweden than it is in Denmark. One can bring along the relevant ballots when going to vote, but all the ballots are of course available at the polling stations as well. The first option is obviously the more anonymous. We have noticed that the Swedish system has been criticised in the Danish media for not being sufficiently anonymous. The solution to this problem is as obvious as it is simple: take all the ballots you like and no one will know which party you are going to vote for.

Campaign posters are used quite somewhat more moderately in Stockholm than in Copenhagen (although that doesn't say much), but the old joke of adding a little extra bonus to the odd campaign poster is obviously also known here. On the other hand we have been running zigzag between the various campaigners every time we've gone to a train station, shopping mall or public square this last week before the election.

05 September 2010

Crayfish party!

The crayfish party season begins on the second Wednesday of August in Sweden and it is impossible to be oblivious to this when shops and restaurants become filled with crayfish napkins, paper bibs, and paper lanterns - in addition to the precooked crayfish of course.

We hosted such a party one Saturday in August - fortunately assisted by some of Lisbeth's Swedish collegues. Unfortunately our photos of the serving tray filled to the brim with crayfish came out blurry but the above photo illustrates the phenomenon quite well: the crayfish are eaten by hand and washed down with light beer and aquavit - preferably while singing songs! - and to add some substance to the meal, bread, aioli, eggs, salad and Västerbotten-pie are served as well.

All if this while wearing silly hats of course: