Monday, March 08, 2010

A Real Swedish Winter

The snow is starting to melt here in Stockholm. For the first time in nearly three months I saw pavement today on the sidewalk as I hiked to work in the morning. It was incredible. Hell, the sun was still up when I left work. Not just technically up as in there was still daylight, but I could actually see it.

It’s been a long winter. A cold winter. And I’ve loved it. As far as I’m concerned, snow is a requisite for any good winter activity. Like skiing. Or sledding. Or pelting people with snowballs when they least expect it. Always a good way to make friends as far as I’m concerned.

Winter in Sweden is a bit different than winter in Colorado though. Mostly because Colorado is a wonderfully shaped rectangle surrounded by several other rectangles in the middle of the US. There are very few large bodies of water to fight with.

I think that is why the news during the Swedish winter is so fascinating to me. Like the ferries getting stuck in the ice on their way to Finland. But the one that really caught my eye? A company that flies helicopters out to the archipelago and brings them to civilization when the water freezes over. I didn’t even realize people actually lived out in the archipelago all year round, so I was horribly impressed. Mostly because the idea of living on an island really intrigues me. Until I actually start thinking about it and my own personal neurosis which would probably drive me to cannibalism. Or something like that.

But I digress. Their math seems a bit fuzzy, considering they claim to have been doing this since 1996 and that ends up being nearly 10 years, but I’ll just chalk it up to a lazy website administrator and instead continue living in my fantasy world in which helicopters are needed to keep people alive in the Swedish winter.

Welcome to Sweden. And necessities.

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  1. Well, Södermalm is also an Island :)

  2. I live in Quebec Canada and once the water sort of freezes, crazy people like to ski doo across the lake/river to get to the other side in half the time. Sometimes they do it when there's a warning that the ice isn't thick enough. But their brains are and 3 times this warm winter.. people have disappeared into the water. Welcome to Quebec! And thickheadedness.

  3. I live on an island! But we have grocery stores and stuff.

  4. @Chantale. I was born and spent the first 10 years of my life in Montreal. I remember the winters there well :-).
    This winter, according to all the locals I've spoken to, is not typical for Stockholm/Uppsala area in terms of record amounts of snowfall. I love it too. Being from Canada, winter means snow! Not that I'm out with the rest of the population cross-country skiing but I appreciate it nonetheless. Winters on the coast in Montenegro, I felt, were punishment for the amazing and long summer season. Rain, rain and more rain for months on end. And rain as in torrential downpours, the kind where an umbrella is like going to a gunfight armed with a donut. So yay for winters and snow!

  5. A song for your ipod while walking in weather like this:

  6. YAY!!!!! Finally! It's being sort of spring here in hässleholm for the past 2 weeks!! I'm glad stockholm has finally joined us! :D

    I can wear a tshirt and jeans around. I MISS THIS WEATHER HAIRY!! :D
    I'm glad you can now, offically, see pavement. :D

  7. Stockholm is horribly ill-equipped when it comes to snow and ice.
    Now try living in Norrbotten, where we have winter 5 months a year (no joke.) with lots of both snow and ice, though a bit more survival experience in the area as well.

  8. @Ade – true, but söder at least has grocery stores.

    @Chantale – do they ever get nominated for the Darwin awards?

    @Eva – I Think grocery stores are key to living on an island. Otherwise there is that whole cannibalism thing to worry about.

    @SwedishJenn – seriously, seeing the city covered in white is pretty impressive.

    @Mazui – oh wow, that was incredible

    @Lost – well I haven’t quite gotten to t-shirt weather yet though. But getting closer.

    @Mamaya – I think survival experience is key if there is going to be 5 months of winter.

  9. There is an american woman called Julie Linddall (I think) she wrote a book called Living on my Swedish Island. Think it was in Stockholm.

  10. The best thing about making friends with pelting snow when they least expect it is you promptly get to know their personality and can decided if he/she suits you. You may 1) get slapped on the face 2)a look of disbelief 3) a smile 4)a snow ball back. I would go with type 3 and 4 if i ever try that method.

  11. Hey! I've been reading your blog for a while, and I've got a question for you. I'm a Swede living in Seattle, but towards the end of April I am going to be heading back for vacay for a week and a half. The question: my (American) husband has never touristed in Sweden and I have no idea what to show him. Any suggestions?

  12. He should be easily impressed by anything that is over 240 years old.

  13. Old isn't necessarily interesting or impressive. Let the Americans be the judge of what Swedish things are interesting to fellow Americans. It might not be what we like to present to tourists.

  14. Depends where you will be but if in Stockholm as an American i would suggest Old Town, wandering around looking in shops, have a cup of tea in a Konditori (sp?), go thru the palace.
    Wander round downtown Stockholm, go to Skansen, maybe Nordiska Museet.
    I love Drottingholm, i think all americans love that stuff!
    Go see Uppsala for a day possibly.
    Those are my immediate suggestions as an American who lived in Sweden for several years.

  15. Man, Swedish winters sound a lot more fun than Kansas winters. I really like winter, but here it can be terrible. Some days it will be 60 degrees out, then the next you can't walk outside without turning into an icicle. It's terrible.

    Also, "I'll just chalk it up to a lazy website administrator instead of continue living in my fantasy world in which helicopters are needed to keep people alive in the Swedish winter."

    I lol'd for some reason.

  16. So glad someone else shares my love of this great Swedish winter!

    Must say that the streets of Stockholm have been horrendous at times, but out here in the northern burbs, we always have lovely ploughed paths to walk on...

  17. @dj – I assume she didn’t eat anyone?

    @Tod – I might even give type 2 a shot.

    @T-anna – well I suppose it depends on where in Sweden you are going to be. But if in Stockholm I always suggest a couple of the big tourist things like Vasa and Gamla Stan, but the parks are quite nice at that time of year. Sigtuna is beautiful. Maybe venture out to the archipelago if youre feeling adventurous.

    @anonymous – agreed.

    @Mazui – I like old stuff.

    @mamma – glorious ideas. Except for the tea. I don’t like tea.

    @Victoria – Kansas just likes to keep you on your toes. The Swedish winter on the other and likes to beat you down and keep you down.

    @Lady – the streets have been a bit rough at times, but its been quite nice out there regardless.

  18. you can have hot chocolate!
    how did i forget VASA, have to see that. So incredible!

  19. true, probably one of the coolest museums out there