Dec 15, 2012 - Stockholm 2012    No Comments

Snowy Saturday

The weather today was very much like a lot of the days have been since I arrived. No sun, lots of snow and windy.

But today I enjoyed it a bit more. Yes, I was cold at times but it was fun to walk around in the snowstorm (they are forecasting 11-15cm more tonight before it ends) during the Jul season. The subways were packed today and the stores were equally as busy. It’s definitely getting in to the last days of the shopping season. Interestingly late night shopping only started yesterday which is really different from back home. They don’t really emphasize gifts as much as they do back home but don’t get me wrong. Swedish people love to shop.

I went to a bunch of stores today starting with the area I wrote up about yesterday called Vasastan. The snow was already falling by the time I got there and the wind was quite high as well. There was a pastry store that was cooking food on the sidewalk (looked like eggs, onions and meat of some type) and handing out portions of their dessert to people walking by on the sidewalk. Of course I took it! I walked around a bit more and then made my way back to this store and bought 4 things for a whopping 100SEK!! ($14) I didn’t realize it until afterwards how much these cost. But you know what? They are amazing!!! Here is a picture of both of them.20121215-232247.jpg

One is a kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon bun but in my opinion way better!) and the other I couldn’t find the name for. As you can see it is cylindrical and in fact has coconut inside. That is my favourite to say the least!! So good!!



After that I walked around a bit more and continued south for at least 1/2 hour and then got to the point where I needed shelter as the snow was really picking up! I ducked in to the subway and went to Saluhall. It was definitely unique. It had all types of food stalls and people were sitting and eating the different things they had on display. I picked some things up (who knows what Santa will bring to my readers) and headed out to shop some more. I went to a bunch of places that I hadn’t gone in to yet. Some of them were really expensive places although that describes the majority of shops here. I don’t know how people afford to live here but one of the guys at work told me that Swedes just simply live life for today and don’t worry about savings. It shows.

As I was walking around I bumped into a lot of Santas!! It was hilarious. They were surprisingly sober! Good times!


The statue became Santa as well after they left!20121215-233159.jpg


Not much else to say other than it was snowy. Did I mention that? ;-) 20121215-232457.jpg

I am looking forward to Ricky Gervais tomorrow night and during the day I might just do some more shopping but have decided I better go to the Vasa museum before I run out of time!


Dec 15, 2012 - Miscellaneous    No Comments

Friday Night Pizza

Sort of a tradition with the kids, I thought I would go for a good pizza on Friday. I was recommended a place called Birkastans in the Vasastan part of Stockholm. One of the guys (Vikas) said he always brought visitors there whenever they were in town. Sounds good to me. I was warned that the place is small and busy but more importantly, the pizza size was insanely large. Sounds like a challenge.

I didn’t leave until 6:30 or so as I am finding I am putting in 10-11 hours a day at work to try to finish things off before I leave. Anyway, Google Maps app saved time and everything as it easily routed me to the location using voice prompts and is tied in to the traffic database for accurate train transfers etc. Amazing app.

This part of Stockholm I hadn’t been to and I think I will go there today. It had some really cool shops and a definite neat vibe to it. The apartment buildings are very cool and reminded me of parts of Paris with the grand boulevards and buildings encompassing the street.

I ordered some sort of pizza as it was busy and I felt the pressure of ordering as the guy was super busy with the phone ringing all the time. I added an Abro beer (a Swedish staple) and waited. The pizza finally came in the packed room and I dug in. I laughed at how large the pizza was as it was a good two inches bigger then the plate underneath it. I was texting with my Dad while I ate. The challenge of saving some for tomorrow was dismissed as I blasted through the pizza and finished it. Yummy!! (it was a thin crust Italian style pizza).20121215-104412.jpg

I then walked around the area to remove the gluttony I just abused myself with and took some cool pictures.

With that, I bumped in to an outdoor rink and some kids were playing bandy on the ice. I Skyped my parents for a bit and then the phone was acting up due to a low battery and cold weather.

Anyway, time to go on this Saturday. The plan is to do some shopping at the Saluhallen in the Ostermalm area of Stockholm and then just wander around aimlessly as I usually do. I am not sure if I will do anymore day trips but will do some reading today about some things I might be missing. (For example, I still haven’t gone to the Vasa museum.)

Ta ta!




Dec 15, 2012 - Miscellaneous    No Comments

Saint Lucia Day

Just some quick posts in succession. I find the days go really fast and I have great ideas of posting but never do. :-)

On Thursday, it was St. Lucia Day here and my day started by watching the television where I saw some traditional songs being played on one of these televised radio shows. The main singer had a crown with candles and I found out later that in fact is how she is represented everywhere on this day. A quick history lesson, Saint Lucia is one of the very few Saint days here in Sweden but has turned out to be quite a big deal. It represents the countdown to Xmas and should only be celebrated first thing in the morning when it is dark (that is not too hard given the sun doesn’t rise past 8am right now)

The history of this young girl is in fact quite dark. She was burned at the stake for her sins and since then it was deemed that the bad spirits roamed free at night during the time from Lussi Night (Dec 13) to Yule (Dec 24) and that children and others should be wary of attracting bad spirits to them based on their actions through the year. Sound familar?

Anyway, long story short at work they provided Lucia Buns (saffron buns with raisins) and Glogg (warmed wine) and as usual it was yummy.

Here is a shot of the setup at the lab.

Q ;


Dec 10, 2012 - Miscellaneous    No Comments

Monday Schmunday

Well I had an important meeting today. Things went really well despite my trepidation. I’m glad to see that all the hard work done over the last five weeks looks like it paid off. I am pretty proud of myself and feel what I’ve done here was really important.

As the days wind down here I can’t believe it’s been five weeks. It really seems like yesterday that I hopped off the plane jetlagged. I know for other people it seems longer but I’m glad I have been busy here to make the time fly.

I had another nice long talk with my parents tonight. They always bring a smile to my face and its nice to talk to someone at night. Barbie and the kids are so busy at night that it’s hard to sync up too much without chaos getting in the way. I understand that and only 13 more days until I come home.

Well, time to go to bed …. talk to you later.

Dec 9, 2012 - Miscellaneous    No Comments

Weekend Warrior

Another crazy weekend for me as I spent every possible moment cruising around the city.

As mentioned, I went to the Drottningholm Palace where the Royal Family lives here most of the time. It was unbelievable and pictures really don’t do it justice. Once again I took the wrong direction on the bus route so a 30 minute bus ride turned into an hour+. I wasn’t happy but it turned out great in the end.

The palace grounds are right on Lake Malaren here in Sweden. With the snow cover and the stark contrast of the white and the dormant trees, I was blown away. There were lots of people on the grounds as this weekend was the only time that the Xmas market would be on the grounds. It was fun to see the various Swedish foods and crafts that are special to this time of year. The culture is very cool in all aspects and I think they do Xmas right. :-)

Once I walked around the grounds I went in to the palace itself. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a beautiful castle and has the UNESCO world heritage site designation for good reason. Almost every room I went in to had a painted ceiling and unique coverings (paintings or drapes) that were mind boggling. The royal family lives in one main wing of the palace which I couldn’t go to. (Go figure!) A nice place to live if you can manage it.

I then went home at around 6 or 7 pm after getting a ticket to Ricky Gervais who plays on the 16th. I finally convinced myself that it’s worth the money as I probably won’t have the opportunity to see him live in the near future. Should be fun.

Today I went and walked around the city centre again doing some shopping (or looking for future purchases for everybody) in some stores I hadn’t been in yet. There is no question that the prices of clothes are astronomical but the fashion is so unique. I thought of my nieces who would lose their minds here with the sheer quality and quantity of the shops here. Finally at around 3 or so I left for the Hovet arena which is the original hockey arena for the area that was build in 1952 I believe. It had been recently renovated but I found it quite dated anyway. The price of the ticket was about $225 SEK which is about $30 CAD. They were great seats but there wasn’t too many people there. The AIK team is not very good and people are not showing up because of it. The hockey was fast though and enjoyable. AIK lost by a score of 2-0.


After the game I simply went straight back to the apartment but of course I had to get some milk and cereal for the week. I am drinking so much milk for some reason as I go through 2L in about 3 days. I didn’t think I drank so much but judging by the milk that Barbie doesn’t have to buy now, I believe I am the culprit.

Two weeks to go and I am now counting the days.