Browsing "Miscellaneous"
Nov 22, 2012 - Miscellaneous    No Comments

The Siren

Every morning I get a present from the citizens of Stockholm. It’s not their famous chocolate, coffee or even their amazing water out of the tap (it’s unbelievably smooth to the point I can’t describe it). It’s a siren.

The siren is for the office building under construction across the street from the apartment. Apparently it’s for the deaf workers who are unable to see what time it is to start.  (ok, I jest). The worse part is that it can be started anywhere from 6:40 to 7:00am. I think they are supposed to start at 7am but apparently the bylaw officers don’t care.

The closest I can come to describing the sound is the start of an air raid siren. In fact, I think that is exactly the sound. The worst part is that the guys work 7 days a week.

Oh well. It could be worse.

Today was pretty much the same. I went for a 5.5 km run through a neighbourhood nearby. It was kind of cool to see the houses people have albeit it was pitch dark.

Still trying to figure out where I am going this weekend. There are still some cool day trips to check out and the Xmas stalls apparently start soon with the local artists pawning their creations.

I am getting wordy …. a parting picture of some Swedish policemen outside the Swedish parliament a few weeks ago. What caught my eye is the Hero HD camera mounted to the helmet of the office on the left. Pretty cool.

Nov 20, 2012 - Miscellaneous    No Comments

Long day at the office

Pretty tired today for no other reason then it was a long day at the office. I was a bit frustrated today so I went for a run a way I have never gone yet. The route was pretty hilly but it was pretty nice going through the trees and stuff and everything is all lit up so I felt pretty safe.

I took a route across one of the highways on the superwide path paved and its really smooth. A couple of guys passed me that were using the dryland trainers for cross country skiing. They sure whizzed by me but struggled going up the hills. :-)

Not much else to say but good night! Another day another dollar tomorrow.

Quick view of the office I worked out of today to try and get some quiet time in.

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Nov 19, 2012 - Miscellaneous    No Comments

Monday – 2 weeks into trip

Just a quick note that I have officially been here for 2 weeks. I can honestly say it doesn’t feel that long but yet I get a strange feeling of normality with my weekday ritual of  getting up, go for a quick run, eat breakfast (cereal always), watch Dirty Jobs in Swedish (still funny) and leave by 8am. Arrive at work within 5 minutes (I am that close), get cup of water (Stockholm’s water quality is off the chart good right out of the tap as per any guide-book about the country) and answer emails from the day/night before.

I definitely look forward to the weekends where I can wander around freely.

Trip ideas and suggestions are welcome. I am looking at doing a day trip to Helsinki within the next few weeks. Funny to even consider that. Return ticket price? $140 all in. Crazy cheap.

Night!

Nov 18, 2012 - Miscellaneous    No Comments

Lazy Sunday

I stayed up late working on the website’s innards by upgrading lots of backend stuff on the server as I have ignored things for the last year. :-) I went to bed around 1:15am and paid for it by getting up at around 9:30 as mentioned in my last post.

The thing about sleeping in here in Stockholm at this time of year is that this means that I have missed about 2-3 of good light (notice I didn’t say sunlight because that is pretty rare right now). So I kicked myself in the butt and got out of the apartment around 12:30. The first thing I saw was an old mini. Sweet looking ride.

My plan? Nothing really. I decided to go down towards the main shopping district and eventually get some groceries. The trip is about 20 mins by subway so I have to make sure I don’t get too much and on top of that, things that could melt. I feel like a student more and more.

I got off at the Hotorget stop and cruised down the longest pedestrian street called Drottninggatan and browsed through the Hötorget market square where there is a flea market on Sundays. I didn’t see anything of value (big surprise).

 

I grabbed some groceries and headed home. I got a nice text from the family showing me what they ordered for breakfast in Arnprior where Connor is playing hockey today. It brought a nice smile to my face.

Well, I must watch the end of the Formula 1 race and hopefully Vettel will crash out of the race. (no one gets hurt obviously).

TTYL

Nov 18, 2012 - Miscellaneous    No Comments

Day Trip to Uppsala

For those not aware, I am in Sweden for 7 weeks right now for work and on the weekends I have been trying to get out and see Sweden as much as possible. Today was the start of my second weekend here in Stockholm.

I decided to go north today and visit Uppsala which is the fourth largest city in Sweden and is considered primarily a university town. The trip to Uppsala took about 55 minutes or so. I had to take a bus and then two trains towards the Arlanda airport which then connected to the central station in Uppsala. The train was pretty fast and I asked the conductor what the top speed was and he replied it was 200 km/h. Not bad at all.

I took the trip today with Adrian who is my colleague at the company and we started off from the train station. The first thing we saw that was unbelievable was the sheer amount of bicycles parked outside the train station.

There must have been at least 200 bikes all lined up for their owners. We first thought that there must be a good reason for this but throughout the city most bicycle stands (and I don’t mean 4-5 openings in a bike rack …. I am talking 20-30 openings) were full as well!! In general, I think that the fact Uppsala is a university town and the general culture of Sweden contributes to such a high rate. It was definitely impressive.

From there we headed towards the river that intersects Uppsala which is named the Fyrisån. It’s a fast flowing river that cuts the city in half with one side containing the older parts of the city (including the castle and the impressive church) and the commercial side with most of the stores.

The day was fairly normal for this time of year. Overcast and fairly windy with a hint of moisture in the air. I will be honest that I was a bit chilled from walking around all day but I will tell you why later.

Next stop was one of two dominant features in the city which is the Domkyrka (Uppsala Cathedral) that can be seen forever. I looked it up and it’s the largest church in Scandinavia and is the seat of the Church of Sweden. We had to go in and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s frankly stunning inside. We went in thinking that we wouldn’t be able to walk around much but we could pretty much go anywhere in the main portion of the church (the nave). The arches and detail work is unbelievable. To top it off there was a children’s choir practicing as I walked around so I sat in the pews for a good 10 minutes listening to them sing. Hear for yourself.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hp6oWvYA_5Y Uppsala Church&rel=0]

I am a bit disappointed with the iPhone 5 in low light I have to say. I was looking at the pictures and I wasn’t too impressed. Anyway, I digress.

Within the church is buried the one and only Carl Linnaeus who was the father of binomial nomenclature (system of naming living species) and also modern taxonomy. His tomb is within the church which emphasizes his importance and standing within Sweden and frankly the world. A side story is that one of the guys in Ericsson here in Stockholm is a great-great-great-great-great grandson and still is active in botany apparently. That story was told to me last year and I will follow-up on that as I am more interested.

Next stop was the Uppsala Castle right near the church (Uppsala Slott in Swedish) which overlooks the city and is littered with multiple bastions that protected it from those darn pesky raiders. The castle is from the 16th century and it’s presence shaped a lot of the country’s past given the Church’s role in Sweden (as with every country during that time). King Gustav Vasa decided though that the whole country should move to Protestantism and not the dominant Catholicism at the time. Well, one way to stamp your authority is to seize all church assets throughout the kingdom and this castle pretty much was used to keep this decision enforced. :-) Now here is a picture of what were called Styrbiskops at the time. The translation was Bishop Controllers. They literally are pointed at the Uppsala church that I just described. :-) That’s one way of keeping things enforced by having cannons that could travel up to 1km from the castle. Those pesky Bishops would have to think twice about changing the service that day.

 

Around the castle are the Royal grounds which are now used by the university. The botanical garden was created by the aforementioned Linnaeus and it must be stunning in the summer. In the winter months you have to let your mind wander a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

It was getting dark as it was getting close to 3:30pm(!!!), so we headed back towards the centre of the city but I saw some stadium lights in the distance. We were headed that way anyway so we continued and I saw that it was a professional Bandy game about to start. I had read about this and it was in my to-do list so given I was already here I decided to stay and Adrian left. Pumped!!

The game is much like soccer with corner ‘kick’s if the ball leaves the playing surface which is on a large rink. The halves are 45 minutes long non-stop and it is unbelievably fast. Players are constantly trying to attack and use long swerving attack angles with the ball constantly being passed amongst the team. There is no hitting but just the usual boys will be boys type of action in the corners. I enjoyed it a lot. Who needs the NHL. The best part was the European football type of chants going on in the stands during the game. Non-stop drumming and chanting is awesome.

Here is some action from the side of the rink. There are no restrictions for just watching the game from here but watch out for the ball flying around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml9lgiJPPSQ&rel=0]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8cRmfSvIP4&rel=0]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbXUydY7bZw&rel=0]

From there I went on the train home. A great day to say the least. I don’t think my posts during the week will be so extensive but I will try to post something every day. I don’t know what I am doing today but I need to get out of the apartment. I allowed myself to sleep in to 9:30 today (I went to bed at 1am) which is unheard of back home.

Bye!

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