Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tobogganing fun

Not far from our apartment is a small hill that children go tobogganing on. Below is a sample of our second year of tobogganing.


p.s. for more videos on our adventures in Sweden click this link:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Food Filled Fridays: Christmas (Jul) essential snacks and drinks

Glögg, Julmust and Pepparkakor. Without these three things a Swedish Christmas would just not be  Swedish enough. They are absolutely essential, central requirements. Pepparkakor are the crispy brown ginger cookies that are enjoyed plain or decorated and are often hung on the Christmas tree. They are usually eaten with an accompanying drink of either Glögg or Julmust. Julmust taste akin to Coca-Cola just more malty and not as sweet. It is only available at Christmas time and for one month of the year Coca-Cola is not the top selling soft-drink in Sweden. Glögg is made from red wine and spices and is drunk throughout Christmas time. Nothing warms you up, when you come in from the cold, like a warm cup of glögg. You get different brands, the most popular is probably Blossa, and different varieties: Non-alcoholic, Lättglögg (Light Glögg, 2.2% alcohol), Vinglögg (10% alcohol) and Stärkvinglögg (15%). The non-alcoholic and light glögg can be bought at regular supermarkets but the higher alcohol varieties must be bought at the state-controlled alcohol retailer, Systembolaget. A special visit to the local Systembolaget is advisable because the higher the alcohol content, the better the heating potential of the glögg. Glögg is served warm with raisins and almonds. A mini crisis hit Sweden this Christmas since the glögg supply ran out in certain places. This mini-drama was published in the paper today, click the link to read the story (Glögg shortage threatens Swedish Christmas). The paper also generously supply a recipe as a backup if somebody - horrors of horrors - cannot find glögg for their Christmas.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A freezing solstice

Yesterday was the winter solstice. The "sun" rose at 8:51 yesterday morning and set at 14:45, making it the shortest day of the year. Last night was also the coldest night for the winter thus far with the temperature outside dropping to -21. The whole day today was quite nippy with temperatures staying around -20. Guess this will prepare us for our visit to the Ice hotel in northern Sweden in a few weeks time...


Sunday, December 19, 2010

High probability for a white Christmas.

The average temperatures in Uppsala (and most of Europe) are below normal. This means we have loads of snow and all the standing water has been frozen for a while. Below are a few pictures of where we walked today (first time out after feeling a bit sick the past two weeks).

 Even if there is no more snowfall we will probably have a white Christmas. We will also go skating on lake Mälaren in the next few days. The one thing we will miss during Christmas (apart from our families of course), is the chance to have nice braai.