Monday, December 26, 2011

Jul, 2011

This is our third Christmas we celebrated in Sweden. We started our Christmas on the 10th of December with a traditional Christmas-treat baking day at Örjans' farm (Ronnie's boss), near Knutby, 40 km from Uppsala. Baking with us were some of Ronnie's group members. We made the traditional ischocklad (chocolates), knäck (toffee), lussekatter (saffron buns) and pepparkakor (gingerbread). Baking these Christmas candies and cookies is a common custom that families embark on every December before Christmas.

Knutby farm

Preparing dough for the lussekatter


Xidan making marzipan chocolates

For our own Christmas Eve dinner we kept to the traditional Swedish Christmas foods since it's available en masse in the shops while "boerewors en pap" are impossible to find. Below is a video of Ronnie placing the extremely traditional Christmas Ham on our julbord (Christmas-table). Other traditional Swedish Christmas foods that we enjoyed this year were: pickled fish (sill), beetroot salad, shrimp salad, potato gratin, liver pate, pinskorv (small sausages) and risgrynsgröt (rice pudding). The essential accompanying beverages are julmust (christmas cola) and glögg (warm mulled wine).

This is the fourth consecutive year we were at a different place during Christmas. Hopefully next Christmas we will be here again.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Getting high in Denmark.

During our recent visit to Denmark we went to a number of interesting places other than the Lego store. But for some reason we tended to end up atop some structure with a very nice view of the city. The first of these were the rides at the Tivoli theme park. We cannot recall the name of the tower (probably something suitable like "the tower of death and fear and AAAHHhaaaaaaaaa!!!"), but it is a structure where you are strapped to a seat and hoisted above the city. The view is quite impressive for the few seconds prior to dropping to the ground. Needless to say we have no pictures from the top.
The classic theme-park swings are also found in Tivoli but there is one set with a bit of a twist. They are raised several meters while in full…swing. Below are a few photos of the park but see the video for some of the excitement:

After we survived a full day of theme park excitement we went to a number of interesting sites in the city.

Of course we went to see the little mermaid and here is the required photo.

On the same day we went to Rundetårn (round tower) which was build in the 17th century as an astronomical observatory. It is however noted for its spiral corridor which slope to the top without any stairs for more than 200 meters (the face is due to the continued harassment to appear in the photos).

We also visited the tower at the "Vor Frelsers Kirke". From this tower we had the most impressive views of Copenhagen, the Øresund Bridge and even the coast of Malmö. The view was in part due to the hight of the tower but it was also a very nice clear day.

The video at the top is a summary of the high points on our trip.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lego shop in Copenhagen.

We spent a couple of days in Copenhagen to celebrate our wedding anniversary :) In the centre of town is the street Strøget, the longest pedestrian shopping area in Europe. However one of the best shops in the world is located there. Following is a few pictures from that shop. It should be noted that we were there a few times during the weekend and at all times there were more adults than kids in the shop.

We visited quite a few other places as well as crossed via the famous Øresund Bridge/Tunnel and will have a few more post about our trip.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Almost snow

This morning when I looked out the window, I thought we had our fist snow. There was white on the sidewalks and on some of the cars’ roofs. It turned out to be just heavy frost. In either way, I decided to walk in to work and take a few pics to show the picturesque route I take to work every morning. Usually I cycle but once in a while one should take it slow and take in the unappreciated beauty that surrounds us every day. So here’s Carina’s route to work!

Approaching the Fyrisan (River Fyris)

Walking towards mid-town, Uppsala domkyrkan (Uppsala cathedral) in background

Walking past svandammen (swan dam) towards Uppsala slott (Uppsala castle)

Going towards Blåsenhus (the education department of Uppsala University). 
Notice the almost snow (and the people cycling on it! this is quite common practice by the way)

Walking through the small alley that runs next to the Botaniska vaxthus (Botanical greenhouse)

Arriving at EBC, Norbyvägen 18. At work!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sonskuif (Sunshift)

Yesterday-night, the time shifted and winter has officially arrived. Thus far we had a mild autumn, with the temperature dropping below zero only a few times in the nights. During the days the temperatures are between 5 and 12 , which is quite nice but just enough to encourage you to start getting out the hats and gloves. Especially on chilly mornings, when cycling to work, gloves and a hat prevents uncomfortable chilly fingers and ears. But the grass is still green and the trees, a beautiful mosaic of yellow and red. However, the leaves are falling quickly now and form lush carpets of yellow beneath the trees. Underneath the apple trees are rotting apples, emitting a surprisingly nice aroma. No wonder the elks are getting drunk on them (see newspaper articles here and here).

Autumn carpet. 
Note the lonely lost glove in the foreground,
this is quite a common sight nowadays again (also see older post).

We hope this will be a snowy winter again. The previous two winters (the only two winters we had in Sweden so far) were very snowy. In 2009 we even had a dusting of snow already in October (previous post). That year, however, the big snow only came around the middle of December (previous post) and then stayed with an ever increasing cover until deep into March. Last year, the snow came during a huge snow storm in early November (previous post), which also remained in covering the earth until middle March. How is it going to be this year? People say that the previous two winters had unusually heavy snowfalls and in Uppsala, the snow usually don’t stay throughout the winter, but rather fall and then melt away before falling again. We sure hope we have a lot of snow again, since we’ve grown to like the white and black landscapes of snowy Sweden.

Stay tuned for news of winter 2011-2012.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Our new aparament.

We moved into our new apartment in the middle of September 2011. This is a brand new building. Below are some of the stages of development after the place was allocated to us almost a year ago:

As promised here is a video, narrated in Afrikaans, Vrystaatse aksent :)

Feel free to leave a comment about what you want to hear about, or the current post.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vacation in Germany.

We were quite busy during the last few weeks (yesterday we assembled our last piece of IKEA furniture). This is thus a delayed post on our holiday in Germany during August. We will soon have more regular posts, including more about our new apartment (with a video if we can convince Carina to make one)...

During August, I attended a conference in Tübingen. After the conference Carina joined me and we spent  a few days touristing. The city of Tübingen (located 30 km from Stuttgart), is an old student town with a university dating from 1477. The castle Hohentübingen (with records from 1078) is now part of the university, where DNA was first isolated by Friedich Miescher. Below is a picture of the entrance to the castle:

Tübingen was not bombed during the second world war and the inner city has kept its old town charm. Many of the building are from the middle ages and below is a few pictures of the inner city as well as the buildings located on the Neckar river:

We visited some of the traditional German restaurants and explored the local Swabian gastronomy which included various sausages, spätzle (thick egg based noodles), maultaschen (ravioli-like pasta filled with bacon, bratwurst spinach and onions), and of course beer:

Situated close to Tübingen is the famous Hohenzollern castle. The castle is the ancestral seat of the house of Hohenzollern, the last emperors that reigned over Germany. This castle could have been from many fairytales with its spiral towers, high walls, drawbridge, dungeons, and majestic statues peering over the surrounding forrest. The castle is situated on a hilltop which made it somewhat inconvinient for the servants that transported goods. However, the location served as a efficient stronghold up until the second word war:

This was a nice short visit and we hope to return to see more of Germany. 


Sunday, September 18, 2011


On Monday (12 September 2011) we moved form our apartment in Gotsunda to Industristaden. This is a mere 7km apart but still required us to pack everything and get some help with moving furniture. We also spent a bit of time in IKEA to get additional furniture and will therefore spend a number of hours assembling these.

Here are a few pictures of the moving process:

 Last supper in Gotsunda.

 First scenes in our new place.

We will post more pictures of our apartment as it becomes more and more habitable :)


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Programming robots at home: almost like work.

Inspired by Tjaart,  I convinced Carina that the Mindstorms NXT 2.0 Lego robot kit is and excellent birthday present. The following is a video of game designed and programed over two weekends. I will also say that the programming can also be done in a variant of C++, and therefore programing robots it is almost like work.


Sunday, July 31, 2011


This weekend we tried out a new hobby/activity, geocaching ( Geocaching is a "real-world outdoor treasure hunting game". Thousands of people around the world hide "treasures" named caches, and put the coordinates on the geocaching website. The aim is then to find the cache. The cache usually is some kind of small trinket, which you can either leave there or replace with something of a higher or similar value. Also in the "treasure chest", usually a small lunch box, is a log book, where you can record your name and the date you found it. You can then also update your online profile and register your finds. Most treasures have a short description of the history or significance of the site in which it is hidden. This Saturday we located 6 caches in the Norby forest and Hågadalen, not far from our home. It was not always easy to find the caches but we enjoyed the experience a lot and will surely do it again. It gives you the opportunity to go out in nature and learn a bit more about the places.

Thanks Marcin for recommending this to us!

Below are a few pictures from the outing.