Saturday, December 1, 2012

Winter is here!

Yay! The snow began on Wednesday and continued on-off until today (Saturday). While the magnificent white stuff were accumulating, the temperatures dropped lower and lower. At the moment we are at -8 and it is predicted to go down as low as -22 by Tuesday. I had a nice jog outside today at noon, with the temperature at -5 and fine snow drifting down. The sun was out, the landscape was brilliantly white and the air crisp and dense - it was very refreshing. I would have never believed such a thing is even remotely possible while living in SA - jogging in sub-zero temperatures, on the snow. Obviously, you do not where your T-shirt and shorts... gloves, woolen hat, thermal underwear and a top layer of clothes is good for -5. Last winter I jogged in -10 , then you need a thicker outer layer, like a thick woolen track-suit. It is really nice and invigorating and not at all difficult to run on the snow - the compacted snow on the footpaths actually provides a very nice run surface.

Below are some photo's of the past week's snow,

Wednesday night when the snow started

My bike Thursday morning - yes, I'm still biking to work

On the way to work in the park on Thursday

Trees have snow only on one side because of the way the wind was blowing

The road to work

The road to work

The road to work

Thursday evening - unused bikes have accumulated quite a layer of snow

Thursday evening - unused bikes have accumulated quite a layer of snow

Thursday evening - unused bikes have accumulated quite a layer of snow

Looks as if a marshmallow man exploded

A bright Saturday morning with the sun out

A bright Saturday morning from our balcony

Even our balcony had a thick layer

Out jogging - My running path

Out jogging -The landscape outside town

Out jogging - Looking at Uppsala from afar. The cathedral and castle is visible on the horizon

Out jogging - Ice beginning to form on the Fyris river

Out jogging - Snow and ice

Thanks Sweden - this is the type of winter we love


The last highlight in the low-light - Our anniversary dinner at Restaurant Lingon

The winter started officially this week with lots of snow and chilling temperatures. The white snow wiped away all the November grayness and announced the start of advent in wonderful style. The next blog (that will appear very soon) will be all about this fantastic start to winter. This blog however is about the last highlight we had in the low-light (no-snow) conditions of the past November. Last weekend was our 7th wedding anniversary and we celebrated it with a dinner at one of Uppsala's outstanding restaurants, "Lingon". The restaurant is named after one of Sweden most loved berries - the lingon berry - not that good to eat, but the jam has a omnipresence at all meals as a condiment. Below are photos of the six courses we enjoyed together at restaurant Lingon.

Carina's starter: Roe caviar, cream cheese and cheese pie. This was an absolutely delicious combination

Ronnie's starter: Scallop soup and toast.

The cocktail and red wine already making me feel very welcome

Ronnie- Also in a happy mood

Fillet of hare and warm salad (Notice the small red dots in the salad - that's Lingon berries). This was very delicious as well and the hare had a type of deep meaty - almost like liver - taste

Ronnie's main course: Belly of pork. Very porky :)

Ronnie's desert: Home-made almond ice-cream

Carina's desert: Cheese cake with dark chocolate crust and cloud berries. While lingon is the most common berries here in Sweden, cloud berries (Hjorton in Swedish) are the most coveted.

On our way back home - the Fyris river with the "river spirits" from the Uppsala light festival still floating above the surface.

Almost back home. Misty spookiness on the new bridge over the Fyris river just in front of our apartment block.

The dinner was lovely and a visit to Restaurant Lingon is highly recommended 


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bits and pieces of cheering upness

It's been a while since we posted a blog. Working hard as usual. Trying to get many things finished before the Christmas break. After a short cold spell of subzero temperatures a few weeks ago and a light dusting of snow, it became a bit warmer but much more dreary. The maximum daily temperatures raised again to around 5-7 degrees but it rains almost every day and the grey November dreariness gets to you after a while. Luckily there are always things to cheer you up a bit. Below are some of the "cheering uppers" of the past month.

A little bit of snow - always makes you feel better

Halloween with scary movies and lots of sweets

My tomato plants made it through the summer before the first cold came (although I had to bring them inside for the last bit) - I was crossing fingers the whole summer- the cherry tomato's tasted very nice

The Uppsala light festival is a very nice highlight. Every two years Uppsala kommune have a light festival to counter the November dreariness and lighten up the lives of residents. This year was very nice again with a 4 km route and 15 interesting light displays:

A clock light display in the central plain "Stora Torget"

A interactive light display on a building where you can play music on a keyboard which lights up notes on the building

Artsy display on the outside of a school

"Water spirits" rising out of the Fyris river (Uppsala Castle in  background)

Water spirits on the Fyrisan

This spooky display on the outside of a row of buildings and their windows can be activated through the internet

A Christmas tree rising out of the Fyrisan

Colorful tunnel

Lighted glass sculptures next to the old water mill

A natural light display - the moon on Uppsala domkyrkan

The lighted roof of the Gustavianum museam

On a bridge crossing the Fyris river you can declare your everlasting love...

Maybe this is the original intended way?

Panoramic view of the church and the river

The best highlight of November was my anniversary gift. A gift of freshly baking bread when you wake up in the morning. This amazing bread machine. You just put all you ingredients in the night before, set the timer, and go to bed - and in the morning you wake up to the most wonderful smell - fresh bread. And it tastes wonderful - soft in the middle and a crunchy hard crust. We just tried the plain white, but there are hundreds of different bread recipes, cake recipes, pizza dough, tart crusts, buns and croissants to try - it can even be used for jams and compotes. What a wonderful present - thank you Ronnie!

So even though the month of November was grey, dreary and sunless, there were quite a number of lighter moments. From now on things will get better though, with quite a bit of snow predicted from Thursday onward,  the advent time that's starting after next week, kicking off with a Christmas market and fireworks next weekend, from then our town would be lighted up by Christmas cheeriness - and after that we are going to the summery beaches of South Africa for Cindy's (Ronnie's sister) and Cois's wedding in the south-coast town of Mosselbay!