Category Archives: Sweden


First day at their new home

While visiting us in June, Hasse and Elja bought a new house in Sandviken.  I offered immediately to help them move, without thinking I would actually get the chance.  But… they got possession of their new house on my last Saturday in Sweden, so luckily I got to see it!   This move was way easier than the previous move, since this time there was a light sprinkle but it was 12 degrees.  

Moving into the truck, this time with no snow

It actually made for a really fun day, working on the moving project with friends: Hasse and Elja, Jennie and Richard, Lisa and Jens, and Hasse’s awesome parents Slöwi and Peo.  Everything was well-prepared and well-thought out, we made two trips to Sandviken with the big truck and unloaded all the boxes into the specific rooms. This summer delivered a great theme song for the day (see below), and we finished off with a pizza feast in the glass solarium-veranda. I look forward to coming back and seeing how things look at casa de Nordlöf!

Seasonal fruit

Things are looking up for Camilla’s apple tree. We ate some of these on pancakes with maple syrup.
Ripe havtorn (seabuckthorn) in LT’s graden. So sour, but so delicious!
Chantarelle mushrooms that we picked in the forest. Awesome!
Giving them a good fry with butter and pepper and salt
The world’s best dessert delivered by the forest and garden: fresh raspberries and blueberries with fried chantarelles!

Saltsjöbaden sculptures

I love how gender equality is so complete in Sweden that naked ladies are not the only subject of art – there are lots of naked dudes too! This one is at the Grand Hotel.
This one commemorates the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. The speed skating venue was very close by.
Another naked dude sculpture, this time at the beach. woot woot!


The trail with candles…


My last weekend in Gävle was Å-Draget or ‘river party’ the annual welcome-to-Fall festival in town, with 5000 candles along the river and lots of free events. We started out with a walk along the river as city volunteers lit all the candles, then saw several musical acts.

Vilma and Camilla in front of konserthuset. You can see the candles across the river.

We visited a rockabilly band at the Brygga riverfront restaurant and a hip hop band at musikhuset, an old church. I like hip hop, but I think these young guys need a little more time to find their ‘authentic voice’. 😉 We went to an outdoor stage to see Sticky Inc, a Punk Band led by one of Vilma’s teachers. My favourite of the night was the last, a singer songwriter named Elin Lindfors.  She was great, but I can’t find any songs on myspace yet.  Maybe she is too young for myspace?

Holy trinity church in the setting sun. This was one of the few days when you could climb the tower and look out.

On our walk back to the car we decided to walk past my old apartment. As Camilla and I looked up at the deck, we passed tow people standing on the street, and they happened to be the ones who moved into ‘our’ old apartment. I met them when I showed them the apartment last year and they came a few times to take measurements and look at furniture I was selling. They were really nice and they told me about all the work they did inside… they said I would not recognize it and invited me up to see it. What a coincidence! I had to tell Hasse and Elja about it right away since they lived in that apartment before me.

A trip by the museum to visit my favourite landscape painting.

Kräftfest… och fest och fest

Camilla and I are ready to party!

Late August is the time to say your goodbyes to summer by squeezing out every last drop of summer fun. Crayfish parties are pretty popular in Sweden this time of year for precisely that purpose. Hasse and Elja treated Graham and I to one during our first August in Sweden: snaps, messy seafood, songs, fun with friends… what’s not to like?

Guests of honour

We had a great one at Camilla’s, the day after the Icona Pop show and night of dancing. We had a few glasses of wine but held back from the snaps as a nod to moderation. We enjoyed the late afternoon sun and a great evening meal, then headed down the street to the summer-end block party set up by Camilla’s neighbours.

The table set for a crayfish party

The block party was pretty involved and in full swing when we arrived. There was a big tent with long, full tables inside, a stereo, and about 20 blond kids orbiting the adults like hyperactive electrons. Although we started out with an ethos of moderation, the hospitality of this crowd was such that our cups were filled (3 at a time!) with coffee, whiskey or snaps, beer, or wine and our plates were filled with lemon tart and carrot cake. We had made plans to run with the gang at hemlingby the next morning, and at no time did this seem to be incongurent with our evening activities… at least at the time. We shut the bolck party down around 01:00 and headed to bed. Of course 09:00 came way too soon, but we got up (like a boss!) and headed for a run, followed by a great soup lunch at hemlingbystugan. We certainly lived the philosophy of squeezing every bit of enjoyment out of life, but I fear that this combination of events with low sleep resulted in a bit of a cold/flu for Camilla. I was mercifully spared and lived to tell the tale.

Hejdå Sverige!


Goodbye again, Sweden.  Special thanks to all my buddies in Stockholm, Uppsala, and Gävle who made my trip so great!

I hope to be back again next year to work on soem projects and enjoy everything I love about this part of the world.

Icona Pop

My first Friday in Gävle Hasse planned a fun ngiht out: fantastic dinner chez him and Elja, a drink at the new cosmopolitan 14th floor bar in Gävle Strand called ‘skybar‘  (best view in town!), then dancing at heartbreak and a live show.   Originally we were going to do some Karaoke at a scuzzy bar near my old apartment, but it did not fit so well with the classy sky bar.   Jennie heard about a live show from a cool up-and-coming band we have been listening to on Swedish radio, so that made a great alternative.  The show was great and dancing with the gang was fun, althoguh we did bring the average age up substantially…. I had  forgotten what the Friday night crowd is like in Gävle.  😉


Back in Sweden: Saltsjöbaden

The view from the boat

After the London side trip, I was finally back in stockholm about 1 year after leaving Sweden.  I had some minimal friction convincing Swedish border control I was just here to visit despite 2 expired Swedish visas… but got I through late Friday night and went to visit my buddy Vinn who recently moved to Stockholm from Gävle.  We had a great chat and great breakfast and he walked me to the train for the next stop on the tour!

I took the commuter train to Uppsala to visit Divya and Shyam at their new place, which was beatiful in a nice little cluster of residential buildings with great courtyards, and a convinent 100m from the local willys.  They are just settling in but they know Uppsala better than I do, so they showed me around, took in the local cruising night, we ate at a marvelous Ethiopian restaurant and had a great walk through the park.

Then I took the pendeltåg south again  to saltsjöbaden for the 2012 NES (Nordic Ergonomics Society) conference.  I presented on some preliminary work on musculoskeletal disorders in farmers.  I could have been more strategic about this and presented the same thing as at ACE to save myself some trouble, but it turned out OK.  This conference was really a step above the ACE conference.  There were 5 parallel sessions with really high quality instead of two, and there were 2 plenary keynotes per day.   The location was OUTSTANDING in the Stockholm archipelago.  It is only a 30min train ride from Slussen but it feels 2 million miles away, filled with summer cottages, scenic lighthouses, stately mansions and lots of people enjoying time away from their regular life.  It was very lucky to be invited friend-of-a-friend style onto a sailing tour of the archipelago.  As the person with the most boat experience (small craft licence and been sailing twice) I got to steer the boat while the captain dealt with the sails.  I passed the preliminary skills test so I got to tack a few times and also brought the boat into the pier.  It was so great! I am enthusiastic about sailing again, although I don’t know when I’ll get the chance again (thanks a lot, SK!)


Back in Gävle!

A week ago I arrived back in Gävle. It felt great to take the train back North into town and drive with Camilla to Valbo.  In my unstructured thoguhts about coming back to Sweden I pictured it as it was: me in my old apartment and working in my old office, working out at the gym at which I no longer have a membership.  I was preparing myself for things to look  different, and for me to feel like a stranger again.  It has been a happy surprise for everything to feel very comfortable… I am very much at home at Camilla’s where I am staying, in Tor building where I am working, in Gävle running around town and visiting folks. I have been putting in a lot of working hours to get some flight loader project work done, but I have also been able to do a lot of fun stuff:

  1. Mushroom hunting (and eating!)
  2. Blueberry/lingon picking
  3. Fika at Tor with my colleagues
  4. Shopping for Swedish specialties at coop
  5. Picking up some Craft and Björn Borg stuff we can’t get in Canada
  6. Shopping in Stor Torget
  7. Running at Hemlingby

The temperature is starting to get a bit crisp for Fall, but apart from one big thunderstorm the weather has been pretty nice.  I am trying to drink it all in while staying healthy so I can have a reasonable trip home and productive September in SK.