Sunday, September 29, 2013

Classic American Cars in Sweden

My mother recently forwarded me an article from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. It chronicled the fascination Swedes have with classic American cars. I thought I had written about this before, but it appears I haven't. The best I could find was a May 2009 post in which I mentioned the hot rods on Rutger's street.

The love for old American cars (by some estimates there are more from the 50's in Sweden than the US) is intertwined with the love for the culture of the times. That post-war sense of freedom and coolness exemplified by Elvis, rockabilly, and "American Graffiti" took root in central Sweden and has flourished to this day.

It's not just the cars, it's the Levis, the hair pomade, the whole James Dean style, that's been adopted by (mostly) the men and boys in central Sweden. The sub-culture has been dubbed raggare, which has as its root raggar, which essentially means "to pick up girls".

There's a huge car show, the Power Big Meet, in Vasterås every summer. I really should go as it looks like a heck of a time: American cars, slightly adulterated American culture, and lots of cans of strong Swedish beer. Perfect.

Eva and Raymond, our neighbors on Aspö, gifted us a wonderful photo montage of American cars. I'm bringing a shipping tube with us this trip (filled with stuff of course) so I can bring the poster back and hang it in the garage with my own classic car!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The World Happiness Report 2013

I blogged last year about the OECD's "Better Life" well-being index of countries around the world. It's no surprise to me that Sweden (and Scandinavia in general) ranked very well in quality of life measurements.

This week, the Earth Institute at Columbia University released its 2013 World Happiness Report. Once again, northern Europe fared very well. The top ten countries:

1. Denmark
2. Norway
3. Switzerland
4. Netherlands
5. Sweden
6. Canada
7. Finland
8. Austria
9. Iceland
10. Australia

It seems there is a strong correlation between cold weather and happiness. With Minneapolis being my hometown, I have to say there's something to that!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Time is really flying!

Only two more weeks, and we're back in Stockholm! We will have to finish up all of our shopping and packing soon.

We got some great news in that Margaret and Janne will be out on Aspö the same week as we are. It's a rare treat to spend island time with both of them, so that is a real bonus!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The comparative price of food in Sweden

I found a fascinating data visualization of the comparative price of food in the EU. The bottom line is that the total cost of food in Sweden is the fourth highest in Europe; 24% above average, behind Norway, Switzerland, and Denmark.

Looks like Macedonia's the place for cheap booze, and Albania for a cheap burger. The overall trend from northwest to southeast is interesting. in fact, I've spent a half-hour clicking on this chart!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tham & Videgård

I found a portfolio of beautiful houses made by Tham & Videgård architects. Most of them seem to be on the coast or in the archipelago.

In fact, my favourite is the Archipelago House, pictured here.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Return

... will be pretty soon, actually, exactly 5 weeks from today.

We'll be there just a week, enjoying the autumn and closing up the house. I think I'll install the two new outdoor new lights, and maybe the bedroom ceiling fan, too, but not much else.

I will try to take more star photos, taking advantage of the dark nights. But that's it. Just relaxing after a very busy summer.