Saturday, April 30, 2016

Trevlig Valborg!

Tonight is Valborg, the night before May 1st, and the traditional start of Spring in Sweden. Tonight is celebrated by a big bonfire, and tomorrow is time for speeches by the "politically active", as the official Sweden website puts it in describing the day.

I wrote about my first Valborg on the blog six years ago for those readers interested in mining the archive.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Cinderella maintenance

We were able to open up the house surprisingly easily after its winter break; everything was in fine shape. There was one little issue, however. The first day we used the Cinderella, it was unusually smelly.

A bit of investigating found that the toilet had moved away from its chimney just the smallest amount, allowing some of the exhaust to blow back into the room.

I was able to re-seat it easily, and that fixed the issue. But we found that it had not burned its waste as completely as it usually does. Since the Cinderella was entering its seventh year of service, I thought it might need some sort of overhaul. 

I called Johan, our trusty Cinderella vendor, and he emailed me a maintenance document. Sooz and I cleaned out the exhaust pipes per the instructions. It wasn’t that bad, which we were happy to see. We also steamed it out with a litre of boiling water, and everything was back to normal. 

We will take good care of our Cinderella. It’s very important to us!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Swedish Number

Incidentally, this happened while we were in Sweden recently. The Swedish tourist board has set up a "national phone number". 

Dial +46 771 793 336 and you'll be connected to a Swedish person to talk about anything at all. Since the program started, 17,000 Swedes have signed up to have calls sent to them. People from all over the world are calling in to talk to a random Swede, even the Prime Minister:

Naturally, this experiment in openness and tourism has gained a great deal of attention. The Atlantic, Guardian, and New York Times have all written about the experience. Here's a tip, though: don't ask about ABBA, Ikea, or the Swedish Chef!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

New money

I saw a few stickers on cash registers last week with pictures of Swedish notes crossed out and a date of June 30th.

A closer look showed the 20, 50, and 1000 kronor notes are being taken out of circulation in the next couple of months, replaced by newer, more secure versions. I'll admit I had completely missed this news.

Next year, the 100 and 500 kronor notes will be withdrawn, along with the coins.

I looked at my cash (as I said recently, Sweden is pretty cashless already) and found some old bills. I'll be spending them them in advance of the changeover!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A quick update

Starry Night The week has unexpectedly flown by, despite it being mostly drizzly, and me unusually with no major projects. We spent the day at Gustavsberg shopping for various supplies, Janne visited us Thursday, we had dinner with Peter and Jeanette Friday, and Marcia and Rutger are arriving today for their birthday sleepover.

Oh- I almost forgot- I managed to score a ticket for the Eurovision final on May 14th! I'll be back to Sweden for that.

I have been updating the photo page, and there are lots of blog posts coming over the next few weeks.

UPDATE: I took this panorama last night, and I think it turned out very well. I'll tweak it a bit in Photoshop later, but it's good enough to share right away.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

We're here

...and all is well. We arrived to the hospitality of Rutger and Marcia's house Friday night, and left at midday Saturday to shop and take the 16:10 boat from Stavsnäs. Thankfully, Annika and Olle met us, because we (as usual) bought way too much stuff to carry!

Sooz got to try out her new shopping trolley. We've seen many islanders with a certain brand so, after much debate over the array of choices available, Sooz chose a lovely turquoise model with big wheels and a freezer compartment. It swallowed up a whole load of groceries and bumped along the path like a champ.

The funniest thing is that our boat from Stavsnäs had maybe 6 people on it, and one of those passengers had the exact same trolley as ours. It's a small world!

Annika and Olle joined us for Sooz's fish tacos last night and we had a wonderful time as usual. The house is in great shape and we got everything up and running in an hour.

I've started a new photo album for this visit. More later in the week.