Tag archives for Winter

Beware the Falling Ice!

ice sign

Risk of falling snow! (But this stretch of sidewalk has been nicely shoveled–for now…)


Up until yesterday, it has been very cold and snowy in Stockholm.

Lots of signs and barriers appeared on the Stockholm sidewalks warning of falling ice and snow (from the buildings). I’ve never known anyone who was hit by a falling icicle but I get the feeling that it’s happened a lot here in the capitol city. It makes me think of a puzzle story I heard a long time ago where a murder scene is imagined and you are only told what the evidence around the dead body is. Among other things, there is a puddle of water and it turns out that the person was killed with an icicle. (I’m not exactly sure how.) But it’s convenient when a murder weapon disappears. Anyway, don’t think I don’t feel a little nervous as the temperature swings between freezing and melting temperatures! Read more » >>

A Few Thoughts About Walking, Biking, and Driving in Stockholm

I read a post by Kate, former Expat blogger extraordinaire (see Archives), in which she said she was much more likely (as a pedestrian) to be hit by a bicycle in Sweden than a car. I have to agree with her—pedestrians and bicyclists are constantly doing battle where I live and work in Stockholm.

I find that Stockholm motorists are, in general, pretty good about stopping for pedestrians, albeit grudgingly. If you step into the crosswalk and make eye contact with the oncoming driver, they will stop. Probably. But the cyclists going by will not stop so you always have to watch yourself. It’s tricky because you are still in the crosswalk, blocking the car that wants to continue but you are waiting for the oncoming bicyclist who’s going to hit you if you don’t wait. It’s like a 3-way game of “chicken.” Read more » >>

The Sound of Winter (Tires, that is…)

winter tire

Photo by Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0)

Winter tires. Not a very sexy topic but one that affects winter life here in Sweden.

Car owners have changed over to winter tires and the sound of them on the Stockholm streets are a familiar sound. They sound extra-loud when there is no snow but they’re lifesavers on the icy streets. Many vehicle owners choose to go one step further and use studded tires. “Summer tires,” according to The Swedish Transport Agency  have a mixture of rubber that makes them too hard during cold weather. That’s why winter tires are necessary when the temperature is around the freezing point and below.

Studded tires have small metal protrusions from the rubber tread that improve traction on icy or snow-covered roads. Read more » >>

Let There Be Light (in Uppsala)

"River Sirens" at the Festival of Lights in Uppsala

“River Sirens” at the Festival of Lights in Uppsala. Photo by K. Lund.


Most people I know here in Sweden think November is the darkest month of the year. Daylight Savings is over, the days are noticeably shorter every week, and it seems extra dark, cold, and rainy. There is no snow on the ground (at least in Uppsala or Sweden yet–snow makes everything brighter) and the lights of Advent are a month away.

So Uppsala’s “Festival of Lights” is a welcome sight in November. The festival has been held in Uppsala in November biennially since 2008. This year is its third time. The art installations in the festival are designed to encourage outdoor exercise (walking) and to show off new energy efficient technologies and innovative ways of working with light. This year the city of Uppsala worked with a bunch of companies and institutions to create the 15 light installations scattered on a four-kilometer loop around central Uppsala. The loop starts at the Market Square. Then passes by the Concert Hall, the travel center, and over the “Iceland Falls” to the Gustavianum dome.

My favorites installations on the loop included:

  • above the “Iceland Falls” where ghost-like river sirens dance across the river the five opal glass sculptures where the water flows by Rosen park next to the Uppland Museum
  • the blue lighting of Gustavianum roof dome
Festival of Lights

Gustavianum at the Festival of Lights in Uppsala. Photo by K. Lund.


  • the large pillars standing around the middle of the main square that slowly change color
  • Town Hall is where a synthesizer is projected onto the building and visitors can play with both sound and light
  • the projection of the keys on the water at St. Olaf Bridge

Many of the light sculptures have added audio and in several places the public can take part themselves. Other installations only activate if someone is there.

It’s a neat idea and a great way to ‘light a candle rather than curse the darkness.’

Outside Upplands Museum at the Festival of Lights in Uppsala

Outside Upplands Museum at the Festival of Lights in Uppsala. Photo by K. Lund.


Shopping for a Winter Jacket

Dog in Swedish woods

Rabbit explores a Stockholm lakeside on an overcast day. She’s wearing the windbreaker she brought from the US. It doesn’t work at all in the rain. Photo by K.Lund


A reader of this blog, “Janerowena” suggested I write about buying my dog, “Rabbit” a winter jacket. I mentioned feeling the chill in the air a few blogs past and so, as all “parents” do, I immediately reasoned that since I was cold, maybe Rabbit, was also cold. And if she wasn’t yet, she would be soon. For myself, I am prepared and have been eyeballing last year’s winter jackets in the closet and wondering when I would need it.

Read more » >>