Being a Swede sometimes means that you’ll have to struggle with some sticky Swedish myths. In the staff blog we have already talked about the coldness, the blonds and the high suicidal rates. Today we have come to the myth about the darkness. It’s just that it’s not a myth – it’s true. I really wish it wasn’t.
This is the curse of a country situated far up North. In the summer you’ll have sweet bright summer nights where the sun never sets. At least in the Nordic parts it literally doesn’t. The back side is the winters where the sun practically never rises at all.
Taking a walk home in darkness after picking up my daughter at day care. A perfectly normal Swedish afternoon around 4 PM.
I just read (from an unconfirmed source) that more than a million Swedes get depressed during the dark season (and bare in mind that we are only about 9 million people). I am not surprised. So, what to do?
Here are a few tips that might help a little bit:
1.Watch a lovely little film called Anders & Harri: http://www.sweden.se/Watch/Documentaries/Anders-and-Harri/
2. Make some saffron buns (Lucia is just around the corner): http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Lifestyle/Food-drink/Swedish-culinary-classics/Saffransbullar-and-pepparkakor/
3. Discover some new great music: http://www.sweden.se/music
4. Take a walk while the sun is up.
Any one with more suggestions to help us out here are more than welcome to spread the word!
Chanterelle joy! A feast for free! Photo: Jens Randecker
A gray day in the office. Perfect for summing up this long, hot summer, which in my case had many highlights. Let me share ten of them with you:
- The weather.
Sweden had the warmest summer in ages, with a record temperature of 35°C (95°F) in Målilla on July 11. (The highest temperature in Sweden since July 1994.)
- The people.
The hot, sunny weather made people more relaxed than usual and more inclined to talk about other things than the weather. I also had time to meet up with some of the favorite people in my life.
- The shellfish.
Spent some time on the Swedish west coast, in Hunnebostrand, where the mussels, shrimps and crayfish were fresher and more divine than ever.
- The fish.
Took the boat out among the west coast islands. Got four mackerels that were thrown straight into the pan to become a yummy lunch.
- The chanterelles.
The forest was also good to us. Found a large patch invaded by my favorite mushrooms, the golden chanterelles. Joy!
- The blueberries.
The same forest excursion also blessed us with enough blueberries to make a mouth-watering pie for dessert in the evening. (Although I must say that they are really boring to pick, tiny as they are.)
- The crickets.
The nights were accompanied by the constant “singing” of crickets (chirping?). Although quite annoying, it reminded me of how unusually Southern European this Swedish summer was.
- The grill.
Pretty much every night was barbecue night. There’s nothing to get the appetite going like the smell of freshly grilled food. And the crickets kept on singing.
- The new potatoes.
Our own teeny-weeny vegetable garden produced some delicious miniature potatoes that went very well with whatever was on the grill. And the crickets played on.
- The holiday.
Much of the above had not been possible without the generous Swedish holiday entitlement. As a state employee, 30+, I get 31 holidays a year. Thank you, Sweden! And goodbye crickets!
31˚C on my lunch walk.
When I lived in Holland I was constantly struggling with the myth about ice-cold Sweden, the snow, the never ending darkness and the polar bears.
- It can be warm and sunny to, I used to argue. They never really believed me.
The truth is of course that it can be both. At the moment it’s unbelievably warm, nice and summery. We even have something called tropical nights, meaning that the night temperature doesn’t drop under 20˚ C. At the moment the winter seems very far away. I can’t believe that only six months ago we were in the middle of the coldest and snowiest winter for ages – in Stockholm about – 22 ˚ C and people were encouraged to stay indoors not to get stuck in the snow and traffic chaos.
Like most Swedes I could go on about the weather forever. And like most Swedes I really appreciate the warm summers. I hope it stays for a long time this year.