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About Sweden Update
March 16, 2012 7:40 PM



I have done some spring cleaning and organizing in the About Sweden section in the menu. Which means that I have added new Swedish Pastry Pages and organized my blog posts about Sweden into different categories under there. Hopefully this will make it easier for everyone who is browsing around for information about Sweden here.

And speaking of spring, more and more flowers are starting to bloom here in Sweden. Yay!

About Sweden Update
I saw this lovely flower today in Karlshamn, not sure what it is named though? But it sure looked like it was enjoying the sun as much as I was.

Anyway, back to my updates about Sweden. The new additions to About Sweden above in the menu are:

- Swedish Pastry
- Swedish Days
- Swedish Markets
- Sweden Info

Happy Weekend Everyone! :-)

/A.L


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Potato Holiday In Sweden
November 1, 2011 8:18 PM



Potato Holiday In Sweden
As I passed this empty school yard here in Lyckeby in Sweden earlier today I remembered that school children have their so called Potato Holiday this week. Well, no one really call it a Potato Holiday nowadays. Although that was its original name.

A name that came about when Sweden mainly was an agricultural country, before the 1900s. And because most families in Sweden were farmers back then. Schools decided to gather some scattered free days during the fall semester and create a cohesive one week school holiday instead. This way children could stay home and help their family with the harvest for one week. A harvest which most often consisted of potatoes, hence the name Potato Holiday.

Now the Potato Holiday remained in schools until the early 1900s, when the importance of agriculture in Sweden started to lessen. Which in turn also meant that the need for the Potato Holiday lessened. So over time this particular school holiday became dissolved by scattered free days once again.

However in the mid-1990s many school districts in Sweden decided to reinstate the cohesive one week school holiday during the fall semester. But instead of calling it a Potato Holiday this time, they simply called it a Fall Holiday. Which nowadays is a time when many families choose to travel on vacation. Perhaps even on Cuba holidays? In any case, I am definitely glad I did not have to pick any potatoes on my Fall Holidays when I was a child. :-)

/A.L


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Turn Back Time
October 30, 2011 4:53 PM



Up until 1879 each city in Sweden had its own local time. But as the use of the railway became more and more popular in Sweden, the use of time also became more important. And it was difficult for train companies to write and keep an accurate time table due to all the different time zones. Which was why the Swedish Standard Time was introduced on January 1st in 1879. Actually Sweden was the first country in the world that legislated the introduction of Standard Time.

And in 1895 the first attempt was made to also introduce Summer Time in Sweden. The reason for this suggestion was that it would help to better utilize the light part of day during summer in Sweden. But it was not until 1980 we officially started to use this time zone as well. So now every year at the end of March we turn our clocks forward one hour. We stay in this time zone until the end of October, when we turn our clocks back to Standard Time.

Turn Back Time
What time is it? (Lyckeby, Sweden.)

Now I have always found this change of clocks a bit confusing. In fact I would prefer that we always go by Standard Time in Sweden. Mainly because I feel more tired during Summer Time and I feel like the days go by much faster then. So I was indeed very happy that we finally got to turn our clocks back one hour this night/morning. In fact, I feel more rested already. Yay! :-)


Source: wikipedia.org

/A.L


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Why alcohol monopoly in Sweden?
October 18, 2011 4:40 PM



Ever since 1955 the only chain of stores in Sweden where you can buy alcohol exceeding 3,5% in alcoholic strength is Systembolaget. And it is definitely important to plan ahead if you want to buy alcohol in Sweden. Because Systembolaget has quite limited open hours.

Why alcohol monopoly in Sweden? Systembolaget in Lyckeby.
For instance here in Lyckeby, where I live, Systembolaget is usually only open between 10am - 6 or 7pm during weekdays and 10am - 3pm on Saturdays. Always closed on Sundays all over Sweden.

Also you must be at least 20 years old to be able to buy alcoholic beverages exceeding 3,5% at Systembolaget. Even though the legal drinking age in Sweden is 18. And you are allowed to drink and buy all sorts of alcohol at pubs and restaurants from the age of 18. So a bit conflicting age rules I think.

Anyway, the initial idea for monopolizing the sale of alcohol in Sweden came about in the mid 1800s. The goal was to try and decrease the extensive use of liquor at this time. Which was a common cause for health and social problems in Sweden in the 1800s. So really, the very first attempt of alcohol monopoly in Sweden started in the mid 1800s. And it was a successful attempt. But it was not until 1955 that local companies came together and created the national company Systembolaget. A company and concept that has survived to this day.

So this is why we have alcohol monopoly in Sweden today. However, if it still works as intended. Well, that is an entirely different question...


Source: systembolaget.se


A.L


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Sights seen in Stockholm, Sweden
September 7, 2011 6:33 PM



After my lovely cruise I spent a few days in Stockholm, Sweden, visiting with relatives. And because I have relatives in Stockholm I have been there many times in my life. I remember when I was younger I used to perceive Stockholm as "the big city where I could get lost". Also when I was a child we did not have McDonald's in Karlskrona so I used to think that it was the coolest thing to go to Stockholm just because they had McDonald's there. Of course it was even cooler to actually eat at McDonald's! But nowadays I know my way Stockholm a lot better and we have 2 McDonald's in Karlskrona. :-)

Below are some of my photos of sights seen in Stockholm.

Riddarholmen Church
The white building to the right is the Central Station in Stockholm. The big church top in the middle of the photo is Riddarholmen Church. Which is the only remaining medieval monastery church in Stockholm. It was built in the late 1200s and is the final resting place for all of Swedens Kings and rulers since 1632, except Queen Christina. It also the burial place for some Kings from the middle ages.

Sergels Square in Stockholm
Sergels Square in Stockholm, also known in Swedish as Plattan - The Slab is the first square I think of when I think of squares in Stockholm. However, even though the Culture House is to the left and there are a lot of shops near the square. Sergels Square is mainly known (at least among locals) for being a hangout for junkies. It is also popular place to hold demonstrations of various kinds.

Drottninggatan in Stockholm. Queen Street.
The main avenue in Stockholm is Drottninggatan - Queen Street where a lot of shops, pubs and restaurants are located.

Drottninggatan in Stockholm. Queen Street.
My favourite Queen Street sights though are the quotes by Swedish author August Strindberg which have been forged in stainless steel in the middle of Queen Street 67-85.

Queen Street quotes.Queen Street lions.
My favourite Strindberg quote (left photo) translates to: "To love is to give, give!". And something I noticed this time while I was walking along Queen Street were the lions in the right photo. I thought, surely they must have some historic meaning - so I looked it up. Turns out they are just stylish obstacles which were put up in 1995 to stop cars from driving through this street. Lol!

Fountain in Stockholm
On my way to Old Town in Stockholm I became mesmerized by this fountain!

Fountain in Stockholm
So I stayed a while and played with my camera, hehe.

Fountain in Stockholm
The building which the fountain is placed in front of is named Norra Latin - Northern Latin. And originally in 1880-1982 this building was used as a school for boys. Today it is a conference center.

Old Town in Stockholm Old Town in Stockholm
Finally I arrived in Old Town in Stockholm. Which is where Stockholm was founded in 1252. It is also one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centers in Europe. And I just love to walk around here and imagine how it must have been to live in Stockholm during the medieval times.

Old Town Main Square in Stockholm
Main Square - Stortorget in Old Town is indeed a popular tourist attraction. Which I suspect is not just because of the pretty buildings. Actually Old Town is said to be quite the ghost town. In fact many tourist guides offer so called "Ghost Walks" around Old Town in the evenings. During these walks guides share stories about legends, diseases, murders and ghosts which are all a part of Old Towns past.


Old Town Main Square in Stockholm
For instance, the red building behind the water pump has exactly 92 white stones on it, although the stones look more grey today. Anyway, each stone represent the 92 members of the Swedish nobility who were decapitated and hanged between November 7-10 in 1520 by Danish King Christian II. An incident also known as the Stockholm Bloodbath or Stockholm Massacre. And the tale is that when the nights between November 7-10 are really harsh and humid you can see the blood of those who were murdered flow through the gutters of Main Square. It is also said that if ever one of those white stones is removed, the person who represent that stone will become a ghost destined to wander the city streets forever.

By the way, the lovely water pump in the photo was for many years the zero point in Sweden. Meaning that it was the point from which all distances to national roads to and from Stockholm were measured.

The Royal Palace in Stockholm
The Royal Palace in Stockholm is also located in Old Town.

The Royal Palace in Stockholm
The Royal Palace in Stockholm has about 600 rooms and is one of the largest castles in Europe.

The Royal Palace in Stockholm Guard
The Royal Palace is heavily guarded!

The Royal Palace in Stockholm Guard
So do not try any funny business.

The Royal Palace in Stockholm Guard
They will catch you...eventually. Nah, this guard was not sleeping. Just checking her gun. Bad me. ;-)

The Royal Palace in Stockholm
The Royal Palace seen from another angle. To the left of the Royal Palace is Storkyrkan - The Great Church, although its official name is Sankt Nicolai Kyrka - Saint Nicholas Church. It is the oldest building still in use in Sweden. The first part of the church can be traced back to 1306. The current King and Queen of Sweden were married there in 1976 and last year the Crown Princess of Sweden were married there as well.

The Royal Palace in Stockholm View
View of Stockholm from the hill in previous photo.

I had fun taking these photos, although I have tons more. Lol! But this will end my series of Cruise and Travel posts for this time. However I do have other journeys planned so lots more of the travel kind posts to come in the future. Until then it is back to Sweden, Doggies and My Life. :-)

Source: stockholmgamlastan.se

/A.L


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I am going on a cruise tomorrow!
August 23, 2011 11:23 PM



Yay! So today I drove 500 kilometers from Karlskrona here in Sweden to my departure destination, and Swedens capital, Stockholm. The cruise I'm going on is a 5 day cruise with stops in Tallinn (Estonia) and St. Petersburg (Russia). And I'm so excited!!! Especially about St. Petersburg! A city I imagine to be very beautiful with grandiose buildings and a deeply historic atmosphere. Although I'm sure the entire cruise thing will be a fun experience too!

Of course I have brought my camera with me and I plan to take tons of photos! However I'm not sure how often I will be able to update my blog during this trip. Mainly due to limited internet access out at sea. But I will try to post something as soon as and as often as I can. The same goes for responding to comments, emails and other online connections.

But for now I will leave you with some photos from my drive to Stockholm today. :p

Lake in Sweden
Lake at a rest stop along highway E22 from Karlskrona to Norrköping in Sweden.

Rest Stop Stavsjo in Sweden
Another rest stop where we had lunch.

Lovely bird at rest stop in Sweden
And where this lovely little bird came by to say hello.


E4 Sweden
Highway E4 about 170 kilometers from Stockholm.


/A.L


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Food and gas prices in Sweden today
August 11, 2011 1:49 PM



I went to a local grocery store here in Sweden to check out what we actually pay for food in this country today. I also stopped by a local gas station to check out the current Swedish gas prices. Even though I don't really think too much about food and gas prices in Sweden on a daily basis, I do know that I always find it interesting to know what these things cost in other countries. So I took some photos and made some notes of how much food and gas costs in Sweden today.


Local grocery store in Karlskrona, Sweden. This is where I went to check out our current food prices.



Inside City Gross in Karlskrona, Sweden.

Below I have listed examples of prices for some common food items I found at City Gross. I chose to list food from well known Swedish and international brands. Prices are listed in Swedish Kronas, SEK, and US Dollars, USD.

Currency today: 1 USD = 6,5 SEK    

Explanations: kg = kilograms    g = grams    (Swe) = Swedish origin

Item Amount Price SEK Price USD
Milk 1 litre 9,50 1,51
Eggs 6 12,95 2,03
Flour 1 kg 8,95 1,41
Sugar 1 kg 6,95 1,09
Spaghetti 1 kg 13,95 2,19
Macaronis 1 kg 11,95 1,88
Coffee 500 g 40,95 6,43
Ketchup 1,320 kg 19,95 3,13
Fish sticks 400g 14,95 2,35
Whole chicken (Swe) 1 kg 19,95 3,13
Pork chops (Swe) 1 kg 64,95 10,20
Beef (Swe) 1 kg 89,95 14,12
Ground beef (Swe) 1 kg 69,95 10,98
Falukorv (Swe sausage) 800 g 20,95 3,29
Isterband (Swe sausage) 330 g 18,95 2,97
Tomatoes 1 kg 19,95 3,13
Cucumber 1 kg 29,95 4,70
Onions 1 kg 14,95 2,35
Apples 1 kg 19,95 3,13
Pears 1 kg 15,95 2,50
Bananas 1 kg 17,95 2,82
Coca Cola 0,33 litres 6,50 1,02
Chips 300 g 18.95 2,97



Local gas station in Lyckeby, Sweden. This is where I always get gas. :p

Currency today: 1 USD = 6,5 SEK

Type of gas Amount Price SEK Price USD
95 octane 1 litre 13,83 2,17
98 octane 1 litre 14,28 2,24
Diesel 1 litre 13,54 2,13
E85 1 litre 9,84 1,54

I personally think that food prices in Sweden are ok. Of course it always depends on what type of food you want to buy. I prefer to buy Swedish meat, organic if available. I also try to buy as much local and organic dairy, veggies and fruit as possible. But if you want to keep costs down, foreign meat and non-organic food is always cheaper. However there is not a whole lot one can do to find cheaper gas to buy... Not that I know of anyway. Hehe.


/A.L


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Swedish traditions makeover
August 4, 2011 7:02 PM





Lately I have been working on expanding and implementing a makeover on my Swedish Traditions section on this blog. Before I only had one page with all traditions on it, now each tradition has its own page. In total I have created 12 new pages about different Swedish traditions. I have updated info, photos, layout and added some new traditions.

Even though it takes a lot of time to put together these pages I really enjoy it because I learn so much myself. Like how many of our traditions originates from Germany. Good thing I don't have to do any German Translation though. Not my forte, hehe. But it is indeed a fun and creative way to learn about traditions and Sweden for me.

Check out the new Swedish traditions pages at -->Swedish Traditions

I would love to hear what you think of them! :-)


/A.L


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Sweden
Page 1 2 3 4 5
About Sweden Update
Potato Holiday In Sweden
Turn Back Time
Why alcohol monopoly in Sweden?
Sights seen in Stockholm, Sweden
I am going on a cruise tomorrow!
Food and gas prices in Sweden today
Swedish traditions makeover
 
   
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