Saturday, June 21, 2008

Unforgettable Midsommar Party in Sverige

This would have to be the biggest celebration of the year in Sweden, and I have been so fortunate to experience it with a group of friends who invited many of us work colleagues to a midsommar party to celebrate the longest day of the year and what is considered the beginning of summer.

This was by far the best party I have been to in Sweden, and one that I will never forget in many years to come. As with most things Swedish there is a schedule which was more or less followed...
  • 2pm – The traditional Swedish rotten fish lunch accompanied with “snaps” – a traditional liquor from the south of Sweden. While we’re drinking we also sing the traditional song “the hole walk”.
  • 3pm – We build a huge pole covered with flowers and dance around it like small frogs. And we drink more liquor.
  • 4pm – We have a very serious tournament called “fivebattle”. For example the game “ The drunk Norwegian” and “jump in a sack”. And we drink more liquor.
  • 7pm – Barbeque and – more liquor.
  • 8pm – Strawberrys and – more liquor.
  • 11pm – is “raj-raj” and more liqour.
  • 1am – The traditional Swedish “naked bath” in the traditional Swedish midsummer-weather – cold as hell and raining. In our case, in the local lake.
  • 2am – Collect the legendary flowers, seven of different kind, and jump over seven field fences so that you can dream about the person you will marry.
  • 3am – Fall asleep in a hammock, under a table, in a wardrobe, wherever you want… except for your own bed. (don't forget your flowers, should be under the pillow, otherwise you're screwed)
  • 12pm – Have the traditional Swedish midsummer-hangover and help the Attermo sisters to clean the place. Please.
Dancing around the (small) pole like frogs (video here).
"Naked bath" in the (very short) night at one of the Stockholm lakes in Bromma. Freezing!

If ever you get a chance to go to a midsummer party, it is a must, the best fun I have had in a very long while.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lake District

Another visit to see my Grandmother for the weekend in the Lake District of Northern England and my parents who were also staying there. Just to keep her on her toes, I didn't tell my Grandmother that I was coming, but this wasn't the first time she has been surprised - our whole family turned up from Australia for her 80th just over 6 years ago.
On Sunday I went for boat ride (video) and a good walk around Derwent Water. Photos below.
A fair climb to the top of Catbells fell for a great view of the surrounding lakes and fells and as far as Scotland across the sea from Workington.
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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sailing on Stockholm Harbour

A city of islands, I just wouldn't feel right leaving Stockholm without going on a yacht. Today one of my work colleagues took us out on her yacht for a short sail around the harbour with perfect weather.

Farewell to my hat - bought in Phuket Thailand, lost in Stockholm harbour.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Swedish National Day

Today - 6th June is Swedish national day, a public holiday here. Normally there are plenty of national flags flying in this country, but today the city was a sea of blue and yellow everywhere you looked. You can feel the mood of the country changing, it reminds me of the end of year when we were at university, that summer is just around the corner and everyone is about to go on vacation. People are happy and there is a party atmosphere in the air.

Pictured below is a festival in Kungsträdgården - on stage a very popular Swedish singer, Charlotte Perrelli who won Eurovision for Sweden in 1999 (video) and was also Sweden's entrant in this year's competition held a couple of weeks ago with her song "Hero" (video).

Stockholm is a very good city to ride a bike in, here is a video of me riding from City Hall through the centre of the city along bike paths to some forest. I have sped up the video to make it a bit more interesting to watch.