Category Archives: Travel

Snow and Why it Sucks


As usual when the christmas season arrives, most people take this as an opportunity to praise the amazingness of snow. These people are utter idiots and here is why. Snow is a wet, cold substance that when it comes into contact with heat, melts. It falls from the sky at exactly 0° annnnnd is rumoured to make children very happy. It is also useful when enjoying so called “winter sports” and various “snow like activities”. It also is a figure that is deemed “christmassy” and is a common theme found in cards during the holiday season. This is how this “substance” is perceived by the public.

THEY ARE MISTAKEN.

Snow is neither a “happy” outcome of the bad and cold weather. It is a pain in the arse. Snow only appeals to those who never have any where they live… or to those who live sufficiently far away to not be obliged to have to live with it on a daily basis, ie: a person who lives in Toulouse may LOVE the snow and enjoy going snowboarding… and yet doesn’t live in a place which say, like living in the Pyrenees mountains, would have much snow, (thus not having to live with the disadvantages of snow). This person may enjoy snowboarding… but doesn’t realise that there is such thing as having “too much snow”.

I know what it means (now at least) to have “too much snow”.

– Too much snow is… not being able to drive from A to B because between these two spaces… a tree has fallen down and no one has moved it.

– Too much snow is… being too cold (and thus too lazy) to go out and get food at the shop (so you eat very random meals such as pasta with tikka masala sauce (really not that tasty), tinned peaches with stale bread (also not that great) and tea with out milk (and to all British people the world over, this is a travesty).

– Too much snow is… having to dress up like the Michelin man every time you leave your dingy (yes… snow = winter THUS = less sunlight, and in my situation also means light-bulbs have also given up hope and I being lazy (cf: example 2) have not bought any new ones.

– Too much snow is… annoying when you have to wear boots that are not always that good when coming into contact with a wet, slippery surface (and thus falling down, to the amusement I have now discovered of the Swedish population).

– Too much snow… is spending your evenings cooped up inside because there is sweet F-A to do (because of example 2 again).

– Too much snow… is having to clear a path everywhere and also having to hold on to railings when walking down stairs in case you might DIE because of the risk of said “neck braking” incidents.

– Too much snow… is just an average pain in the arse because people seem to think its not “ok” to through balls of this horrible substance at you, and this in the name of “good old fashioned (and now deemed “wholesome”) fun”. No… you can keep you snow and it’s clichéd vision of winter. Snow is great when you’re inside, warm and eating mince pies and looking out of a window. Preferable with the lingering idea of never having to leave said “house” for a long period of time (i’d recommened the whole winter season to be on the safe side).

Not to mention the risk of ILLNESS when coming in contact with this wet, cold and slippery substance. People don’t warn people enough on the dangers of snow. When mummies little darlings are outside rolling around in the snow making snow angels and what not… they don’t realise in their innocence that they are in fact rolling in a danger zone for insects, excrement, bacteria… and of course the cold (which brings deceases that KILL (cf: the flu! Ok well maybe not as much any more… but it still kills old people and weaklings!).

I will concede that this rant has taken the form of a sort of soliloquy BUT in my defence… I am in Sweden where it is undoubtably cold, wet and snowing and I can’t say this is reminiscent of any “happy memories” concerning snow (apart from the occasional seasonal card with “snow” on it). That said, I have joined in on the “snow fun” on wordpress by making my blog “snow” (but only until January 4th that is). Why do I hear you saying at your computer? Well, because THIS snow is digital. It does not bring me any of the disadvantages of real snow, and yet it keeps what the lamen call  “a Christmassy feel” etc.

Having grown up in London, where “snow” (if you can call it that) is a sludgy greyish substance that you see maybe once or twice every two to three years, I didn’t generally associate snow with christmas and the winter season. Now, living in Sweden (but having may I add the same problem in the Pyrenees mountains) snow is an occupational hasard I could gladly live without. The extreme cold I can live with… snow… not so much. I neither snowboard, ski, or play in the snow. I merely look at it through my window with disdain while I see people trudge to university or to the shops for milk.

Does everyone enjoy snow really? Are those who enjoy snow those who never have it or those who in fact come into contact with it often?

A friend from India once said that she was “jealous” that I was surrounded by snow… I on the other hand was more objective saying that I didn’t mind snow in small quantities… but neither did I envy the heat she was accustomed to in India. Are we ever satisfied with what we have? Which leads me to wonder if some people will “enjoy” the change in temperature that the world is coming into contact with due to climat change. Of course the outcome is much different. The reheating of the planet melts more icebergs… which raises the sea levels… which then return floods certains very large areas (like the shores of Bangladesh for example). Thus giving us less living space for an increasingly large population (and thus less growing space for food and meat) and there are even more ecological aspects to take into account such as the inevitable loss of certain plant, animal species for example.

This is undoubtably another subjects… which leads me to say… (and I hate to admit it)… let’s leave the snow in Sweden (and where it’s meant to be) and instead find better ways to deal with the discomfort (at least for moi!) of having to live with it… all the while not polluting (would be good too).

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Ice-Skating 101 : How Not To Fail


Ice Ice Baby!

Actually this is just me being a bit cocky! I’ve only been ice-skating once (and that was… about three hours ago). But, in my defense, I only fell once, and I went four whole times around the rink without falling ONCE! Ha! I feel however pretty good about it, and I want to share my amazing skills with you all!

This is how it sent down. It was only 50kr at Kungsträdgården. The shoes (or whatever they are called) were pretty uncomfortable (to say the least!), but once on the ice, and after the first ten minutes it really wasn’t that hard, and I went faster and faster (but in this context I just realised that it sounds like I actually was going around very fast, but please do not get your hopes up, I still was slower than everyone else!). I was very happy to say that I went round the ice rink a few times without needing to hold the edges too!

I think the trick here is to skate as though it were roller blading, I felt like it as exactly the same (except that in my opinion the stakes are much higher due to the fact that (I think) smacking your face on the bare ice slightly more dangerous than… say on concret, but I am in no way of saying which one scientifically causes more pain or damage. Safe to say that both do, but that ice has the added (bonus?) to have a cold surface, which I don’t believe to be great!

They did play a lot of pretty lame music at the ice rink, but I wasn’t expecting Frank Sinatra or Billy Holiday anyway, so I will live with the black eyes peas and flo rida to accompany me around the ice. All I can say, is that flailing your arms about and leaning forward were my friends, and I believe my moderate success was due to these two things!

I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t so many stalls around the rink. I thought there would be lots of christmas music, with shops selling mulled wine and hot chocolate… and apart from a Pressbyran selling anything from hotdogs to drinks…. there wasn’t much. We did however take a hot chocolate which warmed us up amazingly!

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Filed under Christmas, Cold, Europe, Happiness, Holidays, NEW!, Sweden, Travel

You Gotta Eat Your Greens… No No I Mean Oranges!


Everyone knows that in Sweden it gets dark in winter… really early. So what to do during the night hours? Ah ha! Well that’s for you to decide. But what is important is eating your oranges… or to put it simply, you need you vitamin C!

Vitamin C is important to fight SAD disorder. You think I’m joking don’t you. A disorder called SAD? Really? Yes really! SAD stands for “Season Affective Disorder”.It is in fact a type of depression that tends to occur (and recur) as the days grow shorter in Autumn and Winter. It is believed that affected people react adversely to the decreasing amounts of sunlight and the colder temperatures. So, to put it simply, it is a disorder which makes you depressed because there is little sunlight and heat.

How do we counter this? Well there are many ways. Some suggest going in front of very bright lights for a certain period of time (which is also called phototherapy). Some say changing climats to a warmer one (which I think is pretty obvious). Of course there are antidepressant medications (but I wouldn’t recommend this unless you are really suffering really badly!) but a lot of people say that eating a good variety or fresh vegetables and lots of vitamin C can help a lot too.

So, what shall we do in Stockholm right now? I think we should all run around in the sunlight eating oranges and tangerines all the while screaming and laughing and listening to crazy party music until we are all tired. I have a few friends who also recommend having sex with all the lights in too, and I’m sure that that will help some of you (but I’m pretty sure not all of you!).

So, eat your oranges!

YUMMMMMMMY!

 

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Filed under Culture, Desserts, Europe, Food & Cooking, Friends, Happiness, Home, NEW!, Sadness, Sex, Sweden, Travel

Strömming : To Taste or not to Taste, That is the Question !


 

Stekt strömming

Many people have heard of this delicacy but many do not call it by name! Fear not! Because I and I alone have (and will again) face the devilishness that is “Strömming”!

This elusive product can only be found in Scandinavia (or is very strange and posh retail shops around the globe). You may ask why. Well it has ve deemed “illegal” to transport this product via airplane because it has been defined as a “risk”. True, it is less scary than a terrorist with a ten kilos of C4 strapped to his body but… the effect is nearly (and I stress nearly) the same!

Have I sparked your interest? Maybe I have and maybe I haven’t but he is what you have been (or not) dying to know. What is “Strömming”? It is by definition (and I quote the Swedish Tourist Board!) “…or fried Baltic herring is one of hundreds of recipes based on the smaller-sized eastern relative of the North Sea herring. Swedes often say that Baltic herring is better the fatter it is, but the truth is perhaps that all Baltic herring tastes good.”

All I can say… is mmm yeah right! Now true true I am biased in this situation because I hate fish and all things fish-related. That said I hurled myself head forward and tasted and prepared this very dish myself. (I will supply the recipe at the end, for all those who are of an enquiring nature).

You are probably asking yourself what this big furore is about. Well it’s all about the smell. Or should I say stink! It is also known known colloquially as Scandinavian rotten fish, is a northern Swedish dish consisting of fermented Baltic herring. Any of this tempting you yet? If so, then good for you! I applaud you! For the rest of you (including myself) I have resigned myself to the following : Strömming doesn’t taste that great, and nor does it taste amazing either BUT it is an important part of Swedish culture and, like Reindeer steak… should be tasted!

I do recommend however opening the can of herrings under water, such as in a bucket… and outside. The smell is lessened this way, thank god!). Strömming doesn’t look that appealing either (are you surprised?) You can buy it at a small place in Gamla Stan too.

However, I fear I have not given you enough incentive to eat it and truthfully I can’t… the only thing I could say is that you should do it out of curiosity and out of courage!

Stekt strömming – The Recipe

 

Ingredients

4–6 servings

1 kg (2¼ lb) Baltic herring filet
coarse rye flour
salt, white pepper
butter

Marinade:
350 g (12 oz) sugar
300 ml (1½ cup) distilled white vinegar (12% alcohol)
600 ml (3 cups) water
2 tbs whole allspice
2–4 bay leaves
2 red onions

Preparation

Place the Baltic herring filets skin side down on a cutting board or similar surface. Salt them and give them a few turns from the white pepper mill, then put together the filets in pairs. Roll the filets in coarse rye flour and fry them in butter until golden brown on both sides. Eat them right away with potatoes and lingonberries, as in the photo, or make a marinated version as follows.

Marinated fried Baltic herring:
Mix all the marinade ingredients and boil for a few minutes in a pot. Place the finished fried Baltic herring filets, while still warm, on top of each other in a deep bowl or dish. Pour the warm marinade over them. Let stand until cool. Peel the red onion, divide it in two, slice it thin and sprinkle on top.

 

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Filed under Europe, Food & Cooking, Hate!, LOL, Main Courses, Politics, Sweden, Travel

Men Suck !


I suppose this is just me ranting on how full of crap men are. Not only are they pointless pieces of crap and many of them subhuman insects at best. But some of them really and truly are. One minute they are all over you, then they are all over someone else… or they pretend they don’t understand female psychology. WHATEVER!

Seriously, I am not like a fair few girls here who are looking to shag as many people as possible (and from as many countries as possible). I am actually a girl NOT looking for that. Seriously, sex is everywhere. Anyone can have it. I don’t get it. I’m not going to judge the people who do that. I always feel that you should do what you want, and you shouldn’t care what people think of you (as long as you don’t hurt other people). But per-lease, men… don’t act as though you don’t understand what is going through a woman’s brain when you act the way you do.

I will give you a true story example. I will obviously changed said names for anonymity.

I wasn’t interested in this guy… until he asks me out (for coffee or something)… which led me to think… what are his motivations? I didn’t get it. I went, we had a blast… then a few days later… at a party… he asks to come round and watch a movie. Now… I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt, not because I am angry with him (in this case, I don’t care) but because people should learn from their mistakes.

We stayed up until five in the morning, then he gets up and leaves. I was like whatttt?? So being the honest, straight forward no bullshit person I am, I asked him what his deal was… he says some of the same bullshit you hear from a lot of teen movies about letting someone down (except… he wasn’t, but I wasn’t going to be mean and tell him I actually wasn’t interested to start with). Something about I like you, you are cool but bla bla bla not ready… it’s all about me, it’s not about you etc etc.

Ha, I laughed, rolled over and went back to sleep. This is a perfect example of “lost in translation”. Guy A thinks he is just “hanging out” with a girl… but unless you make it clear to her in the beginning, you do NOT ask to watch movies after a party until five in the morning, that screams “booty call” to many a person (am I right or am I right?). BIG MISTAKE HOMIE! ha, well let’s hope he doesn’t make that mistake twice. His problem I believe was… experience. He didn’t understand that girls analyse EVERYTHING. And I really mean, everything.

Example number two : Before I went off to Copenhagen, I used to have a small crush on this guy (in Erasmus here… not going to say who). But like I am, I didn’t see/hear from him in ages, so I forgot about it and concentrated on me. Having fun here! Then I received what I presume to be a drunken text from him asking me why I am not at some party. (I was sleeping due to my early wake up call to go to Denmark). Anyhow, on the way to Copenhagen on the bus, we chat via text. (Not very interesting conversation really). I’m like… whattt???? Why is he contacting me after such a long time? I’m curious… I start to have “hope”.

Well God shat on that faster than you can say “what did you say?”. I see him at a party where he spends three hours grinding against some girl. He does however have enough time to shout in my ear “HOW ARE YOU? HAVING FUN?”. Well not anymore asshole. pffff

However, you may be asking me… what was his mistake? His mistake was texting me when he wasn’t interested. Don’t ask me why I’m not at a party if I’m not there. It leads women to think, “oh wow… he’s somewhere thinking of me… why was he thinking of me?” etc etc.

NOT GOOD.

So ladies and gentlemen… learn from these guys mistakes.

 

Oh and on another note, making out in public = also a big no no for girls. Argh it’s not sexy and no one what’s to see that.

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Got Milk?


 

Got Milk?

This is silly really, I mean I have been in Stockholm for over a month and a half and I haven’t mentioned the Milk situation in Sweden. Before you say to yourself, “Well these Swedes aren’t strange, they must have milk there!”  well of course you would be right, you can buy milk in Sweden… but for even the more seasoned traveller… purchasing this lactose drink can be hard…

It all comes down to our incapacity in understanding the language (of course) but also in our blind trust in packaging.

No really. Our trust in packaging. You see, if I see a “carton” shaped object… in the refrigerated section at the supermarket… and it says the word “mjölk” in it… well to me that’s milk.

So you can understand my deception when the first (and depressingly second) time I ever bought milk here… happened to be some sort or stale or acidic milk/yoghurt. And let me add, you cannot add it to either tea or muesli. So in my opinion, I don’t understand what I can eat it with! Arghhh! But hey, I’m all for tasting new things, so I will find uses for it! That said, it doesn’t taste nice even by itself… so I’m not quite sure what i’d have to mix it with to make it tasty!

What is sort of funny about the situation, is that it has happened to every-single-erasmus student at least once! (and more embarrassingly, me twice). Well… at least you can say that while on my erasmus, I am still trying to “Get Milk!”

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Filed under Beginnings!, Europe, Sweden, Travel

Just a Thought…


Coffee...

Ok I was thinking, the Swedes are the forth country in the world… that consume coffee. They drink a staggering 7.8kg of coffee per year and per person… And here is the proof…


So clearly… the Scandanavian countries drink a lot of coffee… and like I have previously mentioned… the Swedes are (generally speaking) tall, sexy and blond… Now… I was thinking to myself, with all the coffee they are drinking… why aren’t their teeth yellow?

I mean everyone knows that coffee (and tea…and smoking of course) makes you’re teeth turn yellow… even if  you are very strict with you bathroom cleaning teeth habits… teeth still turn yellow… or at least a shade of yellow. So, I’m wondering why aren’t they blond haired, tall, sexy and yellow teethed?

Mmmm I need to do some more investigating!

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