Monday, January 30, 2006

Notes from Germany

Daniel has been working in Germany for the last fortnight, so on Thursday I flew down to spend the weekend there with him. He has been working at the Opel Design office in Russelsheim which will be taking over the new Saab designs from the office in Trollhättan where Daniel currently works.

I've always imagined Germany as being a very industrial, grey country (sorry to any Germans out there!) so was pleasantly suprised to see it how pretty it was. We were staying in the town of Mainz, which is close to Frankfurt on the banks of the Rhine.


Mainz is made up of lots of little cobbled streets centered around a large cathedral, so we spent most of the day wandering around the shops...

...and then stuffing ourselves silly with food and drinks in the evenings as it was so cheap compared to Sweden! We ate in some great restaurants, including a beautiful place called Heiliger Geist (Holy Ghost) which was built in an old church, and managed to sample the local beer at the Eisgrub brewery bar.

Click here to see all of the photos from Mainz.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Weekend in the snow

We had a huge snowfall on Friday night so when it came to Saturday morning and time to 'defrost' the car we had to wade through knee deep snow to actually get to the car!!



Luckily the roads are ploughed and well gritted so spurred on by my elk sighting earlier in the week, we headed up to Hunneberg and Halleberg again. We thought it would be a bit easier to see the silhouette of an elk against the white of the snow, so we were very excited when we spotted what we guessed to be elk tracks in the snow...

We followed the tracks as far as we could but they ended up leading into quite dense forest so we couldn't follow. We continued our walk to the top of the plateau and once or twice the snow felt really slippery underfoot. We dug down through the snow and realised we had been walking along the top of a frozen stream!! Oops!




On Sunday we went out for another walk in the snow round the canal. We didn't make it that far though and had to come back after half an hour as we were soooo frozen - not suprising really as it was -14!!



Above: Anyone for a picnic??!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

ELK!!

After 19 months of living in Sweden I have finally seen my first elk! I was speaking to a Swedish friend earlier and told her that every time we have guests to stay from home we always go on a elk spotting drive through the forest but we never see any! Her great uncle hunts elks, so after a quick phone call to him to find out the best spots to see one we set off...

We drove to the nearby hills of Hunneberg and Halleberg which is where the King of Sweden hunts elks during the hunting season. My friends uncle said that after the hunting season there were only 29 elks left in the hills, but if we drove slowly and looked carefully in the open areas of forest we might just see one. Sure enough after driving for about 30 minutes we saw a small elk calf! We could see its legs through the trees and its nose when it bent down to eat! We stopped the car and waited to see if it would come out onto the road or if its mother would appear. Sadly neither happened and after we put the window down he ran off.

The calf was too camouflaged behind the trees for me to take a photo but it was about the size of a pony. Fingers crossed we see another one a bit closer up next time!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mmmm cheese!

Yesterday we spent the day wandering and driving around Gothenburg trying to work out which areas we would like or not like to live in. Daniel is still waiting to sign his contract but hopefully we'll be moving around April/May time. We liked the areas of Majorna, Masthugget and Kungsladugård to the west of the centre of town, so will start looking for a flat there as soon as Daniel signs his contract. They were close enough to the centre of town for going out and shopping, but far enough out to feel as though they had there own little community. We've heard some horror stories of how long it takes to find a flat in Gothenburg so fingers crossed we'll be lucky and it won't take too long!

During our wander round town we came across a tiny little cheese shop, and popped in to see if they had any really strong cheddar as it is one of the things we miss most from home. We were given 3 types of cheddar to try ranging from 12 to 47 months old! The 47 month old one was so strong it made my mouth itchy! We decided on a 36 month old one which was really strong and tasty, so now we know we have to move to this part of Gothenburg to supply our cheese addiction!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Brrrrrrr!

Even though we have had no new snow for over a week now, or Narnia world is still here. The snow is still about 20cm thick and the temperature was down to -9 this morning when I walked to school. It was so cold that when I breathed in through my nose my nostrils stuck together and the hair that was poking out of the bottom of my hat froze into tiny ice crystals!

There are lots of signs along the pavements like the one below which says 'Warning for falling snow and icicles' and after looking up at the icicles I decided to cross the road just in case!

The canal in front of our flat is now almost completely frozen and the ice breaker chips its way through the canal every morning to make sure the big cargo ships can actually make it as far as Karlstad and Stockholm.




Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Death of a Christmas tree!

Our poor Christmas tree couldn't hold out until the twelfth night before we took him down so he has had a premature death. He was looking a little on the sparse side, but after taking the decorations off, getting him out of our front door, in the lift and out of the flat he is now pretty much completely bald! We're lucky as our local council collects the Christmas trees and recycles them, so I was just able to prop him up by the side of the road ready to be collected.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Not a good start to the year!



After a second day out sledging yesterday, Daniel and I are now sporting sledging injuries! Daniel has a rather bruised and swollen finger, which looks as though it might be broken and I'm suffering from what feels like whiplash after flying over a jump backwards and landing on my head! I think we might just stay in this evening with a hot chocolate instead!



Everywhere looks like 'Narnia' at the moment and the weather forecast says the snow is going to continue for at least the next week!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Whenever a Swede hears that we are English one of the first questions they ask after which football team we support is do we watch 'Dinner for One' on New Years Eve in England? We always reply that we have never heard of this TV programme, but despite this they always continue to reel off the script from the show.

Last night we finally got to watch this infamous show and see what all the fuss is about. 'Dinner for One' was filmed in Germany in the 1960's and has been shown every year since in most European countries on New Years Eve. It is comedy sketch involving a 90 year old wowan at her birthday party, along with her bulter who has to impersonate each of the other guests as they are dead, with him gradually getting drunker and drunker as he has their drinks. Both the actors are English and the script is English but the BBC never wanted to buy the programme to broadcast it in Britain. After watching it last night we can't quite understand why it is broadcast 10 times on New Years Eve with most of the population of Sweden watching, but we can see why the BBC didn't want it!!