Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Gothenburg has skillfully marketed itself as the "Christmas City".
The funfair park, Liseberg, is glimmering with lights. Downtown Gothenburg is also full of lights, decoration, and nightly light-shows.

An extra ferry from Denmark accommodates the increase in winter tourism.
The hotels are nearly fully booked and the restaurants are flourishing. This is very welcome in what is usually the off season.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


The Swedish Lucia celebration is an annual festival of medieval origin, observed on the 13th of December. On this day, the darkness is brightened by Saint Lucia, a creature of goodness and light who opens the door to the Christmas season.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Four weeks before Christmas (beginning on the first Sunday in advent), Swedes put electric candelabra in their windows and keep them on all night and also during darker days. Many have a candelabra in every window. Since Swedes rarely pull their curtains at night, it is beautiful to walk the streets and see the many lit candelabra. Though most Swedes are not particularly religious, they do enjoy the candlelights in the dark of the long winter.

"Advent is the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, and it also marks the start of Christmas festivities in Sweden. More people visit Swedish churches on the first Sunday of Advent than any other time of year; they come to sing the well-known Yuletide hymns. This first Sunday is also the day communities decorate their streets and squares with wreaths, garlands, lights and Christmas trees. At home, Swedes light one candle on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, in special four-pronged candelabra.

Another way of counting the days until Christmas is the Advent calendar, a card with "windows" that you open, one by one, for each passing day until Christmas Eve. These calendars, which were introduced as late as the 1930s, have become increasingly popular. Swedish radio and television broadcast daily Advent programs for children based on a specially published calendar.
During Advent many people hang luminous stars of paper, straw or perforated metal in their windows. Introduced from Germany around 1910, these stars have become a central feature of Swedish Advent celebrations."
Source: "Traditional Festivities in Sweden"; Author: Ingemar Liman; Published by: The Swedish Institute, ISBN 91-520-0113-X

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Once upon a time, there were no McDonalds retaurants in London.
Does it sound like a fairy tale ?
It might seem unreal to some, but it's true.

So where could a student eat cheaply in 1967?
There weren't many places. But I remember The Golden Egg restaurants where you could get a meal for a reasonable sum. They all had fake brick and fake vaulted ceilings and such, but what I particularly remember: the miniscule portions. I haven't thought about The Golden Egg for decades, but when I came across this picture, I remember always wishing there could have been a bit more on the plate.