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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Trip to Amsterdam

I attended a meeting at work this Wednesday and while I was there I booked another trip. I went to Amsterdam Thursday. It's only an hour flying time but of course the waiting time is rather long. I arrived in late afternoon and took the train in to the city center. I walked down the main street and did some shopping pretty soon after getting there. I got a top at C&A, which is a rather cheap clothing store (it's also in Germany). The souvenir shops sell all kinds of things relating to typically Dutch items, for instance clogs, windmills and tulips. I walked to the hotel further south and checked in. The standard was acceptable and I got a good room facing the back of it, so it was quiet. I rested a short while and then went out for dinner. I ended up at Hard Rock Cafe, which turned out to be situated close by the hotel. The hickory ribs and chicken combo was very tasty, and it was the first time I had that at HRC. On the way back to the hotel I bought a waffle with chocolate. The bakeries seem to have many incredibly sweet goods to sell there.

Friday I got up early and walked to the Rijksmuseum. It opens at 9 and I got there a few minutes later. It's a newly renovated museum with some famous paintings. One of them is the Night Watch by Rembrandt. It's a very large painting, guarded by two people in uniform. I was particularly interested in the 17th century paintings and looked at some by Ruisdael, Vermeer and others. I also walked through the other galleries with 17th century dolls houses, Delft porcelain, old coins, furniture and many other paintings. It was a huge museum and I couldn't see all of it. What I did get to see was interesting, though. I walked further south to a market street and spent most of the afternoon looking at the goods for sale. It was everything from fresh fish, fruit and cheese to scarves, clothes, souvenirs and toys. There were three stalls where they had plus size clothes, and those stalls also had the stores behind, so you could try the clothes on. I bought some tops here, some of them at a very affordable price. On the way back to the hotel I had a meal at a pancake house, a large pancake with icecream and strawberries. Pretty good. At the hotel I rested for a while and then went back out again to look in some other stores. I found a shoe store with large sizes and was amazed by the 25 racks with my size, but sadly the shoes were not wide enough for me. My feet are both big and wide, which is a problem. In the evening I had a nice pizza with smoked salmon in a small and very noisy restaurant in the tourist area.

Saturday it was time to return home. I got up early and walked up the tourist streets to the train station. When I got there I saw signs saying the trains to the airport were cancelled due to construction work over the weekend. The instructions on how to get to the airport were not the best I have seen, but in essence I first had to take a train to another station and then go on replacement bus. So there was no bus service from the main station, which is remarkable considering the amount of tourists in Amsterdam. I'm glad that I'm used to travelling because I could figure this out. At the airport, getting through the security checkpoint was an ordeal, to put it mildly. The lines were very long and it was not a practical arrangement. I remember hating this airport already in the 1990s, when I had to change planes there to go to the US, and I'm sorry to say that it is still how I feel about it. It was not a pleasant experience. Of course the gate was as far away as it possibly could be also. I finally arrived back home in the evening, pretty tired. 

My visit to Amsterdam was rather nice but I was not impressed by much (Rijksmuseum excluded). I have been in a lot of cities and Amsterdam was not a surprise, since it resembled Copenhagen. The large number of canals made it difficult to cross over to the other side, if you saw a store you wanted to go to. The trams and the huge amounts of bikes made it a special place, and the night life seems to be very hectic. I can understand the appeal to some extent, but I think this was my first and only visit to Amsterdam.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Week at the summerhouse

The day after I returned from London I went to the summerhouse. My sister and niece also visited. We had great weather, 25 degrees and sunny. I jumped into the ocean a couple of times, mostly because my niece insisted on it. It was not warm in the water but it was acceptable. We made some excursions: fleamarket, harvest festival in apple country and nature preserve with a small waterfall. We also picked mushrooms, painted the outdoor plantboxes and did some garden work. My mother and I did some volunteering at Furuboda, helping out at a music event. I also drove some visitors home late that night. Apart from this, I relaxed a lot in the sun on the deck. It was the last warm days of summer. It is now cooler, 18 degrees and cloudy.

After a very nice week at the summerhouse I went back home. I spent last weekend doing research at work. I got a new request. The people asking didn't know what had happened to their grandfather and thought that he had left the family under suspicious circumstances but it turned out to be a very normal death by tb in his 30s. It was somewhat of a relief, as people who go absent without giving a destination are incredibly hard to find in any records.

My father reported that the annual moose hunt in Jämtland went well. They got two moose.
Our Australian relative Brianna, who competed in the Paralympics in Rio, ended up just outside the medals. She came in fourth on the 100 meters and fifth in the 200 meters event. We couldn't see it live from here, unfortunately. But we are very impressed by her abilities and hope to see her in some competitions in the future, as she is only 18 years old. It's amazing that the infant girl I met in Australia back in 1998 is now competing in athletics at that level!

Friday, September 9, 2016

London trip

I have been in London for a few days. The number one purpose was to go shopping. I started from home Tuesday morning and went to the airport in Copenhagen. There were large amounts of commuters on that train. At the airport I happened to meet two colleagues; one was going to a conference in Zurich and the other one was going to Tuscany on vacation. I went to Gatwick, an hour and a half flying time. Then I continued on by their national train service to London Bridge, and changed to subway. I ended up at a mall in the outskirts of town. I got three tops at the plus size store there. Returned to the city center and walked along Oxford Street, the big shopping street. Didn't get much, only one tunic. I walked a great distance that day and was very tired when I got to the hotel. It turned out to be a slightly better hotel than I normally stay at in London. Everything functioned, to my surprise. The bed was a single bed and not what I'm used to but it worked. The breakfast was not worth mentioning. Even though it was included I didn't eat it.

Wednesday morning I took the subway quite far north. I ended up in a suburb that has seen it's glory days. But there is a plus size store there that I always find clothes in. Also this time, a long dress which was on sale. The only one left on the rack and it was my size. I couldn't believe it. I returned down to the city, near Liverpool Street. An area I haven't been in before. There was a handcraft market and vintage stores. Interesting but made no purchases. Had lunch at a diner, a chicken burger with mozzarella sticks. Very nice. Spent the afternoon at the British Museum. My first visit there. I saw the exhibits on Greek and Egyptian sculpture, Greek pottery, the Rosetta Stone and the built-up pieces of the Parthenon. The Rosetta Stone in particular was interesting, it's a large stone (similar to a runestone) which has three parts of text, Hieroglyphic, Demotic and Greek. This meant that it was possible to fully decipher the Hieroglyphic script in the early 19th century. The stone is from 196 B.C.

I went back to the hotel to rest as it was very hot and humid, and I had walked far. Later in the evening I changed to the dress and went to dinner at an Italian restaurant. I had a relatively spicy pizza with chicken. Thursday I got up late since I wanted to avoid the rush hour traffic. I checked out and took the subway one station, intending to change there. When I got to the platform it said the next train would arrive in 16 minutes. An eternity in this day and age. There had been an accident. I was given an alternate route by the staff (which was very concerned about the passengers having to wait for such a long time), but I said it didn't matter that much to me. I finally got to the western part of London, Shepherd's Bush. There is a very large shopping center there, Westfield. There are several hundred stores. I knew of two stores with plus sizes, New Look and Evans. Made some purchases in both of them. After this my backpack was absolutely full. I spent part of the afternoon at the shopping center and then took the subway and national train to Gatwick. I was early because there was a train strike but I didn't notice anything of it. I spent the evening at the airport, looking in stores and having dinner (a very tasty Cobb salad). The plane was late to start with and it didn't get any better when the airport was closed off after an incident on the runway. We finally arrived in Copenhagen at 23.30. I made it onboard the last possible train and came home at 01.15.

In total I bought a dress, a pair of short pants, a swimsuit, a scarf, a long jacket, six tops and some souvenirs. It was an ok visit. It was surprisingly hot weather and that made it an ordeal, since I have to try the garments on. It's not more expensive for me to buy clothes in London, the prices (at least in the stores I go to) are about the same as home. But the plus size collections are more interesting than here. There is simply more to choose from in London.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Two excursions

It has been yet another long weekend at work to do research. I'm beginning to see the end of it. It's two interesting cases. I have noticed that the 18th century Småland records are sometimes very hard to decipher. It is certainly challenging but I learn a lot. This research meant my first encounter with workers at iron mills in Småland.

I did two excursions last week. I was in Ängelholm, a picturesque town on the northwest coast of Skåne. Didn't do much there, just looked in the nice shops. Got some salt licorice, which was very tasty. I also went to Tomelilla, which is in the southeast corner of Skåne. It took over an hour and a half to get there by train. There is a store that sells plus size clothes in the center of the village. It turned out to be an expensive visit. I got two tops there. Also went to the large discount store  and was surprised to see some racks with large sized clothes. Got one more top there and some candy.The local pizza place was pretty ok, had a chicken pizza.

Monday, August 29, 2016


The most important thing that happened last week was the annual bus excursion Tuesday. It was arranged by the social club but I didn't do much since I was on vacation. That particular day I worked, however. This was because we have to leave already at noon and I wanted to make sure we had done all the tasks so that everybody who wanted to could join us. We visited a beer brewery in Helsingborg. Even though I am not into this kind of drink it was rather interesting to hear the lecture on the art of making beer. We got to peek into the house where the beer is made. It's a small brewery with a select production. My colleagues tasted several kinds in the bar on the premises. After this we continued on to Sofiero, which is a large park area. The castle in the middle of it used to be a royal castle. The park contained planted flowers of many kinds, apple and pear trees, a labyrinth, sculptures, art installations, greenhouses, plant sales, exhibits and a cafe. There was lots to see and the view over the ocean was great. We were very lucky with the weather also. Back in Lund we had dinner at a restaurant. The barbecue buffet was very tasty. The dessert table was incredible. We have been to this place before and it's worth the money.

Apart from this I have enjoyed the sunny weather. This year I was bold and bought a tomato plant for my balcony. It's small yellow tomatoes and to my great surprise I have been able to eat a handful of them. I made a trip to Helsingborg to have lunch at a 1950's inspired restaurant and then went out to the pier. There is a small section of sandy beach close by with palm trees. It looks very much out of place. The rest of the beach is very rocky. Anyway, I went there to get an icecream. I had been recommended this particular kind, locally made. It was indeed very good. You could tell there were actual pieces of raspberries in it. Not common in other brands.

Over the weekend I did research at work. I can't go on weekdays because then my colleagues think I am working. I got a rather interesting case with lots of hard-to-find clues. Some emigrants and some sailors that never returned home. Today I had to go to the archive center to use databases I don't normally have access to. Also there I had to explain that I was not on duty (the staff see me several times a week because that's where our storage is). The databases did shed some light on those clues I had struggled with. But there is still one sailor I can't track down.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Weekend at the summerhouse

Last weekend (Fri-Sat) my mother and I hosted a visit from my second cousin and his wife. It's a tradition that we meet once a year. We did a fleamarket tour and went to see a classic car exhibit. It was a weekend full of nostalgia. On the Sunday we got other visitors, some people we have known for over 25 years came for coffee and waffles. My aunt also visited. The weather was varied but I was able to sit in the deck chair at least a few minutes. My mother had of course a project for me - she wanted the outdoor wooden furniture sanded and painted, so we did that. I returned to my place again the day after. It took three hours by one bus and two trains.

This week I have enjoyed my freedom quite a lot. I haven't been that active. I had to do the laundry and some other chores, though. It was the last week for the Olympic Games, it's ending today. Sweden got a total of eleven medals, most of them were won by women athletes. Impressive. I have engaged in a research request that is quite challenging. I spent two days at work to do part of the research but got frustrated when the subscription database quit working. One woman I tried to trace in the records emigrated to the US in 1891. I was able to find out that she got married to a man named John Johnson... in New York City... Let's just say that it is more challenging than normal. I haven't given up yet.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Freedom at last

After a long and tiring summer at work I finally got vacation. Last week was also rather strained with only two people in the stacks. Starting this week my colleagues will have to make it without me. I actually haven't decided how long my vacation will be. At least five weeks, probably longer. So far I have taken it rather easy. I have done a few excursions to places like Helsingborg (where my favorite mall is), Trelleborg (a port city on the south coast), the nearest mall (where there are two rather large second hand stores) and the largest mall in this province, Emporia (only to have lunch).

The Olympic Games in Rio started this past weekend. Because of the time difference we can't see all of it live. There were some hopes for Swedish medals and so far we have one gold (women's swimming - first ever) and two silver medals (women's swimming and women's cycling).  Later the Paralympics will take place. One of my Australian relatives (a descendant of August Nelson's nephew Nils Nilsson who emigrated to Australia 1909) will participate. Brianna Coop is a sprinter who will compete in the 100 and 200 m. I will certainly cheer from here!

Tomorrow I will go to the summerhouse. The weather is pretty awful with rain and chilly temperatures, so there will be no sun bathing. We will host some visits from relatives and friends.