Reports from Sweden 10 - May 30, 2007

Wednesday, May 10, 2007

Hello People,

Reminder, past letters, essays and better photos are on on the website. Also there is a calender which tells you who is visiting us when, weather in Stockholm, and maps. There are also links to places mentioned in the report.
username: Sweden
password: Stockholm
(capital letter required)

There is an essay at the end:A Sun Which Doesn't Quite Set

Last Wednesday (May 23) I found another park cafe which should have gone in my last report with three stars. Vasaparken is a little and very busy city park between Odenplan and St. Erikplan. It has an AstroTurf fotboll field where there are usually 3-4 games going on at any moment. Also there is a play ground, flower garden, miniature golf and quite places on cliff, not to forget three cafes. All this in a park 200 meters on a side!

The first cafe I walked by had a line waiting for lunch (dagens rätt - dish of the day). But then I spotted a second cafe behind a hedge. It was sunny and I wrote about sand on a beach. It was very nice! Coffee was, of course "påtår" (free refills).

Thursday (May 24) Kristina returned from her whirlwind tour of the east coast of the US.

Robin rolled his ankle at "fotboll training" (soccer practice)! Instead of riding the subway and bus home from the practice field the coach gave the cripple a ride.

Saturday (May 26) I biked into the city center to get tickets for the "Pirates of the Caribbean" that evening, and then I continued on to Djurgården. This is an island five kilometers long, but we have only been on the western third of it. Most of it is park land. So this morning I cycled around it. It was very pleasant and green except for all the "blomma" (flowers). In fact in places the scent of lilacs was almost too much.

When I got home we all went to the "Archipelago Fair", back on Djurgården island near the Vasa museum. Some old boats were open to the public, including a recently retired icebreaker and cold-war Baltic Sea patrol boat. An icebreaker is mainly engine. Here they let us crawl around the engine and boiler, a labyrinth of passageway and three levels of catwalks. The boys kept saying that it felt like the setting of some chase scene as we crawled in and out of the deep innards of the ship. Robin and I went through the patrol boat which is operated by a club now. The club members were all on deck enjoying the sun and let Robin and myself roam below. They had left the radar and radios running. Once you get use to the radar you can see everything in the harbor.

Back on shore the fair was full of things somehow related to the archipelago. One of my favorites was an osmotic water filter which would filter out salt. Many of the 24,000 islands do not have fresh water. There were also an amazing number of boat. I talked for awhile with the captain of an open deck boat from the Medieval Museum. There is also a boathouse museum with lots of beautiful old wooden boat.

Robin headed home and Will went to "Stumpens" to play at open-mic again. Stumpens is a jazz pub/bar. Will played "The House of the Rising Sun", as played by the Animals.

We meet Will on Riddarholm afterward, and with Kristina's new string and stick giant bubble maker she entertained some small boys for awhile.

That evening we had dinner at the "Texas Burger Cafe" in Hötorget, and then went to the movie.

Sunday Kristina took the bus/subway to Millesgården which is on the island of Lidingö just east of Stockholm. Millesgården is a sculpture garden at the home and studio of Carl Milles, who did most of his work in the first half of the twentieth century. It include dozens of bronze figure up on soaring pedestals. One of my favorite was a pair of naked angle dancing on ice skates - it was so whimsical.

Afterward I cycled to Gashaga, the southeast end of the island. On my way back I cycled through a large and winding nature reserve.

Monday Robin had "Sports Day" at school and they all went across the city to Krintinaberg stadium for track and field events. Robin won the high jump (140 cm) for the seventh grade, and took second school wide, lossing to a ninth grader. He said he didn't run because of his ankle.

Today was Shakespeare day at Will's school. You can tell the whole school year is winding down. Next week is national day and Robin has Haga Parken Day. Robin's school end June 8, and Will on June 12. This is good, since our summer visitor arrive June 8 - and the summer begins.


Will in the engine
of the icebreaker

Robin and the icebreaker
S:t Erik

Kristina and
Robin at the
Archipelago Fair

Kristina, Bubbles
and little boys




A Sun Which Doesn't Quite Set

Last Thursday it was a pleasant evening and so I walked down to the lake behind our apartment. There is a construction site between us and the lake where they are building an access shaft to a new highway tunnel. Two men where out surveying which I didn't think about - until I realized that it was 10:00 in the evening and they were working by natural light...

After getting home from the movie Saturday night at midnight I was struck by the fact that the sky was not quite dark. The sun now goes down at 9:50 pm which is very late -- and then it stay light long into the evening.

This is a bit of a math-nerdy essay but that comes from the fact that your chief correspondent in Sweden is, well, as you know - let us say math inclined. So yesterday I drew a few figures and derived the time for sunrise and sunset (the derivation is available on the website). But that is not the whole story.

Late nights have daylight savings added to them, and the fact that the sky doesn't really get dark at night. So I calculated that if you where 50 km over Stockholm (30 miles), you could still see the Sun. But it is even a stronger effect then that. The Earth's atmosphere have a distorting effect on light as it grazes the edge of the atmosphere, bending some light into the night side.

At night I can only see the Moon and Saturn, it is still too bright to see stars.

I know that the effect will not change much between now and the solstice, but I am still looking forward to the very long day three weeks from now.

Click to see the document for the derivation of equations, sunrise.pdf
At 11:00pm
only Saturn

After midnight


Sunlight hours