Sunday, December 03, 2006


Every first sunday of December and accompanied by music. It is the annual display of fireworks by the local newspaper. This year´s theme was James Bond, and very well performed we concluded (Martin, Lina, friends and thousands of total strangers).

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Today was the annual lecture on entrepreneurship hosted by the Anders Wall-foundation.
This year´s guest was Niklas Zennström, father of such services as Kazaa and Skype. In front of a packed auditorium he shared his views on realizing an idea, creating consumer-focused services, learning from mistakes, etc. Being interviewed, he explained how the business world had changed since he graduated from Uppsala University in the late 80´s. Back then, an "entrepreneur" was someone in the construction business, or perhaps an asphalt contractor. Unlike today, when the term has come to involve such areas as technology, science and theology. When asked if he´d felt the desire to become an entrepreneur already when completing his studies in computer science, Niklas said "No, because they were into building houses".
He was not the only one to seduce the audience with a sense of humor. A young business-owner from northern Sweden, Stefan Stolt, also a guest, showed that he could handle himself among the big boys. The interview went something like this:
Interviewer: I hear you´re turning your eyes to the East nowadays.
Stolt: Yes, we´ve bought football players from the Ucraine for instance.
I: (With disbelief) Your village team buys players?? But I mean... (turning to a front-row member of the audience, director of one of Sweden´s biggest football teams) How much do you pay for your players? (Person waves his hand in a nonchalant gesture, "A couple of million")
Interviewer again addressing Stolt: Surely, you won´t pay that kind of money...
Stolt: No, we´re much better negotiators.

The host for this event was Mark Levengood, a very talented personality. When chatting with one of the guests he remembered his grandmother. Once, she emerged from her bedroom with a very somber look and said that she´d come to a decision. "I want to be cremated."
Grandfather, nodding in acceptance: "Put your coat on, and I´ll bring out the car."

Finally, he told the audience of his native Finland´s first business woman. She had fallen very ill during a visit to Stockholm. Moments before her passing, she opened her mouth and declared: "Tack alla kunder" (Thanks to all my customers). A true entrepreneur´s spirit.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Artificial Light

A void lurks outdoors. It´s so dark that the only reminder of the outside world is the strumming of rain on the window-ledge. Out there, street lights engage in an uneven struggle with the soaking darkness, like straws of grass in a tidal wave. Relieved only during lunchtime when the Sun appears behind hasty clouds.
It is dark. And for one month, it will get darker.

Luckily, today was sunny and mild-weathered, so it´s not all gloomy.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

First snow

This morning when I opened the curtains, Uppsala was white. Expected by all, but nobody is usually prepared. When the first snow hits with such strength as today the consequences can be severe. Cars sliding off the road, pedestrians slipping on the sidewalk and dogs ... well, dogs really don´t care much. I had an errand to the city and brought the camera to see if any good motifs turned up. Like people in distress, traffic headaches, snowy stuff, you know.

Winter comes with icy, vitalizing winds.

This is how people in other countries imagine Sweden all year around.

Car headache in Carolinabacken. Then buses also tried to go up, failing miserably. Finally the street was closed.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Home 2006

This friday Martin, Isabel and I visited the Home 2006 expo in Stockholm. We were invited by Lina, who was promoting the wood certification FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). We wandered around for a while among video games, television sets, beds, garage door openers and similar things. We also got to try out what it is like to present the weather forecast. Isabel borrowed a Samsung NV10, a pretty sexy piece of photographic equipment. I used my trusty Nikon. Here are some pics.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Isabel´s Birthday

Yesterday we celebrated Isabel´s 25th birthday. The festivities were held at dad´s house in Stenhagen. Lots of friends and family joined and spent a lovely evening. The food was very good, all prepared by Isabel´s hand. Later at night, the younger crowd set out into the Uppsalian nightlife. Congratulations once again, Isa!

The senior members of the party and cousin Siri

Opening of presents

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Dance of Monsters

Today we remember the victims of September 11, 2001, the day of the worst attack in history on US soil. In the heart of the Big Apple, the unimaginable played before our eyes. The unthinkable. Reality had surpassed the real limit.
It was like a film of horror. Directed and enacted by terrorists, distributed to the world by the media. The physical force of the attack was striking, but I wonder if the mediatic force wasn´t just as strong. The images sent all over the world needed no explanation - planes against a blue sky scorching tall buildings. A message, designed for the television screen, promoted Manhattan´s fear to all the corners of the world. Perfect, in the perpetrator´s mind.
Although it may seem to have come from a blue sky, the origin of the attack is not a mystery. It traces back twenty years, when money and arms changed hands in central Asia. Since then, both sides have gained from the attack of the other. What began as a collaboration turned to a symbiosis of death. A dance of monsters.

The victims of 9-11 keep falling to this day. 3 000 in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. 40 000* in Iraq.

* Civilians killed by military intervention. Source: Iraq Body Count

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Cahman Organ

This organ was built by Johan Niclas Cahman in 1728 and is located in Lövstabruk in northern Uppland. It is today in almost the same state as it was from the beginning, with it´s entire registry of 28 voices intact. The recent restauration, completed in 2006, has left it in a splendid condition and it is considered as one of Sweden´s finest historical organs.
I drove up to hear it in person, and it was well worth it. Tonight´s concert was held as part of "The Cahman Days", an annual celebration of the instrument. Remarkably, this event went down last year as well, despite the organ being unplayable due to it´s restauration.
On tonight´s program were composers like Buxtehude, Picchi, Reincken, Bach; not all well-known but worthy of sounding the pipes. The able musician was Magnus Kjellson.
The organ´s sound was like candy or cute puppies - impossible not to fall in love with. At the end we cheered "Come on, more Cahman!"... (nah, I just made that up)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Trip to France

I´ve been away for a few weeks, on a trip I made with friends to France by car. Well there, we participated in a music course. It is held every year in Provence by a swedish couple (my travel company) and is always an enjoyable experience. I want to share some photos from this trip with you.

Photos from the trip to France

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Små grodorna, små grodorna...

For this years Midsummer, I tagged along Martin & Lina to visit Tom & Lotta who live on the lovely countryside close to Västerås. Everything was set for a traditional celebration, we decorated and raised the Midsummer Pole, laid the table in the garden with delicious pickled herring, fresh potato and schnapps. And right on cue, after our first skål, came the rain. We were generously showered, but fortunately our tent saved us from getting wet.
But it didn´t go on for long and the evening continued with customary dancing around the Pole, for some of us for the first time ever.
When the babies had gone to sleep, we grown-ups found some time to ponder the important issues in life. Like what foods we´d like to see come in a tube.
It was a lovely day thanks to our great hosts, the beautiful setting and all the friends.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A fine day

The swans in central Uppsala have reproduced successfully and the little swan babies are irresistible. Not only to us, but to the gulls circling around them. But Mr and Mrs Swan are very vigilant and nibble on anything that moves in too closely.

Not far from there, jazz singer Rigmor Gustafsson and Uppsala Big Band give a great concert. The outdoor auditorium is packed, but a pair of small girls prefer to play with the fallen leaves at the foot of the stage and steal everyone´s attention.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

La Fiesta Roja en Råsunda

Cuando el equipo nacional de fútbol chileno juega en Europa, siempre cuenta con un gran apoyo en la graderia. El partido amistoso entre Chile y Suecia en Estocolmo no fue una excepcion. En un costado del Estadio Nacional de Futbol habia una "marea roja", constantemente de pie, cantando, bailando, celebrando la visita tan poco común de la seleccion chilena.
Llegando al estadio en metro, los carros estaban repletos con hinchas de vestido rojo. La bandera chilena habia sido la inspiracion para todo tipo de prenda, maquillaje, peinado, etc. El pasajero corriente se tiene que haber impresionado. Ya se estrenaban elaboradas consignas de los hinchas, variadas en su nivel literario pero constantes en calidad motivador. De repente alguien intervino con "Sverige!", pero en general los fans suecos guardaban un silencio respetuoso. Al salir del tren un sueco y un chileno se saludaron amistosamente, el rubio diciendo: "Tienen un buen equipo." El otro dejaba entender que no estaba tan convencido.
La vista entrando a la cancha fue impactante. La cantidad de espectadores chilenos era mucho mas grande de lo que alguien podria esperar. Aunque faltaban unos quince minutos para que empezara el partido y nadie habia pisado el pasto, el ambiente era festivo y energico. Algunos habian montado la reja y coordinaban los gritos rítmicos, agitando banderas enormes.
El numero total de espectadores esta tarde bordeaba los 35 000. De ellos 15 000 eran chilenos, sea de pasaporte o corazon, pero por la manera de meter ruido constituían una mayoria.
A la hora de cantar el himno chileno el conjunto burlesco en mi alrededor se convirtio en un coro, no diria afinado, pero respetuoso de cada silaba y diptongo, digno de cualquier CD de himnos nacionales. Luego, el turno llego al canto de los anfitriones y curiosamente muchos de poleras rojas concurrieron tambien a este coro. Por cierto, se veian muchas parejas donde un miembro tenia la polera roja y otro la amarilla, o gente que simplemente señalaba un apoyo por ambos lados. Un lindo testimonio de la integracion.
Todos los nombres importantes del equipo sueco participaron en el partido, como Henrik Larsson (Barcelona), Fredrik Ljungberg (Arsenal) y Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Juventus), pero no dieron prueba de un juego mundial. Incluso, algunos mostraron pocas ganas de meterse con dos manos en el juego. Aparte del gol de Larsson en el primer periodo, que logro callar la hinchada roja por unos pocos instantes.
Mantuvimos la fe en nuestros jugadores con saltos y consignas, mientras los suecos se sentaban tranquilamente para disfrutar del sentido favorable que habia tomado el partido. No se si fui el unico pensando - "Que no ganen por mas."
Pero mi temor se mostro injustificado en el segundo periodo. El equipo de Acosta se hizo cargo de la pelota y logro superar el arquero Isaksson. Y con eso se cumplio el deseo de cada uno en la graderia Sur de ver un gol chileno esa tarde. La confianza en el equipo fue reparada y fortalecida, y la euforia no sabia contenerse. Los suecos nunca lograron recuperar su ventaja, y el partido termino en un justo empate.

La hinchada chilena mostró un buen ejemplo de "El Duodecimo Jugador".

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Manfred´s piano

My grandfather Manfred was, among many things, a great pianist and my inspiration to begin playing myself. I took the train many times in my younger years to visit him and grandmother in Dalarna and have lessons.
Since he past away the piano has been in the ownership of a church in Storvreta, in the outskirts of Uppsala, and yesterday I went to pay it a visit.
Fortunately, it was in a good condition, having recently been renovated.
The evening continued in the musical theme, with harpsichord lessons with Pär Lindh. Since I played the organ in Santiago, the time has come to this keyboard instrument, which is much more similar to the organ than the piano. Essential reading on the subject: L´Art de Toucher le Clavecin, written by François Couperin in 1717.

Monday, May 22, 2006

New header

I haven´t been at the foot of the Andes for more than three weeks now, so a change of title couldn´t wait any longer. The graphics had to be reworked too, of course.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Fixing it up

This weekend I´m assisting Martin and Lina with their renovation project. We were seven pair of hands working with the brush, hammer, saw, crowbar and steam generator. We set loose our destructive side on the kitchen, and it ended up looking like ground zero.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Uppsala greets the Sun

As if saying "Sorry for being late", the Sun showed itself from it´s brightest side this Thursday and Friday. Termometers climbed to the 20° mark and beyond, causing people to gather along the Fyris canal to sit and talk, read or just enjoy the moment they had longed for so many times the past months. Isabel and I strolled along the flow of the Fyris and observed how everybody unfolded to the warmth.
Outside my mom´s apartment, birds fill the air with genetically programmed acoustic calls and a woodpecker furiously prepares his new den.
For someone who has spent the last year and more in a city with 5 million people, it´s a rather nice place to be. Everything is so clean, the air actually consists of air, cars drive slowly and even in the heart of the city it´s possible to hear silence. Just don´t look at the price tags, or it will ruin the fun.

Sunday, April 30, 2006


Hi there!

I´m on my way home to Sweden now. My departure from Chile was delayed by the authorities because I hadn´t cared to maintain a valid visa in the country. So on Friday I tried again, and they let me go. However, my combination flight in Madrid was hopelessly lost. Have to stay here waiting for the next plane to Stockholm which leaves tonight, Sunday. Lucky for me, Macarena has a cousin in Madrid and she let me stay with her and her husband. This helps a lot.
Before it´s time to board, we will do a tour of the city on the lovely double deckers of MadridVision.

Don´t miss the upcoming summary of my time in Chile!

See you soon!