Exploring Nordic Lake Pays Off

Fun story here: Exploring the shore around her family’s summer cabin turned out worthwhile for a young girl in Sweden. TheLocal.se reports “Eight-year-old Swedish-American girl pulls pre-Viking era sword from lake.”

Very cute. Museum staff asked the girl to keep the find a secret at first so they could search for more artifacts. She “confirmed to The Local that the only person she told was her best friend, who she really trusts. Thursday was the first day she could reveal her story to her classmates, and her teacher threw a party to celebrate, handing out ice creams and showing Saga’s TV and radio interviews to the class.”

No Apocalypse Yet in Sweden

Agree with Anne Applebaum’s thinking in Sweden’s election once again undercuts the populist myth of the racial apocalypse. Everybody made the Sweden Democrats really, really scary for international consumption, but after all they increased their vote share to 17.6%, less than half of either of the existing alliances. Days are getting shorter across Scandinavia, but the sky has yet to fall.

 

Worth Your Time

Helsinki

First, a thoughtful article by the Finnish writer Anu Partanen on why Americans shouldn’t dismiss the Nordic/Scandinavian economic model most visibly peddled these days by Bernie Sanders.

And second, the Norwegian series Occupied is great. Norway. Russian bad guys. International intrigue. What’s not to like? Check it out on Netflix.

Arctic Travel Resources

Iceland Looking into possibilities for some Arctic travel this summer. Here’s the early stages of an expanding reading list:

Who Owns the Arctic?: Understanding Sovereignty Disputes in the North by Michael Byers

After the Ice: Life, Death, and Geopolitics in the New Arctic by Alun Anderson

Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica by Sarah Wheeler

Some web resources:

Svalbard TourismCruise Handbook for Svalbard – Longyearbyen (capital of Svalbard) airport informationTromso, Norway flight informationWideroe Norwegian airlineFaroe Islands photographyFaroe Islands transportationThe Smyril ferry lineArctic Small Ship Cruises

And related:

Alaska bear viewing – The Northwest Passage (1, 2, 3) – Canadian polar bear tours – more here, including the aurora forecaster.

Prior to our August 2010 visit, our trips to the region have included Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The links are to their galleries at EarthPhotos.com.

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Uh Oh. Check Those Party Plans.

SiljaWe used to call it the party boat, and it looks like we weren't alone. The Silja Line is one of two companies (with the Viking Line) that ply the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the Gulf of Bothnia between Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden.

It's an agreeable way to travel between the two capitals. You board in the afternoon on either side and arrive at your destination the next morning, and along the way enjoy the lovely archipelago in between.

These are huge cruise liners. The Silja Symphony, for example, holds 2,852 in 995 cabins. And it literally is a party boat, with entertainers in the main atrium, like men on stilts and acrobats (photo).

This time of year companies book their holiday office parties aboard. Trouble is, the Helsingin Sanomat reports that the Silja Europa is out of service until December first, and that

"This will affect the travel plans of thousands of people who have already booked their cruises. This is a busy period with many bookings for Christmas parties”, regretted Vice President Pasi Näkki of Tallink Silja."


All Silja Europa departures are cancelled until 1 December due to a rudder problem.

(See more photos in the Finland Gallery and the Sweden Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.)

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Sweden: No More Mr. Nice Guy

Swedenguard Stockholm holds the EU presidency these six months, and now that Ireland has voted yes to the Lisbon treaty
on EU reform, the only (self-proclaimed) barrier to its implementation,
Czech President Vaclav Klaus, is coming under the intimidating glare of
the Swedish Minister for EU Affairs.

It's not something you hear every day, so enjoy it while you can: Sweden is knocking heads and taking names. They're twisting arms. They're turning up the heat. They're breaking out the big guns – that is, they've put Cecilia Malmstrom on the case.

Says she, "We are eager to get the Treaty of Lisbon into place relatively soon, so
that the EU can focus on the important policy issues where we have to
deliver, such as climate change. We also have to ensure the Europe can
emerge strengthened from the economic crisis.”

The Minister herself has been dispatched to Prague to size up Mr. Klaus.

Some no nonsense talk from the Swedish Presidency's web site, quoting Minister Malmstrom: "…the very strong message from the Irish
that they want this Treaty sends clear signals to Poland and the Czech
Republic, which are the two countries that have yet to ratify it. Now
it seems as if Polish President Lech Kaczynski will be signing later
this week and… I
hope that the Czech Constitutional Court soon concludes its examination
of the text so that the President of the Czech Republic can also sign
it.”

Positively withering.

(Photo of the changing of the guard at the royal residence in Stockholm from the Sweden Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.)

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