Frozen water

Around Stockholm, January 2022

January was full of eyes peeking through gaps between scarves and hats, piles of bare Christmas trees, prolific gritting by the municipality, Julstjärna clinging onto their remaining time in windows, large areas of frozen water, the “clack clack” of Nordic skaters weaving along the ice and best of all, the first semlor in bakeries.

Hold in ice
Isbad / ice bathing

Treacherous was our most used word. Snow stayed us with for most of the January and the layers compacted into thick sheet ice as the month progressed. Heavy gritting meant it was time to start chasing bits of grit around the apartment, to prevent it scratching the floor. The fact it’s gravel sized grit makes the job a little easier.

Frozen water
Tanto strandbad
Tall radio tower
Red wooden house
Röd hus på Södermalm / red house in Södermalm

Man dragging xmas tree

We started seeing people dragging Christmas trees around the city. They can be taken to drop-off points, where they are collected and used for district heating or making biochar.

Pile of Christmas trees
Julgransinsamling / Christmas tree collection point
Boat window
Candlelit café

A dramatic increase in Covid infections meant busy cafés sat mostly empty (even with social distancing measures in place). This place is a bakery and café rolled into one — we couldn’t resist picking up one of the baguettes we spotted through the window.

Woman holding handwritten sign
Mindful steps for future now
Neon cross
Kyrka / church
Snow risk tape
Risk för snöras, istappar

This tape indicates that snow or icicles may fall from the roof above. Some buildings have these flags but others just use the tape to fence off an area underneath. We were walking around Södermalm recently and a piece of ice the size of a brick slid off the roof about 3 metres behind us!

People running on snow

Cream buns
Red Volvo
Long live the Volvo!
Beach and grey skies
Bleak January beach

People were still visiting city beaches despite the cold and bleak weather — some let their kids go nuts for a while, other enjoyed fika (coffee and a sweet treat) in the fresh air.

Woman standing in the sun

Sun returned at the end of the month; the days were still very short but a little sunshine was glorious. Swedes love to stand in the sun with their eyes closed at this time of year. We were walking along the water and saw four people stood with their eyes closed, in a patch of sun only a few metres wide. It reminded me of this article comparing Swedes to sunflowers.

Skaters on ice
Nordic skaters

January ended in a frozen state that will continue for several more weeks. I don’t mind though because I like the seasonal extremes in this country and Winter opens up possibilities for different types of adventure!

4 comments on “Around Stockholm, January 2022

  1. Beautiful, chilly looking photos. I had to laugh at myself. Reading your post, I got so cold I had to pull out a blanket. I totally understand standing in the sun with your eyes closed. We recently had a few springlike days and I would close my eyes and point my face at the sun while on my walks. Thankfully I was walking our looong circular driveway and there was no one around to see me stumbling around as I walked with my eyes closed. LOL

    • Gemma Evans

      I laughed reading your comment about a blanket because we have a family member who always feels the same when they look at our photos 😂 It has been very cold in the last few weeks… 4c now feels mild in comparison! I’ll have to see if I can manage closing my eyes while walking, although I suspect I’ll be in the stumble club too.

  2. Looks chilly but beautiful, makes mum shiver looking at the ice. Very resourceful standing in the sun will have to try that when the wind stops 🌪

    • Gemma Evans

      I told her to put a scarf on before looking at the pictures at first, but stopped because I think she just expects to feel cold now. Definitely try closing your eyes and being a sunflower, it feels really nice 🙂

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