Skates on!

Last weekend the Animal Science group went to do some ice skating!

The ice rink we went to is called Studenternas and it is an outdoor ice rink type. The place is close to Uppsala’s Centrum so it is very easy to find.

 

Outdoor ice rink!

It was really fun and I would recommend it for beginners and experts alike!

Have a nice day!

Anna

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Yasuragi Onsen

One of the things my boyfriend and I miss the most about living in Japan is the onsen culture.

An onsen (温泉) is a hot spring public bath; they are an integral part of Japanese culture and can be found all around the country. These baths can range from basic facilities for everyday use, to luxurious resorts called ryokan (旅館). Much like a western spa, the appeal of an onsen is to disconnect from all your worries and relax.

In short, onsen are awesome! And we were quite surprised when we stumbled upon an advertisement of a Japanese-style onsen in the outskirts of Stockholm. Intrigued, we did some more research, and finally decided to go as a late-Valentine celebration.

The name of the place is Yasuragi Onsen, and it surpassed our expectations! We though that the place was going to be a western spa with a Japanese touch, but it was completely the opposite!

Yasuragi Onsen

Entrance road to Yasuragi Onsen

The rooms were quite nice and with a lovely view to their Japanese garden (although it was winter so everything was covered in snow). And we received a swimming suit, yukata, and sandals to wear inside the place.

Ryokan room

The onsen area was quite spacious and had several pools where you could try different water temperatures. They also had two saunas, one dry and the other with steam. The cherry on top was the rotenburo (露天風呂) or outdoor spring, where we could dip in hot water while enjoying the cold winter breeze in our face.

Not allowed to take pictures within the onsen area, but still I took a picture of the area where you wash yourself before entering the onsen.

The most surprising thing for me was how the onsen etiquette was so similar to Japanese one: washing yourself before going into the onsen,  keeping your hair out of the water, and being quiet and avoid splashing water to others. The only exception being that we needed to use a swimming suit instead of bathing naked. However, this last point is understandable since in Yasuragi all baths are mixed, and in Japan you tend to have separated baths for women and men.

Overall we enjoyed our stay very much and we will definitely come back again.

So, if you are interested in spending a quiet and relaxing day with your family or partner, this is a great place to do so.

Hope you enjoyed this post and have a wonderful day!

Anna

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Pinchos: a new kind of restaurant

One of the most curious things I’ve encountered in Sweden so far, is the extremely popular restaurant chain Pinchos.

In general, Pinchos is a circus-themed restaurant that serves tapas. Pretty normal so far isn’t it? However, what amazed me about this place is that EVERYTHING works with their app. The only human service you will receive is from the hostess who will guide you to your table and give you a table code that you’ll need to order your food.

At the entrance of Pinchos

Free popcorn as a starter!

If you are a first-timer, you’ll need to download the Pinchos app, and add some general information. After that, it works pretty much as any other shopping site; you look at the menu, select which tapas or drinks you want to order and the amount, type the table code you were given when you entered the restaurant, and finally accept your order.

Looking at the Pinchos’ menu

This is how it looks before placing your order! Don’t forget to type your table code

You will receive three notifications: when your order has been received, when its being cooked, and when its done. As I mentioned before, the only human service you’ll get is from the hostess, so you will have to collect your food and drinks yourself –personally, that’s the only thing I didn’t like because there is a risk of you dropping your food –.

Gyoza, and some chicken tenders.

Mini princess cake for dessert!

Once you are done, you just pay through the app and then you are all set. Quite a unique experience worth giving it a try!

One thing I forgot to mention is that the app works also as a point card, and you can trade your collected points for free tapas later.

Have a wonderful day!

Anna

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Fettisdagen equals Semla

Fettisdagen, also known as Fat Tuesday, is the Swedish name given to the day preceding Ashes Wednesday. This day is the equivalent of Pancake Day or Carnival, and according to tradition, this is the last day that people is allowed to eat delicious food and have crazy fun before starting Lenten fast.

Although most of Swedish people aren’t religious, and therefore don’t participate in Lenten fast, the tradition of enjoying good food and creamy pastries before Ashes Wednesday remains.

The most iconic treat for fettisdagen is the semla, which is a cardamom-spiced soft bun cut in half, filled with almond paste and whip cream, and dusted with powder sugar on top. You can find this pastry almost anywhere between February and March, and it’s so popular, that some stores have started getting quite creative and adding some flavour twists to the original recipe.

A traditional semla plate!

Recently I found a croissant version of the semla, which is basically a traditional semla, but with a croissant bun instead. I fell in love with it at first bite! You can also find semlor with Nutella whip cream, vanilla whip cream, nuts, lactose free, and even vegan!

My favorite! The croissant semla!

Traditional semla vs Crobunsemla

If you have the opportunity, please don’t miss in this iconic pastry!

Anna

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The Stjärtlapp

A few weeks ago, I spent 30 SEK in the best thing I could ever do: a stjärtlapp!

But what in the world is a stjärtlapp? I t is a heart shaped, flat plastic seat with a handle, that is used for sliding in the snow – you could say that is the cheap version of a snow sledge.

There are a couple of places where you can go sliding in Uppsala, however the place where I went to is just in the town centre, in Uppsala’s castle (Uppsala Slott). There is an area fully equipped for this kind of activity, with a barrier that prevents people to slide into the street, and also protection in stones and trees so people don’t get hurt.

Slopes at Uppsala Slott

But isn’t this kind of thing just for kids? To be completely honest, it is mostly kids who use the stjärtlapp, and it is very likely that you will just see kids in the slopes. But don’t be dishearten! I’ve also seen a couple of adults engaging in the fun of sliding down a slope, feeling the cold wind in their faces, and getting copious amount of snow inside their pants and shoes.

Sliding!!!

So if you have the opportunity, just pop into a Sportia store, buy a stjärtlapp, and have some fun, it is 100% recommended!

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Anna

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Hemmakväll: the lösgodis paradise

After living in Sweden for a while, I’ve come to notice that there is an ingrained passion for loose candy in every Swede. You can find loose candy practically in every supermarket, and I believe that I’ve never seen so many stores only dedicated to sell loose candy in my entire life!

One of the most well-known, and largest chain of stores that sells lösgodis is called Hemmakväll. This store used to be mainly a video rental shop where you could also get some loose candy, however since the renting business has dropped dramatically in recent years, selling loose candy has become Hemmakväll’s most popular trade.

Here are bring to you some colourful pictures of our last visit to Hemmakväll!

Hemmakväll

Loose candy at Hemmakväll

Liquorice everywhere. Stay away from those! (I definitely think this is an acquired taste…not for me)

More liquorice

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Anna

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Buses in Uppsala: the UL app and bus card

Lately, riding my bike to SLU has become a difficult task because of the low temperatures and slippery roads. I salute all those students who can still ride their bikes in these conditions, but I’m a fairly new cyclist, so that’s why I decided to trade my two-wheeled friend for a warmer and more comfortable mean of transportation.

UL app first look

One of the first things I learned about riding the bus in Uppsala, is that bus time tables are not very reliable. Sometimes you’ll find yourself waiting for over 15 min, or rushing to the bus stop because the bus arrived a few minutes earlier than it was supposed to. To avoid this, I recommend installing the UL app, so you get frequent updates on the buses’ timetables.

The UL app is useful not only for checking buses’ schedules, but also for planning trips, and buying tickets. You can even buy tickets for the local train or for the  bus that takes you to Arlanda.

If you want to buy a ticket through this app, you first need to introduce your credit card’s information, and then load some money into it; when you purchase a ticket, the money will be discounted from your funds. Every local ticket costs 23 SEK and is valid for 75 minutes, which gives you time to hope into several buses with the same ticket if necessary.

Purchasing tickets through the app method is really useful if you don’t use the bus that much, but if you are like me, that needs to use it every day, it’s better to get a monthly card. You can get this card at the central station, but I’ve found that getting it in any of the Pressbyrån convenience stores is much easier. For students with the mecenat card, the price for a monthly card goes around 570 SEK, but if you don’t have a student’s discount, the price goes around 840 SEK.

My monthly UL card

Hope this post was somewhat useful and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Have a nice day,

Anna

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Dancing classes in Uppsala

If you are interested in exercising, but you are not very fond of going of the gym like me, dancing is a really good option. Is great for reducing stress, improve your circulation, motor skills, health and the best part: it’s really fun!

At the beginning of every year, several dance academies in Uppsala start promoting their open house events, where they invite everybody to have a taste of the different courses they offer. The best part of these events is that you can try as many classes you want, but without paying or even registering in advance. It is quite free, and it helps a lot when picking which class you want to attend for the rest of the semester.

Today, since I had most of my evening free, I was finally able to go to the open house organized by the Uppsala Danscenter academy, one of the most popular in town. The experience was really nice, and the instructors were welcoming and professional. I got to try different dancing styles such as Bollywood, belly dance, reggaetton, and heels. I think making a decision on which course I want to take is going to be extremely difficult…I liked them all!

Uppsala Danscenter entrance

After heels class

So, if you have a dancing history and want to continue, or if you just want to have some fun while exercising, and therefore you are planning on joining a dance academy in Uppsala, I would definitely recommend going to one of these events. Below, I’ll be leaving the links of the homepages of a couple of academies so you can check them out if you are interested.

Uppsala Danscenter: http://www.uppsaladanscenter.com/
Uppsala Dansakademi: http://www.uppsaladansakademi.com/

Don’t forget to leave a comment and have a nice day!

Anna

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New Year, New Course: Bioinformatics

A new year, and with it the start of a new course. This time I will be studying bioinformatics, which is an interdisciplinary field that utilizes computer programming to analyze and interpret biological data, especially genomic data.

The reason I selected this course, is because I thought it could be good for enriching and complimenting the knowledge that I acquired during the Genome Analysis course.

I have to admit that the content of this course is very intimidating since I’ve never studied something similar to programming before, however I am very excited about learning something completely new, especially since it’s a subject that has become of extreme importance if you want to thrive as a scientist in the genetics field.

So, wish me good luck! And I’ll be updating on this course and my experiences taking it in future blogs.

Have a nice day!

Anna

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Quick update: The Majestic White Moose of Sweden part 2

Hello!

As promised in the last post in this series, I come back with a quick update of the results of our final project for the Genome Analysis course.

As I mentioned before, we tested the candidate genes MITF and ASIP with the hopes of finding a mutation that could be linked with the white coat phenotype in the Swedish white moose. Since the lab work, sequencing, and analysis of results takes some time, the workload was divided between the students. In my, and my teammate’s case, we worked with the first and second exon of the MITF gene.

Unfortunately, both exons seemed to be highly conserved, and no mutation was detected. On the other hand, all the experiences and knowledge we obtained during this project are extremely valuable, and I believe that we couldn’t have had a better topic to work with.

The majestic white moose of Sweden. Hvit älg by Lasse Dybdahl (CC-BY-SA-4.0)

Note: Just in case you are interested, the primers we used were designed based on the white-tailed deer reference genome, and a BigDye kit and Sanger sequencer were used for the sequencing procedure.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment and I wish you have a nice day!

Anna

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