Category Archives: To do around Umeå!

Christmas break closing in!

Umeå City Church was filled during the performance

As Christmas is closing in and an increasing number of students are leaving for home, there is still much happening – last Friday I went down to Umeå City Church to see  Nationskörens christmas performance. Nationskören is open to both students and non-students alike. They mostly perform in Swedish, but there is often a variety of international  elements which you might recognize!

Coming around towards winter season, a true movie-lover like myself can’t stay away from the winter releases  – so far having being treated to “Fantastic beasts and where to find them“, which (rather naturally) I absolutely loved! If you haven’t seen it already, make sure to have a look!

Bonus picture:  Regarding another recent film release, I’m sure we can all see the likeness between the evil glare from this passerine and a certain Sith!




Where have I seen that quest for world domination before – Darth Vader?



Annual Winter Fair

15409922_1486889221339860_2035174503_o Lake Nydala with the ice setting in.

With the temperatures falling as we move into december (we’ve seen some nights venturing below -15 °C) the ice is starting to settle on lake Nydala, and allowing the snow to finally lighten up our shorter and shorter days. But as we move closer to christmas, the town is also seeing the annual festivities being held, albeit in nippy weather!


This weekend Umeå hosted its annual winter fair, wherein you could find everything you could ask for from Norrland! Despite the low temperatures, the fair was a great success, with lots of visitors coming around to see what was offered by the stands. You’d find:

Home knitted mittens, scarfs, boots and hats;

Woodworking and Sami-styled knives;

A skilled taxidermist brought along grouse, weasels and even a bear!

Confectory all the way from across the quark! (I’ll admit I bought four of the Finnish marmalade pigs, they’re a personal favorite of mine).

They had even fixed a ride with a horse carriage which would take you around the fair!

15368817_1486889251339857_251392758_o Kids and adults alike got the opportunity to hitch a ride with the horse carriage!

15409914_1486889254673190_256195790_oSome preferred to come much closer to the horse.

Ski season open

15087005_1458204590874990_1218456200_nView from Bräntberget in Umeå, down over Ängarna (the fields)! 

With the snow piling up after what felt like a week of constant snowing – I felt it was finally time to get those skiis out of the attic and put them in their place of honor (?) right inside the door, ready to jump out at a moments notice. As always, you can buy a card to the ski lift, or if you’re unwilling to wait until they start – you’ll just have to walk up the hill, like me!

dscn2296 Snow was getting pretty heavy for this spruce…

dscn2315 In this weather, snow goggles do feel nice as they keep the snow out of your eyes – but I’ll refrain from that faux pas for as long as possible! 

15095479_1456293907732725_1690397760633675377_n A very pleased fish and wildlife management student (me) during the first skiing trip of the season! 

Glögg & Campfire out at lake Nydala

14976295_1458216740873775_376277374_o The confident strides of students from the fish and wildlife programme 16/17!

What better to do during the start of a new course than to take a day off together and go hang out at the lake to celebrate finishing the exam and handing in deadlines? Here’s a snapshot I got on my mobile phone before the cold got to it (tip: Mobile phones don’t like cold weather – keep yours warm!)

dscn2008 Kärleksviken – one of the many small fireplaces set up along the lake 🙂 

After walking out to the lake, we set up a small fire in one of the fireplaces spread out around the lake and got into our snacks – hot dogs, marshmallows, but most importantly, glögg and gifflar! Gifflar are tasty pastries closely related to the cinnamon bun which you’ll find at your local swedish supermarket- and come in a variety of flavors: If you haven’t tasted one – well, you know what to do!

Winter came early this year, it’s hard to believe that it was only weeks ago the lake looked like this after the first few nights of frost!

dscn1963Snapback to the first frost a few weeks ago

First snow!



As promised, here comes some more pictures of the first snow that I’ve managed to take during the day we’ve taken off to read ahead on some material


This great tit seems to look on with great interest!

dscn1951Although its neighbor was not quite as enthused!

I’d also like to take the moment to remind all students to do your backs a favor and sit straight, follow this squirrels example and you’ll be receiving  compliments for your great posture in no time at all!


After years with bad posture from reading too much, lack of a proper exercise routine and chronic pains, Squirrel decided to make a change… 


See how light, confident and joyous squirrel now looks! Squirrel now enjoys greater success in finding nuts and mates, and experiences greater workplace success even in other fields than the one squirrel first was taught! 

Winter is coming!


Clear night skies above the frosty Umeå last weekend! 

Somehow, there’s always that moment of fascination that surrounds the first snow – you’re  betting your friends when it’ll come, and somehow,  no matter what’s going on, the world stops for a moment to look at it when it starts falling. I for one, know that it just never stops bringing a smile to my face 🙂

It seems like autumn has just zoomed by, and left behind a world waiting for the first snow to fall – which it did today! More pictures will come…

However, it seems like we’ll be waiting a bit longer for next season – ’cause winter IS coming! And this year, I promise myself to keep at the skiis!


Bonus pic.: Mallard in evening light.

Autumn Arriving in Umeå


Lake Nydala. ISO 100, 24.1 mm, f/4, 1/80.

Umeå truly lives up to its nickname, – the City of Birches – in autumn when the birches fill the landscape and streets in their bright, golden colors.

Spent the day out at Lake Nydala (a stone’s throw away from Campus), taking photographs in the mild autumn weather which is coming in. Temperature’s holding up at around 0 – 10 °C, so while I’m starting to feel a little chilly, the mallards I’ve run into seem to be having no troubles at all!


Picture of the day: Mallard, male & female. ISO 400, 178 mm, f/5.6, 1/200


Female mallard diving down for a quick snack.  ISO 400, 321 mm, f/6.3, 1/160.

Lake Nydala measures up to just short 10 km of lit trails along its perimeter, making it ideal for any runner, but it also has a designated dog trail, a massive free-of-charge skiing trail, a maintained skiing trail for members, and a multitude of cozy fireplaces prepared to accommodate anything from a young couple to entire groups of a dozen or more students out for a picnic.



Weekend trip to Vaasa!

If you’d like a foreign experience during your foreign exchange year, look no further! Vaasa, home to no less than 6 different universities (!!) and Umeås twin city, lies just across kvarken and a ferry trip away from Umeå.

This makes it ideal for that relaxed weekend you’ve been planning to treat yourself to after that last gruelling ”tenta” – or wild night out in town whereafter you feel the need for a weekend getaway where you promise yourself there’s no chance you’ll be recognized! 😉

For anyone interested in birding or wildlife photography, the archipelargo brings amazing opportunities to photograph and experience Ostersjons sea birds, including the imported Canada Goose, which has developed a viable population which thrives in its new Nordic home (you’ll see these flying south over Umeå come autumn). You might also find yourself in the company of some seals!

There’s also a full load of outdoors activities for those interested in experiencing the Kvarken world heritage site first hand in both Finland and Sweden: Finnish Kvarken Archipelargo, Swedish High Coast. In fact, there’s a group from the class going hiking in the High Coast tomorrow!

Not to miss! Vaasa features a stunning waterfront right next to the city centre.

P.S. Don’t forget to get your Marimekko and all the Mumin-themed plattery, books, films and other apparel you (or any Mumin-fantast you know!) has ever dreamt of while you’re there.