Southern Sweden in a Snowglobe

Hejsan! This weekend, Lund got its first snow of the year. Me and other international students (and even a couple Swedes who are in their first year) have been commenting that we don’t know if the Swedish students have been lying to us, as they kept telling us that “Lund doesn’t get snow.” However, it seems that even the Swedes were pleasantly surprised by the few cm of snow that stayed on the ground all weekend. I acted like I had never experienced winter before in how excited I was by the little bit of snow, but it hadn’t felt like winter until this weekend. While I enjoyed getting to go on a pretty walk Monday morning (I went south of the city and into some farmland), the only downside of the snow was having to bike in it. I realized that I haven’t biked in the snow within at least the past 10 years (if I ever have), so I was very unprepared for it. Thankfully, I took the perspective that biking in the snow is like driving in the snow but with less protection. My small secondhand bike has very thin tires, so I had to make sure to go slower and be conscious of the ice, slush, and water along the cobblestone paths. One of my friends who is really good at biking mentioned that he fell this weekend, and my law professor told us a ‘funny story’ about how business professors make bets over how many exchange students break their legs biking along a certain icy road by the business school every year. Because of this, I have made sure to start wearing my helmet consistently again (despite the teasing from certain friends). I can live with a broken leg, but a broken skull sounds less than ideal. All of my biking worries seem to be for naught now, as all of the snow has already melted off. It was quite fun for the weekend, and I have now accepted that it is winter in Sweden. I am excited to see if Lund gets more snow as winter progresses, as well as learn to navigate the cold, wind, rain, darkness, and ice that I know is coming. I’ve already mastered the Swedes’ way to handle winter (lots of fika), so I think it’ll be a fun season overall. Varma lyckönskningar!


Czech Cuisine

I enjoy trying new foods and the Czech Republic has a lot of unique dishes. The food is quite heavy and filling, so people typically drink beer at lunch to aid in digestion. I question whether there are actual health benefits to drinking beer with your meals, but beer is super popular in the Czech Republic, so maybe they are on to something. In any case, here are some of the dishes I have enjoyed so far.

Palačinky (Czech pancakes)

Palačinky directly translates to pancakes, but most people agree that they are similar to French crepes, so you can call them either pancakes or crepes. What I find unique about Palačinky is that you can order them as a savory meal rather than only a dessert crepe. One of my favorite versions of Palačinky was spinach and cheese filled. It was a delicious breakfast to go along with my cappuccino.

Svíčková (Braised beef in a vegetable sauce served with bread dumplings)

I went out with a friend to one of my favorite cafes, Café Louvre, and randomly chose this dish to eat for dinner. When it arrived to the table, I remember saying “Why is there whipped cream on top?”. It wasn’t until the next day when my professor was teaching us about Czech dishes that I learned that I had unknowingly ordered a Czech classic. It is hard to explain the taste of Svíčková, since the sauce is very creamy despite being made out of vegetables. Another unique aspect is that the beef is topped with a lemon slice, cranberry sauce, and whipped cream. Svíčková is definitely a dish to try at least once.

Hovězí Guláš (Beef Goulash)

I ate this dish my very first night in Prague. The Czech version of Guláš is thick and hearty. It tastes very similar to a beef stew, except Guláš is always served with either potato or bread dumplings.

Bonus – Czech Lemonade

I don’t know if this style of lemonade is unique to the Czech Republic, but it is definitely different compared to classic American lemonade, so I am including it in this post.

Lemonade is the only drink I have found that is served with ice. All other drinks are typically served chilled but without ice. Also, I noticed that lemonade here is not only limited to lemons. The picture above was a grapefruit “lemonade” I ordered at a lakeside café, and it was great. Lemonade in the Czech Republic is also frequently made with sparkling water. Some of my friends were slightly disappointed, but I really enjoyed this take on lemonade since I like sparkling water and fresh fruit puree.