Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Spring has been so cold and graceless this year, it wasn't until this past weekend that we made it out to Birds Island for the first time for the season. It was windy and raw on the island, but here and there little purple anemones had bravely sprung up in the woods, about the only sign of spring that I could see.

When I walked out to the end of the island on Monday morning, I came upon the smoking remains of a bonfire from the night before, a celebration of Valborg, one of those witchy pagan holidays that Swedes have kept right alongside the more familiar Christianized and political ones that the rest of Europe also celebrates.

Back in town, it was just as windy and raw, and there had been a big gathering of kids just outside our apartment on Odenplan, a group called Reclaim the City. I'm not altogether sure who they want to take it back from and who they then want to give it to, but they are supposedly against motor traffic, violence, racism and other bad things, but also apparently believe that windows need to be smashed in order to redistribute sporting goods to needy athletes. Which they did at Sergels Torg and not at Odenplan, for which I am thankful.

But really, why ever did I think that Stockholm was a laughably safe place to live? It seems that Odenplan is a magnet for the more, um, energetic Swedes in Stockholm.

The Swedish word for the day is kravaller . It means riots .

- by Francis S.

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