Saturday, January 10, 2009

Winter finally came!

Last Sunday through Tuesday was bitter cold and I learned the value of layering clothes. I'm thankful I brought things that can be layered. The only think I lacked was one of those ski masks that show only your eyes. Can't quite see myself in one of those anyway. Thankfully, by Wednesday it had warmed to above bitter cold and today it's just crisp and nice and the sun came up.

Speaking of the sun coming up. That's not quite what it does--at least not like at home. It comes just above the horizon and then moves along the horizon, never going up overhead. I certainly haven't learned to tell what time of day it is by where the sun is, although if it comes out often enough, I may learn to do that. There was a beautiful sunset the other day, visible from my office window, looking across the street and through the trees--all pinks and oranges.

Anyway, with the bitter cold came about 4 inches of snow which they don't seem to know what to do with here. The streets are narrow and the one or two snow plows we have seen, keep the blade up several inches and come during rush hour traffic. I wonder if the blade is kept high so it doesn't interfere with the train (or tramvilj, pronounced tram vie) tracks. Don't know any other purpose in it.

Also, only some people shovel their walks (just like at home?) and so they became quite treacherous. We walk with baby steps. When they do shovel their walks, the shovel is unique. It has an inverted "U" shape handle that attaches to either side of the blade. The handles don't look that sturdy and it seems very awkward to manage shoveling and throwing the snow, but that's what they use. The blades are probably twice as wide as an "American" snow shovel blade. Those who are hired to do the shoveling, it seems, are older (well, not older than me) and often women.

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