Swedish Ingenuity

Chalmers Cortègen – a fun and goofy tradition

Nerdy Hubs here filling in for Quirky on this post…

Last Saturday I took our son to a Gothenburg tradition – Chalmers Cortègen.  What is it?  According to this, it’s a parade by the students of Chalmers Tekniska Högskola (Chalmers University of Technology) around the campus block, on Walpurgis Night (or Valborg in Svenska, on April 30).

Many people attended the event – according to the website, about 250,000!

The nature of the parade is satirical, full of puns, and very goofy.

Starting time was 18.15 (6:15pm for those who don’t use military time), but they were running a little behind.  When the light rain started, things seemed grim, but finally, at 18.40 (6:40pm), the show started.


There were marching bands…



Decorated trucks with lots of puns and social commentary..




Yep, that is the VW dieselgate.  Cheeky boogers 😉

Star Wars stuff —  Star Wars is huge here in Sweden.


As my son called it, Millenium Falcon car


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When the Empire goes for cost-saving, AT-AT design needs to adapt


Tons of political commentary. Including American politics.




A velociraptor pulling a carriage


Deserving special recognition were the makeshift vehicles.  Seriously, they stick engines in all kinds of random stuff. The end result is awesomeness!





Overall, we had tons of fun, and look forward to making this a yearly tradition for our family.  If you have the opportunity to attend, it’s totally worth braving the weather and crowds to see just how creative people can get.

Until next time…


Swedish Ingenuity

Sex — Not just for making babies…

Growing up, I remember sex being a very embarrassing word. Until my early 20’s, it was a word I rarely used aloud. As I aged, it became a lot easier, but since it only referred to gender or intimate relations, there was no need to use it much. My experience isn’t unusual for someone in the US; a country where sex education is in many places now focused on abstinence only. Our puritanical roots show through in times like this.

Swedes view sex, the word anyway, much differently than we Americans. Imagine my surprise when I bought my son a counting book and read:

– Et
– Tvwo
– Trea
– Fyra
– Fem
– Sex…

Huh?!?  Sex??  In a children’s book???  That’s right.  Sex in Sweden is a word children use every day.  Sex in Sweden means “six”.  Strange, eh?  I think I’ve mentioned before in this blog that Swedes use English in ways that Americans would never consider. 

Okay then, no reason to be embarrassed when my toddler is shouting out his numbers on the tram. After all, sex is a perfectly innocent word in Sweden. Or is it?

In researching this further, I found out this isn’t the whole story. Sex doesn’t only mean six in Svenska. It also means sex, as in copulation. What?!? Are you surprised right now? Perhaps I shouldn’t have been, but I was dumbfounded.

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Swedes definitely prove that they weren’t colonized by a religious group 😉

Just in case you want to practice your Svenska, I will close all the numbers from one to ten:

– Ett
– Två (Sounds like tvwoo)
– Tre (sounds like tree-uh)
– Fyra
– Fem
– Sex
– Sju (pronounced like a guttural who —quwhoo—kind of)
– Åtta (like Oatuh)
– Nio
– Tio

I found this site online where you can read the names and play the sound 😃

Until next time…

Swedish Ingenuity

Marriage is a Gift

This week I had a happy revelation when trying to translate a document we received in the mail.  One line said “Gift” and next to that was my name.  At first I thought, “Did the hubs order me a present?”  Nah.  He didn’t.  This was a credit document of some type.  That realization led me to my Google Translate app.  In the app you can take a picture of the document and it will translate quite a bit of it.  The word that popped up over “gift” was “married”.  Aha!  So, the Swedes think of marriage as a gift.  What a lovely sentiment…or so I thought.

By happy coincidence, that same night we were discussing family relations in my Svenska class. I asked the instructor if the word “gift” really did stand for marriage. She got a funny look on her face and quickly began sketching on the board. First, a heart. That was a good sign, and confirmed my earlier translation. Then…a bottle with a skull and crossbones on it. Poison!! Huh?? That’s right folks, the word for marriage is also the word for poison. Check out this screenshot from the official Google Translate website:

Gift Swedish Translation

I think I mentioned once before that I suspect Sweden purposely uses English words in unorthodox ways. Maybe I’m wrong, but now I know to be careful when speaking about gifts, as my sentence last night indicated I was getting some poison and not that I was married. Oh well…

Until next time…

Swedish Ingenuity, Travel Adventures

Cheese and crackers, Sweden Style Part 2, Taste Test!

Tube cheese, oh how we…love thee!


Seriously, this stuff is really not bad. Today’s mini post encompasses our first impressions of this traditional Swedish snack.


The child, aka: the most enthusiastic — “Uhm uhm uhm. It’s so good!”

You may think this is an exaggeration. It’s not. If he doesn’t like it, he tells you. Much like dinner tonight…

Hubs — “It’s weird, I can feel the milk. It’s cool, I’d eat it. I just don’t think I would look for it.”

Me — “Better than squeezy cheese. Good texture, full flavor. Cracker is nice… I would love to try it on those chicken crackers or some Ritz with salami.”


Last impressions–after a week of snacking with the tube cheese, I think we are all content to have it just once in a while. It’s good, but good things are best as treats. And…I wonder, should it be refrigerated? Anybody?

Wondering exactly what we ate? The ingredients seem to be harmless. Just cheese and a preservative… I think. Where on Earth did that tube go? Hopefully the boys aren’t brushing their teeth!


Until next time…

Swedish Ingenuity

Swedish Ingenuity: Food in a Tube

It’s time for another mini post! Welcome to Sweden, the land of food in a tube.


Wall o’ Tubes

These Swedes really like their food in a tube. Just check out the pictures from the grocery store. Do you see that? Metal toothpaste-like tubes, just waiting to fill your belly. There are so many flavors. You name it, they probably have it.

So, how in the heck do they eat this stuff? Good question! Swedes squirt this stuff on bread, crackers, in sandwiches…they really love the food in a tube.

Curious about how it tastes? Stay tuned for another episode where the entire family gets in on the sampling action 😃

Craving your own food in a tube?

In an effort to get more subscribers to this awesome blog, I will shortly be having a subscription drive! One lucky subscriber will get their very own food in a tube; mailed directly to their home…as long as customs allows 😉

Keep your eyes out for the announcement!

Until next time…

Swedish Ingenuity, Travel Adventures

Swedish Ingenuity: Log o’ Jam

It’s occurred to me that I don’t always need to wax on for days about this or that. As such, I’ve decided to institute mini posts. These posts will pop up whenever I see something that just has to be shared. Something so exciting that I won’t be able to sleep if I don’t tell you. These new posts were inspired by the Swedish grocery store Hemköpp. Specifically, the items shown in this picture.

Log o’ Jam

Do you see that?!? It’s jam…and…a jam refill!!!

Use up the jam, wash the jar, refill. Genius!

That’s right, in an effort to use less packaging, these inventive Swedes make jam refills. I can’t wait to see what else they are up to.

Until next time…