October 31, 2011

Our time in Stockholm & Uppsala

We are in Jokkmokk now. Our journey down south will start tomorrow. As we are awaiting the Northern Lights to show up tonight, probably for the last time while we're here in Sweden, we thought it was a good time to do some updating about our time in Stockholm and Uppsala.
(We will add some pictures to illustrate this post soon, but right now, we don't have time to go through all of them).

We arrived on a Monday night at Skavsta Airport and stayed at a nearby Hotel the first night. Matthijs got a serious mosquito attack, he counted at least 102 bites. Big ones!
*Some of Matthijs his mosquito bites

The next day we went to a Stuga just outside city centre Stockholm, where we stayed for 4 nights. After that we could pick up the mobilehome (‘Husbil’) we rented for 5 weeks. We stayed in and around Stockholm for several more days, sleeping in our Husbil in random neighborhoods, before going to Uppsala and staying on a camping site for 3 nights.

* Stockholms Gamla Stan

During our time in both Stockholm and Uppsala our main focus was to develop the script for the movie to a final stage and do some more research on the topic, while also seeking some more inspiration from being in Sweden, instead of looking at books and internet articles. Besides we had some equipment malfunctions to solve and the learning curve for some other (newly acquired) equipment was a bit steeper than planned.

Our research got stuck a bit prior before coming to Sweden, because all our sources told us that what we were looking for was not really documented in the past and not much info was to be found. Because we wanted to find out for ourselves, we payed a visit to the Kungliga Biblioteket. And indeed, the ‘Misconceptions of the Lights in the North’ are more likely to be found in the Sami culture than that of the Swedes.
*Kungliga Biblioteket

This caused a last minute change of direction. We decided to rewrite the script and put in a more
philosophical layer, an open ending and more question marks altogether. Make it more like a journey into the unknown instead of a re-telling of ancient folklore.
More inspiration for our new vision of the movie was to be found in some museums we visited. The National Museum had a great exhibition, 'De fyra årstiderna.' Swedish painters from around the turn of the (previous) century, depicting the four seasons.
The Nobel Museum currently hosts an exhibition on Maria Skłodowska (Madame Curie), one of the first female scientists. Because of my interests in alchemy, I envisioned some new ideas for the LitN movie, just by watching some of the equipment she used and the way she worked. This will all make more sense when the movie is finished.
*Madame Curie working on an experiment

On a cloudy night we went stargazing at the Observatory. No stars to be seen but we did meet some Aurora experts who were kind enough to share some information with us about how to photograph the northern lights.

We were also developing a new habbit during our time in Stockholm. Taking HDR pictures at night of random scenario's. Some have turned out really nice.
During this time we noticed that the heating system in our 'Husbil' isn't working very well, especially in the sleeping compartment. It took us some time to find a way to keep the warmth inside and at the places where we wanted it to be. But we managed. There are curtains and cushions hanging and lying around everywhere and we have developed a system consisting of floor isolation material that we have to hang in front of the windows every night. And lots of extra blankets.
*Stargazing at the Observatory

Another bummer is the fact that we were expecting a Camper with 2 batteries. One for the car and one for the living area, which would recharge while driving. So, we naively thought that the living area would have at least a 220v power socket so that we could recharge our camera's and laptops whenever we wanted. Not! 220v would probably drain the battery within an hour if you put a laptop in. And this would prevent our heater to do it's job. So no powersockets in our husbil.
This means that we have to stay at a camping site every other night, or go to restaurants very often. Not what we expected and very time (and money) consuming.

But now that we're a couple of weeks further down the road, we got around to some of the troubles we encountered and learned to live with it. Until now it has been a great experience and we shot some excellent footage for the movie. We have seen amazing landscapes and beautiful Northern Lights. And unexpectedly the weather turned out better than the forcasts fortold (as did the Aurora's) so we were able to stay up North as long as we wanted.