The first real snow reached Uppsala this weekend, lots of nice fluffy slippery cold snow on the ground and on the roads and everywhere else. It really is nice to have snow again, it lessens the effect of our dark winters and kind of puts you in a Christmas-like mood, especially now that the Christmas decorations are going up in town and shopping centers.
I also had to bring out the car for some errands and transports yesterday, and that new snow was probably the slipperiest I have ever driven on. It also provided an unsought opportunity for the electronic systems in our car to show themselves… both the stability and traction control and the anti-lock brakes were activated several times despite my pretty careful driving. For some reason, I never really believe that they would apply to me. I know that ESP and ABS are really good for safety, but for some reason I am a diehard skeptic that never quite believe these things work as they should. I guess this is another example of an embedded system that works as it should. Which really should not be a surprise.
Apart from being a transportation challenge, snow is also plain beautiful. Here is a night-time photo of how the first snow which arrived here on Wednesday this past week:
On Saturday, we got a real snow cover of some five centimeters (this was yesterday, today another five centimeters seem to have been added). This is an early morning photo:
Finally, some transportation is actually made easier by the snow and cold. For example, I can use a sled to move heavy items from the house to the garbage disposal station, which is much easier than doing it on dry ground since I don’t have anything suitable with wheels.
Going back several hundred years, wintertime was the time that people travelled since the ice on the lakes and the snow on the ground made it possible to travel by skis or skates much faster than you could by foot (and in many cases much more direct). Heavy loads were also easy to bring across the ice, due to the much lower friction compared to dry ground. For example, the fundament stones for the cathedral here in Uppsala were brought from a quarry on Öland up to Uppsala on sleds. That was a pretty amazing feat in the late 1200s… but it also took forever to do as transport was only feasible a few months each year. In the end, they imported some German monks that knew how to do brickmaking, and built the rest of the edifice using red bricks.