Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Scandanavia Day 2: Wandering around Skövde

Today, I didn't have anything to be at until 4pm, and having slept off my jet lag (but not my cold), I arose early got some of the excellent breakfast buffet, and headed down to explore the town of Skövde. The conference hotel is perched atop a local hill, Billingen, and gave an excellent location to survey the surroundings. Today dawned sunny (at 2:30 in the morning!), and my cold was starting to abate, so I decide to make an adventure of it.

Not in Kansas anymore

I made my way down through the forest on the hill beneath the hotel. The woods are part of a nature preserve and had plenty of well worn trails through them. It wasn't very long, but I enjoyed wandering through the forest and seeing the rhododendrons in full bloom. Before long, I emerged in the town, found the local tourist information office, and got a few suggestions of museums and other places to see. Most of them were closed, so I spent the morning just wandering through the town, observing the people.

The road less traveled

I noticed a few interesting things. First, even though the weather was mostly cloudy, windy, and a bit cold, people were out and enjoying their day. Older people were walking to market and home, and there were bikes everywhere. I was impressed by the infrastructure provided for those that chose to pedal their way around. In contrast to Texas, there weren't any SUVs or pickup trucks, but almost everyone who was driving seemed to be in a compact station wagon kind of car. But many preferred to walk.

I got lunch at a local cafe, which was serving (of all things) Tex-Mex that day. I was again impressed that a good buffet meal could be had for only 80 crowns, around $10. After lunch, I visited the local Kulturhus which wasn't incredibly impressive, but did have some interesting art. I saw the church, and then wandered up north of town to visit the city museum. Although almost everybody I met spoke English, Skövde is small enough that none of the signs had English translations. I enjoyed wandering through the museum, but it didn't really have much significance as I couldn't read any of the explanatory material.

After an enjoyable walk back up the hill to the hotel, I rested for a few minutes before attending a conference keynote, and eventually presenting my poster during the poster session. It was a good experience, and I was able to get some more feedback from people interested in my release engineering work, and encouraging sign. The conference dinner was quite good, and I've spent this evening watching the BBC, and doing some work. Tomorrow, the play stops as the conference starts in earnest.

Skövde, as seen from Billingen

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