By the Lake, Beneath the Stars

Posted in: General, Life in Sweden on 24 April, 2018 by Sharan

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This week, the Lyrids meteor shower was active. Since we have an astronomy geek in our midst, he convinced us to ride out to Roxen lake on Saturday night. Roxen lake is around 15 km from Ryd so we decided to make an adventure out of it by cycling to the lake bed and camp there the whole night, looking at the sky.

We packed some food and drinks and departed from Ryd around 11 pm. The bicycle ride was pleasant and refreshing. We crossed the outskirts of Linköping into the countryside after which, there was not a single soul in sight. It was just the four of us, the cool breeze and the empty, but lit roads. As we got closer to our spot, the road was completely dark. There were no lights, no movements; just the rustling of leaves in the forest. Although, a black cat crossed our path to spook things up a bit ;).

After navigating with our torch lights and smartphones, we reached our spot at ten minutes to midnight. The sight that lay in front of us was spectacular.

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Unfortunately, you can’t see the crescent moon in the photo. It was such a beautiful sight with the moonlight shining down on the lake. We settled down with this view and our geek rolled out his equipment to capture pictures. He pointed us to the region in the sky where the meteors will most likely appear and we turned our gaze in that direction. Over the next couple of hours, we did see a few meteors blazing across. What a feeling that was! It was the first time I ever saw a meteor so it was quite exciting.

A long exposure shot of the Milky Way

Since the meteor blazes across in a split second, it is not easy to take pictures of it. But it was in this region of the sky that we saw most meteors. After an hour of star gazing, the weather got rough. Strong winds started to blow and they were chilling to the bone! We certainly did not expect this. We did not have enough warm clothing. So we sat down under a big tree and stuck together for warmth. We wrapped ourselves in a thin bedspread that I had brought along just in case. Despite the discomfort and shivering, we couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculous situation we were in. We had left the warm comforts of our rooms to spend the night in the middle of nowhere!

Yes, that’s us under a tree. We might look warm but I assure you, it wasn’t nearly warm enough!

The weather showed us mercy eventually and the winds calmed down. But by then, we could hardly feel our palms and feet. After the moon set around 3:40 am, the skies got clearer and we saw more meteors and also spotted some satellites passing through. It’s amazing how well our eyes adjust when we constantly gaze at the sky and you notice a lot more stars than usual. Another reason why we could see them so clearly is that we had come quite far away from the city so there is very little light pollution.

I think this is when we started to really enjoy ourselves. We opened up snacks and soft drinks, played some light music and just enjoyed nature. I sat there with my buddies, enjoying the view without a care in the world. I remember listening to Pink Floyd and actually feeling ‘Comfortably Numb’, getting high on that pure natural oxygen. No five-star hotel could have matched the ambiance that we were getting, not to mention, it was completely free!

As dawn approached, we could see the colors appearing slowly. We spotted Swans, Geese and a lot of other birds in the lake. As we waited for the sun the rise, we reminisced our childhood by picking up flat pebbles and played the good old game of stone skipping.

Witnessing the sunrise is always precious. We could literally feel the warmth of the rays as the sun rose up. There is certain happiness you experience when you see the big ball of fire rising from beneath the horizon. No matter how rarely or often you see this, it never gets old and always instill some energy. After all, the sun is the sole source of energy for all of the life we know.

This was a night that I will remember for a long time. After my second visit to Roxen lake, I’m pretty sure I will go there and to many more places like this across the countryside of Sweden.

Planning and photo credits to our astronomy geek, Harivinay Varadaraju, who pretty much ignored the chilly winds to capture some really treasurable pictures.

Cheers!

Sharan


 

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Kubbing with ESN

Posted in: Life in Sweden on 21 April, 2018 by Sharan

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As the Spanish heatwave hit Sweden earlier this week, everyone came out to soak up the sun. After a long winter, I could finally toss my winter jacket away for a while. The days have gotten longer as well with over 15 hours of daylight. I could get used to this!

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) organized a Kubb tournament on campus this week and since it was an outdoor activity, it caught my interest. Kubb is a game originated by the Vikings so it was also nice that I got a glimpse of a Swedish traditional game. Two teams comprising of 3 to 6 people play the game in a small rectangular field. Few wooden blocks are placed are placed on the two ends of the field with a ‘king’ in the middle. The teams take on each other by trying to knock out the wooden blocks using batons from their respective ends to the opposite.

The game basically is a test of accuracy and some luck as well. We managed to win a couple of games as well. It was fun to hang out with locals and play the game, with the customary Swedish fika. More activities in the sun coming up!

 

Cheers!

Sharan


 

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International Day with ISA

Posted in: LiU on 16 April, 2018 by Sharan

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The International Students Association organized their biggest annual event last week where students from different nations showcase what their country is known for. Each team/country was their own space to organize and showcase their specialties.  The event was held at Colosseum which is in the C-building. It was great to interact with multicultural students and also taste their cuisines.

                                       Chinese students offered a nice sneak-peak into their culture

                      Students from Iran also did a fantastic job showing their traditions.

           The Taiwanese students offered a great variety of their food and also some traditional games.

The students from Germany, Mexico, U.K also made a very commendable effort in setting up their spaces.

I certainly hope there will be more days like these. LiU has a lot of students from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. It is quite engaging for everyone when a gathering like this is organized.

 

Cheers!

Sharan


 

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A Visit to the Swedish Air Force Museum

Posted in: Life in Sweden on 12 April, 2018 by Sharan

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On a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon, a group of us got the urge to get some sun. So we grabbed our bicycles and headed towards the Swedish air force museum. Since Linköping is the base of the Swedish Air force, SAAB, Sweden’s primary defense manufacturer is based on the outskirts of town.

The museum blew us away! There is so much history there! We saw aircrafts and arms right from the world war era to the modern SAAB Gripens. This place is paradise for history buffs and aspiring mechanical engineers!

                                                                          Feeling like commandos!

 

We couldn’t help but stare and wonder in aw about how audacious and brave the pilots were those days. With minimum avionics and safety measures, they flew these machines for hundreds of hours. Looking at all of these aircrafts up close really tells you a story. The hours of sweat and sacrifices the engineers made to create these flying machines is nothing short of  legendary.

Now I know where I would go if I feel like I need inspiration. Also huge credit to the museum curators. Clearly, they have taken so much time and effort to preserve these aircrafts.

I will surely be going here again and strongly suggest that everyone in Linköping visit this place sometime. It’s surprising that not many people know about this amazing museum.

Cheers!

Sharan

 


 

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Living in Ryd

Posted in: Life in Sweden, Practical Info on 6 April, 2018 by Sharan

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Since this is the time of the year when a lot of admitted students are looking for information, I thought of writing a post about the area where most students in Linköping live.

I have been living in a corridor room since August 2017. This is most common form a accommodation in Ryd. Most students live in a single or a shared corridor room. Each corridor has about 8 rooms with one common living room and kitchen. The video link below shows you a typical corridor room.

Campus Valla is 5 mins away from here on bicycle. It takes about 20 mins to walk to the campus. The area is quite calm and there some convenient facilities for most occupants living in the area.

Laundry

The facilities are ample and convenient for students. There are many laundry rooms. Some of them you can use anytime without a booking and for some you can book slots according to the time availability. I find the laundry system to be very efficient through booking since these machines have an automatic dosage system and a separate drier. So this doesn’t take a lot of my time.

Study rooms

Apart from booking meeting rooms and classrooms in the university, you can also avail the same in designated study rooms in Ryd. The study rooms have a long table with about 8 chairs and a white board. I use these rooms quite often because there are close to my room, the room is big enough to have group discussions about your assignments and so on.

Shopping and Daily needs

Ryd Centrum has a supermarket, Hemköp, which has pretty much every thing you might buy on a regular basis. For people who come from Asia who require some “special” ingredients for cooking, you can find most ingredient such as spices, Indian and Asian Dal at a store called “Orient Livs”, which is also located inside Ryd centrum.

There is also a convenience store called Direkten, where you go to collect or send packages, pay your rent, buy bus cards and so on. There are two restaurant, one serving Thai cuisine and the other is a pizza joint.

To sum it up, Ryd centrum has everything you might have to buy on a daily basis and is at most a five-minute walk from any room in Ryd.

Sports and Leisure

Ryd has a beach/sand volleyball court, ping-pong tables, pool tables, big football grounds and basketball courts. So if the weather is good, there are lot of outdoor activities that you can indulge in.

There are also a lot of barbecue grills with tables all over Ryd so its quite easy to have an spontaneous barbecue party. Since it is a student community, there are always corridor parties happening during weekends. If partying us your thing, Ryds Herrgard has a dance floor and a bar which is quite busy on Fridays and Saturdays. There are many more clubs spread across town as well.

Eateries

Apart from the two restaurants that I mentioned, there is a 24 hour McDonald’s on the way to Campus Valla from Ryd. This place is a good option for a quick bite to eat on a tight budget so this is the most popular joint around.

There is also Andreas Gatukök, a burger place just at the start of Ryds Alle, where they serve burgers, chicken wings, Falafels and so on. There are also good vegetarian options here.

So all in all, Ryd is quite a decent place for students to live in. You can decide the way you want to live here. Whether you want be concentrating on studies or partying hard on weekends, you can make it work in your favor.

Cheers!

Sharan

 


 

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Sharan Sargur

Sharan Sargur
Hello there! I am Sharan, a passionate Masters student, pursuing Mechanical Engineering. I have come all the way from Bengaluru, India not just to study but also to explore. Watch this space where I will be sharing all my exciting experiences in Sweden. Cheers!

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