Diamonds are a Swede’s best friend

DSC_0014 (2)

Mingling and networking is one main part of the whole thing

Last night, I learned about diamonds. Not the ones you expect in the rings you get for engagements and giving birth (1950s women stereotype, anyone?) – the ones that cut cars. Yes, industry uses diamonds to cut e.g. aluminium for cars because the carbide material is so solid it is the best tool for cutting. We held an event at a Swedish company that is the market leader for these things. The fascinating part was that we all are constantly using their products or rather the results of their products: whether you shave (they cut the razor blade strip steel), use your iPhone (they milled the phone’s shell), change your baby’s diapers (they cut the material that became the nappy) or  if you travel through the tunnel to England (they also make tools and those helped build the tunnel).

I also always enjoy people talking about something they really are interested in, especially when it is an uncommon passion like the passion for milling heads. Our guide would proudly go on and on about the smallest drill rod (0,1 mm calibre) and the 4000 milling heads it takes to cut out a plane. Diamonds sure are a Swede’s  best friend, considering that the company employs nearly 11,000 Swedes (and 50,000 worldwide!)

The only bad part was that on the way home, I happened to be on the tram that just did not move for 30 minutes. It literally took 40 minutes to travel 2 kilometres so I got home very late. This morning, I popped into the office frantically working off my to-do-list or rather transferring everything onto my computer that I would otherwise access online because I wanted to work on the train to Hamburg. Here’s a piece of free advice to all train companies: you would totally increase your attractiveness if you had internet on the train.

Despite the crying toddlers and loud ladies talking about their spa treatments in Swabian dialect on the train (because we all want to know in detail how the foot massage went), four hours passed rapidly with me pecking my keyboard. The deadline for our magazine is today and that is one of the tasks I very willingly dedicate my time to. Also, it’s great when you’re suddenly in Hamburg! I was greeted by Ingrid and we hung out at our old favorite café. Now I’ve just sent the last work emails from her kitchen and I’ll be off to Haha Hamm [Hamm is the name of the part of town) to see Ingrid perform stand up comedy. Sounds like a good Friday night, doesn’t it?

060

Hamburg has the best stickers

Train Magazines

005

I don’t think the “Här saknas text” is supposed to be there. Skärpning, SJ!

A place where you would not expect interesting journalism is the train. At least I never thought the free magazines train companies put on every seat would be worth a read. Because really, how exciting are free customer papers, the ones you can pick up at the grocery store? But the train is an exception. Since at least ten years I have been reading “mobil”, as the German Deutsche Bahn calls its magazine. Every month, they have a well-known celebrity on the cover and come up with actually inspiring stories and travel reports. (I am not saying this because I once got to intern at their editorial office.) When I still lived at home, it was an unspoken rule for everyone who had been out travelling on a long distance train to bring “mobil” home for the others to read.

When I started travelling on SJ, Sweden’s railway company, I discovered they had an equivalent called “Kupé” (Swedish for compartment). And wow, “Kupé” might even be better than “mobil” – I often rip out parts that I find so intriguing that I have to forward them by snail mail to friends. Last week when Malin and I travelled Stockholm – Örebro again, I took the magazine with me, exported it all the way to Germany and enjoyed a good read on the Hamburg – Düsseldorf route While the young people next to me were playing a card game and the South German couple opposite reminisced on their Hamburg visit, I busied my mind with the quiz-page that I newly had discovered in “Kupé”. I might be easily amused but I was quite entertained with their guessing games. See if you can re-translate these cities correctly into Swedish – and make sure to pick up “mobil” respectively “Kupé” when you travel by train the next time [This post is not sponsored by any publishing houses. Too bad.]

Welcome to the Nineties!

031

One should travel more in one’s own country. Because there are amazing things to discover. Like yesterday, when I made my long, expensive way far out west to Bonn and Cologne. I thought I was only travelling to a different part of Germany but it turned out I travelled in time as well.

My friend Maike recently moved to Bonn and this weekend, was throwing her first party. Since it is my New Year’s resolution to party more, I promised to come. They told me,Bonn was only some twenty minutes away from Cologne (not true, it takes forever to get there) and Bonn used to be the German capital. Now you are all like, “What do you mean, capital, isn’t Berlin the capital?!” Well, it is now and was then but when Germany was divided, someone decided that Bonn should be where the German government should have its seat. So from 1949 to the Nineties, Bonn was the center of power.

When I stepped off the train in Bonn, I truly felt like I had been catapulted back into just that time. It is like Bonn tries to conserve its time of importance by leaving everything as it was then. The signs in the metro – and the metro itself – look exactly like when I was 5. The logos on the signs are not even in use anymore. It is very fascinating. It is just like time travelling!

These signs show the way to all the federal institutions which remind the visitor that this used to be the capital.

These signs show the way to all the federal institutions which remind the visitor that this used to be the capital.

1992, I'd say.

1992, I’d say.

Speaking of time travelling, the first thing I thought about when I heard Bonn was of course the Haus der Geschichte, History’s House, a museum located in Bonn. I have always wanted to go there and so I rushed in there 90 minutes before they closed (I also took a major detour to go see it). Let me tell you, this museum is an excellent use of tax money. The museum is free (read: tax-financed) and there is countless museum staff everywhere. And they are even friendly when you approach them.

The museum itself is paradise for any person that cares about Germany, the past, the present or generally the world. Luckily, the Haus der Geschichte is a part of Bonn that has arrived in the 2000s which is clearly reflected in the museums forms of display. You are walked through 1945 to 2013ish and I can tell you, until 1960 I constantly had goose bumps. The original films of little children saying their names and “I am looking for my parents” from the end of the war when so many families were separated are just as touching as the posters the American allies put up, saying, “People of Berlin, the world looks to you and you are not alone, we Americans stand with you and will defend your freedom”. (During the time of the Luftbrücke when the US allies transported food into West Berlin by plane because the Russians decided to, with a blockade, try and starve West Berlin into joining socialism.) I also learned, by the way, that Sweden sent care packages with toys and food for the German children.

Haus der Geschichte

Haus der Geschichte

I had the pleasure of being hosted by #mydanishintern in her lovely new apartment in Cologne. The photo shows Cologne's most famous landmark, the impressiv cathedral

I had the pleasure of being hosted by #mydanishintern in her lovely new apartment in Cologne. The photo shows Cologne’s most famous landmark, the impressiv cathedral

Reunited with #mydanishintern, an excellent host

Reunited with #mydanishintern, an excellent host

I think all countries’ history is interesting, but Germany’s history lies closer to my heart for patriotic reasons and because it is more intriguing as so much happened – both absolutely shocking and terrifying things and unprecedented success. The spectrum is just very large.

If you ever go to Cologne or Bonn, make sure to pay History’s House a visit. Everything in there is just so interesting!

To put it with the great German poet Schiller’s words (in my mediocre translation),

“Every day, history becomes dearer to me. I wish I had studied nothing but history for ten years, I believe I would be a whole different person”.

020

Train on the way to Bonnn, writing an article.

On the way from Bonn, carpooling in a very dirty 1990s car with 9 people.

On the way from Bonn, carpooling in a very dirty 1990s car with 9 people.

P.S.: I also realized on my journey that I am so much more of a train person than a car person. I am close to saying that I would rather stay home than go by car, but that might be putting a bit too drastically.