想象一下此处的回声 Imagine the echo!
Rapa Valley in Sarek National Park, Sweden
Rapa Valley runs through Sarek National Park in northern Sweden, where rivers cut into lush meadows and towering peaks reach towards the sky. In this national park, covering about 760 square miles of pristine wilderness, elk roam freely, golden eagles soar overhead, and the elusive arctic fox leaves traces of its presence in the snow. From the beauty of Abisko to the rugged peaks of Sarek, Sweden's many national parks boast a range of landscapes from glaciers to lush green forests and sandy beaches. The Sámi people have called this alpine region home since ancient times, and their cultural heritage is intertwined with the landscape. They fish the coasts, and perhaps most famously, herd reindeer.
一个黑暗的暴风雨之夜 On a dark and stormy night...
If the sight of storm clouds gathering over Lake Geneva puts you in a dark and ponderous mood, then you have an idea of Mary Shelley's frame of mind when she conceived the story that would become her seminal work. While Shelley wrote several historical novels and travel books, it was this macabre story of a grotesque creature that made her legacy.
Today and every final Friday of October is Frankenstein Friday, a celebration of Shelley's 1818 novel about a doctor who reanimates the dead—a tale of terror that many also think of as the first science fiction novel. Shelley concocted the concept for 'Frankenstein' (aka 'The Modern Prometheus') here at Lake Geneva in the northern Alps on the French-Swiss border. She spent an unusually cold and wet summer here in 1816 with her future husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, both poets. Confined indoors, the group challenged one another to come up with ghost stories. Mary quickly wrote the short story that would become 'Frankenstein,' inspired in no small part by the gloom and chill of Lake Geneva on one dark and stormy night.
世界最臭食物之乡？ Home of the 'world's worst smelling food'?
Get your clothespins ready, it's Surströmming Day! For the uninitiated, that means we're in Sweden and cracking open this year's surströmming harvest to enjoy its putrid wonder. Surströmming is Baltic herring that's been caught in April and May, then lightly salted and allowed to ferment. Beginning in the 1940s, a royal ordinance forbade the selling of Surströmming before the third Thursday in August to prevent incompletely fermented fish from being sold. The ordinance is no longer on the books, but the tradition holds.
Swedes indulge in pickled herring from bloated cans that most insist should be opened outside and preferably underwater. That's the recommended way to alleviate the stench from what some call 'the world's worst smelling food.' You may have seen popular 'challenge' videos of people trying to brave the experience and failing miserably. That's part of the fun, even if those videos are not the best representations of a true surströmming feast.
In today's photo, we're visiting a small fishing village on the island of Källö-Knippla in Gothenburg's northern archipelago. People there today might enjoy some surströmming on top of tunnbröd flatbread. It's common to then cover it in red onions, sour cream, and dill and then wash it all down with a shot of booze, a beer, or even milk. The taste is said to be very sharp, savory, and even acidic. That is, if you can keep it down. One food critic famously said that 'the biggest challenge when eating surströmming is to vomit only after the first bite, as opposed to before.'
只有一个地球 'Only one Earth'
World Environment Day
Europe's oldest national park is a fitting place to contemplate nature's beauty on World Environment Day. Established in 1909, Sarek National Park encompasses 760 square miles of pristine wilderness in northern Sweden. Rapadalen (Rapa Valley), a 22-mile-long valley surrounded by steep mountains, is considered one of Europe's most enchanting landscapes. As beautiful as the remote, high-alpine region is, it is only recommended for experienced and well-equipped hikers. The weather is severe and unpredictable, and there are no accommodations available for tourists.
This year's theme for World Environment Day is 'Only One Earth,' a reprise of the theme from the UN's landmark Conference on the Environment held in Stockholm, which established World Environment Day 50 years ago, in 1972. What's the difference between Earth Day and World Environment Day? Not much! Both days celebrate our fragile planet and serve to motivate people to help preserve it. Earth Day started in 1970 on college campuses in the US, while World Environment Day was created by the United Nations with a goal to 'forge a basic, common outlook on how to address the challenge of preserving and enhancing the environment.' Hey, it's a big planet–there's more than enough room for two days to celebrate it.
Midsummer's Eve in Sweden
This mirrorlike lake—pictured not at dawn nor dusk, but under the tireless midnight sun that marks Scandinavian summers—lies just outside Örebro, a midsized city in south-central Sweden. To Swedes, tonight is the eve of Midsummer, a summer solstice holiday with roots in ancient, pagan Europe that's now (at least officially and to the pious) also held to honor the birth of Christian figure John the Baptist.
Golden Hall in Stockholm City Hall for today's Nobel Prize Award ceremonies (© Mikhail Markovskiy/Shutterstock)
Congratulations, 2019 Nobel Prize laureates!
This opulent room is the Golden Hall, a banquet hall in Stockholm City Hall, which will be one of the venues for today's Nobel Prize Award ceremonies. The room, which is completely covered in mosaic tiles, includes representations of important people and places in Swedish history, including the large mosaic of the Queen of Lake Mälar—a reference to Lake Mälaren, a large lake near Stockholm—with the city of Stockholm in her lap, that appears in today's image.
Tonight, on the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death, most of this year's Nobel laureates, the King and Queen of Sweden, and more than 1,000 guests will attend the award ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall. There the King will present the winners with a gold medal, a unique handcrafted diploma, and a document confirming the monetary amount of their Nobel Prize (nine million Swedish krona or about $925,000 this year). Next, this same group will attend the Nobel banquet in the Stockholm City Hall's Blue Hall, followed by dancing here in the Golden Hall. These events are the culmination of a more than 14-month process of nominations and selections by the Nobel Committee and other institutions. While five of the six Nobel Prizes are presented here in Stockholm, the Peace Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, something that Alfred Nobel stipulated in his final will. This occurs in a separate ceremony, usually on the same day, in Oslo, Norway.
In the Peace Prize ceremony, attended by more than 200 guests, the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee presents the laureate with a medal, diploma, and monetary prize at the Oslo City Hall with a banquet afterwards at the Oslo Grand Hotel.
It's surströmming time
The historic wooden pier of Smögen, Sweden will be busy—and pungent—today. The third Thursday in August means one thing: surströmming season has arrived and all over Sweden, brave residents stand at the ready with can-openers in hand. If you've never taken part in a surströmmingsskiva, the Swedish word for this particular event, you're going to need a bucket of water, some side dishes, and a strong constitution.
In April and May, freshly caught herring from the Baltic Sea is quickly brined in just enough salt to keep the fish from rotting. In July, the rapidly fermenting fish is canned and then, come this day every summer, the cans are opened—outdoors and often submerged in a bucket of water to reduce the smell—and eaten with flat bread, potatoes, and usually a chaser of strong alcohol or beer. Some say sour herring, aka surströmming, is one of the most putrid smelling foods on Earth. Others say it's delicious.