Summer tourism. Chocolate lovers less likely to get strokes. Message in a bottle-22 years later. Confirmation camp interrupted.
Fewer tourists chose Sweden this past summer. On a brighter note, the tourists that did come spent more money than before so the profits were greater. While fewer Danes came, more faraway tourists arrived, like Indians and Chinese. The global financial worry as well as the rain torrents that plagued Central Europe this summer might be some reasons behind the decline, according to Thomas Brühl, managing director at Visit Sweden. “It’s been a cool summer, but the number of sleeping accommodations are pretty much the same as the record year 2010,” he says. The development for tourism is hardly bleak; though fewer tourists came, the number of hotel bookings increased. “The number of tourists decreased a little during the summer, but the proceeds increased for the 8th year in a row,” adds Peter Terpstra, tourism analyst at TIllväxtverket. It has to do with the fact that the tourists who came shop more and stayed at hotels more frequently. Brühl calls it a positive trend.
Chocolate lovers less likely to have strokes
Chocolate lovers rejoice! A new Swedish study gives you yet another reason to keep eating chocolate, especially if you're a woman. Eating a small piece of chocolate every day can work as medicine against stroke, according to the study of 33,000 women. Ten years ago, the women, all living in Uppsala and Västmanlands counties, were asked questions regarding their chocolate consumption. Since then, 1549 of them have suffered a stroke, but researchers noted the cases of stroke were less among the women who ate the most chocolate. According to the analysis, the risk decreased by about 20 percent. “It’s quite a great decrease, fully comparable with the effects of certain types of medicine,” says Susanna Larsson, researcher at the department of Nutritional Epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute. The women in the group with the highest consumption of chocolate ate 66 grams of chocolate a week, a little more than half a bar of chocolate. It's not that much—perhaps we should consume more chocolate? “We don’t know that yet,” Larsson continues. “It’s not yet clear where the upper limit for positive effects is.” The study will be published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and it is not really the first of its kind. “Perhaps it would be better for us if we were to consume pure chocolate powder,” Larsson concludes.
Message in a bottle-22 years later
A belated message of sorts: The bottle that Josefin Grund threw in the water when she was a little girl, was recently found-22 years later. “It’s hard to believe it’s true,” says Josefin, who is now 31 years old. When she was 9, she wrote a note, put it in a bottle and threw the bottle into the waters at Solumshamn, south of Härnösand. Annika Windhagen found it four miles north at Bönhamn. “Send me a letter,” the note said. Well, in keeping with the changing times, Annika sent a text message instead. According to Guinness World Records, the oldest message in a bottle spent 92 years 229 days at sea. A bottom drift bottle, numbered 423B, was released at 60º 50'N 00º 38'W (about halfway between Aberdeen, Scotland and the coast of Denmark) on April 25, 1914 and recovered by fisherman Mark Anderson of Bixter, Shetland, UK, on December 10, 2006.
Confirmation camp interrupted
A confirmation camp in Halland had to be interrupted this past weekend, when the pastor realized he and his staff had no control over the situation. The parents of the candidates for confirmation were called and asked to pick up their children and bring them home. Some sources claim alcohol was involved, but the pastor doesn’t want to comment on that. “As a leader, I realized toward the evening, that we weren’t in control,” is all he says.
Sweden had fewer tourists this past summer, but the ones that did come stayed longer and shopped more and thus spruced up profits. Above: A beach outside of Ängelholm, in southern Sweden.
Dig in—chocolate is good for you. Chocolate is processed from the seed of the cacao tree Theobroma cacao, which has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America. Many studies in the past have shown chocolate to have a positive effect on the circulatory system and can give a certain protection against heart attacks and stroke. It is believed that chocolate contains so-called flavonoids, a type of antioxidants that are beneficial for the blood vessels. And remember: The darker the chocolate the better.
More bottled mail: The first recorded messages in bottles were released around 310 BC by the Ancient Greek philosopher Theophrastus, as part of an experiment to show that the Mediterranean Sea was formed by the inflowing Atlantic Ocean. On his return to Spain following his first voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus's ship entered a severe storm. Columbus threw a report of his discovery along with a note asking it to be passed on to the Queen of Spain, in a sealed cask into the sea, hoping the news would make it back even if he did not survive. In fact, Columbus survived and the sealed report was never found, or at least, its discovery never reported. In 1784 Chunosuke Matsuyama sent a message detailing his and 43 shipmates' shipwreck in a bottle that washed ashore and was found by a Japanese seaweed collector in 1935. In February 1916 the doomed crew of Zeppelin L19 dropped their last messages to their superiors and loved ones into the North Sea. These washed up on the Kattegat coast near Göteborg six months later.
Confirmation, a rite of initiation in Christian churches, is supposed to be a time for introspection, faith and maturity. In Sweden, it’s popular to go away to confirmation camp, but one camp had to be interrupted recently when the pastor in charge and his staff couldn’t control the confirmands.