Seamus K - Irish tech industry expat living in Sweden.

Month: March 2016 (Page 2 of 2)

Hiking in Sweden – Sörmlandsleden stages 3 and 4.

Yesterday’s Sthlm Outdoor hike was on the Sörmlandsleden, the major hiking route that runs south of Stockholm for about 1000km. We just did stages 4 and 3. Which made 22km of walking. We even managed 300m of ascent. Runkeeper says I burned 2100 calories and I can feel it today. 

Sörmlandsleden 4,5The terrain was different to what we had on the previous hikes. It was rougher, and far more uneven with hillocks the sometimes rose to 70m! On those occasions when we were going up steep ground I could feel totally different muscles working in my legs. And today while I feel tired there isn’t the satisfying soreness that comes from having done 1500m of climbing.

Rougher ground on the SörmlandsledenThe weather was different too – overcast, about +4 to 0°C with occasional fine snow or rain. The warmer weather meant the ground could occasionally be mucky. For stretches, particularly along roads, there was a lot of compacted re-frozen snow which was like sheet ice. Apart from a few minor foot slips it didn’t bother me too much – I was asked whether being from Ireland was why I was why I was so sure footed on the ice. Years of experience has taught me the trick is to take small steps, and keep your feet as flat as possible (no toes or heels). With practice you can end up walking almost as fast as on “normal” ground.

Swedish winterDuring the week I had offered my help to the hike leaders, so I ended up as the back marker. It is a fiddly job, especially for someone like me who prefers to set their own pace out at the front. Instead you keep the pace of the slowest person. Making sure those that are struggling, or have stopped to go to the toilet in the trees don’t get left behind or lost. But it’s an important job and someone (with decent skills, experience, and fitness) has to do it.

We had the usual mixed group – about 1/3 Swedes and the rest expats – some very experienced walkers, and others who struggled with the pace and conditions. Maybe it’s me getting old, but I think hikes are no place for headphones. At least that person kept their spoiling of the outdoor experience to themselves. One person took a very loud phone call for several minutes. When they finished they kept working on their phone. They looked up to see me standing politely a few metres away waiting calmly.

“Am I the last? Sorry I didn’t realise.”

“Yes, because you were looking at your fucking phone” was what I thought but did not say.

Lunch at shelter by frozen lakeOne person chose to finish half way and get a bus home. One hardy individual letf us to stay the night in the shelter where we had lunch. If I had a decent winter rated sleeping bag I might consider it. But I’d like to arrive to my sleeping place at 5pm when it’s getting dark and not lunch time!

It wasn’t as much fun as the 2 previous walks I had been on. But not by much. Assuming I am in the country again next weekend I will be out for the next walk, a more sedate Sörmlandsleden stage 5, (15 km).


Anyone for a 20km walk in the Swedish woods?

Map and Compass

Map and Compass

Here comes the weekend, and I am in Stockholm on my own – so I guess I will go walking. I have so impressed the organisers with my background, skill and enthusiasm I have now been bumped up to walk leader. That or they had so many turning up, they decided to run a second walk, and yours truly was one of the two volunteers to lead it.

This is going to be fun anyway. I don’t think I have to haul wood and hot dog for a mid walk hot meal. But in the interests of cultivating an air of Irish eccentricity, and because I fancy a cuppa, I will bring my stove, tea and milk.

It won’t be the only Irish flavour to the walk. The temperature has gone a little above freezing, and it has turned misty and damp. While the demand might be there for Irish coffees and hot whiskey, I am not sure Swedish hikers are quite ready for that just yet. Maybe next walk.


Keeping positive

What am I going to do at work today? I am going to spend a few hours wrestling with my work laptop and HPE support as I try to make this error go away.

HP Error

Right now I cannot log on, except from a full reboot, and even then I have no network access (wired or wireless). It is a bit of a productivity killer.

There are a couple of frustrating things with this*.

First, this is the same problem I had a month ago. HPE, who provide our work IT support, struggled with  it for a few days. Eventually they swapped the SSD into a new laptopo chassis, and when that didn’t fix the problem they just nuked the hard drive. The re-image cost me two days work that time. And now the problem is back.

The other frustrating thing is going to be spending all the time dealing with support people. It is a cheap shot to complain about Tech Support. There are a lot of smart hard working people in that line of business. They are generally constrained by the “one-size-fits-all” processes they are required to follow. And they do have to deal with a very very large number of clueless idiots (I know I have briefly done the job). But it would be nice if they were a little consistent in how they deal with people’s issues.

When I dealt with HPE about this the last time, three different people gave me three different approaches. One support person told me the others were lying to me. And I encountered Kafkaesque things like HPE taking a backup of my machine before they re-imaged it, but asking me to wait 2 days to get access to the backup when they returned it.

MadMen Drinking

Would Don always look as suave if he had to spend an hour on the phone to tech support?

This sort of stuff is not good for my blood pressure! So today I resolve to be calm and professional, when dealing with the support team – while still being firm. And I reserve the right to be point out contradictions and idiocy in their instructions to me. All the while wishing I could do this with a stiff drink in my hand. Wish me luck.

* When I ran this  blog before I sometimes felt I was doing a bit too much ranting. It’s something I want to avoid with this incarnation. So when you read a post like this, I hope you understand I am approaching the whole thing with a positive and hopeful mindset. As naive as that may be of me 🙂

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