I'm back in Sweden, working on the jetlag. When I arrived last weekend, Sweden was still covered by snow. But the last days the snow has been melting in places, just to then freeze again, converting most walkways into outdoor skating arenas. Today however is the first day this year I am looking out of the window and do not see a closed white surface. Yes, spring is coming!
Some of you have been asking how the pothole situation is in Stockholm compared to Waterloo. I haven't seen potholes. At least in the area I live there hasn't been any salt on the streets either. (You notice it when you get home and the shoes leave stains.) Absence of salt contributes noticeably to the outdoor skating experience. They do extensively put gravel on the streets, but that doesn't melt the snow, so it just adds layer on layer on layer. Walking on it is possible to some extend, but if you try to push a stroller, ride a bike, pull a suitcase (guess which one is me), you can forget about it. The extensive salting Canadians engage in seems to wreck the upper layers of the pavement, contributing to pothole growth. However, in the last 2 years no-salt ice-melters have become more common. They are allegedly better for the environment. And for your dog. Don't know about the potholes though.
It seems however the Germans have had a lot of potholes this year due to the unusually cold winter. Well, what the Germans call potholes wouldn't even count as a surface crack in Canada. Note: if you can't store a turkey in it, it's not a pothole. But either way, it's caused considerable damage to the streets and most of the expenses fall to the communities. One German town that's short on money is thus seeking sponsorship for potholes. For EUR 50, they'll tar over a hole and put a plaque with your name on it. If you ever wanted to own a pothole - a GERMAN pothole - here's your chance!