Monday, June 28, 2010

3 Swedish miles

We found a hiking trail called the Upplandsleden, which is 40 Swedish miles.

Last Saturday we did 3, which left us with sore muscles, blisters on our feet, aching legs and a bit of sunburn. It may be worthwhile to mention here that a Swedish mile is 10 kilometers. Our journey was from our house to Fjällnora.

Much of the trail was through forested areas. Here we stopped to reapply mosquito repellent since the Swedish mosquito's are superior in number and stinger length.

Approximately 9 km into the hike we hiked past the Lunsen cottage. This cottage was build in the 1800's but are now used mainly as an overnight resting place for hikers. Here we also had our first lunch.

There are a number of marches and bogs throughout the trail. However the trail is very well maintained and boardwalks are found across the deeper waters.

Much much later in the day we hiked through the country side where small villages are interspersed with farms.

We stopped at a rune stone to have our second lunch.

Finally we reached the lake at Fjällnora. We pitched our tent next to the lake and had a very quick dip in the cold water.

We made supper on our gas stove and went to bed.

The next morning we awoke to a beautiful sight as the sun shone on the lake.

We set our to find a bus back home but we needed to hike another 5 km alongside the lake.

Just before we reached the bus stop, Kurd (this is his name) from Kurdistan (someone who we haven't met before), gave us a lift all the way back to Uppsala.

This was the longest hike that we did in one day and although it was hard work it was a lot of fun. We are looking forward to at least one more hike during this summer but it will have to wait until Carina comes back from France (more detail will follow her return).


Midsummer Madness

We heard that Midsummer in Sweden is as big (if not bigger) an event than Christmas. Therefore we decided to partake in the festivities. The Midsummer festival is celebrated the first Friday afternoon following the solstice (see previous post). Like proper Swedes we slept late on Friday and started our 10 km cycle journey into the countryside at 10h30. Our destination... Hammarskogs Herrgård (see our previous post on how we got there on ice skates during prior trip). On arrival there were relatively few people.

However, the whole lawn in front of the mansion (herrgård) soon filled with families on picnic blankets.

At 14:00, the Maypole, a symbol of fertility, was erected. Not surprising - there is a peak in the Swedish birthrate in March.

Traditional folk dancing around the Maypole were accompanied by singing.

(Lead singer in traditional folk dress and children with flower wreaths on their heads)

After a short nap, we snacked on the last of our picnic food and started our journey homewards.


Monday, June 21, 2010


Today is midsummer in the northern hemisphere. For Uppsala this means that the sun will set at 10:16 tonight and rise 3:26 tomorrow. However we have not seen complete darkness for quite a while now. Even in the middle of the night the sun hovers just below the horizon and you can track the movement of the light and watch it go from where the sun set to where it rise again with no clear boundary between dusk and dawn. Below are pictures taken on our balcony of Ronnie at 21:oo roughly an hour before sunset. This weekend we will go to see the midsummer celebrations where people dance around a huge Maypole.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kungliga Bröllop i Sverige (Royal Wedding in Sweden)

Today we sat the whole day in front of the television to watch the crown princess get married. This event has been building up steam for quite a while with media hype and all kinds of memorabelia for sale in shops. In this egalitarian country the first-born is first in line for the crown whether she is female or not. Thus even though the crown-princess Victoria has a younger brother she will inherit the crown from her father Kung Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden. We were weighing the option of going to Stockholm for the day but then decided we will see more on TV. Indeed two of the channels showed live coverage of the event the whole day long. It was really nice to see all the nobby people gathering and the wedding itself was also very nice. Victoria married her gym instructor that she met 10 years ago. Yes... maybe its a bit lame to watch a royal wedding... but we enjoyed it, and it really looked if the coupled loves each other.... very nice. Below are some pics and links to more pics and stories. Enjoy. Four hurrahs for Sweden...



Sunday, June 6, 2010

Springing into summer

The last few weeks everything have grown really really fast. This has happened to such an extent that we even think plants in South Africa are lazy. The surroundings have transformed completely and are very beautiful with wonderful colours. The sun never properly sets anymore and days are almost endless. Below are a few photos of a bike trip to the lake (around 8 o’clock in the evening).