July 14, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
So, it just so turned that I couldn’t update my blog because I had to write a paper for my Arts in Sweden class. Also, I didn’t really do much on Monday, so I am really only one post behind.
Yesterday, my Arts in Sweden class went to the Modern Art Museum in Stockholm. We took the train, which had no air conditioning, which was terrible on a 92-degree day with almost everyone wearing jeans, and walked across the center of Stockholm to the museum.
I have to admit, I enjoyed the museum a great deal more than I thought I would. There was a lot of interesting art in there, not just shapes and lines and strange things. My favorite pieces:
This is what Cody used to call his old car:
And this was like a Japanese room made of cloth and wood. My professor looked in through a window when we weren’t expecting it, and it was amusing.
After the museum, we walked back to the train, and went back to Uppsala. I went out with a couple of friends to eat supper, and then came back to my apartment to study for the final exam today.
Today, I had my final exam in Swedish class, and did really well! After classes, I took the long trek up the hill to the Carolina Rediviva, Uppsala University’s library.
I saw many treasures there, although photos were not allowed, including the famous Gothic “Silver Bible”, with ink made of silver and gold, a copy of Snorri Sturlesson’s Younger Edda, one of Mozart’s music notebooks, Rudbeck’s book of bird watercolors, and some of Carl Linné’s sketchbooks, among others. It was amazing.
I am now nearly officially done souvenir shopping, and it is highly unlikely that I will get a blog post up tomorrow, as tomorrow evening we have the farewell dinner, complete with all the pomp and ceremony attendant on the most fancy of Swedish dinner parties. We are supposed to wear the best we have, a dark green cocktail dress in my case, and I fully expect the whole thing to last from six in the evening until midnight, at which time the dance begins. I kid you not. I think it’s going to be about five courses.
Friday, of course, I check out of the program and my apartment and do my last bit of sightseeing in Uppsala, and I fly out of Arlanda early on Saturday morning. Arrival time in Lincoln: 4:30 P.M., should all go well, and I pray it does.
I’ll try to update as I can in the next couple of days, but we’ll see what happens.
July 11, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
This morning, I got up way too early, and met Jill at the Cathedral at 7:20. We jumped on the train at Uppsala Station at 8, and we were off!
Once we got to Stockholm, we got on a boat and we were off to Birka!
The ride there took about an hour and a half. It was long. I tanned on the way, and surprisingly didn’t burn at all!
Once there, we heard the announcement that this was Viking Market weekend. So, in addition to seeing the museum, getting a tour of the island, and seeing a Viking Village, we got to buy awesome Viking things!
We had half an hour before the tour, so we bummed around, and went to some of the different booths. I bought a couple souvenirs, and was talking to a lady about nålbinding when the horn blew to announce the start of our tour.
The tour was great! We walked all around the island, near where the town, the fortress, and the wall used to be.
The town site:
The wall and fortress:
After the tour, I went to the museum. It sucked. Almost everything there was a reproduction, except for a case of combs.
After the museum, I wandered down to the Viking Village, a reproduction of how Birka might have looked in its heyday. All of the houses were really small, compared to the longhouse at Ravensborg, but that’s how it was in Birka. Small houses for trade, decreed by the king.
I talked to a Viking reenactor at the Village, by the name of Johan. He claims he knows at least one of the Jomsborg Elag from Texas who joined us at Ravensborg this spring. This is such a small world.
After I was done strolling through the village, I went back to the market and bought way too many pretty things. It was really difficult to not buy a bunch of linen or wool for tunics and coats and cloaks and pants, but I resisted!
All too soon, the boat had to leave, and I and Jill made our way back to the boat.
The trip back to Stockholm was uneventful, and once we got there, it was only 4:30. So, we went and ate supper by the royal palace, and then wandered around Gamla Stan, or the Old Town. I bought a couple of last souvenirs for people in my family, then we headed back to the train station.
Jill couldn’t get her debit card to work in the ticket machine, so she told me to go ahead so I could shower and sleep, and she took the next train back.
I made it back to Uppsala without further trouble, and made it to my apartment and crashed. My knees have rebelled and told me they will not allow any more stairs until tomorrow. Pity.
‘Til tomorrow then!
July 10, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
There was no real plan today. Sure, I planned to go to the Gustavianum and take as much time as I wanted to make sketches of the Viking embroidery there, and I wanted to go to Gamla Uppsala, but I had no timeline, no real place to be at any time, or anything like that. It was wonderful.
I slept in, since the museums don’t open until ten anyway, ate breakfast, and was off! I made some very good sketches of the scraps of embroidery in the Gustavianum, which was a major success when you consider how terrible I am at drawing. All told, I think I spent maybe an hour in front of that one case, sketching. It was wonderful.
Next, I decided to take the bus to Gamla Uppsala, so I went to the Tourist Info office and asked which bus was right. I was given not the greatest directions to the right bus stop by the guy working there, so I sat at the wrong bus stop for a while with an old lady who kept trying to talk to me in Swedish. Eventually, I asked her which number bus to take to get to Gamla Uppsala, and she and a friend who just got off the bus at that time walked me to what they said was the right bus—the one lady talking to me in broken English the whole time, and I responding in similar Swedish. So I waited for the bus, got on, and ended up on the exact opposite side of town. Right bus, but going the wrong way. Whoops! So I just rode it all the way back, which was okay. I got to see more of Uppsala than I would normally see on my daily walks to and from class.
When I finally got to Gamla Uppsala, I went to the museum there. It wasn’t as impressive as I had hoped it would be, but it was pretty cool. It had a lot of nice Viking items, and some really neat displays:
After I went through the museum, I ate lunch at the Odinsborg restaurant. It was fun and relaxing to sit and eat outside. I had a sandwich with potatoes on it. It was surprisingly good.
After I finished my lunch, about 2:30, I decided to take a long walk around the Uppsala Grave Mounds. I headed off, and just kinda meandered around the mounds for the better part of the afternoon.
I found a nice bench under a tree, and laid down and watched the sunlight play in the leaves for a while, and just listened to the wind in the leaves. It was like a breath of heaven to lay there and relax, just me and my thoughts.
After I while, I got up and wandered down the trail and around the far end of the mounds. I found a beautiful patch of wildflowers.
After a long wander, I decided to take the bus and head back. It was a wonderful, relaxing day, and if I didn’t have to get up so early tomorrow, I might have stayed there to watch the sun set.
Tomorrow, I go to Birka, to see the museum there and hopefully finish up my souvenir shopping!
July 9, 2010
Friday, July 09, 2010
Today, we had no classes, as the long weekend has begun. Those of us in the UISS who did not go to Finland boarded a bus this morning to go to Skokloster Castle and Sigtuna.
It was an amazing day! Skokloster Castle was pretty much the same as last time I went, with just a little more in-depth tour. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos, so that was sad. Oh well, I have photos from there anyway!
Next stop was the town of Sigtuna, founded in 970 by Olaf, son of Erik the Victorious. We went on a tour of the town, but it was very slow-paced and quite boring, actually. An hour into the tour we had barely left the town square. It wasn’t that the information on the tour was boring, it was that the guy giving the tour could barely speak English, so it was all very slow.
Right before the tour, we had a bit of free time, so I wandered about the town, and came upon this sign:
Of course, I had to go check it out. Turns out there was only one tent there, as the large camp and market was last weekend, but there was a guy there by the name of Åke, who had a tent, some Viking items for sale, things to make Viking Flatbread, and a boat there. I talked to him for a bit, and when he found out I was a Viking Reenactor, he gave me some awesome Viking bread!
So, of course, after the tour, I and some of the others from the Study Abroad Program had to come have a ride on the boat. I was the only girl who volunteered to row, and somehow ended up with the “lead oar”, the oar nearest the ‘steer-board’ on the starboard side. This meant I got to set the pace.
We rowed halfway across Lake Mälaren, and rested just a bit in the middle to take a couple pictures:
Then we headed back to his camp, where we safely disembarked. (And somehow I got recruited to be the one to pole the boat up close to the dock. That was fun, trying to avoid dripping lake water on everyone’s heads while I turned my oar around. I succeeded, though.) This will probably be one of the most memorable events of the summer.
After the boat ride was over, some of us hung out at the camp for a while, and I bought quite a few necklace pendants and things for friends back home and talked with Åke for a while. He was very knowledgeable about the Viking Age in Sweden, especially about boating. Turns out, he and some friends took a boat almost exactly like the one we rowed across the lake all the way to Finland last summer!
All too soon, it was time to leave, and those of us from the Study Abroad Program got on the bus and rode back to Uppsala.
Tomorrow, I plan to go up to Gamla Uppsala, finally, and see the museum there! Many of the students here have told me that it is an amazing museum, so I am excited! Sunday, Jill and I are going to Birka as well.
Until tomorrow evening!
July 8, 2010
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Today, Erik, Birgitta, Kaisa, Ingvar, and Magareta came to visit me in Uppsala! They came at 2:30, and we all walked to the Cathedral Café for coffee and sweets. I had a lovely cappuccino and some cold chocolaty thing that was absolutely delicious!
It was good to see them again. We all talked over coffee for some time, I doing much better at communicating in Swedish than I thought I would, and making jokes about Norwegians and laughing. (“Do you know how to save a Norwegian?” “No.” “Good!”)
Then they gave me a very special wedding gift—a real bindmössa, or Folk Costume Skull Cap! Traditionally, women only wear these caps if they are married, so I have a month before I can wear it anyway. However, I still have to make my new folk costume for a married woman anyway, so I can wait.
Holding the hat:
Trying on the hat:
Erik and Birgitta:
It was so good to visit with my friends from Ockelbo, and I was very honored to receive such an amazing gift. Thank-you, my friends!
Tomorrow the school is taking the students who did not go to Finland on a trip to Sigtuna. The Viking market is there, so I am excited for that! Hopefully I can get some souvenirs for some of the people back home.
Til tomorrow evening!
July 7, 2010
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Today, after classes, I went to the Linné Tradgarden, just for Jessica. Also, because I wanted to see it, and because I live mere blocks away, but it is really very much a thing that combines the two things Jessica and I both love—History and Plants.
The gardens hold about 1,500 species of plants, arranged according to how Carl Linné himself arranged them in the early 18th Century.
A couple of his ponds, arranged according to the type of habitant the plants needed:
And Linnaeus himself! (Or a picture from the museum!)
Tomorrow Erik and Birgitta are coming to visit me again in Uppsala, along with Ingvar and Kajsa. It should be a lot of fun to see them one more time!
P.S. Happy Birthday, Jessica!!!
July 6, 2010
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Today, I had Swedish class first thing in the morning, as usual. We are learning how to shop properly, how to ask how much things cost and all that. It is quite interesting, and very practical, but it doesn’t do a lot for actually managing to talk to people in the street. However, the grammar we learn with this will make the other things we want to say come more easily, I’m sure of it.
After lunch, my Arts in Sweden class went to the National Art Museum in Stockholm! It was cool. There was very little modern art, most of the things there were famous paintings from the 18th and 19th Century, and it was a thrill to see them in person! However, I did not take a lot of photos, because taking pictures that won’t turn out very well of pictures seems pretty redundant. However, I did take one in the main stairway.
Isn’t this one of the most impressive things you have ever seen? That painting is about twenty feet high.
On the way back to the train station, we passed a couple of impressive buildings.
The Parliament Building:
And the Royal Palace!
Tomorrow we have a regular day of classes, and if it is not raining, I plan to finaly visit the Linnaeum and see all of the flowers!
July 4, 2010
Sunday, July 04, 2010
I made it back to Uppsala! Huzzah! I caught the 11:00 PM bus out of Oslo to Stockholm, and arrived in Stockholm at 5:45 this morning. I then caught the 7:11 train to Uppsala, and made it to my apartment at 8:00. E-mailing the people who wondered if I get back and a good shower were the next things on the list, and it was off to Skokloster Castle!
We took the boat from Uppsala to Skokloster, a ride that took about an hour and a half. We sat on the top deck the whole way there and back, so I got sunburned! Whoo-hoo!!! (Actually, I’m honestly not in pain. It’s a very minor burn, and is already turning to a good tan.)
Once at the castle, we went on the English tour of the castle. It was quite amazing. Skokloster was built in the early 1600’s by a very rich nobleman, who tried to style himself a miniature king in Sweden. Everything was very fancy, and almost overdone.
After the castle, we took the boat back to Uppsala almost immediately, and just enjoyed the beautiful weather. The boat captain heard there were Americans on board, so he played “God Bless America” on the loudspeakers for us, and we sang along. Once in Uppsala, Uta, Gustavo, Luke, and I bought ice cream at a little shop on the school street, and after hanging out a short while, we went on our separate ways, mostly to do homework.
It was good to come back to my apartment and hang out and unwind after my adventures this weekend!
July 3, 2010
Saturday, July 03, 2010
The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo may have the best items when it comes to ships and textiles, but the historical museum in Oslo has the best when it comes to bling!
No kidding, they have three rooms devoted to Viking artifacts. One of those is nearly exclusively jewelry, and the other two are about half-full of jewelry.
I am going to skip most of the descriptions and just give you a lot of pics from the museum. It was a very good one—everything was semi-interactive, and there were reproductions there with labels that said “Please Touch”.
The one odd thing about the museum was the security system. They have no security cameras, so instead, they have security guards that take turns following you but not following you all over the museum to make sure you don’t touch anything. For a while there were two following me because there was no one else in the whole museum, visiting, that is, and talking in Norwegian about banana smoothies. I don’t think they knew I could understand them. (Norwegian sounds about like Swedish—it’s just the spelling that is odd.)
So, according to room. . .
The Stone Age:
The Bronze Age:
The Iron Age:
The Viking Age:
Yeah. I took a lot of photos today. About 200. Most of them good ones. This is just a small sampling of the wonderful things I saw.
After the museum, I picked up my backpack from the hotel and went to the train station, only to be told that there was no such thing as the bus I was told to catch at 1:30. So, I went to the bus station, and bought a ticket to Stockholm. It leaves tonight at 11:00, so I will be arriving about 6:30 tomorrow morning. Catch a train to Uppsala, and I will be done with the Norway trip!
Tomorrow when I get back to Uppsala, we go to Skokloster Castle, a trip paid for by the school for my Arts class. It should be a lot of fun—photos to come!