Saturday, April 8, 2017

Swedish Swish – Erich

I am not giving accurate expression justice when I say that we did not do Sweden justice. We were barely there long enough. But what a beautiful country.

We had a one day layover in Sweden, flying into Stockholm airport one morning and flying out the next. We considered going into Stockholm itself, but chose a different route. Instead, we rented a car and went north from the airport to Uppsala.

Uppsala is really the second Uppsala. First we visited Gamla Uppsala, which means Old Uppsala. We visited the Royal Mounds there.
West Mound in the foreground, Middle Mound and East Mound going back
These three mounds are burial sites, though there is not a consensus on who exactly is buried there. Legends and reports from historians of long ago say each one houses a king. But in the 20th century, archaeological research was done there which suggests that may not be the case. In the east mound, they found belongings that indicate perhaps a woman was buried there. Though it is not conclusive.
You are allowed to climb the mounds
What is known is that these mounds date back to the 7th century. Uppsala was an important capital. Here Odin and Thor were worshiped, and kings ruled over Vikings. Uppsala itself is not on the ocean, but there is a river that provides access. However, the river had a few cataracts that made it less than appealing as a transportation hub.

This becomes important later. See, the area eventually became a Catholic region. And a large church was built right near the Royal Mounds. It was the cathedral of the area, and the archbishop had his seat there. But in the late 13th century, the cathedral burned. And the archbishop asked the pope to move a few kilometers down river to a smaller trading town that had easier access to the sea. The pope agreed, but with one condition: If the cathedral moves, then the name Uppsala must also move. So the trading village was renamed Uppsala, and Uppsala was renamed Gamla Uppsala. A new church was built on the site of the original cathedral, but the archbishop was no longer seated there.

However, the new cathedral can be seen from Gamla Uppsala, or at least its steeple can be. We went into Uppsala itself to get a better look.
The modern cathedral
Now Uppsala is quite a large and complete city. But it is filled with bike paths and bikes, which we loved seeing. Plus, is there anywhere else with skies so blue?

For lunch, we stopped at an Ikea. Yes, the famous Swedish store Ikea. There is a cafe in each, as you often find the States. But the cafe in a Swedish Ikea is, well, more. It's bigger. There are more choices. There are more people in it. And your drink selections are all kinds of fruit flavors we would certainly never have at home like elderberry and lingonberry. I even got a lingonberry sauce with my meatballs! Yum!
Just a piece of the much larger picture
You would have to see it to properly compare it to those at home. But calling it merely a cafe inside an Ikea doesn't do it justice.

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