Wednesday, April 18, 2007
First a quick announcement. I have posted past Swedish reports on a website. It is password protected, since Kristina doesn't like photos of the boys floating around the web. It has some other info about Stockholm as well.
Pictures on the website are higher resolution, and on this report there is also a video.
Last week was Easter vacation week and we were kept busy. On Thursday (April 12) the boys and I left Stockholm to explore to the north. We took a train to Uppsala. We then took a bus to "Gamla Uppsala", a few kilometers for the city center. This was the capital of Sweden in the sixth to twelfth century. Here there was a druid oak grove where sacrifices were made and where kings were selected. A failed king could be tumbled down the well here. (If your approval ratings fall - so may you!)
Now a days there is an ancient church here (build on the foundations of a druid temple) and a series of burial mounds ("barrows") where the first three kings of Sweden are said to be buried. We were reminded of the Barrow Downs from the "Lord of the Rings".
After a quick bit at "Odinsborg" (a 500 year old Inn), we caught the bus back to Uppsala and walked up towards the University. This town became the capital of Sweden in the twelfth century. We went into the cathedral. This imposing building is brick on the outside, but dressed stone on the inside. It really caught Will interest because of all the Latin. He has been studying Latin in Hanover and went around the Cathedral translating the graves of Carl Von Linn, and the magnificent tomb and chapel of King Gustav Vasa (1496-1560) who is considered a liberator of Sweden from Danish domination.
We walked through the University (founded 1477). This was the home of Linnaeus, Celsius, and Ångström. There is this confusion about the name of Linnaeus. In Sweden he is also called Carl Von Linne. The "Von" indicates that he was "ennobled". The rest of the world uses his latinized academic name Carolus Linnaeus. He is considered the "father of modern taxonomy." He was born 300 years ago this year, appears on the 100 Kronor note, has parks named after him and there will be a number of celebrations for him this year.
Also in one of the quads of the University were a number of rune stone, which I like to see. We walked up to the Slott (castle/palace), but it was still closed for the season. We then took another bus to the "Fyrishov", which is a pool and indoor water park where Robin and I swam (Will read a book). It was a lot of fun. Then home on the train.
On Friday we meet Will's schoolmate, and family for dinner at a restaurant with traditional Swedish food. The boys had Swedish meat balls, Kristina had mussel and I had fried pickled herring.
On Saturday we went to the Djurgårdens, a park by Stockholm harbor. It was such a beautiful day that we had a hard time getting onto a bus headed to the park - the buses were so full.
In the evening the boys went to a movie and Kristina and I went to a jazz club in Gamla Stan (old town). It is curious to hear someone sing New Orleans jazz in English, but between the song revert to Swedish.
Sunday Robin and I biked through the Ekoparken to "Oxbergsbacken". This is a bronze age burial mound - now essentially a pile of stones 3 meters across in the woods on a hill top. "Backen" can mean 'crate', 'back' and 'reverse', but it can also mean a 'hill' - as in this case. We then stopped at a cafe for lunch and rode home.
Back to school on Monday. I went over to AlbanNova. This is a new physics building run jointly by KTH (Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan - Royal Institute of Technology - where Kristina is) and Stockholm University. AlbanNovs is about 600 meters from our apartment. I talked with a number of physicist there about colloquiums, and experimental problems. I have also started using their library a lot. It is a good library - because it has a copy of my book!
So life continues as busy as ever here in Stockholm.