Day Twenty Four: Uppsala

Started early today and had a quick breakfast before heading back to the central Train Station. We were getting a regional train to Uppsala to look around the city that Jip studied at. It was an express train and we were in Uppsala in 38 minutes.

We did a quick walk through the centre of town before Jip went to his old university faculty to meet with a friend whilst I roamed the city. I firstly got a vanilla latte to perk up at a lovely cafe but, when asking where the closest bathroom was, she became very short with me and walked into the back kitchen. I left.

My first stop was the Uppsala Universitet Bibliotek (University Library) to see the Codex Argenteus, the Silver Bible. It is presumed that it was written in the 6th century and is the oldest and most extensive examples of Gothic language. It is written on thin purple paper in gold and silver ink. It was so pretty but as I later realised after taking many photos, it is a replica until early 2019 due to the renovations on the library - bummer! I looked around the library before leaving.

The library is situated at the bottom of the hill that the Botanical Gardens and Uppsala Castle is situated on. I decided to walk up the steep hill to the castle for a look and possibly a guided tour (as stated on the main sign). When I got to the front door, it said that it opened at 12 noon, it was 12.15pm so my luck was improving! Inside, I was told that the castle is closed for tours and viewings but there is a contemporary Nordic ceramic art display for free. Ah stuff it, I thought. Might as well see the free exhibition and part of the castle too. The exhibition was wacky and amusing. Especially the 58 minute long (I didn't stay for the whole thing) video about a guy on a tightrope transporting large paintings from one side of a canyon to the other. Because, art.

My next stop was the Uppsala Cathedral. It was formally consecrated in 1435 and is the largest and tallest church in Scandinavia. It was wonderful yet mysterious at the same time. I visited at a perfect time too as there was a young guy practicing on the organ and it was like being in the Phantom of the Opera! It's amazing how the sound of the organ can travel into every orifice of the church.

I met up with Jip and we walked around to find some lunch. He had already eaten so I was just after a quick bite. We ended up finding a swish restaurant that was serving 100kr lunches ($15.50) that also included free tea and coffee as well as bread and a side salad. I got the fish with mustard and dill sauce and mashed potato. Was very yummy.

Just up the road was the Linnaeus museum created by and dedicated to, Carl Linnaeus. He was the 18th century botanist and professor of Medicine who created a classifying system for plants. He is also depicted in the Golden Room back in Stockholm City Hall as he is one of the most influential Swedish people besides Olof Celcius. His garden contains over 3,000 different species of plant.

We walked around town, checking out the second hand stores and book stores. I bought a sequel to a book that I enjoy and it happens to be by a Swedish author.

We met up with Jip's friend Johan, who was very excited to see Jip again. We got ready at his place before making our way to the Gask Ball; a fancy three course dinner by candle light for the new students within that particular ‘house’.

We were greeted with a glass of champagne before making small talk with others and heading upstairs to the ballroom for dinner. I was personally given an Uplands Nations Songbook of all the songs that they sing throughout the dinners and during the year. The Swedish love to sing! Our meal was Indian curry and curry puffs (odd choice I thought) and Jip and I had to leave before dessert because:

  1. Too much singing and our main meal only came out after 9pm and,

2. Our last train back to Stockholm was 11.12pm! It was an enjoyable experience but it was definitely different to Australian Student Associations.

We made it onto our train and headed back to the capital.