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In the morning I had to call BMG (the Barry Martin Group - doesn't it sound like a rock band?) to check on how my visas were. They were trying for a transit visa for me for Byelarus, seeing as I had no invitation.
We also had plans to go to the city of Uppsala and called Brynna to invite her to come along. I remember that Lotta was busy that day. We picked Brynna up at Moeby Centrum and Siggy drove us out. It was a beautiful day and I'm so happy that I picked the right time to visit. In fact, since leaving Taiwan I had only experienced about a day and a half of rain in seven weeks.
Once there, Brynna and I looked around the castle and the cathedral while Siggy had arraned to meet a friend for lunch and had some business to discuss. The castle was interesting to look around although the waxwork dummies were less than convincing. The church was beautiful and well preserved with some incredibly old graves and a list of previous pastors with dates going back to the 1200's. We'd arranged to meet up with Sigvald at 1:30 but we found that we couldn't recognise the spot along the river where we'd said we'd meet up with him. Brynna was definitely starting to panic a little but as we were to meet by the river then the answer was pretty straight forward. We'd just had to walk up and down to the spot where we'd been dropped off and find our way back.
We were a little hungry and had an ice-cream (seeing as we still hadn't had lunch) and just after buying a cone each... da-dah! there was Sigvald. By this time it was really time to eat but not easy to find one place to suit all of us as Sigvald is vegetarian, and by her own confession, Brynna is a really picky eater. We went to the Big M, thought about going elsewhere, walked around, checked BK for Brynna, and ended up going back to Mac's. On top of this Brynna had put in a special order for her Big Mac which ended up on the 'forgotten' list. Doh!!!
After eating we went for a stroll to the Linnaeus Garden, which was ... nice. It was a garden and the plants were beautiful but the time we were there, the museum was closed and there was not so much to see.
Siggy drove us out to the viking burial mounds at Old Uppsala. When Sigvald and Brynna started talking about dowsing and divining I was a little dubious... until I had a go myself. I did my utmost not to let the rod move, but it did move, time and time again over the same spot. Unbelievable. We had to move on, as we were due to stay with a friend of Sigvald's, Per. We dropped Brynna off at Uppsala train station, apologetically, and headed for the countryside.
It took a fair while to get there, seeing as we stopped at a few Runestones on the way. Thanks to Per's directions (Siggy hadn't been there before), we did get there and found Per's place. A 150 year old summer house - now with two extensions. I t has two floors and a kitchen. The loo is outside, as is the water supply. Inside, Per has collected an incredible array of objects and paraphanalia from times gone by. He gave us a tour of some of the objects that decorate his living room walls and explained the use of some of the intriguing objects. He indicated a large wooden paddle, saying, "This is for straightening bedsheets", then some other object, explaining it's use in times of old. Finally he picked up a small crop from it's position on the wall and with a straight face turned to me and said, "... and this is for sex!" Coming from this blonde forty something with his balloonist waxed moustache that was so funny I was laughing for ages.
That night, we ate in the dining room and for me it was a real novelty using a wooden knife to spread butter on crackerbread. After we'd eaten, Per gave us a tour of the rest of the summer house. How lucky these people are to be able to retreat from the city in the summer to these countryside and forest refuges. However I'll not be moving north too soon, judging by the tales of winters in semi darkness for months on end, which often plunges people into dark depression.
Swimming in the lake by moonlight and gaslight. Another great end to another great day.
Awoke after sleeping well, to Per cheerfully preparing breakfast in the kitchen (which is also the living room where I was sleeping.) Outside it was a beautiful day and we breakfasted ouside. Per was waiting for the cow in the next field to appear - just to set the summer breakfast scene in it's entirety. We ate muesli with strawberry yoghurt, cheese and crisp bread and when the cows made an appearance Per mooed to them, to which I added a moo that switched half-way through a Tarzan call. Tarzan of the Heffers. Has a ring to it, no?
After breakfast we walked the short trail to the lake an Per put out a neighbours canoe, and said we could try it. The lake stretched out pretty far and around a corner at each end. Lord knows how long it really was. Sigvald and I took to the oars, Per had some mowing he'd promised his sister he would do. We rowed to the end of the immediate bay and under a small bridge.
The sun shone warmly and we were making good speed with one paddle each. I made the joke aobut Churchill's comment on the viking oarsmen's contribution to the Normandy landing's,"This was their finest oar!"
Idyllic is the word I'd use for his morning, floating through stretches of lily pads with yellow lotus flowers dotted here and there - just like the houses dotted within the surrounding woodlands along the banks of the lake.
I think we were out there an hour and althuogh we were moving quite fast (from where we were sitting) our steering technique needed something as we were pushed in different directions by the drift of the lake.
We made it back to the jetty and brought the canoe up to the shore and hungout for a while, waiting for Per to come back. I swam and snorkelled for while (as usual) spotting only crayfish and bringing up a few mussels one of which had a beautiful gold on it's shell. Per's landlord came to the lake shortly followed by Per who started shampooing his hair in the lake. Sigvald commented on his looking like a blonde walrus as he surfaced from the depths.
After more time at the lake we went back to the summer house and we didn't have to wait long before we were served with meatballs, mashed potato etc... which went down really well. After lunch and chatting about many subjects under the sun, it was time for sigvald and I to make our way back to Stockholm.
Siggy had some appointment with a friend so I'd arranged to meet up with Brynna in Stockholm, outside NK department store. As we were pulling up in Siggy's car Siggy had heard on the radio that there was to be a concert in park opposite the department store. When Brynna arrived we swung by the park for a couple of songs, but Brynna was a tad hungry so we looked around for somewhere to eat. Not only were we wary of the prices of an Italian restaurant just opposite the park, but also it seemed highly likely that we may fossilize before we get served. Brynna was sure she'd seen an Indonesian restaurant on an earlier visit to Stockholm so we spent a little time trying to orientate her so we could find our way there. Alas, it was not to be. We came along a mongolian BBQ which seemed fine, and to stave off the fossilization proccess we plumbed for it.
I wasn't totally familiar with the proccess in this restaurant and this was Brynna's first Mongolian BBQ, so on entering the restaurant I tried asking a Chinese looking waiter if he spoke English (Tale je Engelske?), using my home grown Swedish. He replied that he didn't, so I asked in Mandarin if he spoke Chinese. He did. The funny thing about the whole conversation was that he wasn't phased at all by this white guy speaking Chinese, and he replied that he did speak Chinese, and followed up by asking me if I could speak Spanish. I think Brynna summed it up by looking at the waiter and then at me and saying, "He doesn't get it at all, does he?"
Eventually (and only because of Brynna's brown eyes and dark hair) he asked if we were from Argentina (!?) Then I explained to him that Brynna is from Canada and I'm from England, but now I live in Taiwan. For some reason he found this really funny(!?)
After dinner, Brynna took me to the old part of town and we walked around for a while before it was time for Brynna's train. The old town certainly is beautiful and has a lot of lovely old buildings with wide windows filled with tourist orientated and traditional goods and cobbled streets, like the old streets of York.
Siggy had given me written instructions on how to get back to his place which turned out to be easy to follow yet invaluable for those not wanting to get lost in Stockholm!
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Last updated 25/11/2001- Created using Tripod Freeform by Rob
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