The original plan was to go downtown and spend most of the day there. However, my plans changed during the day. I got stuck after only 20 minutes of walking, because I spotted some farm buildings. The photographer-part of me liked it so much that I spent almost an hour taking pictures of two barns and the surrounding.
I reached downtown shortly after 10 am and the city was still silent with barely any traffic. Only waiters and waitresses of ubiquitous cafes and restaurants were busy preparing their outdoor seating: from tiny chairs to cozy armchairs, from little wooden tables of any shape to glass tables and to tables covered in colorful tablecloths with various patterns. Little newsagent and a very unusual apartment building captured my attention:
I walked down the river Fyrisån, watched Swedes walking their dogs and kids feeding geese and seagulls. I had my lunch there while admiring the city’s skyline dominated by towers of the Uppsala Cathedral and Uppsala Castle.
Pavement on the other side of the river led me to an old building of Uppsala University, which was located very close to the Uppsala domkyrka (Uppsala Cathedral). Uppsala Cathedral is Scandinavia’s biggest and tallest (118,7 m is its length as well as height) church, built between 1270 and 1435, and the seat of the archbishop. I happened to be there shortly before 12 am and decided to wait there till noon just in case something special would go on. When lots of people – both foreigners and Swedes – started to gather in front of the Cathedral’s main entrance, I focused on the building more deeply. There was a little orchestra prepared on the balcony above the main entrance and started playing right after the cathedral bells struck twelve. The whole performance was 15 minutes long and the orchestra was rewarded with a huge applause at the end.
I continued to a small church located on Nathan Söderbloms Plan, just next to the cathedral, where I took couple of pictures and then finally entered the cathedral itself. The cathedral was huge and completely different than any church or cathedral I had been so far. I believe the difference between its exterior and interior caused that I consider it to be so unusual. The cathedral shape was pretty much the same what I am used to, however it was almost completely built from red bricks. The exterior was also much much less decorated than exteriors of cathedrals usually are. All the beauty and treasures were hidden inside: organ, all the golden stuff, statues and paintings. Since there was some event held today I barely saw half of it and definitely want to return.
By the time I decided to go back home all the cafes and restaurants were already packed with people. Near Stadsbiblioteket (City Library) I met Ali from Iran, who joined me for the rest of the day. He showed some of the city’s most beautiful parks, where people were having their picnics and sunbathing. We played a game of mini golf, which I enjoyed a lot. The place was full of people playing the game: families, students, retirees. The fairways were of a high quality and some of them very original.
We ended with a trip to Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala), a place with 2000 years long history and one of Scandinavia’s most important historic sareas. There were 3 burial sites dating back to the 6th century, and a church, whose role was later taken over by Uppsala Cathedral. Right next to the walls of the church there was a tiny cemetery located. I particulary liked the church, since it was so old: most of the equipment was wooden and loosing its color and polish, also the paintings on ceiling and walls were almost gone. It was a very long way to see “only” 3 hills of soil covered with grass, however it was worth that. From there, I had a great view of modern Uppsala and a vast area of forests and fields. I was really lucky to get there late in the afternoon, because there were not so many people and most importantly I got perfect light conditions to capture atmosphere of the place. Area of Gamla Uppsala seemed to be a favorite place to go running. There were almost as many runners as cyclists – quite an unusual view for Sweden.
I got to know the atmosphere of Uppsala a bit, had a great time visiting all the places and look forward to seeing more of the city during my stay here. Moreover, I would never ever expect that, but it happened: I got tanned in Sweden!