(Uppsala's Easter Tree in Vaksalatorget (Vaksala square))
Glad påsk! (Happy Easter!)
It feels like Sweden has increasingly becoming like a paradise over the past couple of weeks! The weather has just been absolutely beautiful. In fact, there have been several days where I have been able to walk outside wearing short-sleeved shirts with no jacket! It's incredible to see how the Swedes embrace the spring. The streets are absolutely covered with outdoor tables and people sitting. The amount of people walking everywhere is incredible! It seems like the population of the city has tripled because the sidewalks are now so crowded with people and dogs.
Many people where I live have gone home for Easter or they have gone traveling. Luckily all but two of my closest friends have remained here, and we decided to do some fun things. Initially, we had planned to take a cruise to Helsinki. However, a few of my friends had stopped there last week on her way back from Russia, and they said it was hard to occupy even an hour of time there! So in the end, we decided that it might be wasteful to spend a whole weekend there.
Instead, yesterday we went to Stockholm. First we walked around Gamla Stan (the old part of the city) and had a traditional Swedish meal of kotbullar (Swedish meatballs). Then, we walked over to one of the Djurgården, one of the biggest islands of Stockholm. On this island, we went to the famous "museum" called Skansen. The best comparison I can think of is that it is the Swedish version of Colonial Williamsburg. It is a huge park where they try to recreate the lifestyle of Sweden in the 19th century. Like Williamsburg, you can see how a tanner, a baker, a glass blower,etc lived and worked their trade at that time. The park also has a collection of Scandinavian animals such as moose, lynx, fox, bear, etc.
After several hours in Skansen, we met up with our friend Jean Charles who studies in Stockholm. We spent some time with him sitting in the sun along the bay, and then we made our way back home to Uppsala.
Today, for Easter we all went out to our favorite cafe (Cafe Linne, of course!) for a long lunch and fika. Later, we will go on a walk along the river, and then we will just spend some time together in the evening.
Beyond thinking about Easter, we have all been preparing for Valborg. Valborg ( Walpurgis Eve in English) is a celebration of spring in Scandinavia. The good news is that Uppsala (my city!!!) is the most famous place in the whole world to celebrate Valborg! On sista April (the last day of April, April 30) thousands upon thousands of students gather on the hill by Uppsala Slott (our castle). It is a huge day of celebration here, and there are so many traditions that I have heard of. So many students who lived in our building last semester and have left are coming back just for Valborg, so we have all been trying to figure out who will sleep in which person's room. I think it will be a very fun day, and I will be sure to write all about it!
Hej då och glad påsk! (Goodbye and Happy Easter!)