Random shots and events...

Trip Start Jan 01, 2010
Trip End Mar 01, 2010

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Flag of Sweden  , Swedish Lakeland,
Wednesday, June 2, 2010

We are well into spring now... early spring flowers are now gone and we are heading into Midsommar... the BIGGEST PARTY of the year in Sweden.  If you had to compare, it is much like what we have for festivities around Christmas time in Canada.  BUT, the full description will be part of another entry... so you'll just have to wait until then to hear and see more about it!

This entry is just to share some of the random things we've attended here so far; like the 10 km fun run I did with Yvonne (a fellow SFI classmate of mine) to raise money for the blood bank and a bike trip I took to Uppsala Gamla Stan to take part in celebrating Yvonne's birthday....  Swedish for immigrants (SFI) has been great so far - a real challenge, but great.  I've met many folks from all over the world.  Just in the smaller group of women I hang around with there is Yvonne who is from Germany, Ivona from Croatia, Vanussa from Brazil, Nina from Iran, (of which I have a couple of pictures attached), Migi from Hong Kong, Jehay from Korea and Lauren from Australia... real eclectic group!!!  Why are we all here in Uppsala you ask?  Why else, but to be with our loving "sambos" (partners we live with) and of course to experience Sweden in the most up close and personal way by learning the language :).  Either our sambo is working here or has family here; some have made a permanent move while others like myself are here for an undetermined, but shorter period of time....  I am sure you will see more photos of them as the year goes along.

Another big party in Sweden is the week that high school students finish their year - specically those who graduate.  They literally party from dawn til well after dusk and have a very full, very programmed day.  They start bright and early to take photos of themselves in their white caps and outfits down by the river and to start the drink-fest.  They then have a ceremony and speaches at their school I believe and then they gather up in their large open-air tractor or truck pulled trailer to spread the joy, music and beer showers with all the pedestrians as they drive around town for hours and hours.  Quite the sight!  Not quite as large of a party as when the university students finished school, but close to it.  To show you just how everyone embrases this tradition, I've attached a couple of photos of the passing trailer-filled parties.

Early in June Uppsala hosts a multi-cultural carnvial where you can watch (or join in if you can dance AND have the right costume!) the colourful carnival parade.  Bengt and I were able to catch the parade, but weren't able to stay for the food and dancing as we headed out to his mom and dads and to the cabin.  But sure was nice to see the traditional costumes and hear the different music.

Bengt and I also went to see some great traditional music being played in his home town of Österbybruk where there was a music festival for people who play the Nyckelharpa (keyed fiddle).  It was really neat to hear and see... I guess they make the pilgrimage to Österbybruk every year just before Midsommar to jam together.  There are a few attached photos and one video, so you can hear what they sounded like.

We of course have gone out to the cabin at Hållnäs a few times... this is the family cabin on the Baltic Sea which is about an hours drive from Österbybruk.  One visit we put fishing nets and were lucky enough to get a good sound clip of the local, rare and elusive gölgroda (frog)!!!  Pretty exciting for someone who loves frogs!!!  Didn't get to see them, but sure could hear 'em!

To finish off this entry I've attached a few more photos in Uppsala; some of the ruin stones on the castle grounds. These are the stones that were carved with different messages (mostly for husbands and sons lost at sea) and errected around the Viking times.  There are also some photos of the flowers around town to round it all off...  

Next blog will be about our trip to Riga, Latvia!!! So, stay tuned :)

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