Another First For The Flower Beds
Trip Start Jan 31, 2010
141Trip End Jul 21, 2010
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Where I stayed
Yoshi and Sophie's Couch
Getting back to the bedroom it takes me a while to find the shower. The strange U shape of the room had me thinking the room repeated itself around the corner, but it turns out this not the case. Quiet man has already left, his space looking like he was never there at all.
Karin asked me to wake here as the tranquillizer was a new thing to her, and quite unaware how well it would work. Check out and lock up bags. Her eyes open immediately when I speak her name, you can see her mind ticking over the recognizing shapes around her, determining where she sleeps. She thanks me with a smile; I wish her all the best again. I check out and pack my bags in the lock up closet, then spend some time working out where I’m going. After a few minutes I reckon I’ll be fine finding the city centre and tourist info centre. What’s the worst that could happen?
Beginning at the train station, I discover I can find my way based on the "Centrum" sign. I notice this and take note, then head for the biggest church I can see, which appears to be in the opposite direction, almost back towards the backpackers. I’m not lost, I’m adventuring. The Petri Church is a formidable beast, with wicked statues out the front and a small graveyard beside. There is a small kids tour group inside, many stare back intently as I look to them. I realise that by taking this path I will head further away from the city, so opt to turn around make my way in again. Many of the streets are shaded and cold away from the sun.
I get a little lost looking for the river, then discover two of them, which doesn’t make sense. Eventually I come across the Nicholas church to steal a look inside, and get some sort of bearings on the place. It’s warm inside, and complete with a small string quartet rehearsing to a small audience of family and friends. The acoustics of the place sound amazing, carrying the instruments up and over our heads.
Heading out the front of the church I find myself on a main street, a sign pointing in the direction of the Orebro Castle (Orebro Slott). Once again, much like the rest of Europe, the cities are under construction. They’re tearing up the road out the front of the castle, and there’s a collection of uprooted concrete and scraps nearby.
Situated on an island in the middle of the river, the Castle is reachable by one of two connecting bridges, and rather small scale in comparison to other churches throughout Europe. It’s turrets sit not much higher than the tops of the surrounding buildings, giving the impression of a short squat defense.
I think I have found why everything is booked for the weekend. Inside the castle people rush about, up and down stairs, each carrying something food and wine related. I walk slowly around, dodging and avoiding, feeling like I too should be carrying something, a case of wine perhaps. Though it is before twelve. I get a few looks from security guards as I climb a flight of stairs, which eventually leads me nowhere. The polished concrete becomes a rickety stone and I’m on the other side of the door to what may be a kitchen, caterers talking in hushed tones about the food (I learnt cake in Swedish).
There is a quiet seating area in which exhibits a collection of modern paintings based on historical moments in Swedish history – weddings, ascensions to the throne, politics, monarchy bits and so on. One I note is German princess Dortea, who married in 1445. The wedding went for eight days, making the 15-year-old queen of Denmark, Norway and Sweden
The gift shops and tourist info in the castle are closed – apparently eleven in the morning is too early for tourism in Orebro. I do find an unlocked gate however, and make my way around the back of the building. Finally I find the bits that the internet was talking about. While is Swedish the place shows the height of the locals, the working conditions of many of them, the jail cell for POWs and more of the castle history. A tour guide in traditional wear skips into the room, followed by a tour group singing in what I think is German. The kids are loving it, the parents seem less impressed with the idea of skipping.
Across one of the two bridges away is the Lang museum. Sadly, this appears to be between exhibitions. My assumptions are confirmed by the man at the front desk, who says feel free to look around, but some of it may not make sense as bits have already been taken. Wicked, I love my imagination.
The first exhibition is on the life and times of the Viking farming communities – the clothes, the skill set and the materials they had to work with
Beneath that is a two half remaining collections – one on sports of Sweden (Handball is crazy, enough said) ad the other on handcrafts of Sweden (Silversmithing is still amazing). If these were still complete I’m sure they would be amazing.
I eventually find the tourist information centre, beside which sits the centre of the Solar System. As part of a celebration of the solar system Orebro has erected a scale model throughout the city. The information centre sits with the Sun, the planets dispersed further out, with one also found at the Orebro tower. There is a portable exhibition space situated nearby, from what the outside says it’s photography of famous women in powerful situations, but I’ll never know. The two girls on the steps in front tell me it’s closed, and not that good anyway.
The tour guide is really nice, helping me with certain words on the map (Skolan means school, so now I know) and says the best thing to find at this time of year is the gardens and old village known as Wadköping
The walk to the park is longer than expected. I’m not totally sure about the map, and rediscover the existence of the bike lane, complete with Utrecht flashbacks of a man being knocked down when he strayed onto them.
The flowers have started to come out! With the snow clear of much of the ground now the green shows and starts to spring with pockets of colour. These are still very new, so they are only seen at a certain angle. I have to go back and stare for a little at places to make sure I’m not dreaming. A small boy with an ice-cream and an action figure looks intently at me, unsure what it is I’m doing. I point to the flowers, he eats his icecream. The gardens are beautiful, or would eventually be I am sure. The colour is slowly beginning, the green starting to show. It’s like the moment before a butterfly comes out of the cocoon, only choosing instead to last several weeks. I’m so excited. The park also holds play equipment and tennis courts. I lie down in the grass for a bit and nearly fall asleep in the sun
This small town was built in the ?????. Apparently a time when everyone was malnourished and shorter or walking with a hunch. I think I hit my head in nearly every doorway, completely baffled and forever unaware. Some of the buildings still carry the traditional painted interiors, others have been refurbished a little t house current businesses. There’s a bookshop, a café and a knitted baby clothes shop among others. The proprietors seem normal height; they must sit down a lot during the day. I spend few extra moments in the bookshop on the hunt for a new book to read. Nothing grabs me, but Watership Down in Swedish becomes another reason to learn the language.
The meeting point according to the Internet was out the front of the train station. Yoshi gets off work around 5 so don’t expect him till after that. With the last of the warm sun coming over the station building I’m out the front playing uke for a good half an hour. I really should worry more about my phone, but am yet to work out how to get credit without it being posted. Something to work on indeed. Thankfully Yoshi calls to find me.
Head back into town to meet Sophie who’s learning more Spanish by having coffee with a Spanish friend
We buy drinks for home, as apparently they close rather early. The bottle shops are designed to keep people off the streets drinking, so close early, and stay shut on Sundays. I collect an assortment of Swedish beer, a few of each before my cart is rather full
On the way we pick up Mikael along the way, who proudly makes money from watching television all day. His English has more American in it than most I’ve heard, and has a similar sense of humour. We pass a bar that Mijkael and Yoshi point out, remembering my fascination with Millencolin. Apparently up until about a month ago it was the bar the song Home From Home was written about. This is no longer the case, the place now revamped and opened as a very different beast, one they do not venture into very often.
The girl in the cloakroom looks at me with wide eyes and a brave face as I hand over my bags her arms perhaps not made for these bags. The food is good, and having eaten my sandwiches earlier to day I’m ready to do some eating again. The buffet has everything you could want – except if you’re vegetarian. One of Yoshi’s vegetarian friends tells of his expectations being shattered by the cheap Vegie Burger turning out to being a normal burger, with the meat pattie removed. The most expensive salad roll he ever bought.
We meet more of Yoshi’s group, and it’s not long before we’re heading back. The place has a nice set up, but it seems more suited for a slightly older crowd. There is however a wicked covers man playing all your favourites like one Mr Richard Cheese – Michael Jackson to Outcast all on lounge piano. Absolute magic. And he’s near the buffet. Things could not be better.
So it turns out I’m still not the best at Mario Kart. We last two games I think before we stick to music and talk. Night terrors are mentioned, with one having the scariest things I can remember – an old woman coming out of the wall and creeping over his bed. Apparently this is almost a normal thing, when one is conscious but cannot move properly if at all. There have been nights at his girlfriend’s house where he has needed to be woken by her, having him quivering on the bed for a few seconds before realizing the nightmare. I have never experienced something this strong, but apparently the old woman spirit is a local folklore of Orebro or Sweden or something, so the others are scared, but perhaps not as much as they should be. These sleeping terrors lead onto talks of drinking and peeing where not appropriate, before a Youtube of such behaviour is brought out. To bring the conversation out of the gutter Sophie mentions the ghost they’re sure lives in the apartment – how no dogs will go in the kitchen and sounds can be heard from there when no one is in the room. It seems every house I’m in is haunted.
Bealzebub and Beowulf are Sophie’s two turtles, whose tank takes up a good third of one wall. Their stripes are yellow and black and they spend much of their time pressing against the glass as people pass them, their strange noses smearing and their eyes blinking in the water.
Eventually the night comes to an end, some of those present having to work in the morning – a few hours away at least. We make plans to meet up tomorrow and take me out as the tourist I am. HSFB I’m in Orebro.