Up to Uppsala

Uppsala Cathedral (1435)

Uppsala Slott (palace) c. 1549, looming over the landscape.

Bicycles are lined up everywhere in Uppsala.

Gorgeous cafe pavilion, Uppsala, Sweden.

One of the many cyclists around Uppsala, probably a uni student doing his shopping.

We trained up to Uppsala (one of the best known towns in Sweden mainly because of the highly regarded university) for the second time, really to take photos of the Uppsala Cathedral because the last time I forgot my camera and then my phone decided to die in the church, so no photos. This time the snow had disappeared and it was quite mild so the pubs and outdoor cafes were packed. Of course there was the presence of hundreds and hundreds of bicycles again at the train station which seemed to indicate a mass exodus by bike to me initially.  I've since discovered that yes they're all ridden by the folks of Uppsala who ride everywhere. And there's loads of them parked all over this gorgeous little university town. Very impressive.

Black-headed gulls 

Botaniska Trädgården (Botanical Gardens) probably wasn't the best time of the year to visit Uppsala.

Botaniska Trädgården with the Linéanum.

Uppsala Slott (Palace 1549)

There are wonderful old buildings everywhere that are so well maintained. How do they do it?

The lovely 19th C Uppsala Railway Station.

Interesting waterless fountain outside the station.

 It's hard to describe the effect on your soul on entering Uppsala Cathedral  (consecrated 1435 and the largest gothic cathedral in the Nordic countries) for the first time accompanied to the sounds of Bach's St John's Passion which was in rehearsal for an Easter performance. I had to stifle tears as usual, it was just so overwhelming. The stained glass, the rose windows, the music, the paintings. This is only the third time I've been in a real gothic cathedral but the effect is like nothing else.
Severe looking Swedish king outside the Uppsala Cathedral.

Uppsala Cathedral 1435 Amazing!

Let there be light. And music.

View from the pews.

Rose window, Uppsala Cathedral. Unity and diversity.

Swedish monarchs were consecrated and buried here.

You can buy a candle for 5 kronor and light it for someone you love, which we did.

This occasion we also checked out the cathedral treasury. We were given a flashlight and map and off we went, up the dimly lit tower, which is full of priceless medieval bishop's vestments, royal garments and gold and jewel encrusted chalices and crowns. It's interesting but also really reminded me of the passing of time so we didn't stay long. I wasn't in the mood for dark, windowless, towers.

Later an organ recital shut down the church to sightseers, so we sat down to listen. We wanted to stay in the cathedral a little longer but the organ's a bit much for me at the best of times so we had to leave after 2 pieces. Organs are in so many churches so I suppose they think they must be played because they're always programming organ recitals. There's one answer to all the churches being empty.

From the Cathedral Treasury. Clothing of murdered aristos. Spooky, still with the stab marks.

Medieval embroidery c.1400. I found it so moving that something so fragile was still here after everything that's happened in the world.

Uppsala Cathedral door.

Queen Christina presented this chalice to the cathedral in 1652. Loved that turquoise on the left. Check out the 1930's Greta Garbo movie of Queen Christina. Very enjoyable.

Hadn't seen a top hat for a while. 

The brick and stonework all over Sweden is fantastic. From high to low everything seems so well made. And aesthetic too.

Main street. Uppsala is a very small town.

Thousands of bicycles outside the train station.

On the way to Uppsala Cathedral.

Black headed gulls in flight.

As well as visiting Uppsala last week we had a bit of a gallery week in Stockholm and went to the Architectural Museum and some galleries in Södermalm as well as the National Museum to see the Van Dyck's again. The architectural museum is at the Moderna Museet and I'd never been to one so I thought it might be interesting. There are small scale architectural models of buildings in Sweden which were moderately interesting but it can't compete with walking around Stockholm at dusk and having a drink by the water surrounded by amazing buildings which is precisely what we did after it.

Maria's Torg, Södermalm.

Blasieholmen, Stockholm

National Gallery, Stockholm

Grand Hotel, Stockholm

Last week we also (it was a busy week) ended up discovering this farm which was full of newly born baby animals which was a real treat. And they had a cafe too in their house which we'll be going back to.

These were the friendliest sheep I'd ever encountered.

Cute little piglets. Shame I love bacon so much.

Forest in spring.

Local horse and pony at Akalla By.

Birch amongst the pines.

Stockholm Travel Tips:
To get to Uppsala from Stockholm you leave from Central Station. Trains are fairly frequent and it takes about 45 minutes. The station's in the middle of Uppsala, so you can walk everywhere. Rail travel in Sweden is fantastically fast and comfortable.


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