Travel: Sweden

Lund, Miscellaneous Observations

Bikes, bikes everywhere. I’ve never been someplace where every one rode their bicycles everywhere and all the time. We’re in Scandinavia, in winter, it’s snowy, rainy, very cold… Yet they’re all on their bikes, even women wearing skirts go peddling by. The sidewalks are all dominated by painted in bike lanes and the hotel we stayed at had free city bikes for guests to use around Lund. It’s a similar phenomenon in Copenhagen including free city bikes scattered around town, but the density of bikers wasn’t nearly as high there.

While in Lund, we’ve encountered a new fruit. We went out to dinner and enjoyed a dessert that was served with a variety of fresh fruits. One stood out, it was bright orange and looked rather like a cherry tomato. It tasted of strawberries and pineapple, tart and distinctive. We couldn’t figure it out. The fruit appeared on another dish in a separate restaurant. After at first thinking it was some sort of rose hip, it turned out to be a Physalis fruit.

During the week, the town center is full of fruit and vegetable vender’s and while I was wondering the stalls, I couldn’t resist the “2 packs for 25 Kronas” of Physalis fruits. They look like Chinese Lanterns and have a sticky paper husk derived from the calyx like a tomatillo.

Physalis fruits

Overall I think Lund would be a good place to live. It has a warm and friendly feel, not the least added to by the biking culture. Wonderful shops lining European cobble stone roads, excellent food, beautiful architecture in a university town.

Really good food, but still no good Mexican. Apparently, we’ll have to make a pilgrimage to Aberdeen. Why Aberdeen? There are oil fields there as well as Texans taking advantage of said oil fields. These Texans have also brought the most authentic Tex-Mex food with them. So to get good Mexican in the UK, one must go to Scotland.

Travel: Sweden

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Lund University and Natural History Museum

A museum of museumsThe Natural History Museum in Lund is available to view by appointment only. When I arrived I was treated to a personal tour by a staff member, as I was the only person in the museum at the time, he needed to unlock the doors and turn on the lights.

Butterflies of Sweden displayThis museum could be a museum about museums. You’ll find no flashing lights or blaring modern exhibits, it’s strictly an old school museum full of articulated skeletons and stuffed organisms. I was directed to remains of note, one of the few remaining complete skeletons of an Aurochs and Tasmanian Wolf. I was pleased to see displays of Scandinavian fauna, including a display of Swedish butterflies. The forms and colors of which was reminiscent of a display of Pennsylvanian butterflies. I also made a visit to the entomology department, although most of the staff were away at a seminar, I had a guide that directed me around the aisles. I was surrounded by familiar sights and *smells*, once you’ve been in one bug room you’ve seen them all :)

Insect FamiliesBefore my museum appointment I decided to explore the University of Lund campus. In the central library, there was display of papers and artifacts relating to Linnaeus. He had attended this university in 1727. He was only there for a year, and apparently not a terribly good student. He had worked in the botanical gardens while he was there.

The exhibit had letters he had written to his mentor Stobaeus and a class room roster with his signature, in addition to a copy of an edition of Systema Naturae. I really should have gone to the lecture on campus the other night that was on Linnaeus, even if it was in Swedish, it would have been a fascinating context. I didn’t go because it was right at dinner time to meet back up with Mark.

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Lund Cathedral and Souvenir Ideas

Lund CathedralLund Cathedral, Lunds Domkyrka in Swedish, was constructed in the early 1100’s. Inside this cathedral is an unusual Astronomical Clock, the Horologium mirabile Lundense, was made around 1424. The upper portion of the clock is the astronomical clock. It shows, among other things, the different phases of the Moon and where the Sun sets in relation to constellations. The lower portion of the clock is a calendar, the present board runs from 1923-2123, a time which a new board will be needed for the calendar to be used.Astrological Clock inside Cathedral

On Souvenirs

On seeing a yarn store I was struck with the idea to buy some yarn from everywhere we travel to make a scarf from. This will make for a perfect souvenir. Ideally I would like to have the yarn be a product of the area or country we’re visiting. I picked up a thickly textured yarn with grays, black and terra cotta orange.

My original plan for a souvenir is to find a book on a relevant topic (history, literature, poetry, etc…) that is in parallel language text. For example, I wanted to find a copy of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales while in Denmark, half in English, half Danish. H.C. Andersen lived in Copenhagen and they celebrate this fact all over the city.

Since this is Linnaeus’s year in Sweden, and in particular in Lund– this year mark’s his 300th birthday anniversary where he went to the University of Lund and where his mentor Stobaeus lived and taught. I found a parallel-text (Swedish and English) book on the life and times of Carl von Linné. I found out there was a special lecture at the University today on Linnaeus that I really should have just gone too, even though it was in Swedish.

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Lund, Botanical Garden

Botaniska trädgården , the botanical garden associated with the University of Lund. The greenhouses are open to the public for free 12-3 daily. A warm oasis in the cold Scandinavian air. Highlights, the passion flowers filling one of the rooms with an amazing fragrance, cacti (oh how I adore photographing cacti!), and it’s just large enough to spend a few hours appreciating the plants.

Although there was some snow coving the grounds outside, there were a few flowers in bloom, or starting to emerge from the snow, with the evergreen trees and bushes along the footpaths it made strolling through the gardens worthwhile, I would love to return to see everything else in bloom.

Passion Flower Scandanavian winter flowers Garden paths lined with stone and conifers

The complete photo set

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