Day 5: Kungens Kurva to Uppsala via Sigtuna

May 7, 2013 17:36 – 17:36

I started out this morning for Sigtuna. Sigtuna is a little northwest of Stockholm, and is the oldest city in Sweden, having been founded around 980CE. I was looking for the St. Olof’s church ruins when I found this ruin instead. It might be St. Pers or St. Laurence’s, but I can’t be sure. I was illegally parked and just got out long enough to take a picture… thinking it must be St. Olof’s.

About 2 minutes after leaving that church in ruins, I did happen upon St. Olof’s, which dates back to 1164, making it just under 1,000 years old.

On the grounds is the new church, which you can see in this picture.

The church features open-air services.

I also walked through Sigtuna, all the while with O Sigtuna going through my mind to the tune of O Fortuna. Sigtuna’s old City Hall is the smallest in Europe. It was designed by the mayor at the time.

The “main” street through town is pedestrian only. Just as well since there really isn’t a lot of room for cars.

I never did figure out what this sign means. Best I can figure, they don’t want adults and children holding hands.

From there, I headed to Old Uppsala—Gamla Uppsala, which is known for the Gamla Uppsala Church:

The church was also open for visitors, so I got to look on the inside. Why some churches are in ruins, while others the same age (this one is also from the 12th century) are still standing is a mystery to me.

From one vantage, some of the exterior designs have a decidedly Navajo look to them, I though.

On the grounds next to this old church is this cute little building. There were no signs saying what it is.

Just outside the church grounds are a series of ancient burial mounds, which preceded the arrival of the Roman Empire.

And, of course, climbing the mounds is permitted, so I rose to the occasion… climbing about 200 feet above the town and church. Here’s a mother and her son racing towards one of the mounds. She won.

And, here’s a view of the church from up on top of one of those mass graves.

After leaving Old (Gamla) Uppsala, I headed for Uppsala. Uppsala is a university town (Uppsala Univerity), and I happened to catch part of a prospective student tour being conducted in English. The guide told the students that if they were lucky enough to die while a student at UU (yeah, I like that), the cathedral would ring all of its bells all day long for them. Also, as a member of the “student nation,” the dead student would have the right to be buried in a mass grave with all of the other dead students. Yeah. And this is supposed to make them want to attend?

The cathedral is massive, and it was difficult to find a vantage that fit the entire structure.

With the twin steeples, it reminded me of the cathedral in Rouen, France. Although the one in Rouen is grayish brown.

This view is from two blocks away.

The cathedral was open, and it has a lot of beautiful stained glass. I was most impressed, however, by this demonstration of “one of these things is not like the others” scenes.

For my last stop, I went to Vaksala Kryka.

This one had designsthat were even more reminiscent of Navajo designs.

At that point, it was about 6, and I was getting a bit church weary, so I set a course back to the hotel, but going around rather than through Stockholm. I got back here around 7:30 and went for a walk to push my daily mileage up to a little over 9. Tomorrow, I head north. I’m planning to spend the night just south of Umea, and then go the rest of the way into the Arctic Circle on Thurday. I really really hope to see the aurora while I’m there. I’ll probably also head east into Finland, just so I can say I was there. That will be only about 200 miles from Russia, but I think I’d need a visa to go to Russia. So, Russia is pretty iffy.

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