Día de los Muertos i Lund

Much local excitement this past weekend of All Saints and Souls, when construction workers made a discovery while working on a project to improve drainage around Lund Cathedral. It’s been rainy and gloomy, so this story does seem to fit. It’s not quite as dark as my view of humanity after nearly half the US voted to allow a tyrant and his cronies to continue their assault against democracy. Anyway…

Here is the front of the Dom Kyrka from sunnier days, my tour in September.

And here is the work site at the back. The potential for water damage has been an issue since the beginning (there are various theories about why this spot was chosen, since it’s in the path of rains running toward the river out to sea) and many efforts have been made over the centuries to keep water away from the foundations. Archeologists are on site whenever they dig since there are often important finds to document. Local candlelight ceremonies for All Souls were cancelled due to Coronavirus.

And here is a photo from the newspaper, which says the sandstone coffin with an intact skeleton is from the Middle Ages. Two graves have been found under the staircase when it was removed.

Canoe Camping!

While Jen was exploring Sölvesberg, Hillary, Lily, and I were canoe camping on nearby Lake Ivö (or Ivösjön I Svenska).

In order to orient, here is a map of Skåne where we were, as well as a map that shows where we were.

We went up on Friday, dropped Jen at her B&B, and then went to the outfitter (Wetlandi, at #4 on the detailed map). They transported us to the entry site (#1) on the Holjeån River, where we picked up the boat, transferred our stuff to a barrel, and set off!

The river level was low, so there was a lot of exposed logs and rocks to navigate around. But the current was super-slow, so we were able to handle it just fine. Our first campsite (#2 on the map) was on the river, and (it turns out) also on a farm field. The site was OK, but the sound of the farm equipment working until 10pm was kind of a downer. The kids did like sleeping in a tent again!

Day 2 saw us finish the river, and out into the lake. There was a nice stop to use the toilet, and then on to our exploration of islands for a camp site.

We finally found our place on Slättön (#3 on the map), and set up camp by a big rock. We also did some explorations and wading around other islands. It felt pretty BWCA-ish.

Finally, we paddled out, and dropped the boat and borrowed gear at the outfitter to go get Jen and head home. Overall, super-nice trip that had some backcountry feeling, even though it was in a pretty populous area.

Gothenburg

Autumn break for school and work so we headed to Göteborg for 2 nights, to see the Lights of Alingsås and whatever else caught our attention. It wasn’t our best trip- weather was crummy, places were busy, so we didn’t feel comfortable being inside. No museums. Just a few quick meals at off hours. Mostly we walked around in the rain. The kids bailed after only a few of the light exhibits! We previewed some places we’d like to see post covid and in better weather, including a castle en route, where we have “traditional Christmas dinner” reservations for Dec 20th.

Mysa, the Swedish Hygge

I’m starting to get ready for our first winter in Sweden. The kitchen window needed something, and I think these stickers did the trick- they give the feeling of real plants! The autumn planter is filling in nicely and should tolerate winter temps. While the ginkgo survived transplanting, it’s not turning gold.

There are so many little streets and pathways that I’m still finding lots of interesting views of Lund. Here are a few new places.

Found a grocery store in the neighborhood that opens earlier. It’s inside a courtyard and off the beaten path, so I bet it will be less crowded. It might be worth walking/biking a bit farther.

Kanelbullens Dag

Stores are mostly closed on Sunday but our new favorite bakery opened especially for the occasion. In spite of the rain, I headed out at dawn to fetch fresh buns. It was surprisingly pleasant, very quiet, with no wind.

We’re into the rainy season so we tested Hilary’s back up plan for getting to her horseback riding class by taking the city bus. It was pretty crowded- I’m hoping we don’t have to use that option much. She really likes the class so far but didn’t want her family to go in with her 😢

Also tried a new coffee shop across from the Krognoshuset -oldest house in Lund.https://www.guidebook-sweden.com/en/guidebook/destination/krognoshuset-oldest-house-lund

We think the bricked-over windows might be due to the wealth tax on windows. But it’s just a guess. It houses a gallery/ museum but isn’t open during covid times.

I’ve been trying to get the blue tits to feed at our yard without attracting the sparrows, magpies and jackdaws. Above is the one decent photo I got of a juvenile blue tit. Its plumage gets brighter with age. Also took Hillary to look for “senior” photo locations since she graduates from Comprehensive school next June. They don’t make a big deal of it though, since it’s followed by 3 years at upper secondary school (Diploma Program) She likes the horse park, of course!

Hiding in the Hedges

Hedges are a big deal here in Sweden. They are everywhere. Formed from almost any plant you can think of and in a huge variety of shapes! Some are free-form, but most are trimmed and shaped to some degree. Hedges are often shaped to accommodate mailboxes, trash and recycling bins, doorways, light posts etc.

And today I spent a long while in the meditation maze hedge at Stadsparken. It’s a massive wall of thick green hedge from the back side. It doesn’t look so impressive, but inside it’s quite calming and more elaborate than it appears.

One of Hillary’s classmates tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday. So I was pondering our options.

And last night Bryant saw an actual wild hedgehog on his way home from the train station! No photo, but I’m on the hunt.

Old Lund

The old parts of Lund are tricky to navigate. Last night I ended up at the front gates of the international school, coming from the opposite side, somehow. It looks even more like Hogwarts at twilight!

I’ve done a few Citizens Hub Events. The latest was a tour of Lund Cathedral. Most details didn’t stick, but I do remember that the original wooden roof burned in 1234. And the crypt beneath was consecrated on June 30, 1123, making it one of Sweden’s oldest buildings still in use. There is a cool local legend about Finn, the Giant and his wife, whose statues are in the crypt (they’re probably Samson and Delilah and they predate the crypt itself)

There’s also an amazing astronomical clock, built around 1417 and restored so that it is still functional! https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lund_astronomical_clock

It calculates date and time, but also the moon phases and hours of sunlight and darkness in Lund. It does all sorts of cool stuff.

Fiskbilen

The Fish Car from Malmö was on our block yesterday. A kind neighbor sent Michael to check in with the Americans to see if we had experienced this Swedish custom. Mike has a cousin in Canada and he is very enthusiastic about fish. He showed me recipes and made many suggestions of how to prepare his products. I said I’d take one each of his top recommendations, and he brought in a huge stack of boxes to show me. So we looked at salmon, char, torsk, loks, shrimp and more. He explained that it’s top quality sashimi grade fish that you can (and should) eat raw.

And I got overwhelmed and socially uncomfortable with this gregarious guy in my kitchen. I didn’t realize I was purchasing the whole box of each item! Plus I don’t understand the prices of things yet. By the time he presented my bill it seemed too late to admit my lack of understanding. And that’s how we ended up with a year’s supply of seafood in our freezer!

We have 4 freezer drawers packed full. We are going to make our own sushi for the first time. And some of Michael’s recipes. He won me over with his insistence on using real butter.

The photo isn’t Mike- just a picture off their website. And the 4365.00 is in kronor so not quite as much money as it looks. That’s all I can say in my defense! I got a lot of laughs at international citizens hub when I told this story. It is a very popular thing, the Fish Car. Everyone said there is normally a long line whenever they show up in the neighborhood, about once every three months. Lucky I didn’t miss it!

Bryant’s Birthday

The dark chocolate raspberry layer cake from Lily’s birthday was a favorite, and making Bryant’s was a bit easier since I’d already found all the ingredients. I’m getting used to the oven and other differences and that also helps. I think it was improved by cutting some sugar.

The cargo bike arrived just in time for Bryant’s birthday. He’s very happy with the color and its performance so far!

Hilary came down with cold symptoms on Friday night. Her gym partner had missed school earlier in the week because of a cold so it wasn’t a big surprise. The girl did not get tested for Covid- 19 though. I guess if you have sinus congestion and no fever, they don’t think the sore throat warrants testing. Anyway, she missed out on Bryant’s birthday dinner at Mat och Distillat just across from Lund Castle. She’s feeling much better today.

https://www.minnesotanoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/img_4295.mov

A murder of crows hangs out at the castle!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lundagård_(park)

First in-person ICH event

Lund’s International Citizen’s Hub offered a tour of the Botanical Gardens today. I met a nice couple from the UK and a woman from a town near Davenport, Iowa!

We learned about the history and creation of the gardens, beginning in the 1690s through various expansions which occurred mainly from 1850 to the early 1900s, when it first opened to the public.

We had a botany lesson on Dahlias (fun fact – they’re found in every color except blue, in spite of a contest with a large reward for growing a true blue hybrid) They were introduced as a potential food source, and they are edible but were soon cultivated only for the flowers.

And we learned a bit about Carl Linnaeus, who studied in Lund in 1727. The garden features an apple tree which he gave to Lund from his personal garden.

The mistletoe is deliberately grown on the branches to provide winter interest (and for good luck). This mistletoe, under the Linné Apple canopy, has been growing for around 25 years.