Many of you might have heard about one of the most famous – and definitely one of the cosiest – Swedish traditions: Fika (= Coffee break). Swedes fikar all the time. You can have a breakfast fika or afternoon fika; you can eat cake and cookies, or savory dishes (like Smörgåstarta); you can have it with friends, family or colleagues at work, at school, at home, outside, …
As you see fika is a very broad and flexible concept. It usually involves coffee, though (sometimes tea). Today I just want to give you two hints of really nice cafés in Uppsala. One is Café Linné and the other one is Storken. Both are located very central downtown, offer a broad variety of really tasty food at reasonable prices (for Swedish standards at least^^).
This is Café Linné (I had already eaten my brownie when I realized I wanted to take pictures :D)
Below are some delicacies at Storken. It is located centrally at Stora Torget
So, if you are in Uppsala and you want to try something else than the student nations, I can recommend these two affordable and cosy “shabby-chic” places.
Tjena! [That’s how the reeeaaaally cool kids say hi ;-)]
Today I am finally trying out something I have been looking forward to for weeks: UltiMat Ultuna!
What Is UltiMat Ultuna
UltiMat (swedish “mat” = “food”) is the student union’s non-profit food cooperative. Once a month you can order food from local farmers and you pick it up on the SLU campus. Apart from that UltiMat organizes markets, workshops and field trips to their suppliers I think it’s a great concept and became a member a few months ago, but it was always impossible for me to be here at the pick-up dates. That is why I had to postpone my first order again and again. But “today’s the day I’m gonna make it happen…”
How Does It Work
As this is my first order I am definitely not an expert yet, but it seems super easy. First you have to become a member by seding an email. Be aware that when you first order, you have to pay a membership fee of 25 SEK. After you have signed up you receive a monthly email with a link to a google document, where you can place your order. The email also tells you the pick-up date and time (~2 weeks later). Then all you need to do is to pay for your order and go pick it up.
What Do They Sell
As far as I know the selection of food varies over the seasons. Right now, they have different sorts of flour, peas, eggs, oats, potatoes, beets, onions, raddish, etc. but also lamb, beef and many different types of cheese on their list.
I am really looking forward to trying this out and I will write a second post once I receive the food! If you are interested in UltiMat, you can find more information in Swedish and English on their website.
To make bearing the long autumn nights easier and to fight darkness depression, Uppsala is holding its fifth annual light festival this month.
On Friday night I took a stroll through town with a friend to take a closer look at several of the objects. We were actually so fascinated by most of the installations that we didn’t manage to do the whole tour. But hopefully I will finish the tour another night.
However, before I felt like a popsicle I managed to take some pictures, which I want to share with you. I warmly recommend everyone who is in Uppsala in November to get out there in the dark and take a look at these bright beauties.
Next to most of the light installations we found signs, indicating the idea behind the object. This one was called Början (engl. The Beginning) and was to be a tale of the birth of the universe.
That is my friend Sachi in a light installation which looks very unspectacular on the picture. The clue was that some kind of light show started when you came close. The title of this object was Perspektiv (Perspective). Our daily problems often feel overwhelming. When you enter the piece and and stand still to look into the stars once when the light show finishes, you should feel as a part of the universe instead of its centre. Even though it was not the best photo scene, I think it represents an amazing idea. Sachi looks like a really joyful part of the universe, don’t you think?
The church is obviously the centrepiece of everything here in Uppsala and I must say that its illumination looks just stunning. I love this particular view on it, where the river seems like it’s on fire. Very dramatic.
This piece was really, really cool, too. It has been made by four landscape architecture students from SLU. It is called Attraktionskraft ( Attraction) and attracting it was indeed. It felt like you might be sucked through that wormhole 😀
One last installation I really liked was Fångade stjärnor (Captured Stars) – a tale of how to catch stars.
The light festival is still running until the 27th of November and I hope you will get a chance to look at it. I will definitely go again to check out the installations I have missed. You can find more information about the festival in Swedish and English here!
I must first of all say sorry for the little break. Since the last weeks were really busy for me, I didn’t find the time to blog. Hopefully I’ll manage to make it up to you with many high quality posts during the next weeks.
This Thursday it was time once again for a gasque: a very traditional combination of a more or less formal dinner and a (definitely much less formal) party. And this one was a very special one, if you ask me. It was Pareto’s second gasque for this year – and also its second gasque ever.
Pareto is the student organization of the economics master students at Uppsala University. They arrange study visits, case competitions, course evaluations and are the students’ connection to the department.
Even though Pareto is established at Uppsala University, they have always been very welcoming towards us SLU students as well. Until very recently I was part of the board and mainly involved in planning social events and the welcome activities for this year’s new students. While I left the board to make room for the “new generation”, I am still a member of Pareto and I love to visit their events. So naturally I attended their gasque at Gästrike-Hälsinge Nation on Thursday. The topic was masquerade, so people looked absolutely spectacular. It was so much fun to see how people interpreted the topic.
I am sure the Pareto gasques will become a great and long tradition, as you meet so many friends and familiar faces at these events. To me the economics students often feel like a big family, so I really, really enjoyed that night full of fun speeches, singing, dancing, eating & drinking and even some stand-up comedy.
Except for the fact that the toilets are renovated at the moment, GH was a pretty good choice as a location. The food was very good and the rooms looked great. Of course that was mainly thanks to Anna and Unn, who proved exceptional party planning skills in this event.
Another person who should be applauded was Alex, who did a really great job with the music. The dancefloor was constantly packed until they kicked us out! 🙂
Everyone who doesn’t know about Pareto yet should check out their homepage and facebook site, where we’ll hopefully find some pictures of the gasque soon.
If there is one thing Swedish people love – it will be their fika. Fika is not just a simple coffee break. It is more of a social institution or a tradition. No day in Sweden passes without it. While fika technically means having a (preferably hot) beverage alongside with some pastries or other snacks, it stands for so much more. It means taking the time for a break with friends, colleagues, fellow students, etc. to socialize and to chat about all kinds of issues. That has to happen at least once per day and I love it.
Now one of the most traditional bites to have with your coffee is the famous cinnamon bun. Even though normally it could be anything else, the 4th October is the official cinnamon bun day in Sweden (Kanelbullens Dag in Swedish) and of course I didn’t dare having anything else for fika then coffee and cinnamon buns.
Cinnamon – as well as coffee – has quite a long tradition in Sweden, dating back to the 16th and 18th century, respectively. While nowadays the common cinnamon bun with its whirl shape almost looks like a snail shell, there are – and have been – plenty of other forms. You can find lots of recipes out there, but the basic ingredients are flour, butter, yeast, sugar, milk and – of course – cinnamon. Swedes often use cardamom in the dough, too.
Even though Kanelbullens Dag is a commercial holiday – whereof I am usually not a great fan – I cannot resist these tasty buns. Especially not if my roommate made them! <3
BTW: This is the official Cinnamon Bun Day website!
I have finally done it. Even though I have always hoped to see a moose in the forest rather than to eat one, I didn’t neglect the opportunity to try this traditional Swedish meal.
One of my roommates’ father is a hunter, so her parents had given her quite a big piece of moose meat, which she wasn’t able to eat all by herself. So without further ado we cooked a really nice dinner last Monday. I actually have to admit that rather than preparing I was only eating, since I had an evening class.
My roomies served a chanterelles sauce, potatoes, salad and lingonberries with the meat. It was so delicious and I am grateful for the meal as well as the awesome company. The only drawback was that we had forgotten the wine 🙁
However, if you eat meat I really recommend you to try it!
Last Saturday (10/09) Uppsala’s annual culture night – Kulturnatten – took place. The name culture night is a little misleading, because the event is happening throughout the whole day. Since the weather was preeeetty decent last weekend, there were lots and lots of people strolling through the city to enjoy a wide range of shows, happenings and tasty treats.
At Stora Torget for example dance schools and sports clubs were demonstrating their skills. Close to the cathedral professional fence fights were performed and in the botanical garden you could marvel at traditional arching. Even if you are not burning for any of these activities, Kulturnatten is a really nice opportunity to just get out there and explore new things about Uppsala; or to just enjoy some seriously good candy in the sun.
As the name of the event suggests the really cool stuff is happening in the evening. There are concerts and shows all over the city, ranging from a choir in the amazingly illuminated cathedral, to rock concerts at the many open air stages, workshops (like one for playing the ukulele), the beautiful fire show in the botanical arden or the – at least for me – nerve-racking jousting with actual horses and people dressed up in medieval costumes.
If you want more than strolling around, I strongly recommend taking a look at the program before visiting Kulturnatten though, since the possibilities are merely inexhaustible. Kulturnatten offers something for everyone and you should make sure not to miss out on it next year! (You can find more information about Kulturnatten on their official website!)