Arriving in Uppsala

The latest in my series of posts about my holiday in Sweden, introducing Uppsala.


Welcome to the latest installment in my series of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden. This post sets the scene for my two night stay in Uppsala.


Those following this series will be aware that I travelled to Uppsala on an overnight train from Lulea. Apart from one moment about half an hour before Uppsala when I managed to shut myself out of my compartment and had to knock on the door to regain admission (I was only just stirring, and simply forgot to  pick my key card up) the journey was largely uneventful. By good fortune I had been assigned the bottom of three beds (the top bed hangs from the ceiling as a permanent fixture, the middle bed folds out from the wall when everybody is ready for bed and the bottom bed is created by rotating the row of seats over by means of an ingenious mechanism).

On arrival at Uppsala Central Station I noted that the was a line of hotels on one side of the tracks, so I went to investigate whether Vandrarhem Uppsala Centralstation was among them and found that it was not. Deciding that other than this little clump of hotels the other side of the tracks looked more promising I headed along the generously spaced walking and cycleway that passes under the station and after passing the bus station found myself on Kungsgatan, where I spied a Tourist Information Office. As it turned out the entrance to the building in which I was staying was just off the main road on the same side street that this office sat at the corner of.

The building in which I was staying had a hotel at the front, and the hostel type rooms in which I was staying at the back. Although it was too early to check in they did have a bag room, so I offloaded some luggage there and set off to commence my exploration of the city. I already had a few photos…


Consultation of the map with which I had been equipped at the Tourist Information Office revealed that everything of interest to me was to be found by starting in from my hotel in the opposite direction to Kungsgatan, which would serve as a very handy outer boundary marker. My initial target was the cathedral since I reckoned that a very large and prominent landmark that must be pretty much plumb in the centre of the interesting part of the city would serve as a further useful point of orientation, and I could then pick out other places. This part of Uppsala proved to be very attractive and as a bonus was pretty much pedestrianised. Almost directly underneath the cathedral I found the University Museum, and deeming the admission price acceptable decided to go in, with results that will form my next post…


The frontage of the cathedral
Immediately above the main door
A close up of that very elaborate circular window.
The outside of the University Museum
A close up of the curious onion shaped dome – as you will see in my next post what lies inside that dome is almost as curious.


Exploring Lulea: The Other Side of the Tracks

The latest installment in my series about my holiday in Sweden.


Welcome to the latest installment in my series of blog posts about my recent in Sweden. This is my final post about my time in Lulea.


I had noticed just on the other side of the railway tracks from the the main part of town was a lake and I finished my explorations by heading that way. I crossed the lake on a bridge and found a footpath along the other side of the lake. Reaching a second bridge I crossed back and looked to walk back along the other side. Unfortunately I came to a point where the path was blocked off by high metal fencing. I attempted to find a way round and was unable to do so. Partially in consequence of this I ended up taking a much longer route back towards the station than I had originally envisaged (but was still never in danger of not getting to the station in time to retrieve the bag I had left there). Here are my lakeside pics…



Having a little time left before needing to collect my luggage and head for the platform I stopped for a cold (non-alcoholic) drink at the station cafe and to recover from my walking exertions. I took a few more photos while consuming my drink…

For photographing this car I used the same approach I would take to photographing a toy – although this is big enough for an adult to drive a toy is effectively what it is!
The second shot with the engine on show.
A close up of the engine.


Even waiting on the platform there were things to photograph…

The train Ii would not be getting.
Yes – a railway station message board warning Pokemon Go players not to go on the tracks!


The barrier blocking off the crossing point.


A glimpse of the hotel in which I had stayed to night before.
The very door by which I boarded the train.


A shot through the window when we just under way

Exploring Lulea: Icebreakers and Mythology

The latest post in my series about my holiday in Sweden.


Welcome to the next installment in my series of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden. This post is a bit different from others in this series so far in that it does not focus only where I was and what I was doing.


Some of you will recall that the last picture in my previous post was this:

The subjects of this picture will also be the subjects of my next post in this series.

At that stage, although some of the names painted on the sides of these ships were familiar to me I did not realise what type of ship they were, but enlightenment was not long away, indeed it came just after I had taken these two pictures…


Right near the covered bridge pictured above I across this:

The whole information board
The map
The text

This of course was the cue, now that I knew what they were to take some more pictures of the ships, from a better position:


The names are taken from…


Ironically given that we are talking ships, the Norse god of the sea, Njord, does not feature. Frej, referred to in English as Frey or Freyr is a harvest god, and also the son of the aforementioned Njord. Ymer, sometimes spelled Ymir, was the first of the frost giants, formed from the crystallization of droplets of molten ice in the heart of the primeval emptiness Ginnunga Gap, where ice from frozen Nifelheim in the North met Fire from Muspellheim in the South. Atle and Ale are both unknown to me, even though I am well read on Norse Mythology. People wishing to acquaint themselves further with these stories could start with Kevin Crossley-Holland’s compilation of Norse Myths. That book is just one of many mythology books that I own (I am unapologetic in placing the King James Bible in the category).

Although I have no more belief in the gods and giants of Norse mythology than I do in any ancient superstitions, I do quite enjoy the stories and I enjoyed seeing the names commemorated in these ice-breakers.


These icebreakers were not by any means the only camera worthy things I saw in this section of my exploration of Lulea…


This floral display was on the way back towards the train station as I headed to see what was on the other side of the tracks.


Exploring Lulea -The Morning

The latest in my series of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden.


Welcome to the next installment in my series of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden. I briefly interrupted the sequence of posts to respond to photographic challenge from a fellow blogger, but now the action returns to Lulea on the Gulf of Bothnia where I left it last time.


Having had a decent night’s sleep and having a clear head I was able to plan this day, unlike its predecessor, to best effect. After checking out of the hotel my first port of call was the station to ask about stowing a bag there (my smaller bag contained stuff that I was determined to keep with me at all times). An enquiry elicited the information that the station building closed at 5PM, which meant that I could stow my heavier bag safely until then, after which the only practical option would be to await the arrival of the overnight train out on the platform. This still gave me plenty of time for a detailed exploration of the town.


My heavier bag safely stowed I set off to the main shopping area to purchase food for the day from a supermarket I had identified the previous day. This done I then left the shopping area heading into an area of parkland. Even before entering the parkland I had added three photos to my burgeoning collection:

An interesting frontage.
A close-up of the device in the upper centre of this first picture.



Entering the parkland I was delighted to find that it was far more extensive than the first view had suggested. Here are some pictures from the first part of the walk through the parkland…


Polar bear sculptures like these can be seen all around Lulea – this set is unusual for their being so many all in a line.


The second part of the walk through the parkland area, which took me to the waterside, where I stayed for a considerable time featured this…


The last point of interest before getting to the waterside was the County Governor’s Residence:



Then I was at the water-front, and after a brief diversion heading towards maritime Lulea. Here are pictures  from the first part of the waterside section of my explorations:


The ducks swimming around this model lighthouse make it obvious that though close this is not actually the sea.


My final set of pictures ends with a pointer to the next post in this series…


I had not previously seen seats like this (and have not seen any equivalent since then)


This is the seat I sat on to eat my lunch.


The subjects of this picture will also be the subjects of my next post in this series.

MJP Weekly Challenge – Frames

My response to Maria Jansson’s latest photo challeneg, ‘Frame’.


This post is my response to Maria Jansson’s latest photo challenge, which can be viewed here


In view of the fact that I am currently creating a series of blog posts about my recent holiday in Sweden and Maria’s own heritage I have looked to Sweden for my contribution to this challenge. While many of the pictures that I took during the course of travelling along Inlandsbanan , as recounted in this eight part sub-series, were framed either by train windows or by such things as parts of bridge structures, I wanted to share something I had not previously shared, so I opted for this picture of a water scene in central Stockholm, framed by the gap in the side of the Tunnelbana section where it was taken:


Those wishing to see more of what I have already produced from my visit to Sweden should click here.

Transition Point – Lulea

The latest in my series of posts about my holiday in Sweden. This marks the start of the ‘post-Inlandsbanan’ section of the holiday.


Welcome to the latest installment in my series of blog posts about my recent holiday in Sweden. Having concluded an eight-post sub-series on the Inlandsbanan experience I have created a page from all eight said posts can be accessed – click here if interested.


Those who read my previous post will recall that my plans suffered a setback in Gallivare, which resulted in a night spent outdoors and an early morning journey to Lulea. Unfortunately the circumstances of the journey and in which I bought the ticket meant that I did not have a window seat, so I have no photos of the journey.

It failed to register with me that I could deposit the heavier of my bags at the station. My first port of call was the Arctic Comfort Hotel where I was told that I could not check in until 3PM.

Weighed down as I was I still managed to do a small amount of exploration, before settling down near the station to wait until then. Here are some photos from this stage of proceedings…

One of the first things I noticed about Lulea was the bird life, which had not been much in evidence along the Inlandsbanan route.


A particularly useful information board.
This old truck turned decorative feature is as one might expect one of the first things you see emerging from the station.


This bronze sculpture is in a small area of parkland between the main road directly above the station and the main shopping area of the town


The control button at a Swedish pedestrian crossing.


I consumed my lunch on this very bench (it is made of granite, which is readily available all over Sweden).


Once I was safely ensconced in my hotel room I booked accommodation for the rest my trip before the return to Stockholm – one night on the sleeper to Uppsala, two nights in the cheapest accommodation Uppsala had to offer, two nights in the STF Hostel in Malmo and one night at City Hotel Avenyn in Gothenburg (after five straight nights in cheap, communal accommodation, necessitated by budgetary constraints, I felt that I would need something a little better by then). Having set the scene with this post, there will be several more posts about Lulea…


Inlandsbanan 8: Tis Better to Travel Hopefully Than to Arrive

The next installment in my series about Sweden, and the finale to the sub-series about the Inlandsbanan experience.


Welcome to the latest installment in my series of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden, and the end of the sub-series of posts about my northward journey along Inlandsbanan.


By this stage we were nearing the end of the journey from Ostersund to Gallivare, although there was still the second meal stop to come. In the brief period between restarting the trip from the edge of the arctic circle and arriving at Vaikijaur for the second meal stop we passed a place called Jokkmokk.


Vaikijaur was not especially memorable, although the food was excellent. Here are the pictures I took.

A side view of this quirky little building
The front view
The people who had produced our food.

We had no further significant stops before Gallivare although we did pass through a town called Porjus. The train pulled into the platform at Gallivare exactly as scheduled at 21:39. Here are the photos of the last part of the journey…



I had booked two nights at the Hotel Dundret i Centrum, planning then to take a morning train to Lulea on the Gulf of Bothnia and then an overnight train from Lulea to Uppsala, birthplace of Carolus Linnaeus also known as Carl Von Linne. However, while I located the establishment in question, there was no one at reception, and it turned out that to gain access my room I needed to make a call on a mobile phone (had mentioned this detail I would have booked somewhere else) and I had accidentally left mine at the flat in Stockholm where my cousin and his fiance live. I waited a few minutes in the very unimpressive communal seating area just in case but it was soon obvious that no one would show up.

While I could have sat there until the morning doing so would then involve having an argument over payment because there was no way I would pay for a night in which I had not access to my room, so I decided to cut my losses and headed back to the station to wait the night out. Before continuing this story here is the one photo I took in Gallivare (I knew the camera battery was low, and that I would not be able to charge it that night).


This sculpture is on the roundabout just opposite the station in Gallivare.

I did make a couple of attempts to get some sleep but they were unsuccessful. I was thankful that I had had the foresight to pack a long sleeved top just in case the Swedish summer weather was not quite as good as it might be, since while it does not get dark in Gallivare in August it does get quite nippy at night (as a cricket fan I would have said that the light was  never even at its least good unplayable in). Had the sky been clear I might have had a glimpse of the famous midnight sun, but as it was solidly cloudy I was denied even that small pleasure.

At 6 o’clock I was able to get inside and think about my next move. Having ascertained that train tickets could be bought at the Pressbyran next to the station, which was now open, I paid for a ticket on 7:08 train to Lulea (the full price since I did not wish to burn a whole day’s travel for a shortish journey – btw train tickets are one of the few things that are not more expensive in Sweden than in GB – the Swedes don’t have the likes of Branson coining it from failing to provide proper train services), having decided that I would get back on track with my original plans by staying overnight in Lulea and catching the sleeper as intended the following day.


I rate this as one of the finest railway experiences I have ever had. I encountered some wonderfully scenic journeys in Scotland and on my first visit to Nordic lands many years ago. More recently I experienced some very scenic journeys in Australia, including Melbourne – Adelaide.

Although I, with my Colbeckian enthusiasm for all things railwayana thoroughly enjoyed all three legs of the Inlandsbanan journey and would recommend the experience to anyone I could also see merit in missing the Kristinehamn-Mora section and doing Mora-Ostersund and Ostersund-Gallivare having found some other route to Mora. If not constrained by budget I would recommend the onward trip from Gallivare to Narvik and some exploration in Norway as well. I also mention that there are places along the route where one could stay overnight if wanted to spend many days over making the journey, but with an inter-rail pass giving me eight days of travel and a desire to see as much of Sweden as I could encompass such was not on the table for me personally.

If anyone involved in the publication of the Rough Guide to Sweden happens to see this may I suggest that you think about turning my last eight blog posts into a chapter about Inlandsbanan since it is absurd that this incredible experience is not covered in your pages.

Inlandsbanan 7: Vilhelmina Norra to the Edge of the Arctic Circle

The latest installment in my series about my recent holiday in Sweden. We are still travelling north on Inlandsbanan and this post takes us to the arctic circle.


Welcome to the next installment in this series of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden. In this post we are back on the move, heading north along Inlandsbanan.


Very soon after leaving Vilhelmina Norra behind us we made a brief stop at Storuman.


After Storuman there was again a period of taking pictures through the window of a moving train.


Shortly after I had taken the picture above we arrived at Sorsele, which is significant as…


Yes, it is at an otherwise insignificant dot on the map called Sorsele that the northbound Ostersund-Galiivare service overlaps with the southbound Gallivare-Ostersund service. Sorsele is also home to the Inlandsbanan Museum, although I chose not to go inside. Thus I have many photographs of this location that is so important in the workings of Inlandsbanan…

My first shot of the two Inlandsbanan trains together at the platform


A wonderful signboard, one of many here.


The external view of the Inlandsbanan museum.


A disused platform.
The guard about to indicate the departure of the southbound service.
Where personal meets professional – as someone who images auction items and has an interest in railwayana I particularly wanted to get a close-up of the Inlandsbanan cap badge.
Outside cooking – probably a rare pleasure in this part of the world!

After a brief move we including the lake below we arrived at Slagnas


After leaving Slagnas there was a reasonably long period of forward travel…


We then had a stop for long enough to stretch our legs at…


I was able to take a few pictures here before we moved on.


Moving forward again, I was still taking pictures through the train window…


I reckon this must be the lower terminal of a cable car route.


What looks like a black raindrop in the picture above is actually a mark on the window that got into more than one of my photos! It was very soon after this picture was taken that we arrived at…


This was not the first occasion I had been into the arctic – on my only previous visit to Nordic lands in 1994 I had gone by train from Helsinki to Narvik in Norway, with a brief bus ride from Haparanda to Boden in the middle,, and after a night in Narvik had caught a bus to Tromso before then travelling by boat to the most northerly town in mainland Europe, Hammerfest. However in those days I had no camera, and also the point at which we reached the arctic circle was not announced. Here are the shots i took from inside the train before I knew that there would actually be a stop:


I end this post with pictures taken out in the open at the arctic circle:

The train at the arctic circle.


A fellow passenger was kind enough to take the picture from which I extracted this image of myself standing in front of the arctic circle sign.

Inlandsbanan 6: The Meal at Vilhelmina Norra

The latest in my series of posts about my holiday in Sweden.


Welcome to the next installment in my series of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden. In this post my account of the Inlandsbanan experience continues.


In my previous posts about my journey along Inlandsbanan I have been concentrating on the route followed by the trains as they move north. However, Inlandsbanan is much more than a railway journey (though it is certainly among the most scenic of those). It is a railway experience, and the scheduled meal stops, one on the Mora-Ostersund leg at the Asarna Ski Centre and two on the long northward haul from Ostersund to Gallivare, the one which I am using as the base for this post at Vilhelmina Norra and a later one at Vaikijaur. Keen followers of this series will remember that Asarna I opted for Moose burger with jacket wedges. Here is a picture showing the two menus from which this day’s food choices were made…


For this meal I went for the Meat sandwich, while my choice for the Vaikijaur stop was the Reindeer burger.

Why have I opted to cover this aspect of the trip at this point? Well, these little critters who I was able to watch while consuming my meal had something to do with that decision…


With the meal stops being of generous duration I had plenty of opportunities to augment my collection of photos…