The weekend of October 25-27th we traveled to Uppsala, 340 kilometers, or 5 hours away.  (Erik the Red has been acting up so we borrowed Patric’s Jeep Cherokee.  Patric’s family has been most generous to us and we are forever in their debt.)  Uppsala lies slightly north of Stockholm.  We spent a lovely time with Göran, Anna and their 2 year old son, Erland.  Kurt first met Göran in 1999 when Göran traveled to New York for the World Dragonfly Association Symposium.  A post-symposium field trip to Minnesota brought Göran to Wolf Ridge for 5 days.  He made it possible for us to travel to Gällivare, Sweden for the 2001 WDA Symposium.

Göran is well over 6 feet tall and Anna is well under 5 feet tall.  They make a striking couple.  Erland is a charming child and he took to Lily like a moth to a flame.  We arrived on Saturday and were treated to a meal of vildsvin (wild Swedish boar)…very good.  We stayed in their lovely guest cottage and were very well cared for.  

Anna and Erland in the bog.

Anna and Erland in the bog.





On Sunday we visited a small, bog-bordered lake to net for Odonate larvae.  We found several species including the Four-Spotted Skimmer, which is common in Minnesota, as well.  


Kurt and Göran Sahlen.

Kurt and Göran Sahlen.


Next we visited Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala) where many Viking-era grave mounds are located.  There is also one flat-topped mound where they think that the Ting (Thing) was held.  The Ting was a meeting of community members where disputes were solved and political decisions were made.  Ting meeting places in Scandinvia were always located at religious ceremonial sites.

Olav den helliges saga CK5.jpg

Þorgnýr the Lawspeaker speaks at the Gamla Uppsala Ting, by C. Krogh.



Some of the many large burial mounds in Gamla Uppsala.  Kings and nobles are thought to be buried here.

Some of the many large burial mounds in Gamla Uppsala. Kings and nobles are thought to be buried here.



Yarrow dons chain mail at the Gamla Uppsala museum.

Yarrow dons chain mail at the Gamla Uppsala museum.


On Monday, we left Uppsala and wound our way home, stopping in Västerås to see Anundshög, another burial mound site that also has 5 “boat burials”.   Boat burials contained no actual boats, but have boats represented by large stones arranged in elliptical boat shapes.  Swedens largest burial mound is also here.  It was built about 500 AD and is over 74 yards wide and is almost 10 yards high.  From the top is a fabulous view of the stone ships.

Two of the Anundshög stone ships.

Two of the Anundshög stone ships as viewed from the top of the large mound.

This rune stone is located along a major Viking roadway and was commissioned by a father to honor the death of one of his sons.  There are many stones lining the route and it is thought that they were put there to celebrate the arrival of a king.  The large mound is in the background.

Västerås also boasts a Viking era labyrinth, used for religious purposes by the pagans of the day.


Viking-era labyrinth near Västerås.

Viking-era labyrinth near Västerås.


On Monday, we took a circuitous route home, looping a little north of our normal route.  We drove through Kopparberg and Filipstad.  This area is very wild and sparsely populated.  It has been described to me as sort of a wild west where the law is negotiable and people are left alone.

The drive home was long.  This is how long it was:  Yarrow says, “Lily, let’s play hide and seek.”  “OK, Yarrow.  You’re it.”  Yarrow counts to 25 while Lily hides beneath her coat.  Says, “Here I come!”  Then says, “Found you.  Now you’re it.”  This continued for about 10 minutes.  Yarrow, sounding tired, says, “I think that we’ve exhausted all of our hiding places.  Let’s quit.”  “OK,” says Lily.


One Response to “Uppsala”

  1. Marilyn Hultgren Says:

    Hello Meads,
    Diane Rowse gave me your blog address; I have e-mailed Kurt this past summer re dragonflying, I live in New Hope and volunteer for Three Rivers. My husband and I are so enjoying your blog. We are both ett hundra procent Svenska ätlingar, have been to Sweden twice and hope to go again. We have good friends in Göteberg, Ulf and Marica Hermansson. Ulf is well acquainted with the Volvo company there, was a math teacher, but now runs a very small taxi company. Both my husband and I are saddened to hear that the economy in Sweden is also struggling. We certainly hope you’ll be able to work something out which will enable you to stay in Arvika.

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