We enjoyed our morning around the house, had some breakfast and the kids played. We eventually headed out towards the town of Uppsala to see a few sites I had in mind. Marie and Johan hadn’t been tourists in their own area, so it was sort of new for them, too!
Uppsala is a town of “-ests”. They have the oldest university in Scandinavia, The tallest cathedral in Scandinavia, its the 4th largest city in Sweden…and back in olden times had the biggest pagan temple and now has the most famous Viking burial mounds in all of Sweden.
We started out at these burial mounds at Gamla Uppsala, or old Uppsala. This site was the site of the Thing For All Swedes. A thing was a gathering. Political, Legal, information….is was a gathering of the tribe, the area…or in this case here, great things usually regarding the high chieftains and visiting chiefs and kings from neighboring lands. All free men (because Vikings had slaves…) who were able to wield a weapon were about the participate in the things.
There is an old medieval church standing on the site of the original Temple of Uppsala. This area was the last area of Sweden to adopt Christianity. Supposedly their large wooden pagan temple here had large wooden statues of the Norse gods, but of course there is no trace of them left now. This church was the site of the archdiocese of Sweden in the early christian days before it was moved to the amazing Uppsala Cathedral. Erik the Saint (Erik the IX) was killed here around 1160 and decapitated, then buried here for 100 years or so until the Uppsala Cathedral was built. (more about that below)
The Vasa chapel is the biggest and most ornate of the chapels. It holds the bodies of Gustav Vasa and his three wives (although there are only 2 wives on the tomb Ha). He was the longest serving king of Sweden up to that time… he reigned in the 1500s. He helped defeat Denmark and free Sweden, found against Ivan the Terrible in Russia and was the first to really “unite” Sweden.
This relic box holds the remains of Erik IX (the one who lost his head at the old church at Gamla Uppsala around 1160) They dug up his remains there and placed them in a box that was used during all of the king’s coronation ceremonies for hundreds of years. Saint Erik/King Erik IX/Erik the Martyr is the patron saint of Sweden. They opened the relic box and analyzed the bones years ago and found that his bones did match the stories… that he had multiple stab wounds that had healed and that he had been stabbed multiple times and was decapitated, as the story goes.)
After leaving the cathedral, we walked around the side and found they were having a large festival of some sort…but that meant food trucks. We picked the kebab truck. too bad…because it was terrible. haha
Later in the evening we ordered Pizza from the local restaurant. We tried Kabob Pizza which is apparently very popular in Sweden… and it was tasty. We packed up our stuff and got ready to head to Stockholm in the morning.