In unknown territory

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Today, I dared to go beyond the capital’s borders. And I don’t mean a little trip to Uppsala, I am talking about entering unknown territory.

Two of our friends have moved to the town of Örebro. Malin and I were curious about their new home and travelled two, three hours west to see them. All I knew about Örebro (which sounds like Ear Bridge to me) is that they have a nice castle.

Now I know that they have a water tower called Svampen (“the mushroom”) that was built in a quite peculiar way: they built the top part first and then built it up day by day until the top was overlooking all of town. Up there, they now serve a diverse lunch buffet and have several nice (educational) references to the wet element.

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Adjectives that describe water

Adjectives that describe water

The view from the tower, obstructed by renovation fences

The view from the tower, obstructed by renovation fences

Örebro also has a busy city center with countless little shops, not just the usual chains, and lots of flower pots with beautiful blue flowers. Thus is something I’ve been thinking about: are there such flower pots on the middle of German market squares? I don’t remember.

Currently, OpenArt is going on, a project where an artist has placed lots of great installations all over town. Very eye-catching: From giant popcorn to 5976 pro twice overalls hanging in the shopping street. I think that concept should be copied, it definitely makes the streets more interesting.

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Are these prisoners’ suits? Protective suits for work in toxic factories? A symbol for countless refugees? Thought-provoking art.

Our friends also showed us a sculpture of Saturn. In Örebro, they have placed the planets according to their size and distance from each other. So the sun is large and some kilometers from Neptun. Such a great way to illustrate the somewhat hard to grasp field of astronomy!
Public education did not stop there though: there was also a time line on the ground giving the stroller some historical perspective. Needless to say, I loved it. And I was very surprised to see Sweden only got freedom of speech some 30 years ago!

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And the castle – magnificent! I am, contrary to common belief, not that fond of palaces. Unless they’re built as interesting castles or very important history has happened there. Örebro Castle has both. The French marshal who started the current royal dynasty was chosen in that castle. His statue is outside and I recognized him. I was very proud of myself even though it is not that difficult because he has a very prominent nose.

We were strolling through town with our friends and their little baby of 6 months. I always thought nobody could compete with my young niece when it comes to being a happy baby, but our friends’ daughter sure can. Whenever we sang to her or lifted her up or just smiled at her, she rewarded us with a big grin – is there anything lovelier than a baby cheerfully smiling at you?

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Choir Reunion: Malin (soprano), Carine (alto) and I met when we sang together in our Uppsala choir.

The way home seemed to be Stockholm taking revenge on me for leaving her for a day. I had to travel to Hallsberg, a town shrouded in legend for me as it seems to be the place where where all trains meet. If you change on the way to the west, it seems to always be there. So today I got to see Hallsberg. For an hour. The connecting train was late, so I had lots of time to see that Hallsberg station is completely devoid of interesting things. There is not even a Pressbyrån! That says a lot.

A stone couch in central Örebro.

A stone couch in central Örebro.

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Advertisement: “This year’s event: I became a gold customer [privileged client, I guess] and got an Ingrid”. This sounds as if the company gives you children called Ingrid if you upgrade to gold customer.

Finally, I got to step on the train that would take me back home. Usually, when one travels by train, there is reading or watching movies involved to keep oneself busy. On this train ride, however, it was worth just staring out of the window because the landscape passing by was so incredibly pretty. Green trees as far as the eye can reach, then a large lake glittering in the evening sun that is still strong. No houses, no towns, just clear blue skies. And every now and then a field with fifteen hale bales.

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