Saturday, July 14, 2007

Excursion #3: Malmöhus castle.

The excursions hosted by the Folk Universitetet are great. They’re:

1. Free (they take care of transportation and entry fees).
2. Fun (a nice break from the classroom and time to socialize with my peers).
3. Almost all located in Skåne (which has given me a much better sense of the local culture and history).

This past Wednesday, we went to Malmöhus Castle in Malmö (about 20 minutes south of Lund.) Apparently, Malmöhus Castle is the oldest remaining Renaissance castle in Scandinavia. Since it was built in 1434, it has housed royalty, prisoners, the Danish mint, and today, the city of Malmö’s Art Museum, the City Museum and the Natural History Museum.

We went on a tour through the original buildings and some of the museum’s exhibits, including one that tells the story of Malmö as a city. My favorite exhibit was one called “Kaffe,” which, of course, recognizes coffee’s hugely significant role in Swedish culture. In my pictures you can see some of the exhibit: old coffee advertisements, a huge tower of coffee (I drink Zoega, the green package, every morning), a breakdown of coffee's magic in symbol form (the text says "coffee = friendship"), and, finally, Melissa and me drinking coffee in the café downstairs. Mmm!

The museum also had some cool natural history exhibits with a dinosaur cave, taxidermied Swedish animals (Moose!! Wild boars! Foxes!), and some live fish and reptiles as well.

Our plans for the weekend brewed while we sipped kaffe and explored the museum. The most popular ideas involved sleeping in and visiting Denmark on Sunday. Friday was the END of the first round of our Swedish classes so people were eager to use the weekend to relax!

I’ve decided to go to Denmark on Sunday to visit Hamlet’s castle with some of my Californian friends. It’s nice to really feel settled in a bit in terms of getting to know people. I’ve faced dual pressures, both from Swedes and from my American peers, to be accepted and to make friends. While I desperately want to be able to speak Swedish well and feel comfortable in Lund, I also want to connect with other Americans, who are (currently) my social circle.

The summer time is making it a little difficult to figure out where I belong. I am surrounding by awesome, English-speaking college students, and the dorms are a little quiet because many Swedes are home for the summer. I’m enjoying myself right now, but I think the fall term will be a nice change, when I will be able to get to know more Swedish students.

Lastly: thanks to everyone who has sent me a message so far. I am very appreciative of the comments left on my blog and the email messages I’ve received. My apologies if I am slow to respond – even in my third week here I am still busy getting settled and studying Swedish!

Hope everyone is well!

1 comment:

Sally said...

If they sell those Kaffe = Vänskap signs I'd really like to have one! I'm a believer.