Friday, July 06, 2007

The Island of Ven!
Usually, a summertime trip to this tiny island is a popular idea for an excursion, but as we stood in the rain at the bus stop this morning, everyone was grumbling. “I hope they cancel it,” said my friend without a waterproof coat. “I am really not looking forward to this,” said another girl wearing flip-flops. I grinned and said nothing, as I was feeling very happy in my new rubber boots, wool socks, and rain shell.

Good news: they did not cancel the trip, and I’m almost positive everyone had a great time, despite the weather.

The Island of Ven is a quick, hour-long trip from Lund. We took a bus ride up the coast to Landskrona and then rode a ferry across the Öresund. Before we docked on the island, people debated the feasibility of the day’s plan – to rent bicycles and ride around the island, which is only 4.5 km long and 2.4 km wide. Were we willing to do it in the rain? Most people decided that whether they walked or rode a bike they were going to get wet, so they might as well do it in style, on one of Ven's yellow, one-speed rental cruisers.

We literally dove in and were wet within minutes (my jeans got soaked, but my feet were dry!) as we sped along the main road which bisects the island. I don’t know who was leading the group, but we ended up arriving at the opposite end of the island (where there is another ferry that can take you to Denmark), climbing up a steep dirt path on foot, and then off-roading it along cliffs bordering the sea. It was a blast.

We toodled back onto the main road and found a café for lunch. I brought my own sandwich but dropped an astounding 40 kronor ($6!!) on a latte, though it was worth it.

After lunch was a tour of the Tycho Brahe Museum, and here is where the history begins.

Tycho Brahe lived in the latter half of the 16th century and was one of the best astronomers of his time. It was Tycho who made the Island of Ven famous – it was given to him as a gift by King Fredrik II for Tycho to do his research. We toured Tycho’s underground observatory and saw the site where the Uraniborg castle used to stand In Tycho’s time, Ven became the center of Europe’s advanced astronomical research..

Our tour guide was very good, and he asked us to remember three things about Tycho:

1. He was an incredibly skilled instrument-maker. He designed various instruments that allowed him and his students to make extremely accurate measurements of the astronomical movements.

2. He was a leader in introducing the concept of empirical research techniques. Tycho insisted on seeking out the facts, rather than theorizing. It was his research philosophy that helped spur the use empirical research techniques in Europe.

3. His research led to some of today’s most important theories. His most talented student, Johannes Kepler, used the data collected by Tycho to establish the laws of planetary motion (and served as the foundations for Newton’s theory of gravity). Basically, Tycho helped shape the modern view of the world – major stuff.

Anyway, enough history – but that’s what we learned! Very informative, especially since I’ve never been the science type…

It was still raining when we got back to Lund, but now it’s FINALLY stopped. I’m hoping it stays dry for at least a day! I would like to see some sun!

Trevlig helg! (Have a good weekend!)


Sally said...

Yep, I think rain pants are your next purchase.

What a cool little island and interesting history of Tycho---I had never heard of either!

Hope the sun peeks out soon; you'll find a new appreciation for sunshine! Sort of like the rare warm evening here in Berkeley when everyone wants to eat outside and have ice cream.

Trevlig helg back at you.
En stor kram.

Sally said...

Josie emailed me with the following... :-)

"she is her mother's daughter, enjoying her latte at any price. A girl after my own heart! Complimenti!!! Josie"

Shoshana said...

I knew about Tycho, but I hadn't realized he was Swedish. So they make ultra-modern furniture AND revolutionize the entire Western paradigm of viewing reality? That is quite a feat.

Seriously, though, good post - I love a mix of tourism and education. Also, I need to ask you how you make your photos so spiffy. Double also, I tried to put a photo in my header like you have (essentially I want to be you - not sure if you've noticed that) but it got all wonky and out of shape. Did you format the picture to fit that area before loading it up or is there some other step I'm missing?

Help me, Linnea Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope.

Meg said...

It makes my day when I log in to read your blog. You are such an amazing writer, and you make us all feel like we're there with you and also like you're just writing to us individually. Thanks! and just so you know, the weather here "back in the bay" is foggy... as Timmy Holm said the other day, "Hey mom, it's summer in Berkeley!" You know what I'm talking about. Your photographs! They're beautiful, my favorites so far: the one of you holding the daisies with the big white cloud behind you; the viking dinner; and the little boy walking down the road w/his boots on.
Lots of love to you...

Alaina said...

Isn't Tycho Brahe the one who died because he refused to go stop entertaining guests at a party long enough to go the bathroom?
Again, I'm really enjoying reading about your adventures!

Sally said...

Well, true or not, it's a great story, Alaina! See the following link for some discussion on the topic (several broken links but you get the gist of it).

Suhas said...

hi.. me in lund for 2 months.. me too planning of visiting ven island this weekend.. me staying in lund univ campus.. can u suggest the shortest route?

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