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Even with a chest infection, which subsided into another bacterial infection when I came back to the states over Christmas, even with a lot of boring texts to study and some other hectic affairs, it was wonderful to be home for almost a month. I didn't feel like writing a single blessed thing about it for some reason, but it was so nice to dress a gorgeous tree and open presents with my family, including my god daughter and her sister, the cutest kids ever. It was great to go and see tons of movies in the theater, to cuddle with the geek, to sit at the Melting Pot fondue restaurant with a really great group of women, to go to Rachael's graduation party, to help E move house (although I coughed so much I sounded like a TB patient), to geek out with E and Jen and the Geek watching Dr. Who and LOTR, to play Mahjong and Gloom with Lish and Joseph and Maggie and chill at the Boulder Cafe with their superior Bhakti Chai.

Well, all that is over now, and it all went by so fast. Can I please have it back?

Anyhow, I'm in Sweden again, since a week ago, and there have been some nice moments here too, some of them closely connected to the extraordinary amount of beautiful winter magic going on in the landscape right now.

Last week presented some truly fairy tale-like Narnia moments, let me tell you, or rather show you:

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The Road to my School

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Swedes are hardcore when it comes to biking, they will most certainly do it, or try to do it, no matter what climate they are living in...

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The cathedral on a gorgeous clear day

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The Fyris river which goes through Uppsala

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The ducks were perhaps not all that happy with the cold days

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One of the many runestones in the university park, powdered with snow.

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The yellow house, which was built more than a 100 years ago, is called "The Scandal House", because people thought it was a scandal that it was built to be higher than the university main hall, which resides just opposite it on the picture. Later, the university solved that particular phallic complex by promptly buying the Scandal House and use it as one of their administrative buildings. Hey, if you can't top it, own it!

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But as nice as the clear days were, the real magic awaited when there was a misty softness to the gray sky, every detail on every tree became exquisite..

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I had to find out how the landscape outside of town would look like, so me and a friend took an 8 kilometer walk to the old mounds and around that area, and this is what awaited us on the way:

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There wasn't any lion, witch or lamppost in sight, but it sure looked like Narnia

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The Old Mounds kept their secrets as usual, with Old Uppsala Church peeking out behind them

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The church is actually rather pretty, up close.

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We ate opposite the church, at the Odinsborg Inn, which is built in the style of 19th century viking nostalgia kitsch, and the sign is boasting that they serve REAL mead and coffee. In reality, only the coffee part is true.

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And then it was time to go home, have some tea and warm our cold toes.

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Date: 2010-01-19 05:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kejn.livejournal.com
lovely!!!
and i do think the last picture has a bit of narnia to it, although with a contemporary reality twist. :) love the red against all the black and white.

Date: 2010-01-19 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
Wouldn't it be great if the red little signs said "faun dancing meadow", "fairy circle", "dryad glen" and such things, instead of "museum", "historical site" and "rest rooms"?

Date: 2010-01-19 05:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] freelark.livejournal.com
These pictures are amazing.

Date: 2010-01-19 09:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
There was something truly amazing about the day I took the Narnia photos, it's hard to explain..but there were less edges and angles to the world somehow.

Date: 2010-01-19 05:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zombienought.livejournal.com
Not even a faun? :(

It is so beautiful where you
live(d).

I am guessing your chest is
better. I am glad. I am also
glad you were not quarantined
by the TSA.

How is the mead not real?

Date: 2010-01-19 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
Dude, the fauns only come out to dance in the moonlight, and remember, they actually don't like snow, Mr Tumnus and his relatives were royally screwed by Jadis, faun climate is southern European, I'm pretty sure!

(chest is much much better now than when we talked on the phone)

ha! I meant that they don't serve mead, only coffee.

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In total AWE

Date: 2010-01-19 06:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lelain.livejournal.com
The photos are just beautiful!

Re: In total AWE

Date: 2010-01-19 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
Imagine how great it was to be out walking in all that beauty! I'm so glad I didn't space it and forget my camera, something I do often enough...

Date: 2010-01-19 09:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
I just wish I could have gotten some pics form inside the inn, it's so gloriously kitschy, viking paintings from the 1800's on the walls and a the smorgasbord was served on a table formed as a huge wooden viking ship, complete with a dragon's head!

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Date: 2010-01-19 06:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clsisold.livejournal.com
These pictures are absolutely beautiful

Date: 2010-01-19 09:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
These places are nice even on an ugly day, but this day was magic, I tell you!!

Date: 2010-01-19 07:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maehymn.livejournal.com
Soooo beautiful and looks so COLD. But still, really beautiful. I think the beauty wins. Especially in the tree/Narnia pictures. Really lovely.

I had no idea about the superior Bahkti Chai. I must go to there immediately.

That sucks about your infection! I hope it's passing now. You were such a trouper with all the activity. Hope your semester is off to a good start!

Date: 2010-01-19 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
And yet, the Narnia-day was much warmer than the previous week had been, apparently they had temperatures towards 0 F then, I doubt I'd been able to hold the camera even.

Yes, you should absolutely have the Bhakti Chai at the Southside Boulder cafe, go and have some for me too until I return.

Date: 2010-01-19 07:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nerak-g.livejournal.com
So gorgeous.
Such beauty, I question why my ancestors left, have such resentment for them.
I sure hope I make it there someday, preferably in the extreme of winter.

Date: 2010-01-19 09:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
Normally, I would tell you to come to Scandinavia in the summer, because summers can be very lovely here..but I do understand the pull of a truly beautiful winter season. Only problem is that such magical winter weather isn't reliable, some years pass by without much glory at all...

(still, do come, you really should!)

Date: 2010-01-19 08:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hook-n-eye.livejournal.com
Beautiful!! Thank you for sharing these lovely photos. I'm sorry you were ill while home, but it sounds like you made the best of it!

Date: 2010-01-19 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
I'm happy you enjoyed them, and happy to still have you here on LJ. I really do feel like my holiday in Boulder was warm and fuzzy and loving, in spite of infections and some stress, it felt like I had to leave way too soon though...
Edited Date: 2010-01-19 10:01 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-01-19 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cienna.livejournal.com
Wow, those pictures are absolutely amazing! It almost makes the snow look appealing. XD

Date: 2010-01-19 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
Snow can be a pain in the #&% sometimes, but that day it was truly magical, everything was so soft and pretty and glowing.

Date: 2010-01-19 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simpletwice.livejournal.com
These pictures are amazing! And you have some truly beautiful trees. I love winter days like that.

Date: 2010-01-20 11:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
I love them too, I just can't sit indoors when they happen because you never know when they will come again.

Date: 2010-01-20 01:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aquilinum.livejournal.com
I somehow feel like just writing you a little "<3" heart thing wouldn't be enough, but anything more is superfluous.

Date: 2010-01-20 11:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
Hey, I never turn my nose up on the hearts, I love them! ♥ ♥

Date: 2010-01-20 05:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlsjlsjls.livejournal.com
Lovely! We get that halo effect on every twig here when there's an ice fog, but it never seems to happen on a weekend when I'd have a chance to take pictures.

Date: 2010-01-20 11:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
no, no, nooo, it's not an ice fog!! Don't you know it's the fairy queen of winter and the gnomes who've been fixing up the forest? ;-)

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Date: 2010-01-20 06:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alphistia.livejournal.com
my favorite is the runestone with the orangish glow of the winter sun in the background. that is very beautiful and very Scandinavian :-)

Date: 2010-01-20 11:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
Hmm, maybe I'll have to make another picture post with just the rune stones of Uppsala before the spring is over, there are plenty of them around here!

Date: 2010-01-20 02:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gyzki.livejournal.com
I think you've really captured the beauty of that kind of weather - awesome!

Back when you posted your fall foliage pix, I thought Uppsala reminded me a lot of the part of New England where I grew up. We have the overcast and the ice trees and the Narnia snow too (so these look beautiful *and* nostalgic) - but not so many runestones or meadhalls!

Date: 2010-01-20 04:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
This just reaffirms my conviction that I need to go to New England one of these years and see the likeness for myself!

Date: 2010-01-20 04:01 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-01-20 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
As are your dancing trees and cosmic spiders Darren. You are the only person I know who can capture that.

Date: 2010-01-20 08:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tooticky.livejournal.com
Glorious, glorious photos! I'm always fascinated by snow, because we get comparatively little of it in Australia. Uppsala through your camera is so beautiful I wish I could fall through the computer into it.

Date: 2010-01-20 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
I wish you would fall through the computer screen and into my room too, think how much fun we would have, my Australian Alice!!

Date: 2010-01-20 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com
Here from [livejournal.com profile] tooticky's journal. Breathtaking photos you've taken here! I love the light on the brick buildings behind the runestone in the photo you have of that, and the ice and snow on the weeping willow-like tree in the photo right above your comment about Narnia--wow!

And I like the fence across the fairy mound, down below.

Anyway.... beautiful beautiful pictures.

Date: 2010-01-20 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm pretty sure I've seen some great things in your journal too on some occasions, as I'm fairly certain Tooticky has linked to you before.

The fences are there to keep people from taking too many walks on the mounds (as they used to do, up until 7-8 years ago), since they are historical sites and old viking burial grounds. But they are more than that too, there really is a lot of old old magic around that area, and people still walk up there sometimes, fence or no fence.

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Date: 2010-01-20 10:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] browniegirl322.livejournal.com
I am oooooh and ahhhhhhhh
how beautiful
bundle up!!

Date: 2010-01-20 11:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
I was oohing and aaahing all the time during that walk, it's amazing that my mouth didn't fill up with snow, as much as it hung open!

Date: 2010-01-21 01:37 am (UTC)
katsu: (^_^)
From: [personal profile] katsu
Beautiful pictures. :D I hope I will have a chance to visit Sweden some day.

Date: 2010-01-21 09:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
You absolutely should, and visit Poland too while you're at it, it's actually very close, it has the same time zone even!

Date: 2010-01-21 04:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] core-opsis.livejournal.com
These are absolutely gorgeous photos! So cold, though. I'd really like to go and see all these places for myself.

Date: 2010-01-21 10:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
It's probably safer to go see Scandinavia in the summer, but I won't deny that both fall and winter has its own particular magic in this part of the world!

Date: 2010-01-23 12:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kvschwartz.livejournal.com
So beautiful! It really DOES look like Narnia.

(Although photo #2 reminded me more of the movie "Let the Right One In" / "Låt den rätte komma in".)

Cold as it may be in Sweden in the winter, though, my online sources say it's colder still here in Wisconsin.

Glad you had a good time, in spite of being so sick. I hope you're feeling better from your various chest infections.

Date: 2010-01-24 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
Thank you Kevin!

Wisconsin may very well have been colder this past week, because it hasn't been so brutal here, but the 2 weeks before that we had around 0 F, which was a bit brutal.

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Date: 2010-01-24 01:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seamusd.livejournal.com
Yeah, these are all glorious! I like the icicles, especially. I don't have the guts to bike in the snow and ice.

Date: 2010-01-24 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sealwhiskers.livejournal.com
me neither..at least not unless it's really well paved. It's the ice that gets to me more than the snow, because I used to bike in all kinds of winter weather, and then I fell with the bike on the ice, 3 times the same winter, and the last time was rather painful..so I avoid it nowadays.
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