Hey everyone! This semester is wrapping up quickly but my adventures are far from over! It’s been a quiet few weeks but I have still managed to do so much.
Valborg, Sweden’s celebration of Spring, was last weekend and it was so incredibly fun! To recap, about 10 of my study abroad friends and I took an early train to Uppsala where we met some more friends for pancakes and mimosas to start the day. We then headed to the center of town to see the boat races! Students participate in these races by forming teams and assembling small make-shift boats that have to keep the team afloat until they cross a finish line. It was exciting to get a glimpse of their work, however, we only stayed for a few minutes because there were so many people and we couldn’t find a place to see well.
From there we went to this huge park right near the university in town. We sat out for about 5 hours just drinking, socializing, and enjoying the beautiful sun! I even got a little sunburned which caught me off-guard. The atmosphere was so friendly and open. Everywhere you could see university students relishing in the moment, the weather, and the celebration with their friends. I was doing the same.
The friends I have met here have pretty much made my study abroad experience what it is. I have been so lucky to meet people that have as much appreciation for travel and fun as I do. Without them, I’m not sure how much I would be able to take away from this experience and I am already dreading the moment when we have to say goodbye. Although, I know it will only be a temporary goodbye.
Other than Valborg, it has been another slow week for me, but I don’t mind the down time. I finished my second class with an A and I couldn’t be happier! Though the classes are structured differently and there is a lot of individual work, I have truly enjoyed the material I’ve been studying and am thrilled that I’ve been able to keep my grades up with all of the traveling I’ve been doing.
I did manage to travel another day this week to Gripsholm Castle which sits off of Lake Mälaren near Stockholm. It is located right on the water, where the sun makes the water glisten spectacularly. Just a few of the girls went so we stopped for a quick lunch in the quaint town, Mariefred, next to the castle before taking a short tour of the interior. We then walked around the castle and got some great pictures of the water, hiking trails, and town. We finished off the day by grabbing an ice cream while enjoying the gorgeous scenery.
Tomorrow I am leaving for 5 days to explore Norway! It is an organized trip for university students and I am going with Alexa, my friend who accompanied me on my spring break backpacking trip. We are starting by heading to Oslo to tour the city and the hiking trails, and then to Laerdal where there is a famous old church as well as the UNESCO world heritage section of the mighty fjords, before finishing off in Bergen where we hope to hike to the top of the breath-taking mountains that surround the town.
I am particularly excited for this trip because of the emphasis on the ecotourism rather than the traditional historical and city-focused tourism. I am also eager to get some great photos and meet some more university students to add to my growing list of international friends! My next blog post will have all of the details from the trip, so stay tuned.
The night I get back from Norway, a few of my international friends and I are headed to Gotland, one of the largest islands surrounding Sweden where young people go to ride bikes and enjoy the outdoors during summer. It will serve as our “last hoorah” trip and I am eager to spend time with the people that have made such a huge impact on my time abroad.
Once that trip is done, I only have another week and a half before I embark with my sister on our summer backpacking trip (also 20 days)! What can I say, I love to travel!
I have lately become intently aware of longing feelings I will have to be back in Sweden once I am home and know that my time here is so precious. I can’t wait to experience these last few weeks of my international experience and am doing my best to make the most of every moment. I want to thank you all again for continuing to read and support my blog. It means the world to me that I have been able to share this journey with so many of you and I am thrilled to keep doing so for the next few weeks.