Friday, 1 May 2015

Valborg and bike theft

So yesterday was Valborg (aka Walpurgis Eve, aka Sista April) here in Sweden. As it turns out, this is a pretty big deal here in Uppsala. So much so that people come from Stockholm to join in the celebrations! Apparently the actual holiday has to do with saying goodbye to the winter and welcoming in the spring, but realistically it's just an excuse to have a huge party all across the city.

One of the big events of the day is the river rafting. Teams of about 3-5 people make rafts out of Styrofoam and ride on them in front of as many spectators as can fit along the river. There is a big rush in the morning to get a spot near one of the little waterfalls, where many rafts capsize. All of the rafts were built outside Ångström the week before which was an event in itself: there were big party tents set up with a temporary pub and other activities surrounding the building of the rafts. For the big event there were also stalls all along the river selling food, balloons, sunglasses, and all sorts of other things.

A Game of Thrones themed raft sailing on the river

In the afternoon many people gather outside Ekonomikum, one of the other UU buildings, which is close to the centre. Within the park surrounding the building there is a temporary suspension of the usual ban on outdoor drinking, so there is a party going on all day! I went back with some friends to have a barbecue and just caught the tail end of the Ekonomikum party. The place was completely trashed as everyone slowly filtered out! Conveniently the city were giving out free water bottles all day to help keep people hydrated. After that we headed to a corridor party in Studentvägen, one of the big student housing complexes.

The aftermath outside Ekonomikum

On a less exciting note, a had a bike stolen last week :( I only had a combination lock on it, which apparently are not very effective. I picked up a new one through one of the Facebook groups listed on the Helpful Links page, and it's actually a lot nicer than the bike I had before, but unfortunately it put me out a good chunk of money. To make matters worse, it was actually my girlfriend's bike that was stolen, since mine is out of commission with a flat tire. Whoops. Once I got the new bike I headed straight to Clas Ohlson to pick up a D-lock, which will hopefully keep it safer in the future. Definitely a worthwhile investment!

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