16 August, 2009
Getting in touch with a little family history
Uppsala is an old and renowned Swedish city, not far from Stockholm. It boasts the oldest university in Scandinavia (Uppsala Universitet, 1477,) the largest cathedral in Scandinavia (Uppsala domkyrka, 13th c.,) and its where my mom was born (she would probably kill me if I noted her dates.)
We took the train early in the morning on Saturday, and the only plan was 1) see the cathedral 2) see Gamla Uppsala (I betcha Stu will post about this in more detail, but in short: Gamla means Old; its an ancient site just north of the city where it is said the Norse gods lived and sacrifices took place.)
The city is very small, and good for wandering. And it was gorgeous weather. The cathedral is pretty amazing...it holds the relics of St. Birgitta and of St. Erik (who was said to have been killed after church services, and where his decapitated head rolled, a spring of water spouted.) It also holds the remains of Gustav Vasa (huge royal here!), Carolus Linnaeus, and the Swedenborg guy.
My mom (the littler one, with her sister Susanne) was baptized in the church when she was a baby, and it was fortuitous to see a baptism taking place while we were visiting. (Yes, I am slightly creepy and took a picture of it. But don't worry, it didn't come out very well.) I can only imagine how proud my mormor & morfar must have felt during the service...it is such a regal church. I don't know why the family moved from Stockholm to Uppsala. Maybe for work? My morfar was a paper chemist when they settled in the US. My grandparents have both passed away in the last few years, and mom does not remember, as she was too little. My aunt also passed away very recently, and if I were to ask my uncle, it could take 6 hours to get the whole answer out of him. And that is it for family. Aside from a great aunt living in Alingsås, Sweden. But even though I don't have the whole story, spending the day in Uppsala it felt like following my roots a little bit.