All saint’s day in Sweden

In Sweden, the all saint’s day is a national holiday, called Allhelgonahelgen. This day is celebrated worldwide in different forms., and maybe in your country there is a specific way of remembering this holy day with its roots in the catholic tradition. In Brazil it is also a national holiday, but i have to say, i don’t feel we celebrate that much, at least there is not a general consensus on how to do it, neither a national tradition in relation to this day. Well, in Sweden it does. During Allhelgonahelgen, that typically happens on the 1st of November in many places around the world, most Swedes take the day off to meet with their family, eat together and go to the cemetery to light candles and remember the loved ones that have been gone from this world.

      

      

I must confess I already have a especial attraction to cemeteries, nothing creepy, just like the quietness (obvious) and peaceful landscape, besides the sense of being in a place with a lot of history: imagine all the lives resting under your feet (maybe that ended up a little creepy, sorry). Nevertheless, I was kinda excited to go to the cemetery at night, and it was truly a beautiful experience. There was almost nothing but candles light all around. The complete darkness, although is was only 17 pm (cough, cough..it’s Sweden in November), among the trees and graves, made me feel like something special was happening in there. I enjoyed so much this day and how such ritual made me think and contemplate the dead, while watching swedes offering kinda of a memorial to those past lives. I felt here the cemetery is less of a taboo maybe, and definitely a experience worth to take.

The new building Studenthuset at Campus Valla

On one morning in late August this year I went to class and was surprised by a present with my name, so to speak. Wrap it up in a blue ribbon, I whole new building was waiting to open its doors for each and every person at Linköping University. Located at the central part of campus Valla, the Studenthuset was conceived to be many things at once: a library, a place to study, a office, a restaurant, but on top of everything, a place to meet. Meet friends, co-workers, staff, get things done and also do different things. The Studenthuset felt to me as the new soul of the university, not that it ever missed one, but to have this place where different things can come around and interact definitely has added up to the student dynamics on campus.

I was especially excited about the inauguration of this new environment. The building was undergoing construction since last year, and dodging the improvised walls hiding its transformation became an everyday activity. Now, with the walls down, people are up to all the possibilities the Studenthuset has brought. There you can find the information center, where its possible to resolve a variety of things related to your student life, such as accommodation, student card, registration, among others; the international office, which helps in many issues related to foreign students; the Valla library, from which is possible to borrow books and print whatever you need; besides many study group rooms and tables to share with your fellow colleagues. One thing I especially like is how any student can book such rooms and have a proper space for meetings and discussions without distractions.

The 7-floor tall building has a modern architecture and a welcoming vibe, besides the coffee and cookies at a really nice price in this little student cafe, right on the left of the entrance doors. There is also a nice restaurant on the back of the ground floor that has a resealable price, really tasty food with many good options for vegetarians and vegans, though it can be kinda crowded during lunchtime. Aside from practicalities, the building will be hosting events on a regular basis, so its definitely worth it to keep a eye on it. Once again Linköping has surprised me with how considering it is with its students and its whole in providing spaces and opportunities for exchange and creation of knowledge.

   

Summer in Linköping

 

In my last post i talked a little about my first Swedish summer and how rewarding it felt to just enjoy Linköping at its best. There are plenty of things one can do around the city and the county to take the most of the season and here I will talk a little bit more about my experience and the places I have enjoyed the most:

1. Bike ride to the Blue Lagoon for a dip: this was one of the great discoveries of summer. The blue lagoon is a lake in the surroundings of the university which you can access by bike. The journey is of about 8km (one way) from Ryd, passing by different landscapes: it is amazing how in just a few minutes you can be in a more rural environment, cycling in the company of almost nobody. The final destination is then a place with clear water and many trees, where you can swim, have a picnic and lay down in the sun. I have been there more than 3 times between the beginning and end of summer, and what changes the most is the temperature of the water, its color and of course the amount of people around. In June the water is very clear but very cold and the place is mainly empty. In July the water was pretty warm, but not that clear. Although there was more people during this time, my impression is that it never gets too crowded. In August was almost the same as in June. It is definitely one of my favorite places in Linköping.

2. One day trip to Motala’s “Beach” Varamon: this was the truly summer experience as I am used to. This lake in the city of Motala, the second biggest in Sweden, works just as good as a “true” beach, in all the aspects. There you have everything: sand, water, food, crowd and the great messiness a day in the beach should look like, but still very Swedish of course. I went there first time in a very hot weekend day in the end of July, and stayed until get tired of the sun. The water was in perfect temperature, and although full of people, there are plenty room for laying down close to the water. I took my own food, but of course had to buy an ice cream to cope with the warmness. The place has public bathrooms and a nice structure which makes it easy to enjoy a full day. From linköping you take the train to Motala, which is about 30min away, and then one of the local buses that passes through to Varamon, another 15 min. It is worth the way, trust me.

3. Searching for random forests and lakes: Nature is one of the great Swedish assets, its everywhere. With around 53% of its lands covered by forests, it’s not hard to find a spot to contemplate this abundance. Around Ryd you can go for a fast walk into the Ryd forest and already feel you are far away from any civilization, such a privilege. if you are willing to go farer, different places hold great hiking options and hidden lakes. During summer I went with a friend to one of those places, close to her home, and we enjoyed the day almost in a lake that most felt like “ours”, even picked up some berries in the way (during summer you can find many spots to collect blueberries and strawberries, among other berries). So, if you feel creative, just go for it and maybe you’ll find your own nature sanctuary.

4. Walking along side Linköping’s canal and easy-swimming at the city’s pool: not every activity need to be far away from the city to be enjoyable. Linköping it’s beautiful during summer, full of people on the streets and nice public spaces to rest on in the sun. One things I really liked to do was just walking along the canal in the city center and sitting next to the water. I heard it’s possible to swim in it, but I haven’t try it. Another thing I did a lot during my vacation period in Linköping was to go a private swimming pool downtown. As I said, I really like to swim, but it’s not everyday you can go to a lake or beach. Therefore, for those day I just wanted to exercise in a place close home, I went to the Medley pool, which you have to pay, but can enjoy a nice olympic outdoor swimming pool, a artificial lake and other perks, such as the sauna. You can pay each time you go there or have a rechargeable card (with  discounted price), and they have special fares for students.

Say hello to Spring

And so spring it’s here, finally. In just one week I feel everything has changed. Doesn’t even look like in the beginning of April we still had some snow. Now,  different gardens are flourishing and the streets are full of people enjoying the sun. This past weekend I went to the city center Saturday and Sunday to take the most of the good the weather. With temperatures up to 21 celsius degrees, the days were truly warm. Saturday I went to the main square and what a surprise, there were many people eating outside in big structures put together just for summer. There was also a farmers market, that starts now and goes every day until around September. I bought fruits and vegetables at really good prices, now I want to go there every weekend. I took the chance to have lunch siting in a table in the middle of the city, taking the advantage of all that vitamin D.

Sunday I went to the park Trädgårdsföreningen for my friend’s birthday picnic. And in another warm day, we spent the entire afternoon chatting and eating and playing games. The park isn’t that big, but it has a great garden between big trees where people can lay down, there were even girls in their bikinis already!! It’s was the perfect weather, and biking around it’s the best part. One thing though I need to point out, it is just the sun goes down and the temperature goes down with it, so always take a coat even if the day is warm. Here there is also a lot of wind, so mind that when biking after sunset. But anyway, I’m each day more excited for summer.

 

 

Studying around: the art of finding the best places

A big part of being a student is to study, so big that sometimes can get a little boring and if we are somehow lacking the will of power can be easy to leave it for latter. One of my strategies to cope with the many ours in front of the computer is to look for different places where I can set my things, lay back a little bit and keep the rhythm going. The things is that it is not about just one perfect place, but different places you can vary between.

Around Linköping there are some places I found either cozy, welcoming or interesting, here they are:

  •  – The university library: ok, this one is pretty obvious. But it is not just the library, but where in the library. If you take around among its many corridors you can find some very comfy chair, with great views. For me it makes the difference. Also, in the second floor there are table in all shapes and sizes, you can definitely find one that fits your taste.
  • – The city library: I love this place. It is downtown, but it is worth the way. The architecture is beautiful, it is a very open space with big windows. Besides that, the university internet network also works there. Extra tip: they have a great apple cake in the cafeteria.
  • – The CreActive at the Science Park: really close to LiU there is a small science city where big companies call their home. There you can find the CreActive, an open and modern space where there is free coffee and tea. The tables are really good for group work and specially around exam’s season when all possible places in the university are taken.
  • – Zodiaken Tea & Noodle bar, Zenit building: this might sound strange, but this restaurant/café has a great atmosphere for writing, good student discounts for coffee and nice sushi during lunch.

Sometimes we just need to leave our room to get some inspiration. What type of places do you like to go for studying?