blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Linnaeus' home

Uppsala Train waiting to leave Stockholm Central

Town Hall square, Uppsala

Looking towards the Orangery, Botanical Gardens, Uppsala

At Uppsala station
On May 21st (Victoria Day in Canada), while Chris was giving a presentation at the conference in Stockholm, I went to Uppsala by train. The train fares vary according to the times of day, and I was able to chose the cheapest option, arriving around midday on a quiet, double-decker train. Returning at the end of the afternoon also allowed me to sit in a quiet carriage, although trains coming the other way, carrying the commuters home from Stockholm, were packed.

Uppsala is very attractive, not big, a university town visually dominated by its castle with domed tower and the tall gothic cathedral that I shall talk about in a separate post, both buildings a warm, pinkish red colour. The shopping area near the station is modern, but mostly traffic free, which I approve of, despite the inconvenience to drivers; there are busses to take people home, running on bio-gas, and many Uppsala inhabitants prefer to get around by bike, in any case. Near the Fyris River, with its little weirs and boardwalks, is the Universitet district and cobbled Radhus (town hall) square and surrounding older streets, swarming with happy-looking students. Bicycles galore parked beside the river. The blonde girls sit on the boardwalks, dangling their long, bare legs over the placid river where ducks dabble. I had my lunch, bought from an Indian snack van, in a rosegarden behind the cathedral which was bordered by a salmon leap, an artificially constructed series of watery steps. A little boy was very interested in it, although no salmon were leaping at this time of year.

Linnaeus' garden
 My mission in Uppsala, apart from visiting the cathedral, was to see Carl Linnaeus' haunts and report back to my sister, a keen botanist. What I should have done --- hindsight is a wonderful thing! --- was confirm that Linnaeus' house and garden would be open; on Mondays, it was not. I did find an open gate for staff only and trespassed; don't tell anybody. The lady who caught me taking photos in the garden was very kind, making allowances for my foreigner's lack of comprehension, and allowed me to take a few more, before insisting that I leave, so that she could lock up. Obviously I couldn't go into the house, which must be a fascinating museum to visit on other days of the week, nor into the gift shop. So I didn't learn much about Linneaus (Carl von Linné), other than on the internet, although it was clear to me he must have been a happy man, living so peacefully and purposefully, where blackbirds sing in the trees and the garden fountain splashes. Diagonally opposite the house, outside on Linné Gatan (of course) was a pleasant Café Linné where I sat a while under the awning, drinking tea.

Statue of Linnaeus, at his house

A corner of Linnaeus' garden, by his house

The Café Linné

Uppsala University
Other peaceful spots in Uppsala were to be found around the edge of the University campus. Celsius came from here as well, became an astronomy prof. at the university, and his original thermometer is apparently exhibited in the main building, though I failed to go in and see it. The Wikipedia tells me that he proposed an international standard temperature scale in a paper presented to the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala:
His thermometer was calibrated with a value of 100° for the freezing point of water and 0° for the boiling point. In 1745, a year after Celsius' death, the scale was reversed by Carl Linnaeus to facilitate more practical measurement. Celsius originally called his scale centigrade derived from the Latin for "hundred steps". For years it was simply referred to as the Swedish thermometer. 
Entrance to the Botanical Gardens
"Let these new plants grow in peace!"
I was aiming for the Botanic Gardens, really well worth the visit, being laid in formal style around an elegant 18th century building with pillars and pale walls, up which vines were climbing, nests in them. The courtyard at the back was full of large plant pots containing a collection of Mediterranean and subtropical plants. I had this place to myself, lovely. The continuation of the gardens across the road was even lovelier. I stayed there for a long time, sitting down with an ice cream at a table outside the Cafe Viktoria as well as admiring the flower beds and taking photos. I finished my wanderings in that part of Uppsala by climbing the back steps to the castle for a vantage point overlooking the cathedral on the next hillside.

View from the vantage point
Thence I decided I'd have time to walk to Linnaeus' Trädgården, as described above.

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