New WWOOFer arrives and “war” on caterpillars
After over a week of peaceful solitude my first voluntary companion arrived – Isabelle, a German student. I think that straight away I felt that I would get along with this girl. She was very mature as for her young age and absolutely optimistic. While working together we shared our past and made up funny stories related to the place and task we were working on at the moment. We had great laughs and at times profound confessions. Isabelle liked to sing and she did it very well, so I always asked her for some songs. On these days when we worked together we discovered that we had a plague of caterpillars in the vegetable garden. They were almost everywhere. It was insane and terrifying, they had eaten up lots of plants. One of our tasks was to pick caterpillars and drown them in the bucket of water. Later we sprayed veggies with a natural plant spray. We called this job “war on caterpillars”: “caterpillars’ invasion vol.1” and “mission total destruction.” Even though it wasn’t the greatest task ever I can assure you that we had loads of fun. Unfortunately, some days later we noticed that these beasts were back, so we had “caterpillars invasion vol.2” and of course a “mission total destruction vol.2.” I have never seen so many caterpillars at once. They look pretty and innocent, but if you have a vegetable garden they are your enemy number one.
Weekend trip – Stockholm
Eventually for the weekend I planned to visit Stockholm and my friend Katarina in Uppsala. She’s the girl who convinced me that Sweden was perfect place for my journey. We had known each other for 10 years already. We met at college in the USA and since then we have been friends. But there is also Paula, a Spanish girl who was a third member of our super cool trio. Paula lives in Barcelona and since I moved there I’ve been seeing her as often as I can. Sometimes I think about our college days and I’m fascinated by the fact that it’s been already 10 years since then, three of us moved back to Europe and we still keep in touch and try to see each other whenever it’s possible. I hope that in another 50 years nothing will change.
So I went to Stockholm on a Friday afternoon. I was very excited about meeting Katarina, but not about going to a CITY. I was the happiest person in the world on my secluded farm hidden in the woods and didn’t feel like melting into the crowd of people and cars. But I did. After all, you just can’t be so close to Stockholm and not visit it, right? Besides, after hearing so much in superlatives about it I expected the city to be fascinating. I will be completely honest here – it’s nice, it’s pretty, but it’s not as breathtaking as Swedish nature. Definitely out of all in Sweden I prefer their forests and lakes to any city I had seen during my stay. I walked around the city center and old town for a few hours. It has some beautiful views as it is in great part surrounded by the water, and it has harming architecture and neat streets and shops. Thankfully it is pretty small for a capital so the traffic wasn’t that bad and I didn’t feel completely overwhelmed by wild crowds of people. During my walk in Gamla Stan (the Old Town) unintentionally I found myself in front of Tyska Kyrkan, the Old German Church from the XVI century. On the pin board it said that at 6 pm there would be a Vivaldi concert performed by New Hamburg Philharmonics. Perfect! I had been dreaming about going to a classical music concert for the past few days and here it was happening right in front of me in that charming little church. For about an hour and a half I absolutely forgot about the whole outside world. The music was marvelous and the atmosphere of the church with rays of sunlight entering through the stained glass was spectacular. I walked out feeling a bit dizzy and moved and slowly walked my way to the train station from where I went to Uppsala.
Uppsala – friends’ reunion
Katarina was waiting for me on the train station. I had been dreaming of this moment for the past 10 years, I finally made it to visit her! It was pretty late at night so we had a supper at home and caught up before going to bed. Tomorrow was a big day – annual Uppsala’s Culture Day and a brunch with her sisters.
For brunch we went to an open-air restaurant where she always goes with her sisters on that very day. As per her sisters’ annual tradition we had exquisite oysters and champagne. Pretty fancy beginning of the day! In America I met only one of Katarina’s siblings and now I had the pleasure of meeting the other one plus her husband and children. All together they seemed like perfect family, you could tell right away that they are very close and love each other. Seeing them made me think again of my family and how I always wished to have siblings. I have a fantastic half sister, who I love dearly, but she’s 17 years younger than me and unfortunately I see her only occasionally. However, I hope that one day when she grows up we will talk and see each other more.
After our superb brunch the girls took me for a trip around Uppsala, which is the 4th biggest city in Sweden. It is home to the oldest University in Sweden and therefore many students, and because of its close distance to Stockholm (about 70 km) it is a common choice for many people working in Stockholm to live. Still, it is quite small and doesn’t have high buildings or skyscrapers. Definitely it has its own charm. I liked it a lot. I was lucky, because Katarina’s friend who joined us used to be a guide of Uppsala Cathedral, where among many rest King Gustav Vasa and Gustavianum, and there is a XVII century anatomical theater. I got a very detailed and interesting tour and afterwards we headed home for some rest. In the evening we went out to see some Asian street dances and for beers. It was a lovely day and I wished I could stay longer, but on Sunday it was time to go back to my farm.
Katarina joined me on a trip to Stockholm where we decided to do some more sightseeing before catching my train to Gnesta. We went to Skansen – an enormous open-air museum and zoo that replicates the way of life in different parts of Sweden before the industrial age and animals living in the country. It is located on one of the city islands from were the views are gorgeous. Among all different animals I had seen there were of course deer and reindeers. But seeing them captured over there made me sad. After all I believe that all animals should be free and where they belong instead of serving our curiosity in places like a zoo or Oceanarium.
My friend walked me back to the train station and we promised to see each other as soon as possible. I went back to Krogstorps Gård with my head full of thoughts.