Sunday, 19 July 2009


We promised the kids a little train excursion. Uppsala, a university town 45 minutes north of Stockholm, was our chosen destination.

It was another hot day. We carefully selected seats next to a window that opened. Lexie had been a big disappointment so far. "You've been a big disappointment, Lexie." "Why? I've been a good boy." "Exactly. You're not providing me with any material. If you don't do something crazy soon, I'm going to have to make it up. Like a proper journalist."

I didn't feel like looking around Åhléns with the rest of the family. You can guess what I wanted: beer. I arranged to meet them in 30 minutes. Now where was I likely to find a pub?

It didn't look promising at first. Like most town centres, the shopping district was full of, well, shops. I've picked up a few things of my decades spent travelling in search of booze. I headed towards the cathedral.

Sure enough, refreshment possibilities began to appear. Mostly of the posher kind. Down by the river I found something more suitable. "A beer, please. Do you have any bigger glasses than that?" "No." I had to make do with a 40cl measure. Only 49 crowns, though.

Sitting in the shade at the side of the river, I was soon in relaxation mode. The place was called Åkanten, so I'm guessing the river is called the Å. (I should really look that up, shouldn't I? Perhaps that could be a little project for you.) The weir was close by, adding a natural background music of tumbling water. A breeze cooled my brow. Perfection.

The beer? It was cold and Carlsberg. I couldn't afford to be fussy. Cold and alcoholic was good enough. Hang on, that could be a description of me, cold and alcoholic. That's not really true. I'm hot in every sense of the word. Except the sexual one. So let's change that. I'm like Irish coffee, hot and alcoholic. Like many of the English, I'm an emotional type. Excitable even. But that discussion is for another time. I was just chilling. Literally.

I took the family back to Åkanten to eat. Just 79 crowns a pop. Very nice it was, too.

On the way back to the station Lexie bought some long balloons in a toy shop. They were about the only thing he could afford. The type of balloon clowns bend into animal shapes. (A skill Lexie has picked up since our return.) I should get him more tired. Then he might become entertainingly crazy again. "Do you fancy shouting 'vodka!' in the Systembolaget?" "Daaad."

S:t Eriks Torg 8.
75310 Uppsala.
Tel: +46 18 15 01 50

1 comment:

The said...

> I'm guessing the river is called the Å

It is called the Fyris (usually as "Fyrisån" -- "the river Fyris".)

"Å" means river; it is derived from the Indoeuropean word for "water" (cf. aqua; similar to the "-ach" ending of many German place names.)