We decided to do a bit of sightseeing this morning, then spend the afternoon swimming. The promised trade-off kept the kids going and happy this morning. We started with Gamla Uppsala (once we disregarded ms tomtom's request to park up in someone's front yard - a worryingly frequent occurrence!) which is the Old Uppsala, or original town site. Most famous are the burial mounds from the Viking age. There are 3 large mounds, and 250 other burial sites. 2 of the 3 mounds have been excavated and cairns found inside with molten remains of human bones, fabric, jewels, metal and animal remains. There is no definitive story but they think they are Viking king graves. There are various stories all imparting the importance of the area, even some about supposed pagan temples and rituals! The archbishops diocese was here until the cathedral burnt down in the 1200's and they decided to move both to the new Uppsala, further upstream. We walked around the mounds, enjoying the countryside and the information. Decided to forgo the museum there and head into main Uppsala to see the cathedral. Central Uppsala is very pretty with stone buildings, cobbled streets, a booming bicycle culture and lots of cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating. There's a river meandering through the centre with stone bridges bedecked in bright flowers crossing at regular intervals. The area is definitely more pedestrian and bike themed, always nice. The cathedral was, although large, not terribly impressive on the outside. But inside, high curving stone ceilings, side chapels, and every surface painted with beautiful fresco's. Truly lovely. Gustav Vasa's remains lie here - a nobleman who ski'd into Mora (our previous destination) in the 1500's wanting help with a civil uprising against the occupying countries. He was rebuffed and ski'd off towards the border. Once he left, the citizens of Mora changed their minds and sent two representatives to chase him. The uprising was successful and Gustav became the first king. By the by, they have a yearly 90km cross country ski race that ends in Mora to commemorate that event!
After the cathedral we walked back along the river and stopped for lunch at a little place with outdoor couches. It was so sunny and bright today. We had a delicious (though decidedly not Scandinavian) lunch of mixed meze with dips, salad, bread and the yummiest falafel. Felix made a complete and utter mess - a mark of any mealtime!
On the way back I went to the supermarket to pick up some bits. It is very hard to shop in another country. It's always hard having to find your way around a new store, but to do it not being able to understand anything is extra time consuming. If I didn't know there were 4 people waiting for me I'd enjoy it more as I love looking at the different food items they have. One funny thing was, that a couple of times on 'come dine with me' they've had people who made what they called a 'swedish sandwich' as a starter. This sandwich consisted of layers of bread piled up with whatever ingredients they could muster, and the whole thing was smothered in mayonnaise, wrapped in cheese or smoked salmon and decorated with more seafood and herbs. It always tends to look very slapdash and messy. Jason and I have always thought these people made up such a gormless, unappetising dish but today...what did I see in the supermarket deli??? Yes - a Swedish sandwich, exactly as described!
Managed to make it back to the waterpark by about 2, and spent the next 3 hrs having bucketloads of fun. It was basically a huge indoor pool complex (the outdoor part was closed out of high season), which had waterslides, a pirate island, a current with a cave, various waterfalls, floating toys, a bubble pool, different chdrens areas with mini slides and decorations, bridges and 2 spas. Unfortunately the main pool areas were a bit too cold for Meg and Felix, who started shivering not long into it. The spas were good relief and we did find a separate warmer pool that they were happier in. After discovering that she went considerably slower (and thus less terrifying!) on her own, Emily was hooked on the waterslides for the afternoon. Jason and I took it in turns 'accompanying' her, and secretly loved it. Was wonderful to just relax and have fun, all of us together. It may have even been my favorite holiday moment thus far - all of us in the pool enjoying ourselves.