As a town, I’m not sure Norrköping has all that many “tourist attractions”. That may explain why the tourist office was closed today. Yes, there are lakes and forrests, and lots of activities for outdoor. And yes, there are a few museums. But when it comes to attractions which you might introduce with “Sweden’s only…” or “Sweden’s biggest…” you might be struggling. That said, the town does have ancient Viking rock carvings which I set out in search of today.
But not until I’d had breakfast and watched a little bit of sunday morning television. I was hoping for a Simpsons marathon, but ended up with a combination of religious programs, sport, children’s programs, and a couple of highly sexual short films. Yes, really.
When it all became too much for me, I headed off for a walk around the city. I wandered down to the town’s shipping area, hoping for some interesting historic buildings or at least some pretty sights and was disappointed. Yesterday’s analogy about Norrköping being a bit like Newcastle or Wollongng was verified this morning as I wandered around a largely industrial area.
“Where WAS everyone?”, I wondered to myself, until I remembered I was in a country town. Thus, everyone was at the shopping mall. As you might imagine, the shopping malls in Norrköping are a little like every other shopping mall in the world. It was as if Frank Lowy had come to this town and left his mark here as well. There’s nothing especially spectacular about the shopping on offer in Norrköping, though I did buy a new beanie from H&M at the bargain price of $8.00. This one fits a little better than the one I got the other day.
And then for lunch I wandered into yet another English pub. “How do you say this in English?”, I asked the girl behind the counter. For a moment she had to think and then responded with “It’s moose”. “Oh yes, I’ll have that”, I told her. It was reasonably tasty, with a hamburger beef quality, and was accompanied by potatoes, lingon, and that rather odd looking, though very tasty brown gravy you most commonly associate with Swedish meat balls.
And yes, I know what you’re saying. Another English pub. Yes, that’s three at my latest count. I wonder what happened here that’s led to this? Did they all happen at once? Is it part of an expansion by these chain pubs? Or did locals decide they were a good idea? I’m guessing it’s the former, more than the latter. Oh, and the other thing Norrköping has too many of is pizza restaurants. Just about every restaurant in the main part of town seems to serve pizza.
So just when I was feeling a little disappointed that Norrköping was like any other town in the world, I picked up a tourist map from the aforementioned tourist bureau (you push a button and they’re dispensed from a machine), and started to wander around.
There are some great buildings to see, especially down by the river, reflecting the town’s industrial past. There’s one scene, in particular, that looks like something out of the industrial revolution with large mills dominating the landscape.
And then, on my path hoping to find the Viking carvings, I wandered through a wonderful landscape that was, not surprisingly, dominated by snow. But along the way, you pass the church yard which, once again, reflects the town’s cultural diversity with a significant Jewish component. You also pass a crematorium, a mini-golf course, and, as you wander down by the river, you also see ducks, people doing cross-country ski-ing, and families walking about with their children.
For quite some time this afternoon I was really enjoying the moment as I walked maybe 3 or 4km towards the rock carvings. There was absolute peace, aside from the occasional swish-swish sound of someone ski-ing past. And I loved watching the ducks, and walking the people walking their dogs. I had really no idea how far it was until I got to see the rock carvings, so I just enjoyed the walk for all that it could offer. I remembered, this was a holiday, a time for relaxation, as well as a time for enjoying all that Sweden has to offer.
And then finally I saw a sign which indicated he rock carvings were only 400 metres away. So I walked and looked and enjoyed the moment, until finally I saw a sign which told people these were significant carvings, and there were prohibitions in place, such as lighting fires.
“But where were the carvings?”, I thought to myself, and quickly realised they were under about six feet of snow. It was then I started to giggle, realising the long walk had been for nothing. Obviously I need to come back in summer if I want to see the rock carvings. Even the rock carving museum was closed.
Still, it was a very pleasant afternoon, and one which I enjoyed very much.
Unfortunately, walking through all of the snow, I got my feet wet, and as I was walking home I started to get a little worried. My toes starting to feel beyond cold. And by the time I got home, they were borderline numb. So as soon as I arrived home I hopped straight in the shower, hoping to warm up. I also went to bed for a while, as they were still quite cold. I was genuinely worried about the risk of frost-bite. But, thankfully, it wasn’t to be, thanks largely to the recovery action I took in hopping in bed and having an afternoon nap.
Upon waking, I had a bite to eat and began watching last night’s Melodifestivalen which, I missed live, due to attending the Helen Sjoholm concert. There was a real buzz for me watching the show on Swedish TV, and not via a download or DVD. I’m disappointed Alcazar didn’t make it through, especially since Jessica Andersson’s song and performance were so incredibly boring and predictable. I’m also disappointed Orsa Spellman didn’t make it through either, also defeated by Jessica Andersson. But it’s good that Pernilla Wahlgren made it through.
On Friday night, I’m heading off to the dress rehearsal for next weekend’s final at Globen and can’t wait.
I’m hoping I won’t be disappointed as I was today in not getting to see the Viking rock carvings. I’m sure I won’t.