I was always planning a visit to Linköping. So a couple of weeks ago I had an idea to contact fellow countryman and TL blogger Ben Kersley.
Unknowingly, he’d already told me so much about the place. I’d met him once before after a 110% LAGOM performance where I heckled that I’d rather go back to Hull than, like him, live in Linköping.
As it was, he contacted me first but the initial idea to meet up again still came to fruition. You see that that’s what happens in Linköping, as the city slogan states: ”Where ideas become reality.”
Ben had a couple of great ideas for evenings spent at opposite ends of the cultural spectrum. They became reality.
The first was a few beers at some local haunts; a canal-side cafebar, the main square, a Belgian beer lovers pub and we unexpectedly finished up at Linköping’s underground drum ’n’ bass club. It took us both back to the early 90s – probably around the time most of the club’s clientele were being born.
The second was a tribute to Tage Danielsson – author, poet, comic and much-loved son of the city. It was a show of slapstick sketches, satirical monologues and a of bit of a song thrown in. We maybe didn’t get all of the jokes, or humour, but that old Swedish style of variety entertainment was a bit of a novelty for us two Brits abroad. And here we could be deemed young again.
The venue was Gamla Linköping – the city within a city depicting the streets of the early 1900s. There I made Ben join me in an opportune photo moment, next to a sign which someone had modified for fun. It wasn’t us. We would have gone for something more daring like Gamla Funk Pig which I certainly think is do-able.
I didn’t have much of an idea what I was going to do the next day as I walked into town by the Kinda Canal. There must have was a treasure hunt in progress because kids kept stopping me to ask things I didn’t know like what is the biggest tree/smallest bird/most poisonous flower.
After a while, the subject area must have changed from ’The great outdoors’ to ’Sweden today’ and one group were having particularly difficulty over the name of the Swedish King. I told them smuggly it was Carl Gustaf and that they were cheating by asking passers-by.
But, all would be forgiven if they could direct me to the statue of Folke Filbyter. I hadn’t yet seen it in daylight, only of an evening under the influence of Belgian beer when I mistook it for a sculpture of Yoda.
On the way, I took in the Cathedral which was as big and impressive as they usually are. But it was the underground workings of St Lars’ Church which proved morbidly fascinating. During building work in the 50’s around 40 coffins were discovered as well as remnants of the medieval foundations. It’s fairly dark and dingy and not a place you want to be on your own for too long, especially in the company of skeletons in glass coffins.
So I plodded on to Stora Torget and the statue of Folke Filbyter that I had heard so much but knew so little about. Despite Ben’s worthy effort of living here, and my cross-examination at the tourist office, we still didn’t have the definitive answer as to who he really was.
So I had another idea. To take a microphone along to ask the good people of Linköping themselves. That became reality here.
I have one last idea; to return the favour and show Ben around Hull sometime. Could require a reality check.