The Local: So, a bit of background – who are you and where are you from?
My name is Harold Martinez, I come from beautiful and sunny Venezuela and I am a master's student at Uppsala University.
TL: Is Uppsala worth the 45 minute train ride from Stockholm?
Yes. Uppsala has this feeling of coziness that big cities like Stockholm cannot give, but it’s not so small that you get bored. Also it’s such an important historic place for Sweden. Uppsala was the religious capital of Sweden, the university made Uppsala the centre of knowledge in Sweden, and in the old ages it was an important Viking burial site.
TL: If you had a visitor for just one afternoon, where would you take them to show off the city?
The best place to begin is the Uppsala Cathedral (Domkyrkan). Even if you’re not religious it is so impressive; it’s impossible not to feel the importance of the city when you come from Stockholm by train and see it from far away through the window.
I would take my visitor for a walk beside the Fyris river to see the amazing university, the Anatomic Theater in the Gustavanium Museum and a look to the university's Botanical Garden. And of course, if my visitor is a student, I’d have to show them the lively student scene.
And there is a great walk along the river. You begin from the centre and head south, include a warm stop-off at the famous heated bench, feed the ducks in the pond close to the castle, and then walk around the City Park.
TL: Where is your smultronställe? (A place special to your heart)
This is an easy one. Uppsala has a lot of cafés and all of them have their own charm. For me, the one I like the most is Storken. It’s in the center of the city, and if you can manage to find a seat close to a window you can see the Swedes doing their shopping every Saturday afternoon.
They have a great Greek soup for lunch, and if you’re after a Swedish touch, they have lovely cakes, perfect for a very Swedish fika. It’s normally too crowded to enjoy a book, but it’s an excellent place for a good chat with a friend. I even had a job interview there.
TL: Tell me something about Uppsala that the rest of the world doesn't know.
Well, everyone knows about the university, but when I arrived I didn’t know that a lot of important people grew up here or were educated here. Astronomer Anders Celsius, scientist Svante Arrhenius, diplomat Dag Hammarskjöld, and of course the town hero Carl Linnaeus. Not every town in the world has a botanist as a hero.
TL: And finally, where is the best place in town to take in all of Uppsala at once?
The Uppsala Castle – which is incidentally my second smultronställe. It’s practically the only hill in a very flat city, and you can see everything. The church, the botanical gardens, the city, even the local Ikea. And those charming sunsets!
Being in the castle after 10pm to enjoy a beautiful summer sunset is enough to make you fall in love with Sweden.
Interested in sharing your insights about the best places to visit in your area? Send an email to [email protected] and maybe you'll find yourself featured in an upcoming My Sweden installment.