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Trip to Sweden

Posted <2023-03-14 Tue 20:03> by Aaron S. Jackson.

I last went to Sweden (I think) in 2015. Last time I think I spent the first night in Stockholm and decided it was too busy, before spending the rest of the trip in Uppsala. This time, I did the opposite. I wanted to go back to Uppsala, but spending the last night (tonight) in Stockholm after visiting some museums. I'm not really sure why I like Uppsala, it's a fairly small city but has everything you'd want and is easy to walk around. Unfortunately I decided to fly, and with Ryan Air to make matters worse - next time I want to take the Eurostar to Hamburg, then the sleeper train to Stockholm.

It was a pretty rough landing as the runway kept getting coated in snow. We had to circle the airport at least twice while they ploughed it. The flight left at 04:45 from Birmingham International. I got the train the night before and hung around the airport for about 6 hours. It was quite boring, but cheaper than a hotel.

Upon arrival, I was starving, and got a MAX "Crispy No Chicken" burger for breakfast. This ended up becoming a bit of an addition during the holiday, probably consuming around 7 of these burgers during the week away.

Next was travelling from Arlanda to Uppsala by train. It was incredibly snowy in Uppsala and the snow was falling quite heavily. On the ceiling of Arlanda railway station they have some strange black things attached. I think these are for drainage as they seem to line up with the deposits.

After a nap for a couple of hours, I went to WiLLY's to get some food. They sell a really delicious hummus with a blob of tomato sauce in the middle 👌 I also bought some granola. The Swedish Granola experience is so much better than the UK granola experience. First, the box is actually full unlike half filled boxes / bags in the UK. Finally, the granola is not only very cheap, but it's also very delicious.

Next, a bit of walking around Uppsala. Near the apartment I was staying was a nicely coloured grain silo thing. I don't really know what it's called, but on one of the days, they decided to siphon out the sludge at the bottom and it smelt very very very disgusting. Oh yeah, and the MAX in central Uppsala is very nice too - incredibly tall ceilings and nice window arches.

Speaking of my apartment, this is where I stayed. It was quite nice and not too expensive compared to a lot of other options.

A day or so later, I walked to the castle. It's just as pink as I remember. The castle was built by order of King Gustav I. They placed some cannons pointing towards the cathedral in case they got up to any mischief during the conversion from Catholicism to Protestantism.

The castle also hosts an art gallery - the first two floors are free, and there was some interesting bits. Notably a large story wall by Lars Arrhenius, which depicts several intersecting stories of people in London. I was too distracted by this and forgot to take a photo, but it's based on his book.

Speaking of cannons pointing at the cathedral - here's the cathedral. It's actually very beautiful.

Here are a couple of photos of Uppsala covered in snow.

Update Computer Club Now for the best bits! I visited the Update Computer Club. What an amazing place! Unfortunately they had to downsize their building recently as Uppsala University were unable to accommodate them anymore. I had one tour from Andreas where I was able to take some nice photos. Anke also invited me over the next day as she was originally going to give me a tour and she and her boyfriend gave me a bit more background and information about the interesting (cough, DEC) computers. Right, so, first of all, they have a PDP-12. So green and pretty.

You may also notice a Symbolics Lisp Machine! Unfortunately someone pinched the keyboard apparently, which sucks, because they are incredibly rare. They mentioned they may work on a project to build a replica keyboard.

Next up is MAGICA, which was formally a PDP-11/70, but due to some issues with the power supply, was switched out for a DEC datasystem 570, which to be honest is just a blue PDP-11. Unfortunately MAGICA has not been powered up since the move to the new premises. It used to be accessible remotely via telnet full time - you could login as guest and "enjoy" and RSX-11 experience.

They also have a PDP-8 with some nice tape drives. Checkout that wire wrapped drive controller backplane.

Here's old MAGICA

They have an impressive collection of Unibus and Qbus cards. The photo below shows a nice inventory of Unibus cards, but I've been told this isn't all of them. They've also been working on a bit of a microcomputer exhibition space which should hopefully get some people in for donations in due time.

Here's a building from across the river.

Here's me next to the river. I should mention a friend ended up joining me on the trip to Sweden. I didn't bring a tripod :-)

On the second visit, I asked Anke if they have any Update Computer Club stickers. Sadly, they don't, but Anke gave me a sticker for the hackspace in Berlin, where she is from. AfRA stands for "Abteilung-für-Redundanz-Abteilung" which translates to "Department of Redundancy Department", hence the redundant penguin wings. I was more than happy to stick this on my laptop with the rest of the stickers.

Instead of MAX, we decided to try Bastard Burger. They had some great vegan burgers and I can say with all honesty that this was probably the best non-beef "beef" burger I've ever had. Also, checkout how Postnord deliver their post in Uppsala :-)

Unfortunately that brings us to the end of the Uppsala experience. I decided to take a photo of the bike racks outside of Uppsala Centralstation - this wasn't even half of them. Uppsala is definitely a cycling city.

Unlike Uppsala, my first photo of Stockholm is a bunch of cars.

We travelled to what is pretty much the "museum island" - they had so many museums, and apparently, some nice Pride representation.

Vasa Museum - The first museum we went to was the Vasa Museum. This was essentially built around a ship which only managed to sail for 1.5km before a small gust of wind tilted it to its side. The cannon ports were too low and it took on water immediately. Sort of embarrassing in hindsight. The ship was very impressive though. It's amazing to see how carefully they control the environment for the ship, while still allowing people to explore it from the outside. The size of the ship is insane.

The Viking Museum After the Vasa Museum, we took a short walk to the Viking Museum. This was also fun, and had a small ride which I can't really explain very well. It was basically a story about a guy who had to go get some silver. Bit weird.

Tekniska Museet - Finally, we hopped on the bus to the Museum of Technology. It was only a few stops away, but it was raining. This was great, there was so much to see, it was a bit overwhelming.

Finally, to the hotel, where we will spend tonight before flying back to Birmingham tomorrow morning.

Bye Sweden! I'll miss you until next time!

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Copyright 2007-2023 Aaron S. Jackson (compiled: Tue 14 Mar 21:08:52 GMT 2023)