Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fika at the Soldier's Holt

Jennifer Not a five minute walk from our apartment is Soldattorpet, which means "The Soldier's Holt." The Upplands regiment of the Royal Army had several companies; Upsala [sic] Company in turn had eight soldiers, one of whom was sponsored by the village of Norby, which is now the suburb of Uppsala that we live in. In or around 1680, Norby set aside a small area of land for its soldier to farm and live on (a "torp"), and this particular torp has had a soldier living on it up until the 1940s. A local nature trail, one of Linnaeus' botanical walks, has a trailhead right beside it, and apparently Soldattorpet a popular place for people to sit after their stroll through this end of Stadskogen.

The house isn't generally open to the public, but a few times a year the Soldattorpets vänner society sponsors an afternoon fika. 20 SEK gets you some good strong coffee, a choice of baked goods, and the chance to either loiter outside at a picnic table or in the grass, or sit inside and imagine living there yourself. The house is tiny (about the size of our living room), with two stories (a ladder up to the second), and the red color is typical for the region. Its back is to the forest, and its front faces onto a rocky pasture in which one can find our local runestone (more on that later). There are two outbuildings, a woodshed and a smaller shed built partially underground (root cellar? sauna?), and a modern outhouse has been discretely tucked into a glade near the road. There are two rooms on the first floor, with a large fireplace set in the inside wall for the kitchen/living area and presumably the upstairs as well.

We stayed inside, in part because the society had laid out some pictures and historical treatises on the place, and in part because it was not really warm outside. We flipped through the books, then wandered outside to inspect the property (about 2 acres), visit the old fruit trees, admire the sheep pasture... then the clouds started rolling in, and Joe suggested we get for home. We almost made it—in the five minutes it took us to walk back to our apartment past the field and then forest, the gentle rain turned into hail, and we got pretty wet. Joe, in shorts, needed a cup of hot chocolate to warm up from our coffee break.

The little village of Norby is quite proud of its history, I think; at their website you can read all about their general history (first mentioned in writing in 1299), or very specific histories, such as the etymology of the name of each street (no fewer than eleven streets are named after mushrooms, see them listed under "Tema Svampar").

No comments:

Post a Comment