I wake up at 5:00 a.m. Fredrick is in the shower, takes time to shave… more or less half an hour… I take the advantage to stay between the sheets a little longer. When my turn comes, I take a quick shower and I’m ready in 5 minutes. We put our luggage—all the gifts and trinkets that will be part of the new apartment—into the mafia car. We have a full thermos of coffee and hot Kanelbulle. I’m grateful for Fredrick’s parents for their fantastic hospitality; we are ready to leave again!
Eurovision songs as usual escort us during the return of this fantastic trip. It’s a wonderful day, the sun is already strong at 7:00 a.m!
FIKA, Coffee break in Umeå. We pass in front of a circus and get close to see the camels in the paddock. I confess to Fredrick that I’m opposed to circuses with animals because I heard abominable things about it. I think it’s fair that wild animals remain in their natural habitat rather than be brutally beaten and live in an enclosure. I much prefer a circus like the Cirque du Soleil where there are no animals and yet, the circus is full of talents. Fredrick supports my cause giving me a wink, and we take the opportunity to do another tour of the city by car.
He tells me that decades ago a fire burned down the entire city; only two buildings escaped the flames. Most of the buildings were constructed of birch wood, therefore the name “Umeå Björkarnastad,” the city of birches. One of the buildings that survived the fire, Skrinskavillan, was a villa belonging to a doctor and is currently being used for events such as private parties, weddings, and concerts. Fredrick calls it “The Pink House” because of its exterior color and also because once a month it holds a gay party.
After seeing the Appeal Court and the Town Hall we leave behind the city to come back to the South. We pass again the ‘Högankustenbro, the highest bridge in Sweden, this time with clear skies; the site is all the sharper and I can see the Högankustenpark, the national park on the north coast.
During our journey we pass a sculpture, a Y, in Timrå. The artist Bengt Lindström has created a magnificent focal point for all who pass. In fact, it is in the “E 4” at the entrance of the Midlanda airport. For a moment, I’m struck by the bright bright colors—yellow, green, red, blue, and white—and by the height—about 30.5 meters—; the surface area is 800 square meters. The sculpture is isolated from the other monuments and can be seen by all who pass through. The letter “Y” in itself represents a significant landmark, a symbol of Västernorrland; it looks like a giant, extending his hands to the sky in joy, a symbol of victory and freedom, or it can be interpreted as a mighty tree, symbolizing a positive future for the region of Västernorrland. I read in the guide in Swedish that the sculpture was inaugurated in September 1995 and it weighs 700 tons.
We take a break in Sundvall; we’re halfway already. We stop to admire this lovely city which is the fourteenth largest city of Sweden. The city is the capital of Västernorrland and overlooks the Gulf of Bothnia, the northern part of the Baltic Sea: we are in north-central Sweden. There are still 395 km to Stockholm.
Fredrick doesn’t stop talking; he fills me with information; it is perfect for traveling and actually when a person talks, it leads me to speak too and share own opinions, but after 4 hours, I’m fascinated and stunned by so much talking! Anyway, Fredrick is a great traveling companion; sometimes I kid with him, telling him to be silent for a moment, but then I smile a and he realizes that I’m joking.
We arrive in Uppsala at 5:30 p.m.; before heading to the center we stop to have dinner at Max; it has now become a habit. With Mats I got used to the United bakery, with Fredrick it’s definitely Max. I remember that during our conversations with the Inger I told her I tried the burgers at Max and I liked it. She confessed that she preferred another Swedish fast food called Sybille! At that moment I thought that Sybille was the fast-food favorite for the lesbians, while Max was for the gays!
I let Fredrick decide; he orders a triple cheeseburger with french fries, and fried onions to share—I don’t have to kiss anyone—and extra sauce!