Linköping is quite small, about a 100,000 people. A university town, the old seat of a bishop so home to a cathedral and all the bishop’s faded magnificence and a handful of medieval maze-like streets and old buildings that are quite wonderful.
I somehow lost all the pictures from our wander round that first day. It’s a bit tragic. So there is no cathedral to see here, no narrow winding streets that convince you that wonder and beauty lie just up ahead.
Of course, there were few of those streets here, fewer left in situ. The government seems rather fond of picking entire buildings up and moving them safely out of the way of development. I suppose it’s better than knocking them down, but it is such a curious way to deal with history. It sanitises history in a way, excises it from the city and puts it safely to one side where you can visit it at your leisure.
Still, Linköping had some gracious spaces, lovely old buildings, a lively square where everyone had retired to drink beer in the fading sunlight after work. It had parks and sculptures and boulevards and wonderful bike lanes and many people didn’t even bother to lock their bikes up.
All of this I leave to your imagination.
There is a single photo of a church remaining from the very busy day following because it was my favourite church and I liked how the light fell on it:
The churches are very beautiful here.
They did have an open air museum as well — it is where I took myself off too while the examiners were meeting before the defense.
It was, to be honest, the most opaque ‘museum’ I had ever been to. I wasn’t even sure I was in it, but I was almost certain given these great double-decker barns. This was my favourite, and I love the beautiful way these massively cut stones fit together:
Of course, from my recent farming experience I learned that livestock here is undoubtedly kept inside over the winter and hay and grain would also have to be stored, so these make so much sense.
I still enjoyed their awesomeness more than their practicality.
The second two-story barn had open doors and signs in swedish and I poked my head in and found rabbits and a horse, so thought I probably was in the museum.
And then a sign! This was Valla Farm, a large farm standing here since the 19th Century, the stables before me to the left built in 1860s also served as storage for wagons…to the right, those to the left built in 1875 served as a cowshed.
An old picture:
I love that they cared enough to make this barn quite beautiful.
The main house, built in 1859:
I wandered up there wondering if that was were more information or anything at all to tell me more. But no, nor in the other more substantial building beside it.
Finally I found this map.
It didn’t help too much.
I found more signs hidden away beside a kind of corral on flowers and the cycle of harvesting wood:
The last didn’t need translation exactly, but I missed it a little.
I wandered back and around and found the second, and main, section of the Folkhögskola. Here finally were signs showing some buildings that apparently you were allowed to enter and did serve as museums. Just not that day. They were clearly closed. These were the buildings moved here from surrounding countryside to be preserved while making way for development.
One of the buildings housed the museum detailing the history of water and sewage I think. I think this was it.
There were also some goats and some chickens, and horses, and mums pushing prams full of screaming children, and some play areas. A pond with a heron. Some rather spooky empty cages. More rabbits. Lots of wildflowers. I almost wish we’d had another day here to visit the other museum or perhaps wander a bit in the woods, but off we went to Stockholm and really, I had no regrets about that.