Three Club weekend in Uppsala, Sweden 2019

An annual link with the link clubs

3 Club weekend in Uppsala, Sweden.

The weekend was based at the Grand Hotel Hornan, close to the city centre and overlooking the river and cathedral.

Most members arrived about tea-time on Friday though some had travelled a day earlier to take advantage of direct flights from Bristol. After a brief reception we set off for the 200 metre walk to a pub for supper (choice of 3 mains) with wine, beer or soft drink and coffee. The pub was also a micro-brewery and we had a short talk from the owner about the brewing and the history of the building.

Following a buffet breakfast which offered huge variety, all you could eat and more, we set off to the University where we were shown round ‘Sormlands-Narks Nation’. There isn’t really an equivalent at UK universities but it’s a sort of cross between a junior common room, student union and bar. The building was designed to look like a small French chateau and the interior also has French influences. We then went to the University Museum which illustrated the development of the Uppsala University from its founding with just a handful of students in 1477 to the present day – now there are over 47,000 students. The museum also preserves one of the oldest Anatomy Theatres which we sat in to hear an explanation (no cadavers!).

Then we slogged (gently) uphill to Uppsala Castle, which as well as hosting us to lunch was the venue for the end of a cycle race. Over coffee we listened to a presentation from three students who are Rotary Peace Fellows. The two men and one woman were from Ghana, Guatemala and Nepal. Each year Rotary International selects and sponsors 50 students to study for a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution studies. Uppsala is one of 5 universities round the world with a Rotary Peace Centre. Students can (and do) come from anywhere in the world. 

As they say in the travel brochures, the afternoon was at leisure, which gave us a chance to explore some of the other sights of this historic and beautiful city.

Early evening saw us boarding a coach for a short drive to Eklundshof – which in a previous life had been the officers’ mess for a Swedish Army training base. Pre-dinner drinks were followed by an excellent meal, interspersed with (brief) speeches from each of the three presidents and entertainment from a brass sextet + singer. 

On Sunday morning we were woken by a thunderstorm but by the time we had eaten another enormous breakfast (well you have to get full value) the rain had ceased and the sun was breaking through. Time for packing and then by (Nykvarn) members’ cars to Skokloster Castle. It’s a magnificent, lake-side baroque edifice with an enormous collection of weapons and armour. An unusual feature is the unfinished banqueting hall. Work stopped over 3 centuries ago when the count died and has hardly been touched since, so the huge hall is real life 17th century building site complete with pulleys, scaffolding and tools.

Those that didn’t have to leave to catch flights were then taken on to Sigtuna, one of Sweden’s oldest towns dating back to the 10th century. Tea (or in my case hot chocolate with whipped cream) was served by a comely wench (sorry, an attractive modern, Swedish, young woman wearing traditional servant costume) and then it was time to head to the airport and our return home.

So why go next time. Well in short, if you fancy a good value weekend city break where someone else has organised an interesting programme and everything is included – even a warm welcome and good company guaranteed, what do you have to lose?

What did it cost? £240 pp for the weekend (2 nights D,B&B + excursions), Margaret and I paid £53 each for the return flight from Bristol and struggled to spend £50 on drinks and extras.

In return we had a fantastic weekend with friends for life.

Richard Austin