Saturday, August 25, 2012

Moving to Flogsta

After a night in my cell it was time to move to Flogsta, my new home for the year.  But first I had to eat breakfast. The breakfast from Centralstation Vandrarhem Uppsala cost 60 SEK but I really needed the convenience. It was very similar style to the complimentary breakfast at hotels in America. The only thing different was that everything was in Swedish. That really didn’t matter for things like orange juice or cereal I could pretty much guess by the pictures. The real problem is the dairy products. There were like six different milk containers and I had no idea which was which. So in my jet lagged haze I grabbed the nearest one and poured it on my cereal. What came out was a thick yogurt like paste which I think is just plain yogurt but I couldn’t be completely sure.  I ate it anyways and spent the next twenty minutes watching people prepare their food in attempt to try and figure out the proper way to eat breakfast in Sweden. After breakfast I took some time to walk around the downtown area of Uppsala. I was still in a haze from the plane ride and didn't quite soak up what I was seeing but I did manage to take a number of photos. 

Uppsala Cathedral it is a major landmark in the city skyline. Which makes it hard to lose your orientation. There were a bunch of Russian tourists checking out the cathedral when I walked by.

This is Uppsala University's library. A bit different from SSUs

The Fyris River cuts Uppsala into an east and west side. The university and cathedral are on the east. The newer downtown area is on the west side. Flogsta is east side. 

Uppsala Castle is another land mark that dominates the skyline. 

Clouds in Uppsala Castle
The clouds here are insane. They match the bipolar weather.

Getting to my student housing in Flogsta from downtown isn’t that hard at all. There is a direct bus that goes from downtown to Flogsta. The hard part is buying the bus ticket. You cannot buy the ticket on the bus with cash; you have to use a debit card. To buy a ticket with cash you have to go to a convenience store buy it from them. Once I figured that out the bus ride was smooth sailing. I did my best to try not to break any of the unwritten rules of public transit while taking up seat space while carrying my massive bags of luggage.

The housing office didn’t open until one but I arrived at around eleven thirty. So I plopped myself on a mossy rock next to a discarded bike and took in my surroundings. Luckily it was only a few minutes before an exchange student from Germany arrived and we got to chatting. Soon there were a few more exchange students milling about the rocks near the housing office. We chatted and after we got our keys agreed to meet up to explore the town.  I’ll go more into more detail about the city of Uppsala and my interactions with other exchange students in a future post. Right now I want to talk about my home for the year.

Flogsta was built in the 1970s and looks the part. There are sixteen buildings in Flogsta with twelve of them being primarily used by students. Each building is seven stories high with two student corridors on each level. Each corridor houses about twelve students. This comes out to be around two thousand residents of Flogsta.  That morning however it did not look as though this was densely populated living area. There were few people walking around but it was mostly empty… except for bikes, there are hundreds if not thousands of bikes around Flogsta.  They are strewn across the ground in various states of decay or locked up to trees or filling up the lines of bike parking outside of each building.

My corridor is on the first floor of building one. My floor is odd in that there is only one corridor. In the space where there is normally a second corridor there is a kindergarten. Yeah there is a children’s school in the base of a student housing complex. In America I feel like a college dorm would be the last place you would want to send your small impressionable child. I guess living across from a kindergarten is better than living across the hall from rowdy neighbors. But apparently the little Swedes come marching in at about seven in the morning to a chorus of children’s laughter. Maybe I should take the eight AM basic Swedish course…

In contrast to the buildings the area surrounding Flogsta is beautiful. Flogsta seems to have been built in the middle of a forest, probably as an effort to hide the horrendously ugly architecture. There are bike paths snaking throughout the woods with beautiful fields of green grasses and communal gardens stretching for hundreds of meters before reaching more forest. The first few days when I kept waking up to bright sunshine at five in the morning, I took the time to walk around and explore the area around Flogsta. It is very peaceful and contrasts nicely with the student-project atmosphere of Flogsta. I think I am going to like living here.

The Swedish August. This is where I go shopping

Flogsta from the roof. 

Dawn at 5:20 AM

Cell tower I think. There were a bunch of warning signs in Swedish leading up to it. 

Another living area by the bike path. To the left there is a large communal garden. 

The phrase left to the anarchy sign translates to "Sweden must die", a warm welcome when walking back from downtown

There are fields like this all around the surrounding area. It somehow makes the sky look bigger.

Flogsta emerging from the woods. 

Main drag of Flogsta


  1. Did you see any cats? How's your room? Are there lots of rules?

    1. I saw a really fluffy cat the other day. Like hellla fluffy. It kind of looked like Pepper. There are no rules here.

    2. You should have taken a picture. I bet they don't need rules because all the Swedes are so disciplined already.