Östersund full day
We woke up in our own time at about 9:00 and got ready. Johanna had some stuff to do later in the afternoon but was able to show me around in the morning and early afternoon. We firstly walked to what is known as the Thermos. Basically it is a giant water heating tank about 7 stories high with a restaurant at the top. We walked up (Well I did. Johanna has problems with her knees) and we got a fantastic view of the country side. It was a perfectly clear day. There was some clouds but the air itself was spotless. The snow was covering everything and made a stunning picture of white with green and the bluey-grey of the river as well. At the base of the Thermos, they were setting up for the biathlon that was being hosted by Östersund was being set up. I think today was going to be the first event. They had set up, at the base of the Thermos, the area where the competitors do the shooting part and I think that is where most people would be spectating from.
When we were done, we took the lift back down (I didn’t really feel like walking down again) and we headed through the suburbs of Östersund down to the lake. The lake is said to house a monster, not unlike the Loch Ness monster but it is far less famous. I guess people don’t try so hard to create dodgy images of it as often. Again I got a nice view of the city as it sort of rose up in front of me and then I had the lake behind me with a bit more of the city on the other side. There was a nice statue which I could take a photo of, great light, nice hills and mountains in the background and it wasn’t so cold. Quite bearable. We walked across a footbridge that went to the island that was the other part of town I mentioned earlier. Apparently, this was the rich end and oldest of town. As we got on the bridge, Johanna pointed out to me that there was a counter of the number of bicycles that went across each day, week, month and year. This year was in the 100,000’s. That’s all I remember. We walked across the bridge and to the other side of the lake. I mean the island. That is more correct. From the other side, we get a good view of the city again, photos (she took one with me in it!!!) and the whole time she was telling me stories about the city and what people do there. What kind of traditions they have (as students) and things like, when the lake freezes over, they use it as a road because it usually gets thick enough. Crazy stuff like that.
At some point, as we were deep in discussion, Johanna stopped and said there wasn’t anything in the direction we were walking and we should turn back. So we did. We walked back over the bridge and to the main town for some lunch. It was about 12:30 by this point. She gave me the choice and I said that I wanted Asian food. I was going to give it one more chance. She knew the perfect place. It was a Japanese/Korean place that didn’t serve sushi, teriyaki chicken (teriyaki anything for that matter) nor did they do Korean BBQ but instead they served what you would find in a cheap Chinese place in a food court and similar quality. I wasn’t really too surprised but it was actually pretty cheap. Only 8Euro for a buffet. They do quite a bit of buffet in Östersund. I guess it’s what the students want. As we finished, Johanna had to go. We picked up some stuff from the shops for later and then she left. I found the tourist info to see what they thought I could do. I had heard they had a good museum of something something but it was too good a day to spend inside so I wanted to know what they thought.
The lady at the tourist info suggested taking a bus to the island, a little bit further around the corner than we had been. The next one left in about 2 minutes and I did miss it. I had to wait 10 minutes for the next and it was pretty easy from there. All of the stops were named so I couldn’t miss it. I hate taking buses normally because, like in Perth, if you don’t know where you are and you don’t know what the streets are called, then your stuffed. I have had problems with that in the past but these actual bus stops were labeled which made it so easy. The bus took about 15 minutes (not walkable before sunset) and the lady was right, it was a good view. The bus took me around to another side of the island that we hadn’t reached on our walk and it had a better view of hills and mountains. To top it off, it was close to sunset. I walked up the hill (the bus dropped me off next to the water’s edge) , taking photos as I went and just enjoying the quite. This area was almost rural and I only saw about 4 cars in the time. Plus with all the nice snow, it just made it really nice. At the top of the hill, it had been cleared of trees so it was an unobstructed view over the lake and hills and mountains plus around the back they had a cemetery. I stayed looking at the view until the sun had well and truly gone (it had actually gone while I was walking up the hill) and then went into the cemetery. It was snowy with very few footprints and even then, some of them were rabbits. Several of the graves had candles lit for them which made it really nice. I actually saw a rabbit and it sat still long enough for me to take a photo. It was like a large version of Whiskey (for those who don’t know, that was our rabbit that we had several years back. The name was a cross between Whiskers and Twitchy if I remember correctly. Named by the children who did not know what whiskey was. The rabbit had no association with whiskey at all in colour, shape or drink preference.). All white with red eyes. Except I think Whiskey had a little bit of grey on the ears and tail and possibly feet. So, if that is true, there was not really enough resemblance to claim that they looked the same but it still reminded me of him.
I didn’t hang around long. I walked out and caught the bus back which left right outside the church. I think I was in the area for about an hour and a half in total. I bussed it back into the centre of town. By this time it was about 3:30. Short side story. When I am searching for a couch, I send out about 7-8 requests to people and usually only one will reply positive. For Östersund, I only sent out about 5 requests and the first person replied quickly (Johanna) with a positive reply. In the time that it took me to accept the reply, someone else called Carina replied with a huge email saying yes and that I would be her first Couchsurfer and she was really excited and that we would be doing this this and that. I had already said yes to someone else so I felt sooo sos osoSOO bad having to send an email back saying I had found someone. I had noticed that they were Couchsurfing friends so I mentioned who I was staying with as well. When I met up with Johanna, she said that they were good friends and when Carina had read my email, she sent a message calling Johanna a bitch for stealing her Couchsurfer. I found this very funny and it made me feel even worse. Anyway, point of that story is that I was going to meet up with Corina then. She was going to adopt me as her Couchsurfer for a bit.
We met up at Johanna’s and she said that Terisa wanted some help with moving some TV’s from her apartment which was in the same building as Johanna. Now two things spring to mind as I write this. Yes, all the students do know each other. Apparently there is only 1800 students at this campus or something close to that figure and Johanna is the president of the student union. One of her main jobs is to meet international students and help them settle into their new town and finding some friends in the same situation. Basically, it means she knows everyone. The other thing I thought of was NO. She did not steal the TV’s and was getting me to do the dirty work of moving them. Her story is (and I believe her) is that she found them in the corridor with other junk and she wanted to see if they would work. Having said that, I hope this post can be used in a court of law as evidence to prove I didn’t know what I was doing when I handled the TV’s. Said under oath. I keep a bible with me… I swear.
Anyway, after moving the goods… I mean Tvs, we went into her…wait, we did the Tvs after… ok so first we sat down and had some tea/coffee and ate lots and lots of junk food. We actually sat around chatting, the three of us, for a couple of hours. Then Johanna showed up and there was four of us drinking tea/coffee and eating lots and lots of junk food. We stayed for a while longer, until about 7, before we left. That’s when we moved the Tvs. There was only two. If more are involved in this case, I have no idea about them.
From there we went to the shops to get food for dinner. I think only three of us went (Terisa stayed back to do ‘study’. aka, ‘wipe the prints’) and when we got back to Johanna’s, she and Carina started the cooking. We were having some weird kind of Swedish bangers and mash that was wrapped in a pita bread together with a prawn puree and lots of other sauces with it. Was pretty strange but it kind of worked. We sat around for ages talking and having a laugh. During the cooking stages and as we were eating and even when we were finished, some more people showed up. These people were an American guy, a couple of Johanna’s Swedish friends, Terisa and Johannas roommate (Anna I think (This one was Finnish) but I also think it might have had an ‘H’ at the front but I was never quite sure so I just said it really fast in the hope no one would notice). We had a great time sitting around. I tought everyone Chopsticks (the game. If you don’t know it, I can’t explain it in real life let alone on a blog) which the mathematician picked up real fast and beat me pretty much straight away. At about 12:00, everyone left and I went to bed. I was really tired for some reason and it annoyed me. I slept really well. Possibly the best bed I had had all trip.