Corpsfest and Folkdancing

Trip Start Jan 08, 2010
Trip End Sep 27, 2010

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Flag of Sweden  , Gotland,
Saturday, January 23, 2010

It's been a fun-filled couple of days here in Krukmakarens Hus.  We went for a walk with the class on Thursday morning which was freezing fun.  We walked from the Eastern Gate around to the Northen Gate and up one of the towers.  We have a photo of this tower in the Visby Tour blog, it's the one that has been rebuilt with the wooden platforms and stairs etc. which would have been there originally for the archers and guards to stand on.  It was amazing to have the view over the ocean and the city that people nearly 1000 years ago would have had.  They must have been tough back then, I have no idea how the night guards would have survived in the winter.  I can only guess that they wore whole reindeers as coats or something.

On friday we got an early mark so we were able to actually get out in the 'sun'light.  Pekka was keen to do something with us folk who live in the house so we russled up some more toboggans (a word which no-one understands here, they call it something starting with 'm' i think) and took them for a spin outside the wall.  It was the first time Owen had gone tobogganning and Pekka says he doesn't do winter sports, so it was up to Emelie to show us how it's really done.

Pete and Owen were game enough to go down the motherhill mentioned in our previous blog, but the motherhill came off on top and the boys got rather battered and bruised (pete says 'i hurt my bottom' i say 'it's your own silly fault').  Emelie showed them both up by wisely choosing the smoother but still steep side paths of the runs instead of going hell-for-leather down the bumpy, icy middle bits.  I stuck to the shorter fluffier, but still nice and steep, hills and came away with only a couple of bruises. The toboggans are really hard to steer though so one time I accidently hit a jump that someone had made and tried to bale out half way but ended up just going over it on my knees. Thought I would have black and blue knees after that but surprisingly I'm all good.  We got some hilarious videos on our camera (mainly of pete hurting himself and screaming like tarzan) but we can't upload them in their current format.  We'll work on fixing them and hopefully put them up later.
Today (Saturday) we had 'corpsfest' which was a get together of some of the people who come to the corps here.  We started off at the highschool near here and did some mingling outside in the freezing cold.  All the people in the corps are really friendly and interested to know who we are and what we're doing there, so we're never short of someone to talk to.  We and our Nigerian friends were doing starjumps and running on the spot trying to keep warm while the Swedes looked on in polite interest.  We then went inside and cooked together in the school classroom-kitchens in groups.  We made a tasty carrot pasta sauce which is really cheap (carrots are about the only cheap fresh vegie here at about 30c a kilo), i'll have to get someone to decode the recipe for me so we can make it again.  I was lucky and got to be in a group with a Zambian-Swede mother who knows how to both read swedish AND cook (jackpot), so I had great time.

After eating we walked down to Stora Torget (Town Square) and then back to Krukmakarens Hus and had Fika (coffee/tea/nibbly sweets, a Swedish tradition, ooo I sound all Swede-savvy) and played a weird game.  The game makes the players look like they're trying to excrete into a bottle to put it nicely.  Basically you have to tie a pen to a piece of string, then tie the string to your back belt-loop with the pen hanging down behind you and try to squat the pen into a bottle which is on the floor. Very tricky and incredibly unflattering. Let us never speak of it again... ;)

Mum will be proud of me now: after that we went upstairs to Oscarsalen (the church hall for those of you who can't remember the tricky names for things) where a group of people from the general communtity come to play fiddles and dance in traditional Swedish fashion.  There were about 25-30 people there with 4 different groups of people playing their instruments at different times.  Some of the people there really knew how to dance well but others are just learning and some are just there to scoot around and have fun.  The guy who was playing when we first arrived was playing the traditional Swedish instrument called a Nickleharp.  It sounded amazing and looks like a guitar/fiddle with keys on it.  Apparently this guy has won several world championships of Nickleharpering, truly a world class harpie. 

We were greeted very warmly when we arrived and one of the ladies who organises these very casual events and also teaches this kind of dancing, showed us a bit about what to do and how to do it.  It looked pretty simple but was actually really tricky.  She showed us individually and then we had a go together but just ended up fudging our way around the room.  One of the guys there saw we were thoroughly confused and whispered to just fake it before whirling off into the distance.  We took a few photos but then the camera ran out of battery. It was really fun though so we'll definitely drop in again next time it's on in a few weeks' time and hopefully won't have forgotten everything our friendly teacher taught us by then. 

It's great living here, everything is within walking disance.  If we want to go to a church event, we just walk downstairs.  If we want to go to the folk dance it would actually be harder to avoid going because we literally have to walk through the room they're in to get to our rooms. It's great!  We realised today while walking to the shops that we live in a fairlytale gingerbread village with candy-coloured houses and icing sugar everywhere!  
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hannah.goanna on

Looks great! I'm embarassed to admit I misread corpsfest as corpse-fest and started thinking it was either some cultural equivalent of the Mexican Day of the Dead... or something far more sinister!
Love the photos, keep them coming x

Emelie on

So it's spelled "toboggan"? Now I won't forget that word for "pulka" again.
About the bottle and pencil game....haha!

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