Swedish beer is divided into classes according to its alcohol content. There are class I (lättöl), class II (folköl) and class III (starköl) beers with a class I beer being the weakest (alcohol 2,25 %) and a class III beer being the strongest beer (alcohol > 4,6 %).
Class I and II beers are available in supermarkets, whereas class III is only on sale in licensed stately owned shops called Systembolaget or in pubs, bars and restaurants.
During my one week Sweden trip in October 2013 I drank quite a few Eriksberg, Falcon and Pripps Bla beers. All three beers are pale lager beers, which are produced by the world famous Carlsberg Brewery.
In October 2013 the price for a big class III beer in a pub or restaurant was something between 39 and 70 Swedish Crowns. The cheapest price was only available during some sort of happy hour events.
Sweden is a member of the European Union (EU) since 1995, but not a member of the so called Euro-Zone. That is why the local currency is not the Euro, but the Swedish Crown (Svensk krona).
One Swedish Crown is subdivided into 100 Öre. Banknotes have the following values 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 Crowns.
Cash money is available from cash points (ATMs) or exchange offices. However, credit cards are widely accepted and in use, but the pin code is almost always required.
My Swedish friends told me about this almost as soon as I got here and you will find it is the practice in many of the 'traditional' coffee houses (so probably not in places like Wayne's Coffee). You purchase your first cup of coffee and it is either poured for you or you are given a cup and told to help yourself. When you are finished that cup you are, unless otherwise told, welcome to a second cup for free - again if the coffee is self-serve just help yourself otherwise go up to the counter and request it.
I have had a free second cup at several places (Cafe Kardemumma in the public library, the Storken coffee room on the main square, the cafe at Gamla Uppsala and even the budget cafe in Ekeby near the Ekeby Industrihus) although it should be noted that the cafe inside the Saluhallen has a sign saying that refills are 5 kr (in Swedish). I suspect you could try your 'unaware tourist' pose there and likely get a free second cup.
Midsummer may simply refer to the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, but more often refers to specific European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place around the 24th of June and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between cultures.
Nations are organizations for university students and some have been around since the 1600's. Their names are the names of the places where the nation students come from, and while they're not political organizations they run their own restaurants, disco nights, parties, sports/music/theater events, libraries, nation specific activities and help students find a place to live. These activities are carried out by the members of the nations.
Some nations were formed as far as the 1600's and their objective was to have a place where students from the same part of the country could meet and hang out with each other.
In Uppsala there are 13 active nations and for all university students it's mandatory to join one of them. Those who don't want to belong to any of these nations can join a fictive one called Skånelands nation, where they just pay the fee but then they don't have access to the events arranged by the other nations.
Something curious I've noticed: all the nations in Uppsala have their houses on the same side of the river (the west side) but Gotlands nation.
As Uppsala is a university town, there are certain university quirks one must acknowledge while visiting or living in Uppsala. One of the most significant things is probably the student nations.
The student nations are like big clubs for everyone; think Greek system except inclusive or all students and much, much more fun. There are 16 nations, each named after a region in Sweden, and each one has its own character and offerings ranging from club nights and pubs and choirs and sport clubs.
The reason nations are important for the public to remember is because 1) nations have some services for the public, and 2) what happens at nations can affect areas surrounding the nations. Some nations rent out their space at somewhat reasonable prices, but prices aimed at not only paying for the service but helping fund the nation's total operations. Organizations who rent the nation rooms do so with thoughts in mind that they are helping the nation quite a bit. Also, during club nights (specifically Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays) and gasque nights (typically Saturdays), there tend to be a lot of student roaming the streets and taking taxis back to primarily student areas like Studentvägen and Flogsta.
Valpurgis (30 April) is more important in Uppsala than anywhere else in Sweden I think. We all celebrate the arrival of spring with songs, especially in the university towns, but Uppsala with its old traditions and many students is the most atmospheric. Here, students gather at the Gunilla Belfry in the castle grounds to sing and at 15.00, everyone puts their student hats on outside the Carolina Rediviva. There are also lots of student activities on the river and cultural events going on in the city throughout the day (and night).
The belfry was originally given to the castle church by King Johan III's wife, Queen Gunilla in 1588. It was restored in 1759 and you have great city views from its base. It traditionally rings in the evening to remind the citizens of Uppsala not to carry open fire at night.
Uppsala is one of the major Swedish student towns, and most students in Sweden uses the bike for transportation. And as you can see from this picture, taken outside the central station in Uppsala, there must be a lot of students.
The county of Uppland is quite flat but through Uppsala goes a boulder-ridge. On top of the ridge is Uppsala Castle standing. And as you can see on the picture the flat landscape of the Uppsala Plain is spreading out behind the cathedral.
The river floating through Uppsala is called Fyrisån. During the springfestival of April 30 there is a boatrace on the river. People make there own "boats", boats made in different themes. As you can guess several of the boats don't succed to go futher then the small waterfall on the picture. It is usually very crowded with people along the river that day and it can be hard to get a glimps of the boats if you are not there in time.
Among all the Wild Ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) in the pond there was one lonely Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) this winterday in the end of December. It was cleaning itself and did not pay any attention to what was happening around.
In the beginning of the 17th century Uppsala looked like most Swedish towns with narrow streets going in all directions, following no particular plan. But Uppsala was an important town. It had the cathedral and the archbishop, it was there the Swedish regents were coronated, and it had a university. It was desided in 1643 that the town was going to have a new appearance with straight streets. Houses were torn down or moved.
Most of the city from the 17th century was burned down at a fire 1702.
The cathedral was built on the west side of the river Fyrisån. It is also there where the university was built. Uppsala became a devided city for centuries with the church and university on the west side and the craftsmen and merchants on the east side.
In the park below the university building there are a few runestones. This runestone was written during the 12th century and was erected in memory over somebody who died.