When I visited last week, Uppsala was not blessed with snow--not a flake to be seen--but it remains a beautiful city with the river that wanders through its heart and the trees stark against pale skies and the bright cafes where you can duck in for a hot chocolate. My father, brother, and I went for a walk along the cobblestones, beginning at the church and ending at the same, after a stop at Cafe Linne, named after Carl von Linne, the famous botanist.
Father and son
Uppsala Cathedral is massively impressive. Its current form comes after three different constructions and reconstructions. Building on the cathedral began most probably in 1273, under the hand of the french stonemason Etienne de Bonneuil. Masons were called in from England, France, and Germany to create something lavish in the modern gothic style. In 1702, almost all of Uppsala was ravaged by a fire. The church towers burned down and were rebuilt in a shorter, rounded style. Finally in the years 1886-1893, the church was returned to its former glory and the two tall spires were rebuilt.
Joel and I walked the halls and listened to the warm notes of the organ. The church was empty, save for a few other souls that had come to admire the architecture. We sat in the pews and leaned forward against the pews in front, and I felt that in that moment, we joined hands with all those worshippers who had gone before, who had looked on the same walls and had fought the same doubts and felt the same surrender to the same, good God. Perhaps it is most telling that we began our journey only a stone's throw from the church steps and ended it within its walls, as if drawn by some subconcious, inexplicable force.