When traveling through Europe, it is tempting to visit only the major cities, fill your Instagram with photos to make your friends jealous, and then leave. However, I would argue that a lot of Europe’s charm comes from outside the major cities, in the countryside. I had the pleasure of experiencing this first-hand during core course week with my Medical Practice & Policy core class. Now I’m here to show you why it was amazing and why you should consider leaving the crowded city streets for the winding country lanes.
First of all, just because you leave the bustling cities does not mean you miss out on amazing sights. The first stop in our tour was Uppsala, home to Scandinavia’s largest cathedral. Uppsala was a holy place for the Vikings, so it makes sense that the Church would establish a great presence there in an attempt to squash out those pagan heathens. This cathedral was probably one of my favorites among the surprisingly long list of cathedrals I’ve seen.
Linköping’s cathedral was also pretty great, for future reference. Anyway, for someone as nerdy as me (the periodic table song is my jam), it was also amazing to see the level of innovation and scientific research that are conducted in these small towns. My classmates and I paid a couple visits to research labs at Linköping University. We toured a cancer drug research lab and an anti-coagulant research lab. Both labs had great facilities and equipment that had produced such high-level research that I did not understand it. One of our hosts, Stig Linder, mentioned that he enjoyed working at a smaller university as there was less pressure to always be publishing and he could focus on the quality of his research and teaching.
Our group also had some fun going cross-country skiing. The weather was beautiful, something we all appreciate much more now after so little sun (yay clouds and 7-hour sunlight days). Some of us were better at skiing than others- I believe my total fall count was 9. While we were all limping around the next day, I think everyone had a good time
Okay, so it all sounds pretty great; you can see noteworthy sites, gain immense knowledge, and have a lot of fun. But, if you’re like me, there is always one thing at the front of your mind: food. You might be picturing a typical American countryside filled with McDonald’s and be worried about what kind of food you can find in the Swedish countryside. I will answer you with a picture of our final lunch in Linköping:
In all, I greatly enjoyed my time in Southern Sweden and would recommend a visit to anyone.
Take me back to the countryside,