Monday 9th May 2011
The first official day of our stay in Enkoping started with a visit to Espmark Innovation, a horse stable that runs some interesting team building activities. We spent the morning with director Catarina Espmark and the beautiful chestnut Threllec, learning leadership and teamwork skills. You may wonder how a horse can teach you about your leadership qualities and build teamwork but it was really quite a fascinating insight into psychology and body language. We had to lead Threllec around a course and depending on your body language and leadership attributes, ascertains to a degree how successful you were! Threllec was a bit difficult for some as he was desperate to reach the fence for a feed of grass. It was a great morning where we all learnt more about each other and will hopefully help with our teamwork abilities.
We then headed to the Balsta Rotary Club for a lunchtime meeting. We gave a short presentation to the club after lunch on District 9520. It was also an opportunity for the team to meet Johan Haglund, a member of the Swedish GSE team that will be visiting Australia in October. It was great to establish contact with Johan, a Physics and Maths teacher, prior to his visit to Australia and hear more about himself and the rest of the visiting Swedish team.
The afternoon was spent visiting the magnificent Skokloster Castle, the largest private residence ever built in Sweden. Skokloster castle was built in the 17th Century and is built on the shores of Lake Malaren, between Stockholm and Uppsala for Count Carl Gustaf Wrangel. It was amazing and hard to digest the beauty and magnitude of the work that went into building the castle. The attention to detail was beautiful, including embossed calf hide wall furnishings. I especially liked visting the armoury – a 9 barrel machine gun from the 17th Century.
Monday evening was spent having dinner with our host families.
Tuesday 10th May 2011
Enkoping definitely has a rural feel to it and to add to the rural experience we spent Tuesday morning at Lidingby Gard baking traditional Swedish bread – Tunn brod. Anna-Marta, Hakan and Marcus Vallan were our hosts for the day and we must say that we were most impressed with the cooking and wood fire oven skills of young Marcus! We all had great fun donning the aprons, kneading the flour and baking the bread in the oven. There was certainly a skill to perfecting the technique. We then wandered down the road to their museum and took a look at the interesting collection of artefacts – the girls even attempted to play some music (check out the photos). We then wandered back to the bakery and Anna and Marcus made us some amazing pizza for lunch. All in all a great morning.
Tuesday afternoon we went back into Enkoping to visit Anna Wiklund the Mayor. It was a very informative afternoon especially for Michelle to compare the local government systems in Sweden and Australia. Some interesting facts about Enkoping:
- Did you know that within a 100km radius of Enkoping there is a population of 3million people, 1/3 of the total population of Sweden?
- And that the wrench was invented in Enkoping? We even received a souvenir wrench to take home.
Anna was really down-to-earth and approachable, even taking us on a guided tour through Enkoping and stopping to buy us ice-creams – not many mayors would do that.
Enkoping has been great so far, the town has a real community feel to it and is absolutely beautiful too. The weather has certainly turned around, it’s now 24 degrees and even warm enough for a swim. Tomorrow (Wednesday) we will spend the day on our vocational visits and each provide a summary during the coming week.