The fact that Uppsala is a huge student city is nothing but magnified during the crazy celebration that is Valborg.
Not only were the students from Uppsala in attendance, but the city began to fill with people from all over the country starting on Thursday. I can surely say I did not truly understand the full concept or extent of events that make up the Valborg celebration.
The day started off very early. The first scheduled event was the raft/boat race down Fyris river. An important piece of information here is that if you wanted to actually see the boat race and get a good spot it is crucial for you to be there at least 2 hours before the race starts at 10:00. This means a very early morning for most of Uppsala.
Because you have to be downtown so early you must have a sturdy breakfast. And obviously this includes champagne (only logical). It does not take long to figure out how Valborg in Uppsala has the potential to get out of hand, champagne at 8:00 am.
The raft race indefinitely lived up to it’s expectations; peoples rafts broke in half, there were water wars between rivalries, there were water guns and a constant plunging of people into the ice-cold (not so clean) river water. Even the audience got involved with water balloons.
The creativity of the rafts was nothing short of astounding. My personal favorite was an excavator raft that could actually raise and lower the bucket. Definitely the intimidator of the race, the excavator then chased the other rafts lifting and lowering the bucket. Other rafts were built as a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a bed (including a pillow fight), a football field, a hockey arena, four people having a tea party, and even an outhouse. By the end of the race (if they survived the rapids and made it that far) there was not much left of any raft.
After viewing these artistic masterpieces it was off to enjoy some lunch, drinks and the other 30,000 students hanging out in the park. Not only was the park packed with people but nearly every other street, alley or section of green grass was full of people.
The rest of the day was spent absorbing any sun that appeared through the clouds, dancing at the champagne gallop, throwing hats after a speech by the vice-chancellor, drinking more champagne, as well as, many barbecues and bonfires!
While the celebration was nothing short of memorable, the result of enormous amounts of people partying all day and night took a toll on the city. That evening and next morning most of Uppsala was covered in a layer of champagne bottles, garbage, beers cans and even a few stragglers struggling to find their way home.
But after much cleaning up and recovering, Uppsala became as good as new with everyone awaiting the next great Valborg celebration.
The aftermath at the end of the day! Cleaned up by volunteers on Sunday