There is a little town in the North of Sweden with the name Umeå. This inconspicious place happens to be the European Capital of Culture 2014. I spontaneoulsy plunged into that experience – and now I have got some stories to tell which will appear here during the weekend.
Yesterday I met a volunteer from Croatia who lives in Umeå. I was wondering what brought him from his mediteranian home town to the North of Sweden. If you come to Umeå, he said, it is either for university – or for love. He came for love, because his girlfriend is from here. From her father, who lives further North, he learned how to smoke reindeer meat, the Sami way. That is something I would have never dreamed of, he said.
As a volunteer I got a free dinner at Ronyas, a pizza place and diner where I filled my stomach at the buffet and warmed my feet. Apparently that place is owned by Steve Galloway, a popular English football player. I can only guess why he came to Umeå, but it might have been for love – even if it is the love of football.
It is definitely easy to love this town. It has a lot to offer. Crosscountry skiing on a frozen river and industrial design, shopping malls and party boats, everything is here and available within a walking distance. And tonight, with the opning ceremony, Umeå will show the world that it is indeed a place to love.