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.
It is easier than you think to spend an afternoon and evening outside in minus degrees. My second volunteering session went well. Mainly due to the nice company. We talked the hours away while giving people directions to the controversial snow graffiti or the man in the ice or the toilet. We also handed out little torches that were supposed to be used during the opening ceremony. It soon began to dawn on me that I would not be able to see this spectacular show of burning snow. The town was simply packed with people. I guess Umeå has not seen so many people at once, say, ever before.
But I do not mind so much. Such tremendous numbers of people have never really been my cup of tea. Instead, the Joik flash mob with Sami songs was a good way to finish the day. We sat around the fire on moose fur and watched the Sami sing.
Umeå had advertised itself as a town of fire and ice. Maybe the opening ceremony showed that it might have been a little bit too big for this little town. The ambitions were unbelievably high but many people left early, cold and disappointed about technical problems and the impossibility to see anything of the fire show.