The night train was surprisingly incredibly comfortable. For a train I mean. Hence that the 7 participants left of us arrived fresh and rested at Luleå on a cold and sunny Sunday morning.
Lena Bengten, from the Eco-Municipality of Luleå, was waiting for us there to guide us through a little sightseeing of the town, which center is located on the peninsula facing the Baltic Sea.
We could have a 360° view of the rest of the area from the roof of the municipal building, where Lena made some presentations about the sustainable city planning of Luleå’s municipality and the Vision they designed for 2050. We could hold really interesting conversations and debates due to our small group size.
For lunch we could taste the famous “Västerbotten’s pie”, made from the regional very good (and very expensive) cheese “Västerbottens Ost”.
The afternoon followed with several studyvisits all around the town. We had an outside view of the energy/district heating power plant from the other side of the river. We also stopped to see some biking roads projects. Finally we came to the “community gardens” of the biggest housing area of Luleå, a paradise of small Swedish wooden houses and family gardens with flowers and vegetables.
In the end of the afternoon, we climbed up in the cars again to get to “Gammelstads” : the old town/harbour of Luleå that is classified today as a world’s heritage, and which village’s church and houses remain intact.
There we walked into a yard, with an old house and a garden. Inside there were paintings, photos, music instruments lying on the old walls, a check game on a table, and Elin-Alexandra Sundström waiting for us. We enjoyed a Fika with home made redcurrant cake while she would explain us the history of the house.
The place we walked into was actually a conserved house from the 17th century that she made into an “alternative culture scene”, or “KulturGården”. In this public free space, she welcomes people and neighbors every saturday for concerts, flee-markets, art expositions…or just for a fika. An impressive and valuable initiative that would allow us to get deeper into the question of “how to create a community feeling”.
Then we took a walk in the village in the late afternoon with the sun beaming down slowly behind us.
The participants were hosted in a guest house inside the village, from which we could walk to Margareta’s fancy restaurant for a dinner and a cup of wine before going to sleep.
No mention will be made of the way the organizers of the Tour got lost in Luleå on their way to the friends that were hosting them for the night.