UF Uppsala

Travel Blog and Gallery – Greece

Published March 12, 2024 Our time in Athens started with an early morning flight from Cyprus. Being a slightly tired group of travelers on this day, we spent our first hours in Athens exploring the city at our own pace; visiting museums, markets and other beautiful parts of the city. In the evening we walked up to the top of Mount Lycabettus and witnessed a stunning view of the sun setting over the two seas; the Mediterranean sea and the endless sea of white buildings across the city. The second day of our Greek adventure was mainly spent in the small town of Corinth, around an hour southwest of the capital. Some of us decided to visit the famously steep Corinth Canal while others explored the city. In the afternoon, we headed into the countryside to an idyllic vineyard where the only sounds you could hear were birds chirping and trees blowing in the wind. We had a wine tasting with domestically produced wines and we also had the chance to get some insight into their wine production. The next day started off with an exciting meeting with the ambassador of Sweden in Athens. We conversed on many different topics regarding the Greco-Swedish relations, the historic and current ties between Greece and Turkey and Greek involvement in international affairs. We also received insights into the life and career of an ambassador which was very inspiring. After the meeting we continued our exploration of the city and many of its historical sites. For the final full day, we had saved the ultimate historical and must-see site of Athens; the Acropolis. While we were blessed by not traveling during the high season and therefore avoiding large amounts of tourists, the Acropolis was still crowded. Nonetheless, it was a very interesting and impressive place to visit. In the evening, we ate a delicious final dinner at an authentic Greek restaurant. Having packed our bags and being ready to fly home, we had one final meeting on the schedule, with the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We met a representative who held an interesting presentation on different aspects of Greek foreign policy such as Turkey, Ukraine, EU and NATO. To summarize, it is safe to say that we left Cyprus and Greece with many interesting cultural and political experiences, and came home to Sweden with valuable new inspiration and insights. GALLERY

Travel Blog & Gallery – Cyprus

Published March 12, 2024 When we arrived at the airport in Larnaca we were all pleasantly surprised by the warm sea air in Cyprus, having left a frosty cold Uppsala behind. When taking the shuttlebus to the capital Nicosia, it is nearly impossible to miss the massive Turkish flag side by side the flag of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on the mountainside, illuminated in the night by bright lights, looking over the world’s last divided capital city. On our first day we took a walk through town to visit the Swedish ambassador’s residence, where we were offered the typical fika. The ambassador explained the situation on the island and Sweden’s role as a facilitator for talks between religious leaders of the parties to the conflict. After an interesting visit, we went to pick up our rental cars. It was time to drive into the UN buffer-zone for our next meeting. After driving through a crowded Nicosia in left-hand traffic, we arrived at the UN checkpoint. We drove in convoy following our UN escort car about a kilometer into the buffer zone, where their office was situated. We got the opportunity to talk to the UN officers there and had a look at Nicosia’s old airport which had been closed shortly after the Turkish invasion in 1974. After the meeting, we finished the day off by going through the world’s last border patrol dividing a capital. After crossing to the northern side, we shortly noticed major differences. In 50 meters we had walked from a Greek-influenced, touristy and somewhat sterile city into a society where we instantly were greeted with Turkish delights, tea and statues of Atatürk. We had walked from a society with a majority of churches to one with mainly mosques. We spent the evening there visiting the significantly cheaper and progressive bars there, before taking the Uber back to our hostel. The next day we had booked a meeting with a university from northern Cyprus. They offered us a traditional citrus cake and gave us all northern Cypriot cookbooks. The TRNC is only recognized internationally by Turkey, so one could imagine that this was a way for them to show that they have a culture of their own, but perhaps to express goodwill internationally as well. We talked to the university staff and had an interview for our Uttryck magazine. They offered us a tour around the town and invited us to visit one of the mosques, of course with a Turkish flag hanging inside. The hospitality was remarkable and after a guided tour through Lefkosa, which the northern part of the capital is called, the university booked a tour bus to Kyrenia on the northern coast of Cyprus, where we visited an old monastery, originating long before the island’s rift dividing Muslims and Christians between north and south. After a long day, we took the bus to a completely empty Ayia Napa, where we would spend our final night in Cyprus before flying to Athens early the following day. GALLERY

Morocco Travel Blog 3

Published May 31, 2023 On our first full day back in Rabat we decided to sleep in and gather some energy after the adventures in Marrakech and Casablanca. We decided to split into halves and eventually head to the old Medina in Rabat for lunch. Spacious and beautiful sections of market stalls gave way to lovely all-white streets which led up to the city’s old keep with an amazing view of the beaches and the ocean. Rabat certainly showed us its best side!  After a quick lunch, we went by bus to the Embassy of Sweden in Morocco, where Julia and Maja offered us a warm welcome. They explained their day-to-day work, and how it is to be an embassy intern in Rabat, before answering various questions from the travelers. Many of us felt inspired after this meeting! In the evening we had some free time, where some decided to head to the medina and buy some food to make dinner at the hostel. We also found an alcohol shop (!) and decided to pick up a couple of beers and a wine bottle to celebrate being back in Rabat. Everyone ate together before playing a few games, getting to know each other just a little bit more!  On our second day back in Rabat, we first visited the National Human Rights Council, a national institution for the protection and promotion of human rights. After lunch, we visited the Moroccan Organisation of Human Rights, an NGO that is devoted to issues of political detention, torture, and human rights awareness.  In the late afternoon, we spent some time at the beach and some of us tried surfing, which was awesome! Later in the evening we all met up and had our last dinner together in Morocco. On the last day, people walked around in the city and shopping and sat in cafés and parks before we departed from Morocco via Spain to Sweden.  Written by: Alexander Skingsley and Gustaf Stövling

Morocco Travel Blog 2

Published May 30, 2023 On Sunday, the first group visited Project Soar, a girl-centered activity aimed at empowering teen girls through a one-year program in order to help them understand their value, body, rights, and path. Its focus is to prevent adolescent pregnancy and child marriage, but also to encourage girls to continue their education and enter the labor market. At the center, Kawtar Ait Malek talked about their work and we got to meet the girls. Many of us were touched by their project! Afterward, we went and visited several museums: The Bahia Palace, a ruined palace that shows an example of traditional Moroccan architecture, the Ben Youssef Madrasa, a historic Islamic School and an impressive example of Moroccan architecture, and Le Jardin Secret, a beautiful garden and riad located in the souks of Marrakech.  In the evening, the group was reunited and decided to have dinner at a local restaurant, where several of us enjoyed Tanjia, a traditional Marrakech dish. Then we explored the city, going through the souks to Jemaa el Fnaa, the main square, and the marketplace of Marrakesh, used by locals and tourists alike. Being in these markets, vendors will constantly call you to bring your attention to their stalls, and haggling is an expected custom when purchasing. On the way back to the hotel, we also stopped by the Koutoubia mosque, the largest mosque in Marrakech.  On Monday, most of us went on a full-day trip to visit the Ouzoud Waterfalls with a guided hike and boat ride. It was an absolutely amazing and slightly wet experience, especially for some of us! We also got to see monkeys.  The second half of the week was spent in Rabat to visit NGOs and the Swedish embassy in Morocco. The group split up once more as some left directly in the morning by train to stop by Casa Blanca to visit Hassan II, one of the largest mosques in the world, while others stayed to enjoy the last few hours in Marrakech before returning to Rabat in the afternoon.  Written by: Chad Farrell and Ebba Tholander

Morocco Travel Blog 1

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