When the evening comes and the heavy raindrops falls heavily like frogs, people gathers closer under the roof. A blue centipede with a venomous sting, climbed up on the dinner table. It wandered across the landscape of plates and cutlery. Yann grabbed the matchete and cut it into three pieces. While front part was still running forward, I curiously poked its back with the painful spines. Unaware of the danger that it could still sting me, I luckily avoided the quick strike from the headless creature.
It might seem cruel to chop it, but we don’t want to take any risks (although I obviously did). Afterwards we had some nice birthday cake to celebrate Yann who celebrated his 32nd anniversary. The evenings are nice at campTuanan.
We had some snakes another evening coming to camp. A puff-faced water snake (Homalopsis buccata) swam through the water in the flooded camp, trying to catch catfish. It was hard to get a good photo of it, since it’s black like ink in the forest after 6 pm.
A flying squirrel sometimes shows up at night to lick some minerals at the laundry-place. I wonder how it ever can be healthy (or taste good) to lick up washing powder but I guess it knows better what it needs than I do.
Other interesting animals coming to camp are of course insects! Some hornets (wasps) in the size of a (big) lipstick! I haven’t dared to try flashing it with my camera yet.
For people who doesn’t like spiders or bugs, this is not the place to be. Spiders persistently makes new nets when you remove them, so you’ll constantly walk into them. They are quite big to be your free-walking-spider-pet and have a painful bite. The positive part is that they catch and eat a lot of the other things that may come into your room (As writing this I just saw a huge spider catching/fighting a 1.5 cm beetle).
It’s also not recommended to get here if you don’t like mold and sour, yeasted stuff. Sometimes when I open my lunchbox at around noon, the food which was cooked 10 hours ago, has already yeasted. The buildings are full with mold and the clothes are hard to dry due to the humidity during rainier periods.
Electricity hours are 16.30-21.30. This means you always have to wake up and prepare the last things in the night with a headlamp. There is no phone connection inside campus. A little bit outside you may get signal but only if no rain is incoming. As you hear, things are rustic, but my intention is not to complain. The other way around, I think that things are getting better and better with time, but the living conditions might not suite everyone.
Mosquitos are a pain – of course, like anywhere in the world. The other day I woke up with a new itchy bracer around my hand-wrist. However, other parasites are quite rare. We had one guy with a worm in his foot a week ago, and I did get a few leeches, but nothing too serious…or actually if it was serious I wouldn’t have a clue about it yet… it seems there is nothing to serious!
We also have orangutans coming close to camp sometimes. We have Niko, who I already introduced you to, and then we got the male orangutan Ted. He is friendlier than Niko (who usually charges people) and likes to hang around and eat some berries while we watch him. As you can see, he has not developed any flanges yet, even though he has been mature for a long time. He and Niko lives close to each other, which might be the reason why.
07:th of June: My Orangutan family: Photo model Joya and mother Jinak
Most of my jungle time, I’ve spent with orangutan Jinak and her baby boy Joya. Joya is a real photo model when he is looking between the branches and twigs, with the sad-happy-gorgeous face he is making all the time. It’s kind of pleasant for photography.
Mother Jinak doesn’t exactly have the most female traits. Take a look at that long facial beard! And her body heavily robust. She is like this person in your class or at work who is nice, but you don’t really know anything about. And for photography Jinak is terrible. She enjoys sitting 30 meters up in the impenetrable canopy, preferably with her back turned on you, silently feeding on some beans. I’ve had more rewarding friendships! (please no misinterpreting – there is no direct interaction)
Since it is low fruit season in the jungle, the follow days can be far from eventful days! Although following the orangutans of course is an amazing experience, after 12 hours in the forest during a hot afternoon, tiredness is soothingly creeping up on you. And while Joya is the most adorable little fellow you’ve ever seenI’m not directly jumping out of excitement to see the next been-skid fall to the ground…
However, I am on Borneo – and the forest always delivers one way or another! On one of those Jinak-days we found a beautiful bronze-backed tree snake (Dendrelaphis formosus) which we could thankfully focus on instead for a little while. I couldn’t find anything about how venomous, so I guess not!
This site is dedicated to conservation of endangered animals. If you like what I write, please reblog this to help me to reach out! Thank you!!
24:th of May: Orangutan search
The last period of time I have been searching the forest for orangutans, instead of following them.
It’s easy to get tricked by all noise the forest evokes. Wind blows, and water drops from last nights rainfall reaches the ground with a “plupp”, a very similar sound to the one the orangutans make when they eat beans. This has made me walk many kilometers in vain in the swamp forest, and also given me plenty of mud in my boots.
On one of the days I was searching I suddenly heard a forest machine.
It was coming closer and closer, quite rapidly. Then the bushes in front of me started to shake. And then I could hear more sounds. It came from animals “Gruh gruh, gruh!” The animals were running and the bush was shaking. I thought that hell would soon break loose!
The day before Yann had seen two orangutan males fighting – and if this was anything like this, I wouldn’t like to be in the middle of that fight! My blood got pumped with adrenaline.
I moved aside, tried to get out of the pathway of what was approaching me. The forest machine sounded louder than ever.
As I was moving, the animals heard me and changed direction. The forest machine stopped. Then, I see the a group of wild boars (Sus barbatus) just ten meters away while they were running.
I was totally busted!
Of course it was the sound of pigs squealing and not orangutans! And the forest machine was just a cicada, playing higher and higher over time. Actually, some of the cicada species here do sound very alike machines, but still – imagine how silly I felt. I tried to fetch the camera but just to annoy me even more – I could only capture a blurry picture of an ass. Not one of my prouder moments. It was nice to see some wild boars at least!
The last week in camp has been tough I’ve been searching and searching, but haven’t found any new orangutans! I’ve been looking everywhere, trying to use my stealth and hearing to the maximum to find them, but sometimes I guess that is not enough.
However, the searching days are kind of nice; you get an extra three hours of sleep, you don’t have to stress with the two minute sampling and you can take time whenever you feel like it. It’s just that it’s not as interesting as following the orangutans.
Most days in the forest offers you something interesting. It can be everything from wild boars, to some funky insects, to snakes (and of course orangutans!). As usually, the dragonflies and dameflies are my favourite animal for photography.
I like there fasette eyes, colourful looks and alien face. This one was hunting over some nice flowers and got a wolfspider.
After about one weeks of searching, I had found nothing! But Julia found a new non-habituated orangutan, with her baby and juvenile! I took a video of them:
As you can see, they are quite stressed out, and the mother is displaying for us. We tried to stay out of the picture, to avoid stressing it but it wouldn’t work. She wouldn’t even make a nest for the night and the next morning she was gone again – so we just had to start all over again!
A funky creature inhabiting the forest is the Trilobite Beetle. The pictures below are apparently a larval stage, which the females never leave. I think they look cool, but also kind of evil, no? A mouth like breathing fire, and eyeglobes almost coming out – as if they were straight from hell!
And last I will share a picture of this waterspider, hunting on the surface! It attacked me right after this photo, taking a 20 centimeter leap! Note the mirror image 🙂
20:th of May: Orangutans – the research of my life?
Orangutans are one of the humans closest relative – and yet they are drawing towards extinction. And there is only one, clear thread why this is happening.
To be here, on Borneo, and helping in the research of orangutans is for me truly amazing. It’s a chance once in a life time.
I have now spent about one month here in Tuanan on Kalimantan. The jungle is just as you might expect, stunning, and the unexpected may lure behind every tree. A colorful snake, a deer or an orangutan mother, holding her playing baby with care.
On a free day, I went bird watching some with the Indonesian friend and assistant Suwi. He got a well trained eye, adapted to the poor light-conditions in the forest. We spotted many nice birds such as a nightjar and bee-eaters. He showed me some berries in the bush which we ate for some time, until the sun was burning too hard.
Later that day, just by the place where you can get phone connection, orangutan Niko snuck up behind me picking some jack-fruits from a tree. He was only 3-4 meters away! I got such an adrenaline rush, that I almost had to swear for myself! He took three huge fruits and I watched him sitting on the boardwalk eating. It was amazing! Julia came by with her camera and took some shots of us two.
Niko is famous/infamous coming up to people, sometimes very close, which might seem threatening considering his size and muscle power. When this happens, you are supposed to stay calm, just pretend that you have no clue about a huge testosterone pumped orangutan next to you. More easily said than done! However, Niko has never harmed anyone (and no orangutan has been recorded to ever harm a human in the wild), so I guess he just wants to show you who’s the boss.
Fortunately he didn’t come that close to me, but I still pretended as if I wasn’t interested of him most of the time, just to be on the safe side! Me myself only had my mobile camera, which can’t have more than 0.01 megapixels regarding the image quality it provided under decent circumstances – so no good pictures from me!
As you can see, Niko got big flanges. Flanges of orangutans are thought to be a sexual trait, represented on the dominant males. It can take very long time until a male develop flanges, long after they reach sexual maturity. The flanges make the dominant males look more intimidating and bigger. As you can see – Niko has a pretty big, plate-formed head!
I still have three months to go here, and I’m looking forward to get more close experiences with these majestic and fragile animals.
The red thread to their ongoing extinction leads to you and me. It’s due to our ignorance of what we consume. Palm oil. It’s due to our need for overconsumption. The extinction of the orangutans will be a crime of all of us, cause they are in our hands, solely depending on which road we choose.
Please, remember that you can help. Sending money to SaveTheOrangutans or WWF is important to slow down the process of extinction, and of course to hopefully stop it.
OBS! And, don’t forget: You can help me to spread and inform about the orangutans by SHARING, REBLOGGING, LIKING ETC. By spreading this to one other person, your impact and help to the orangutans will double!
Here are links to both the organisations I mentioned:
My kindest regards,
17:th of May: Me and The Orangutan Family
With tired eyes and mind, I enter the forest at 04.00. There are logs to dodge, roots to jump and rivers to balance over before you can start the follow of the orangutans.
The first thing we do in the morning is to collect poo, and if we are lucky we get some pee too! The jungle is a mentally hard place, but for sure it also gives plenty of rewards!
I’ve seen 19 orangutans on central Kalimantan so far. Doesn’t sound much maybe, but remember that they are solitary animals unlike many other primates. The area where I live is actually considered as one of the most orangutan-dense areas on Borneo! Some of the orangutans I’ve just passed by, or caught glimpses of, while others I have followed for days. This is an introduction for you to my orangutan family – and we start today with Inul – the mother of Orangutans…and her poor kids!
The mother of orangutans. That’s what I think she looks like at least with her long face and understanding expression. Inul is thin, with her long hair she will on a bad hair-day, look like she came from a mental institution, while on a normal day she has just stared into the well of wisdom. Actually, she is not just a mother, but a grandmother (Her adult daughter Desy has a baby, unfortunatley I haven’t seen her). Right now Inul has two kids which she is taking in her custody
When Inul sees a person she often kissqueak. This is an orangutan sound, which they make to show that they don’t like your presence altough to us it sounds more like they are kissing. In the beginning when we started following her just a couple of days ago, she was doing this all the time, but it seems she is getting used having a person investigating her.
Her daughter, Ipsy, is the cockiest orangutan I’ve seen so far and resembles more a toad (it’s not a compliment). Although she is still kind of a child, and still follows her mother in the jungle, she loves to display her muscles to you. She approached me several times and gave me a fierce look, before ripping off a small branch, evoking a small explosion of leafs. However, she often fails to break the branch, and I can almost see her blushing of embarrassment, shamefully climbing behind a bush in the tree, out of sight.
Ivan is the youngest and smallest orangutan I’ve seen so far. Only about six months old, he holds on to his mother for his dear life, and mother Inul seems to think he is an old plaster, ready to fall off. At several occasions he has almost fallen to the ground, where upon he just manages to hold on to a small lump of hair with one hand, hanging over a 10-15 meter drop, screaming. Though looking like the Mother of Orangutans, meanwhile Inul just continues feeding. What a caring and loving mother! Leastways, he learns life the hard way early on!
To follow Inul & Co is fun, but also means long field days. Remember that we’ve been up since 3 AM, and Ipsy likes to stay up longer than many other orangutans. While some for the orangutans are nesting at 14.30, Ipsy can stay up ’til dusk around 17. The day doesn’t end there, once back in camp it’s time to go through data, take care of samples, take care of all equipment and prepare for tomorrow morning! To be honest it has taken some time to get used to, but by now when things are starting to work on routine it’s easier! And hold on – more orangutans are coming within a few days!
I just reached 100 followers, thanks to readers reblogs. Thank you very much!! I appreciate that you spread the word and work of conservation and research on these animals!
*TORP=Tuanan Research Project
3rd of May 2014: Canopy climbing with centipedes
Both the weather and time this morning was more humane then yesterday. I woke up at six, ate some rice and tofu for breakfast. Anna (my supervisor), Tono (Indonesian assistant) and I headed off to search for trees with nests possible to climb. It’s a science to know which tree’s you may climb and which you can’t. All trees with nests could possibly hold for a human, if they hold for an orangutan – but they are also of course more skilled distributing their weights on the tree. Trunk thickness is not all that matters, some species breaks more easily than others and to a large extent Anna (and I) rely on the local assistants’ knowledge on this matter.
In the footsteps of Anna, I avoided the worst mud-traps, letting me stay almost dry. Dry from water that will say. Sweat was pouring like rain instead. However everything was fine ‘til we got to the tree which I was going to climb.
Anna first gave me an instruction-climb, explaining me how to do things safely. All that is needed is a harness, three sling-ropes of about 1 meter and a few carbines. Two slings gets attached to the trunk, one for the harness and one for the foot (see picture of the sling rope attached to a pole). Then you just pull yourself up, easy!
No, seriously. This was one of the most exhausting things I’ve done. I was pushing, and pushing, and…I was 1-2 meters up. The height of the tree to climb was about 20 meters, and the higher I got, the more the trunks started to swing back and forth to my movements.
Halfway up I notice something vigorously twisting and turning just next to my hand. A decimeter long centipede.
Although centipedes are one of those animals which I’ve always wanted to see, that is under the circumstance that I’m not 8 meters up hanging, forced to grab it with my bare hands to prevent it from crawling in under my shirt. I just DON’T want to get stinged. Many centipedes, especially in tropical regions, have a powerful poison which will cause an awful pain.
Actually I managed to blow it off the trunk, as the coward I am. I continued upwards, stronger by the adrenaline in my veins. At this point the trunk was dividing in two, one to climb for me and one for Anna. This way I could watch her as she dissected the orangutans sleeping nest (In most cases, orangutans does not reuse their nests, so this is not disturbing them). Anna climbed the tree about 20 minutes, while it took me 150. Two and a half hour of full concentration, I was truly exhausted but I had only come halfway, next I had to go down. However, to sway in the canopy with view over the swamp forest is truly a reward. The wind blew in my face and I could get a moment of relaxation as Anna was resting in the orangutan nest while waiting for me.
The nest got dissected and we found that it contained a nice pillow and a mattress. Awesome!
Climbing down was less time consuming and easier but when I was finished, I was more soaked from sweat than after a bath.
Now I will get a resting day, since every part of my body aches! It might take a few weeks until my next post will be ready to put up.
28th of April 2014: Orangutans, the first encounter
As I woke, the rain was smashing hard against the metal roof and the cicadas were playing high. It was my first night in Tuanan Research station and. I wondered if I had overslept. I could impossibly have heard any of my alarms in all this noise.
No, the time was 2:40. It was time to get up in 20 minutes. I sat on the bed edge and started to search for my headlight in the black room. To go up 3.00 in the night/morning is nothing that I am used to in. When I was in school I always overslept, things might get tough for me here, I thought as I put my headlight on. After a quick breakfast, we headed off in the rain, walking only in socks due to the slippery boards. We balanced through the night and I had to keep fully concentrated not to fall. And yet I fell – several times.
There were four of us arriving at the nest before dusk. Me, here as a volunteer, Julia and Eva, both doing her masters work on orangutans, and Idun, an Indonesian assistant. The heavy rain lightened with the sun, and I could for the first time in my life see an orangutan.
Actually, they were two. Kondor and Kahiyu, mother and daughter, swinging in the lianas. The sully, weak rain continued for many hours. Mother Kondor went to a tree with big leaves and pulled a branch until it snatched. In her hand she now had an umbrella, which she put over her head.
Towards midday the rain fully stopped. Relaxed and undisturbed by our presence Kondor climbed down to the ground. She stood just meters away with her baby daughter on her back.
She grabbed a log and broke the dead wood into pieces sucking out termites, while Kahiyu curiously watched. She took a small piece from her mother, trying herself but she wouldn’t get a hold of the technique yet and she spat the wood out on the ground. Suddenly Kondor raised up on all four, took a few steps behind a big plant, then she was gone.
As orangutan followers, we are supposed to follow then from dusk until dawn. We spent hours searching, but she was lost. To see an orangutan is fascinating. Although it’s the obvious truth, which I’ve known for years, reality is always better.
As I came back to camp I was soaked. My new, expensive rain jacket wouldn’t keep the rain at bay even a little. The forest is tough and challenging, and I walk with trouble over the water and leaf covered ground, where deep holes of mud are hiding where I least expect it.
I was exhausted towards the evening as I got back in camp. With rashes all over, insect bites and soar, wet skin, I went to bed. But the challenge of working with the orangutans has just begun. In the next post, I will examine the technique orangutans’ builds their nests, by climbing the tree canopies.
17th of April: IT BEGINS – The adventure on Borneo starts!
A couple of months ago, I was bored. I was waiting to go to Indonesia for three months. Now I am on Borneo, and to be honest – it is rather awesome!
For the next 130 days (until end of august) I will do research in the central Kalimantan on the Bornean orangutan. Together with a small research team, I work here to help finding out more about the species. Every two minutes, 12-14 hours per day, I will note what they are doing. I will note if they are eating, pooping, swinging in lianas or making love. They will literally be a part of my life during this time and I will be a part of theirs.
How would you prepare yourself for an expedition to the peat swamp forest? I promise, it easily happens that to forget to buy some things. If it is not the vaseline, it’s the de-worming pills. I have kind of done similar things before, but in smaller scale so I still miss t a lot of stuff. For example I forgot to check the glue in my boots – the acid swamp can apparently dissolve many types of glue due to the pH-value. At the moment the water levels are supposed to be pretty high in the peat swamp forest – so I might just as well wear my running shoes instead. However, I can’t buy new shoes here since I got too big feet x). Size 43…I’ve loaded up with 12 bottles of mosquito repellant, new camera equipment and about 1000 caramels in preparations. I hope that will be good enough! (1000 caramels / 120 days = 8.3 caramels/day)
I have previously been describing what I will be doing briefly with the Orangutans, but I will give you some more details about why this is interesting!
Orangutans are one of the great apes, closely related to humans. They currently are in great danger due to the ongoing deforestation and the making of new palm oil plantations. There are two species of orangutans; the Bornean and the Sumatran orangutan.
The orangutans are using tools, they are building nests and have many other fantastic abilities. However, unlike the other great apes orangutans are not particularly social. They live solitary most part of their life (though the females bring up their young for ca 7-8 years), so the possibilities for learning and interact between individuals are few.
I will work as a research assistant for Anna Marzec from Poland. My part of the research will be to collect and administrate data of how the orangutans build their nests, what they eat and how they are eating it.
And here comes the cool stuff: Some orangutans pour water over their fruits before eating, some use leaves as napkins or gloves and some use sticks to “fish” termites. The orangutans eat differently and build their nests for several different reasons and design their nests differently. They can make nests for sleeping as well as for sun shading. They can make bridges for walking between trees even! They make nests with pillows and some may roll a little ball of leaves to hold onto at night like a little teddy bear. Isn’t that awesome? But all orangutans cannot make these different nests. The nest-building skills are highly personal and the two orangutan species are differently advanced when it comes to making nests etc. So, what we are aiming for is to identify cultural units in orangutans.
Currently there are 8-10 people working in the remote little camp: My supervisor Anna Marzec, Wendy Erb who does research on the male orangutan long calls, Julia and Yann who are research assistants like me and about five Indonesian assistants I haven’t had contact with yet.
So now I am finally here! The first thing I did arriving to the island was to go to a traditional Borneo-wedding. I met some Finnish guys on the plane, and long story short: They knew a guy, who was related to a guy…and he suddenly had to go to a wedding! Since we were all sitting in the same car, we were all invited! We were a popular attraction on the wedding for everyone, and we were all asked to take pictures with the new married couple and danced the traditional dance of Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo).
I will now head out in the field with the orangutans in a day or two. Here on Borneo, the geckos are squeaking in the roof and cicadas are playing in the trees. Bats gives me wind in my face as they fly around my head, while trying to capture a tasty meal with their sound waves. The locals are friendly and generous who gives me meat although I am vegetarian. (I know I have to suit myself, they really are super nice!). Soon I will be in the dwindling heart of Borneo together with its soul – the orangutans.
P.S Here you have a small galleri with more pcitures I didnt fit in:
13th of April 2014: Biotrotter in Jakarta, a culture shock
To come from Sweden to a city like Jakarta is a cultural chock. I am not thinking in terms of food, language or similar bagatelles, no I am thinking in terms of traffic. If you think about traffic as a running stream of water – Jakarta is a glacier (maybe everybody doesn’t know that, but glaciers are “flowing” really slowly).
However, it’s for sure great to feel the hot tropical winds blowing your mind once again… However, however they lost my luggage in Amsterdam.
It didn’t bother me that much though…It is easier to walk around without a house on your back while trying to find your way to a new hostel. However I missed the opportunity of cleaning myself in the evening after the long flight and a blanket to cover my body from the mosquitos in the night time. The hostel was a little sketchy, so I moved quickly to a couchsurfer!
The process I am going through in Jakarta isn’t really the most interesting thing to read. I am getting permits a little bit here and there. I need to get approval from RISTEK, then I need to get my SAPP, and of course my KITAS. Ah…and from the Forestry!
Oh, do you have no clue what I am talking about? Well to be honest, neither do I. There are so many permits it just becomes some kind of blurry mess. But they seem to have strickt ruels for doing research. A lot of people need to give their ok and that takes time…
As I mentioned I was couchsurfing. For the first time in my life I was getting hosted by someone. Couchsurfing.com is a webpage made so people from different countries can stay in local people’s home for free, while everybody gets a nice cultural experience and of course gets to meet new people. That’s the idea at least. A lot of people do it plainly for the money and my last experience hosting people was bad…
Now I stayed with a lady and mother called Yenny, with her two kids. We went to the mountains together and were practicing photography, but unfortunately it was raining most of the time. We spotted some huge moths (moth= the hairy butterflies living at night) and ate some great tofu marinated in ketchup (!?) and tempe which are fermented soya beans.
All in all, the process in Jakarta is going on for about one week.
My next blog post will be about my arrival Borneo!
Sampai bertemu lagi! SEE YOU!!
6th of April: Before flying away: three European vipers
I am now sitting at the airport on my way to Indonesia! It wasn’t clear when I would go until Friday so it has been very stressful these last days! Now it is also clear that I will be a safari guide in Africa the upcoming fall.
Just after my last post I found three common European vipers (Vipera berus) in Uppsala. I just wanted to post some pictures of them before I leave Sweden! I am sure more snake pictures are coming and hopefully better – since I’ve just bought a sigma 105 mm Macro lens for my camera. However this is taken with the standard lens.
First I will go to Jakarta where I will have to get a 5-6 permits before I can continue to Palankaraya on Borneo, where I will try giving you a post before I continue to the jungle with the orangutans!
3d of April: Finally, my spring ends abruptly
The spring is coming to an end for me and it is finally time to kick off from Sweden and go to Borneo! My visa is ready after being delayed for more than a month. I just hope now that the process in Jakarta will go swiftly (it may take 1-3 weeks).
When I work with the orangutans I will give reports through Save The Orangutans and WWF-Sweden, and hopefully I can help them to forward the message why the Bornean Orangutans are so important to save from palm oil plantations and raw slaughter.
I’ve spent my time the last month photographing some, but the spring is surprisingly slow going. Flowers which came up one month ago in Germany are just starting to show their colors in Sweden. These are some pictures that I’ve taken lately:
Some say, mr Vole is bad
However, he is a nice little lad
although he is too, afraid of the cat
he is neither mouse nor rat,
Sunday morning and mr. Vole is awake
Showing himself on a hiking break
Come now, come out from the shade
Mr. Vole, you shall not be afraid,
Mr. vole wants to go and find a tasty leaf
He is kind and happy, bearing no greif,
So now please, come out mr. Vole
Come out from your little hiding hole
19th Feb 2014: Borneo coming up!
Finally I have received my research permit to head of to Borneo to work with the orange little fellas climbing trees! It was almost 2 years now since I blogged about the trip the I did to Africa together with my friend Joel. I will head to the rain forests (and palm oil plantations), on the Indonesian part of Borneo for 6 months to work with wild orangutans as part of a research project. Just like the orangutans, I will be hanging around in the trees to see how they build their sleeping nests! It will be a little bit sad to leave Uppsala in the middle of spring but hopefully an epic adventure!