(written by Dave)
Just a quick post to let everyone know that we have made it to “the home land” – by car from Stockholm to Varmland. We hired a car and drove here. Nancy and I felt like we were on speed all day. We’d look at the road sign, see the next town posted at 60ish K and think, that’s about one day’s travel. Next thing we knew, the 60K passed. Wow, these cars sure eat up the Ks to a “bicycle-paced” brain. I drove for the first time in almost 2 years. It was exciting for us. Gretchen and Kathie fell asleep in the back seat.
We only made one real stop, in a small town called Orebro. We stopped there for lunch not really expecting much. We had lunch then headed out for a look at the town’s Svampen water tower. Nancy had found a brochure that noted that the water tower was one of two of this type in the entire world. Orebro had the first one and it was so admired that they copied it for a water tower in Saudi Arabia – apparently it was not that admired as there was only the one copy made. The tower turned out to be interesting – unique but not so notable that you’d stop if it weren’t lunch time.
Our final stop was the edge of Varmland and the small town of Kristinehamn. We found a very helpful information centre here that guided us to a grocery store and helped us find a cabin on Lake Vänern where we could stay. The woman mentioned that lots of people searching out long lost relatives stop in at her centre. It is reported that combination of famine and industrial revolution advances reducing the need for so many farm labourers drove nearly 1 million people from Sweden, many of them from this area. That’s a lot of folks moving and subsequently many more distant children coming back to find their roots.
The cabin on the lake is quiet charming. It is raining but the sun made an appearance just below the clouds for a great sunset. Nancy and I drew short straws and are sleeping in the loft tonight. The roof angle is such that neither of us can roll over, much less sit up in bed. Not to worry, we’ve stayed in far less luxurious accommodation on this trip.
Tomorrow we head to Ölme to look for the church where the great-grandparents were baptized. Ölme is more of a small region than it is a town. We got directions to the church from information – we may not have found it otherwise. We are not sure where we will end up tomorrow night but it will be somewhere in Varmland somewhat north of here. If we luck out, we’ll find a Peterson, Anderson or Larson still living here that will take us in.