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Guest authors in Sweden

(by Kathie  and Gretchen, Nancy’s sisters – Giving Nancy and I the day off.  Spelling errors, though there are probably none, are not the fault of the junior or senior editors.  Ok, over to the girls…)

This morning, we reluctantly left the idyllic little cabin on Lake Sör-Algen, which was a serendipitous find at the last minute last night.  Dave picked up fresh-baked rolls this morning at the main house for breakfast, and on our way out, we peeked in the sauna, and chatted for a few minutes with the nice German lady who runs the place.  For those who are interested, you can rent the house (where we stayed) all year round, even though there is a lot of snow –“ a lot” according to the German lady.

In spite of having 3 commentators who constantly give him directions and suggestions, Dave has been a remarkably patient driver and has only missed a couple of important sites.  The car rental includes extended insurance, though, so that will take care of the clutch.  I guess that he’s not driven a car with a clutch in quite some time.

Along route 63, the main road heading north out of Olme and Kristinehamn, Nancy spotted a gorgeous church, so we turned off to the little community of Hjulsjo, and explored the church and graveyard.  Built in 1642, the church was cut in half and added on to about 100 years later, and been beautifully maintained since a restoration in 1952.  This was probably one of the most beautiful churches  we’ve seen – it was open, and so we were able to see the interior as well.  Gorgeous detailing, lovely colors and obviously a very active congregation. The graves were also interesting and we spent time wandering around and taking pictures of possible ancestral graves – maybe someone who started our great-grandfather Ludvig Anderson on his earthly travels.

Dave finally pried us away, and we hopped back in the car and headed on to Ludvika.  We stopped for a moment in Grangesberg – where we think Ludvig, his mother, Louisa Anderson, and his mysterious father, came from.  This, however, is more of an industrial town and was less interesting so we didn’t stay long.   Next stop, Ludvika – where we had lunch in a little cafe with very nicely designed tables, with a late Victorian, early 20th century, art deco style flavour – but they all could be raised or lowered via a large screw mechanism that was part of the central post.  The shrimp sandwiches were ok, not great – lots of shrimp, not great bread.  Not much mayo, though…. Aside from getting caught in the middle of a massive downpour that lasted 10 minutes, there really wasn’t much to recommend Ludvika.  The people are nice– highly eclectic, and tolerant.  The high quality of the tattoos we saw and the number of tattoo shops in Ludvika led us to briefly consider getting dala horse tattoos in honor of this trip.  Only briefly.

FINALLY, we arrived in Falun.  Really, it seems to take forever to drive ~ 30 miles.  Don’t know what that is, although we did discover that this area of Sweden has about 17 people per square kilometre, and it’s really pretty desolate – lots of pine and birch forests, lots of “beware of moose” signs — not much else.   Falun is an ancient copper mining town, and is actually the source of the red paint that is used ubiquitously throughout Sweden.  Falun has also been known as the graphic arts center of Sweden since the 1920’s.   And, there’s a lot more to say about Falun, but Dave is posting photos – the Dalarnas museum in Falun is spectacular, and includes whole segments on the history of mining, and the technologies, as well as the labor movements of the early 20th century.    It didn’t hurt that one of the contemporary exhibits was on Arne Johansson and guitars, for music fans.    The security guard ushered us out slightly after closing as we were dawdling in the gift shop.   Although we did not see the grave of Fat Mats, we did see an etching of him – don’t know about Fat Mats?  Neither did we.  A bit of a morbid story but Mats Israelsson, aka Fat Mats, was a miner who died in a mine collapse and 50 years  later when his body was found (1719), his body had been essentially pickled by the sulphates in the water.  His corpse was so well-preserved and looked so healthy that his fiancée, now an old woman, recognized him and fainted.  They displayed his body for about 30 years until the preservative effects wore off at which point they finally gave the poor guy a proper burial.

After stopping by the System Bolaget (liquor store), which was mobbed on Friday night, and the grocery store, we headed out to Rakkvit to find our night’s lodging – Gretchen had kindly booked two nights in a camping compound – more rustic than last night, and someone has to sleep in the loft again.  But the roofs are thatched (!), and we can see beautiful Lake Siljan from the front porch, and it’s really quite lovely.  The lady next door is Finnish, but lives on an island between Finland and Sweden where they speak Swedish.  She and her family are here on holiday while her son does cart racing in a regional meet not far from here.

Tomorrow, we are off to Nusnas to see the workshops where the dala horses are made, and to visit the Rakvitt handcraft shops, and Sunday we go to Carl Larsson’s house and garden– our last visit before heading back to Stockholm and the airport.

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2 responses to “Guest authors in Sweden

  1. Hi guys euro looks so……. I want to live there…..what do you think of a “Fat Mats body cream” keeps you looking so healthy for years, you can sell it like the traveling Medicine man…… ;-0

    • Great product idea Ross, we’l register the name here in Sweden first, then take on the rest of the world. My nephew is named Mats – he may have some objection however!

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