(by Kathie and Gretchen, Nancy’s sisters – one more day off for us!)
We began the day with a simple breakfast of yogurt, muesli, and some nice rolls at the Dala Warshus restaurant (free with the cabin). The actual ambience of the dining room was very quaint although looking around the room it was full of people checking their Iphones and Ipads as the free Wi-Fi at the hotel seems to only connect at the main building. A bit of an odd juxtaposition.
We headed out for the main attraction of the day, the tiny village of Nusnas, which is famously where the Swedish Dala horses are made. There are several workshops that are open with demonstrations of both the carving and decorative painting of the horses. As we learned yesterday at the Dalarnas museum, the Dala horses were originally made by men living far from home for work purposes. Many long nights were passed carving little horses from leftover wood by candle or firelight-often as toys to bring home to their small children. We were quite impressed by the speed and talent of the artists. Outside one of the workshops there was a little station set up for both “big and little” people to try their own hand at painting a horse. Dave encouraged all of us to try our hand, a decision he soon came to regret. He failed to remember the somewhat competitive and compulsive tendencies of the Peterson’s—we painted our base coat, then left them in the car to dry while we did a bit of shopping, only to return later to try our best to make the grade as Dala horse artists. Dave provided some color commentary along the way- which if we were more sensitive and/or even listening to him; we could have taken as criticism. We reluctantly had to give up our spots when some actual children showed up and wanted to participate. We are quite proud of our first efforts – perhaps there was a family member from this region (not likely based on the results).
We then headed back to Rattvik, had a quick lunch, and were diverted into some very cute handicraft shops featuring many local artists. Dave disappeared for quite some time – apparently he took the opportunity to tour the length of the Långbryggan pier built in the 19th century, which is the longest pier in Scandinavia, some 600 meters long. Remarkably, to his dismay we were not quite finished looking at all the lovely options in the shops. To perk Dave up, we finished up our tour of Rattvik with a stop at the Swedish “glass” kiosk – glass being the Swedish word for ice cream. All 3 of the Peterson’s had kardamunna (cardamom) ice cream- and we all agree that there is a business idea for the much underused cardamom spice in the U.S.
We next headed the short distance to Tallberg, known as a very picturesque village overlooking Lake Siljan. We found ourselves continuously stopping along the way to take pictures of the cute red houses in green fields. Every house seems to be immaculately maintained, including flower boxes, lovely gardens and quaint fences with interesting gates with birch tree arches. The lawns are amazing everywhere – and we discovered one secret to the amazing consistency: robot lawn mowers! We kid you not – here we were, taking photos of a picturesque lane, and an odd creature seemed to be running across one of the lawns. Sure enough, upon closer inspection, it was a little robot – efficiently going back and forth and keeping the lawn very well groomed. So, you can see that it was hard to imagine anything could be as cute once we arrived at our actual destination. Then, of course, Tallberg was indeed a picture perfect little town—almost a little spooky in its charm. Every house was red with white trim (no other colors seemed to be allowed) and all the yards were very green with what seemed to be well planned little vignettes such as milk jugs, old wooden yard tools, etc. Truly a perfect place to take many, many photographs. So many that Dave used up his camera memory capacity along the way. There was even a cute little rabbit on the lawn in one of the artist colony courtyards that seemed quite comfortable with people and has apparently resided there for three years with the residents/artists feeding and caring for him.
As we headed out of Tallberg back to our rustic cabin for a second night, we spotted some deer in the nearby fields, a perfect cap to what was an overall very nice tour of some incredibly adorable Swedish villages in this area.
Tomorrow, we are headed to our last destination, Carl Larsson Garden and House, in Sundborn. It is on the way back to the Stockholm area where we will spend our last night in a less than picturesque hotel near the Arlanda airport due to our 6:30 a.m. flight back home. It’s been a whirlwind tour of Sweden. We’ve only captured a small part of it but it has been great to catch up with Nancy and Dave and see parts of the country where we have some family heritage.