September 14, 2010

A Week in Sweden

Press HERE to see a slideshow
of our days in Sweden.

Lindströms with Chin and Betty
Lindström Family
Our New Volvo
IMG_6188: Our New Volvo
IMG_0900: Pelle
Bill, Birgitte and Per-Erik
IMG_0929: Bill, Birgitte and Per-Erik
Betty at the Vasa Museum
IMG_0942: Betty at the Vasa Museum
Making Flat Bread at Skansen
IMG_0966: Rolling Out the Bread

We left the USA one week ago and arrived in Sweden the next day - last Wednesday. We had purchase a small, new Volvo in the USA and had gone to Sweden to accept delivery there. Part of the arrangement with Volvo is that the price of the auto includes two roundtrip airplane tickets and one night in a hotel. We were surprise by the quality of the flight from Chicago to Stockholm on SAS. For some reason we thought that it would be of the highest quality, but it was just like Delta and all the other US carriers. Volvo had us picked us up at the airport and driven to our hotel. We tried to stay up as long as we could. But we only made it until 4:00 pm, when the tiredness overwhelmed us. Other than a couple of hours later in the evening, we slept the night away with the help of sleep aides. Jet-lag dogged us the next three days.

On Thursday, Volvo had us driven to their factory. Here we inspected our new car. We had lunch there. And we went on a tour of the factory. The tour was excellent. We saw every part of the final assembly. The only thing that we could not do on the tour was take pictures; a rather unfortunate state of affairs.

Anders Amnèus
IMG_0896: Anders Amneus
Joar Amnèus
IMG_0924: Joar at Norrköping Museum
Northern Magic Mushroom
IMG_0907: Amanita Muscaria

In the late afternoon, we drove a bit more than two hours to Huskvarna. It is next to Jönköping at the south tip of Lake Vättern. Here we met the family Lindström. Papa Mathais is a budding entrepreneur. He is smart, ambitious and destined to be very successful. His wife Nia is a pediatrics nurse. They have four wonderful children ranging in age from three to nine: Gabriel, Denise, Nathaniel and Beatrice. Not only were they hosting us, but they also had taken in a student, Chin, who was born in Japan and is studying in Germany. We had long and wonderful talks with them late into the evening and the next morning. We left Huskvarna in the midday.

On Friday we drove to my cousin’s home in Kolmården, which is a dozen miles east of Nörrköping. She and her husband are Birgitte and Per-Erik Amnèus. When we arrived we found their son Anders had also arrived from Stockholm. His son, Joar, came by train later in the evening. Birgitte cooked a great evening meal. In the morning we all went an event that Per-Erik needed to attend, a special day to celebrate geology. He represented the Marble Museum, which we visited Sunday morning. He and other museum members have restored a number of buildings from an old marble mine and works. In any case, later on Saturday in the afternoon their son Pelle arrived. In the afternoon Anders, Joar, Pelle and I went for a drive and then a hike. We saw an old feldspar mine. I finally saw the amanita muscaria in real life. When ingested, this northern European mushroom is extremely hallucinogenic. We had another wonderful meal in the evening. We talked and ate and talked and drank. It was a wonderful time to renew our friendship with my wonderful Swedish cousins.

On Sunday, we went to the Marble Museum and then on a hike along the sound where Kolmården lay. In the afternoon we were joined by Birgitte and Per-Erik’s daughter Marie and her husband Anders. We all went to Nörrköping and had lunch. It was my first chance to get to know Anders and Marie. I was pleasantly surprise by all of our common interests - like travel and dancing the Tango. Before returning to Kolmården, we visited the Nörrköping Work Museum. Nörrköping has a river that runs through it. This river provided power for a large number of mills. It was the center for the manufacture of textiles until the 1970’s.

Before dinner, Pelle returned to his home. Anders and Joar left by train right after dinner. The home of Per-Erik and Birgitte was becoming very quiet. We left the next day, Monday. You may have noticed that my daughter and cousin have nearly identical names. When Betty and I decided to give our children Scandinavian names, Birgitta was the first name that popped into my mind. The second was Hanna and - I guess - my granddaughter Johanna captured that one. Birgitte and Per-Erik are great to be with. I wish that we did not live so far apart. I was not able to connect with any other cousins. Gunilla and Ulla live in the far north and Brage was busy in the south of Sweden. I hope to connect with Brage and his wife in December.

When we left Kolmården on Monday, we drove to Stockholm to spend two nights with my cousin Anders. We went to the Vasa Museum Monday afternoon. This museum houses the ship Vasa, which was a massive warship that sunk in 1628 on its maiden voyage due to lack of enough ballast to keep it upright when the wind blows. The ship was extremely well preserved in the cold Baltic waters. It was raised in 1961. The Swedes took on the monumental task of preserving everything on the ship. Having been in the museum, I would have to say that they succeeded. When we returned to Anders’ flat we ate supper and spent the evening talking, mostly about politics. It was a most enjoyable evening.

Today we went to another museum. The main focus of the museum is Swedish life and artifacts. Some people call these folk museums. Skansen was established in 1891. From all over Sweden, whole farm houses and all the out buildings were moved to Skansen in Stockholm. These farms also represent various periods of Swedish history. There are also many urban buildings, which include not only residences, but also various workshops and stores. Anders accompanied us on this excursion, which made it all the better, because he acted as our guide.

I should add that Anders lives in the neighborhood that the Millennium series of books is set. So before we traveled to Skansen Anders gave us a tour of places where the main characters of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander lived, ate, drank and worked. We really enjoyed that little tour.

Tomorrow we will drive to Denmark. You can expect another entry next week.

Posted by bill at September 14, 2010 11:51 AM

Hi. If you are comming in my direction - you are welcome to look me up. I'm stll living in Skanderborg south of Århus.

I'm on sick leave recovering from a blood clot in the coronary artery, but really OK now. Can be reached on 45 61300538.

Greetings Gregers

Posted by: Gregers at September 15, 2010 06:32 AM

I found this blog. This post VERY interesting.

Posted by: soorsjeapeWeN at September 25, 2010 05:09 AM