Where else but Scandinavia will you find a traditional windmill…
and a few miles down the road a modern wind farm?
We rented a car and drove north along the Øresund and then the Kattegat sea from Malmø toward Göteborg. Nancy was in Gothenburg once before in 1994 to visit a photo lab. Her recollection was that the area reminded her of Upper Michigan and Wisconsin! It’s still the same; there are a lot of trees. When we saw an interesting spire above the trees, we pulled off the highway and found the Tronninge church.
The Trönninge Church was locked, but walking through the cemetery was interesting. The names on nearly every older headstone ended in -sson: Neilsson, Gustafsson, etc. This is a patronymic naming system where a son takes his father’s first name as his last name plus -son. A daughter takes her father’s first name plus -dotter. The Swedes gave up this practice in the early 1900s. Somehow the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has painstakingly worked through this history with documents, headstones, family Bibles and more to show the connections between generations despite so many changes in surnames.
Nancy’s Norwegian lineage shows a similar pattern with a slight variation in spelling of “son” and “daughter.” A couple generations back: Andreas Christensen, son of Christen Danielsen, son of Daniel Olsen, son of Olle Danielsen…Also Olsdatter and Jensdatter and Edjesdatter somewhere in there. (Join familysearch.org for free to see your own family tree. Maybe you have a -sson or -dotter you didn’t know about.)
When we arrived in Gothenburg we found a Friday environmental protest, just like the Firedrill Fridays that Green Peace and Jane Fonda did in Washington D.C. Here it’s the youth-led Fridays for Future, inspired by Greta Thunberg. Later in Stockholm we saw the spot where Greta sits in front of the parliament building every Friday, but it was a Monday so nothing was happening.
Göteborg, like most of the cities we’re visiting, has an excellent public transportation system. We really enjoy traveling by metro, tram, train, bus, ferry…once we figure them out!
We’ve had great weather for most of our Scandinavian trip. Loving the flowers and outdoor activities.
Gustav Adolf is a big figure in Sweden. Actually it’s Gustav Adolf II who was the most influential. He ruled Sweden in the early 1600s and greatly expanded the geographic empire, until he died in battle at age 37. There’s even a college named after him in Minnesota, Gustavus Adolphus College. We are seeing statues of this Gustav all over Sweden. Later Gustav Adolfs…not so much, as they tended to lose some of the territory GAII gained.
We stopped at the Gothenburg Cathedral, a Protestant church with a pristine interior of gold and white.
After driving east through more forest for a couple hours, we found the Habo Kyrka at the southern end of Vättern Lake. This is one of the most interesting churches we’ve ever visited because of its artwork, which also served as teaching lessons. The lower side walls are covered by the Ten Commandments. The Apostles’ Creed is on the ceiling. The Lord’s Prayer is on the upper walls, with the Lord’s Supper and the Blessing on the ceiling. Truly spectacular. (More on Habo Kyrka’s amazing artworks here.)
Heading north on the east side of the lake, we HAD to make a stop at Gränna, “the candy cane capital of the world,” or at least it seemed worthy of the title. We stopped in six “polkagrisars,” about half of the shops along the main street making and selling candy canes and candy sticks.
Every shop had a sweet-smelling back room with a couple young folks at work. The rolling of the candy cane sticks reminded us a bit of the cigar rolling we saw in Miami. The different colors and flavors are twirled together and picked up and stretched and swirled to get to the right thickness. Then they’re measured for the correct length and cut with scissors. We were given an excess end from one stick that was too long. It had a candy cane flavor but it was warm and soft. Quite unexpected.
Our travel along the lake coincided with annual Vätternrundan bike race around the lake, 315 kilometers or 195.7 kilometers in a single day. Because the event generally gets more than 20,000 participants, racers are spread out in small groups, starting as early as Friday evening and finishing sometime the next day. Elite bikers might finish in nine hours or less. Non-elites might be lucky to get to the finish line before it closes on midnight Saturday. (By popular demand there is a shorter 100-kilometer, 60-mile race that allows ebikes, but getting that far on the bike’s battery charge can be quite tricky!)
Nearly 200 miles in a single day is a lot of biking. Because of safety concerns Swedish Traffic Law makes it illegal for anyone to drive a car within six hours of completing the race. Smart law!
Our destination on Lake Vättern was Vadstena and the abbey of Saint Birgitta/Bridget. This is Pilgrim Centrum, one of the main destinations for pilgrimages within Sweden and the other Nordic countries.
Heading east to Uppsala, we visited the 750-year-old Uppsala Cathedral, once Catholic, then after enduring the Reformation, Protestant. Inside are the remains of Saint Erik and an interesting exhibit of water-filled bowls that (should) recreate music of the 100-year-old boys choir.
When we walked around Uppsala’s botanical garden, we stumbled across an awards ceremony for the “garden shed cultivation competition” (according to google translate). This competition has been held annually for 30 years.
Uppsala Garden itself is gorgeous.
It was another beautiful day in the park. We’ve been fortunate to have blue skies and sun almost every day for nearly two weeks.
When we retired to our hotel room in Örebro one night, we found the usual (but unusual for us) arrangement with separate comforters on two sides of a double bed.