Touring rural Sweden with my family
We are spending the day touring with some of my cousins.
After a leisurely breakfast we pile into a couple of cars and head out for a little local tourist activity.
At the glass studio
Our first stop of the day is at the Glass studio Ahlefeldt-Laurvig.
Did Kerstin and Peter read my mind? What could I want to do more while in Sweden than visit a glassmaker’s gallery – particularly a small, independent glas hyttan like that of Micheal Ahlefeldt-Laurvig!?!
Today Caroline Andersson is at work in the studio.
The children find her work very interesting.
Leaving me free to do a little shopping!
Ah, so many choices. . .
While the rest of us are otherwise occupied, my cousin’s father wanders off. I assume he is looking at the photos by Angelica Ahlefeldt-Laurvig (amazing close-ups of glass) on exhibit in another building, but apparently he instead makes a visit to the family’s private garden. When confronted, he explains that he has no interest in glass or art or culture, but he really, really likes flowers.
She gives him a guided tour of what is, reportedly, a lovely garden.
The world is filled with kind people.
At the tomte shop
A tomte is a Swedish Santa-type figure. This isn’t the sort of thing I’d expect to be interested in (too folksy), but I file into the basement with everyone else and find myself absolutely enchanted the moment the creator of these little figures starts pulling back curtains that had obscured shelf after shelf of elaborate, handmade scenes featuring clever little tomte figures.
They would make perfect Christmas gifts, but she only takes cash, so I have to cut my list considerably and, as it is, I end up borrowing cash from my cousin to cover the purchases my dad and I make.
Time for lunch, so we join the locals at the Torups Gästgivaregård (a historic guesthouse that provides both food and lodging) for a tasty midday meal.
I like the scenic lake directly across the street (beyond the parking lot) too. (I did mention that this is rural Sweden.)
We make an unexpected stop along the roadside to take a closer look at “Hagbard’s Gallows,” a site linked to an ancient Viking story of thwarted love and violent death (sort of a Viking Romeo and Juliet).
The site itself includes the two large standing stones that form the gallows and another nearby pair that includes a petroglyph.
Despite the grisly end of the ancient romance associated with this spot, it just seems peaceful and bucolic.
The Berte Museum of country life
It is well-known in my family that my father is really into tractors, so our cousins take us (him, but we all go along too) to the Berte Museum of life in the country. (The website is in Swedish, but navigable even if you don’t speak Swedish.)
It is an interesting place with an enormous collection of pretty much anything and everything a rural family would have been familiar with throughout most of the twentieth century (and a few things that would have been familiar to farmers even earlier).
The place is ridiculously nostalgic, romanticizing a way of life that was very, very hard. . . but they do have a lot of tractors on display.
My dad lets us know that we haven’t allowed sufficient time for him to see everything.
Time for ice cream
That was a lot of culture and history; time for a break.
(Sila is the local ice cream and they have an outlet store in Falkenberg. I can’t think of many retail operations that would be better than an ice cream outlet – especially when it is really good ice cream!)
Time for some family history
Finally we take some time to reconnect with our own family history.
The day comes to an end
And then it is time to head back “home” for a good dinner and continued conversation.