• 11Aug

    In Swedish travelogues, I often see images from Millesgården, the sculpture garden created by the artist Carl Milles.


    This trip  it was a priority to see it.  Sven-Eric accompanied Bob and me on a beautiful, sunny day.


    We wandered the terraced grounds, enjoying the statues.


    The movement of the figures is amazing.


    Many of them have their necks arched, which I found very interesting.


    The self guided tour starts out on a terrace where the artist’s home sits.


    There are many sculptures there, and fabulous views of that hint of more to come.



    The lower terrace is the most amazing, with this large Poseidon statue.


    And pedestals…


    …with sprites playing instruments.





    The delicate balance of the sculptures is incredible.


    To me, the most fascinating is The Hand of God.



    An amazing day.

  • 09Aug

    I love Skansen!  It’s the outdoor museum in Stockholm.


    It has historic buildings from all over Sweden.  Some are prominent public buildings.


    Others are typical farm buildings.


    Many of them log construction.


    Including this one from our family farm in Nås.


    The fences are charming.


    A raised bed garden!


    And I particularly love the leaded glass windows.  Outside…


    ..and in!


    There’s a lot of symbolism on this old candlestick.


    Shoes made from birch bark!


    Swedish horses.


    A rune stone from Uppland.


    We had “fika” — a coffee break!


    Geraniums in the window, of course!


    And a Mora clock.


    A lovely day!

  • 07Aug

    A visit to Sweden wouldn’t be complete without some time in Gamla Stan — the old town.


    The narrow streets…..


    …and charming architecture,,,


    …hold such appeal.


    There’s something to see up every street.


    Other parts of the city are charming as well.


    There are many green areas and fountains in the city,


    We had some wonderful meals—and great desserts.


    Pretty yummy, but made even better with the addition of some delicious chocolate sauce!


    And, of course, there are bicycles everywhere.


    And even though it was summer, some of them had studded tires!


    That was a new one on me!

  • 02Aug


    Bob and I returned to Sweden again this summer!  Instead of staying in Stockholm for our “city” part of the visit, we stayed about an hour away in Uppsala.


    Two things dominate the skyline in Uppsala.  First is the cathedral with its twin spires.


    The other is the Uppsala castle, perched high on a hill.


    Uppsala is a charming city.


    There are many flower lined bridges crossing the river that runs through the center of town.


    I love the architecture, and how the river runs right through this building!


    Uppsala is also home to one of Sweden’s major universities and medical school.  This anatomical theater was built in 1663.


    Students stood in the tiered theater while a professor dissected a cadaver on the table!


    This is one sign we always look for when we’re in Sweden.  It means bakery!


    The pastries are amazing—as tasty as they are beautiful!


    My favorite is the Princess Cake!


    Every bakery makes them.


    While green is traditional, you sometimes see blue and pink.


    The strawberry whipped cream cakes are pretty wonderful, too.


    Of course we always look for this guy, who advertises a brand of ice cream called GB Glace.


    We visited a museum that had two of my favorite things—a kakelugn (ceramic stove) and…


    …a Mora clock.


    In the children’s area there were these cute embroideries.




    In one of the shops I fell in love with this post box.  It reminds me of my Swedish birdhouse.


    We went out to Gamla Uppsala, where there are Viking burial mounds and centuries old buildings.


    Even here they are painted with the Falu Röd paint.


    I love the log construction.


    Sweet!  Don’t you love the sod roof?


    The woven sides of this bed fascinated me.


    The old stone church sits on a site where pagan sacrifices once took place!


    The day we were there a christening or wedding was about to happen.  It would have been fun to crash the party, but I refrained!

  • 01Aug

    Everything we heard and read recommended we take something called “The Golden Circle Tour” when we were in Iceland—so we did!  It was a great way to expose ourselves to the beautiful, natural wonders of the country.

    You probably know that Iceland is a place of fire and ice.  There is a ton of geothermal activity on the island.


    We had a darling guide who was very proud of her Viking roots!  She did a great job of sharing the natural history as well as the history of the settlement of Iceland.  Here we are at Pingvellir National Park.


    Did you know that Iceland lies above the tectonic plates that separate North America and Europe?  AND, the movement of the plates is causing the land beneath Iceland to drift apart a few centimeters a year!?!  What you see below is one side of drift area.  The other side is a few kilometers away!  But, that natural gap you see here, is a very significant place.


    The early Vikings gathered here once a year to meet and make laws—the first parliament of Iceland!  Those wanting to make speeches stood where our guide is standing, and everyone could hear as the sounds would echo off the natural stone walls of the place!


    We walked through the park and enjoyed the beauty of the rough landscape.


    Our next stop was Gullfoss—the Golden Waterfall.  Now, I have to tell you, I’ve been to some pretty windy places in my life, but this was by far the windiest!  It was an effort just to stay upright.  But, the falls was definitely worth it.  This is just a peek,  As you approach, it looks as though it disappears into the ground.


    Here’s a broader view of the falls.  At one time there was a threat of turning the falls into a hydroelectric facility, but, luckily, that didn’t happen and now it is protected.


    Skaholt was the seat of religion in Iceland for centuries.  There have been six churches on this site, the first built in 1056.  The current church dates from 1963.


    It has beautiful stained glass windows and this Jesus mural behind the altar.


    Geysir is the name of this geyser, and the origin of the word “geyser!”  It erupted three times in the short time we were there.


    This last photo was just for fun.  One of my favorite children’s stories is The Old Woman and the Pig.  In it, she buys a pig and must cross a stile to get back home, but the pig won’t cross the stile.  She solicits help from a number of animals and objects, and as your reading, the sentences get longer and longer (similar to the House That Jack Built) ending with, …”doggy, doggy, bite piggy.  Piggy won’t go over the stile and I shan’t get home tonight!”  I love to recite it for my grandchildren, who, I’m sure, have no idea what a stile is!  Now I can show them.



    So, if you want to know how the story ends, here it is!  “The cat started to chase the rat, the rat started to gnaw the rope, the rope started to hang the butcher, the butcher started to kill the ox, the ox started to drink the water, the water started to quench the fire, the fire started to burn the stick, the stick started to beat the doggy, the doggy bit the piggy, the piggy went over the stile and the old woman finally got home that night!

  • 10Sep
    Categories: Everything!, travels abroad Comments Off on Kilwinning Scotland

    Bob and I went to Scotland this summer.  We wanted to see the town that his grandfather and great grandfather emigrated from.  The town is Kilwinning.  It is home to Kilwinning Abbey and the first Masonic Lodge, known as The Mother Lodge.

    It was founded in 1140!  Bob’s ancestors were members here.

    We knocked on the door and stated our reason for being there and were given a very warm welcome and a tour of the lodge.

    But most exciting was that they were having a parade the day we were there!

    It was called an Orange Walk or Orange March.

    I had never heard of the Orange Order, but it’s a fraternal organization.

    There were lodges represented from all over Scotland and Ireland.

    Their name comes from Prince William of Orange.

    Each lodge carried a big banner.

    It was so interesting to see the way the different groups were dressed.

    Some just marched, some had drums and some had fifes.

    And a few had drum majors like this guy, who was very good!

    I think there were about 75 units in the parade.

    It lasted over an hour.

    There were a few women’s groups, and I loved their hats!

    The most dominant feature of the town is the ruins of the Abbey.

    You see it from everywhere.

    After the parade, we wandered over to the Abbey.

    We were delighted to find that the tower was open and you could go up with a guide.  While we were stopped on the bell level, the bells chimed!  I just about jumped out of my skin!

    The view was fantastic!

    On the way down, I told the guide that Bob’s great-grandfather had been provost of Kilwinning (that’s like the mayor).  She said, “You know that we have the robe he would have worn when he presided at meetings.”  Well, we didn’t know, but what a thrill to see it and imagine all the times Bob’s great-grandfather donned it.

    She told us there was even a street named for him…

    …so we had to check it out, of course!




  • 24Aug
    Categories: musings, travels abroad Comments Off on Swedish Doors

    I’m obsessed with Swedish doors!

    They’re all different….

    …but somewhat the same.

    They seem to be made of planks.  Some are horizontal like the first four, but they’re not the most common.

    These chevron designs seem to be quite common.

    I love the nail head detail on this one.

    This is a very old door.

    Here’s a combo of chevrons and horizontal planks.

    A variation on the chevron theme is the diamond design.

    This is probably the most common.

    Blue is a popular color,

    as is gray.

    Often a natural stone is used as a step.

    Great detail around this double door.

    An interesting combination.

    I love the little diamond windows.

    Another very old door.

    I love the stairs in front of this one.

    Another fancy surround.

    I thought the arched top of this door was interesting.

    The following are all at least a century old.

    I think these very old ones may actually be carved.

    Amazing paint.

    What a cheerful way to be greeted when visiting someone!


    When we built a Swedish cabin in our woods, it had to have a Swedish door, too!



  • 15Aug
    Categories: travels abroad Comments Off on Swedish Windows

    Sometimes beauty is in the details.  That’s the case with Swedish windows.

    There are so many designs of leaded windows.

    Some of these are centuries old.

    I know leading served a purpose…

    …but making it decorative didn’t make it any stronger.

    It just made it more beautiful.

    These windows are not just lovely to look through…

    They’re lovely to look at!

    Even shutters can make a statement.

    The heart finds its way into lots of Swedish folk art.

    This shutter is in Nås, Anna Lena’s hometown.

    Some windows have decorative trim.

    This is a very popular design.

    Here’s a fancy one.

    I saw this one on a resort island.

    Round, anyone?

    The designs here are painted on the building and not really part of the window.  How ingenious!

    Look carefully at the upper story of this house.  With the exception of the tall window in the gable end, all the windows on the second floor (not just the trim) are painted on!  At one time, you were assessed taxes based on how many windows you had in your house.  Perhaps that’s why these aren’t real windows.

    Of course flowers enhance any window.

    This is the design the windows in my dream sunporch will have!

    I liked the greenery both inside and outside this window.

    Hope you enjoyed this peek at Swedish windows!


  • 14Aug
    Categories: Everything!, travels abroad Comments Off on Some Swedish Food

    The food in Sweden is wonderful–and so beautifully presented.

    This was our breakfast buffet one morning…

    …on the island of Öland.

    This was called “Summer Farm Hard Bread.”

    Even the fast food/take-out is amazing.

    We enjoyed some fine meals, like this tuna…

    …this pasta…

    …and these were the best French fries I ever tasted–crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

    Picture yourself at an amusement park and going into a fast food restaurant for a bite to eat.  You go up to the counter and order, someone slaps some food on your plate and you find a place in the crowded restaurant to sit down.  Do you expect it to look like the photo below?  Well, that’s what it was.  And I have to say, the meatballs were some of the best I’ve ever had!

    This was the coffee service in the same restaurant.  Help yourself!

    Berit served dessert outside while we were at her house.

    We discovered rhubarb crisp with vanilla sauce was quite popular.

    On, and in Visby we discovered a crepe shop!  It doesn’t get much better than crepes served with ice cream AND whipped cream!

    It isn’t midsummer without a strawberry whipped cream torte!

    In Sweden, waffles are dessert.

    I showed you in an earlier post the pastries offered at McDonald’s!

    Well the next THREE photos are in a 7-Eleven!



    One of my favorite signs is “Konditori,” which means bakery.

    The selections are always incredible.

    Besides sweet rolls, the breads are wonderful.

    Sweden has the best strawberries, and when they’re in season, they are everywhere, like on these tarts at the bakery in the NK Department Store.

    When you graduate from high school in Sweden, you wear a cap like the one shown below.


    So it was no surprise when we saw cakes baked to look like the graduation caps!

    I thought they were so fun.

    Of course, I’m very fond of the traditional Princess Cake–the green ones are the most traditional.

    And you see a lot of them in bakeries around Sweden.

    But now there’s a new cake–the Princess Estelle cake…

    …named for Sweden’s newest royal, baby Estelle.


  • 25Jul
    Categories: travels abroad Comments Off on More from Dalarna

    Dalarna is the province of my ancestors.  Whenever you read about Sweden, Dalarna is referred to as “the heart of Sweden.”  It’s the place where the folk traditions live on, where people still wear their parish costumes at midsummer, where the Dala horses are made, where the quintessential red paint comes from.  To me, Dalarna feels like home.

    The lupine grows in abundance.

    The chimneys are artfully designed.

    Every village has a maypole.

    Each with its own special symbols.


    There’s room for a giant tupp candlestick in the middle of a roundabout!

    It’s where Mora clocks originated.

    The parish costumers are colorful.

    Red buildings abound.

    The forests are abundant.

    The fences are special.

    Charming little lakes are everywhere.

    The sunsets are amazing.

    And the strawberry whipped cream cakes are pretty darned good!

    I’m ready to go back now.