Day 5: August 1

I previously noted the lack of screens on the windows and decided I didn't care, but as I was packing up this morning, a rather large bee popped in. Not big like a bumblebee, but just really long and proportionately thick. I'm reasonably phobic, but when I say that it was probably close to an inch long, I'm really not exaggerating by much. That was a tense couple of minutes for me while it buzzed around the window and tried to find its way back out.

Anyway, Stockholm was fun, but now we're tackling Sweden's highway system as we drive our way up to Östersund (or possibly Umeå) over the next several days. We took a cab to the Avis office downtown and picked up the rental, which is a Toyota Auris (hatchback on the Corolla platform) with a diesel engine and a six-speed manual transmission. Both of those make me pretty happy, but the lack of cruise control and the poor road-noise abatement do eat into my joy a bit. I'm now really glad Nils drove us around Stockholm so much, as it gave me some confidence about navigating roundabouts, which are getting more and more common in Sweden.

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Today we drove to Långshyttan via Uppsala. The main reason for the Uppsala side trip was to see the massively massive domkyrka (cathedral), and it didn't disappoint. Even if it happens to look very imposing in pictures, it's one of those things you still have to see in person for the full effect. There was a cafe right next to the church grounds, so we nabbed some lunch there before moving on.

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We passed through Högbo, which has a giant Dalahäst, one of those ornately-painted red (or blue, or white, or, rarely, neon green) horses this region is famous for. So we pulled over for a picture of Mom by the horse.

In Långshyttan, we dumped our stuff at our lodgings and then drove back down to Hedemora, about 30 km away, since we knew there was a grocery store there and didn't figure there was one in this tiny town. I bought my first-ever microwavable frozen dinner, but it was OK for a number of reasons, including being made with quality ingredients and being an Indian dish. Pretty tasty, actually. Also got some cereal for breakfast (Cheerios, which are branded as a Nestle product in Sweden and probably the rest of Europe), some lactose-free milk, and various other comestibles. The cool thing about Europe is that food tends to be labeled in multiple languages but not always the same ones from product to product. The text on the cereal box was also in Norwegian and Danish (only where they differed from Swedish), and my dinner had Finnish text. Well, I think it's cool, anyway.

Between shopping and dinner, we talked to Nils-Göran, a distant relative who had given Mom's brothers a tour of the area—sites of family significance or even just local interest—and Mom's brother Wayne had asked him to give us a tour as well. We went over some genealogical information he'd collected and some maps of the area for our tour tomorrow.

Our lodgings are basically a two-bedroom apartment, part of the first floor of a building on a site that also has two cabins. The rest of the building is the owners' apartment, where they also have a textile business, and another guest apartment. The beds are basically the same as in the hotel, pad on a box spring, but it's up to us to stuff the comforter-sheet-thing with the appropriate object, so I've opted to not do that and am just using a blanket on top of the empty comforter sheet.

Previous: July 31
Next: August 2

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Jeff Blank <jfb@mr-happy.com>