After 6 days in London, Mom and Dad and I were headed for Sweden! HEading back home for me! YAY! We were in Stockholm for a few days and met with a long lost cousin Ulrika Bengtsson at a coffee shop. We visited Gamla Stan and saw changing of the guards, and the palace museums, as well as a Cuty sightseeing bus tour. It was a busy and stressful day figuring out transportation, what to do when and where, and where to eat for dinner! The first night though we ate at a very nice Swedish restaurant and had authentic Swedish food- Reindeer as an appetizer!
After Stockholm we headed for Kalmar in the province of Smaland in Southern Sweden. We met more relatives again in Blomstermala and Haggemala. They were so welcoming to our family and showed us the graves of where our relatives have been buried and invited us for some coffee and desserts at another relatives house. It was so surprising how many pictures we saw of Grandpa Art and Axel and even Grandma! I love meeting relatives on the other side of the world! It's like putting together a huge puzzle that will never be finished since the family tree is so large... I love meeting family though. No matter who you are they are always welcoming, that's for sure. In Kalmar we also visited the only castle in the city and walked around the town for a bit. It was Good Friday morning and we learned that although Sweden is a secularized country, they practice the Easter holiday by shutting down the whole country! Nothing was open between Kalmar and Vaxjo, our ending destination for this day. We enjoyed walking along the water though in the morning before we left Kalmar and soaking up the sun.
We headed for Vaxjo to visit where I have been living the last three months. On our way we tried to go to a glass factory and the Glasriket part of Sweden, but since it was a RED DAY all over the country only the store to the glass factory was open. Oh well- we bought some crystal for our new kitchen at home! We continued on to Vaxjo. It was lunchtime when we arrived and we dropped our luggage off at the hotel and went for a walk to show them the Centrum. It was like a ghost town! No one was there! All the stores were closed and I thought for sure since it was a Friday that the city would be busy! It was like someone died it was so empty. The only restaurant open for lunch was a Thai Restaurant. We resorted to eating oriental food instead of the wishfull Swedish meal for lunch- atleast it was good though! haha. After we went for a prolonged tour of Vaxjo and after I saw more of the city during that drive than my whole time here, we went for a walk around the infamous Vaxjo lake. Vaxjo means "where the road meets the water" by the way. And this lake used to go up to the famous Church in the city, so that is how it got it's name! We tried to kill time by driving, but soon enough we had to go back to the hotel. We ate at the other only open restaurant in the city- the hotels Pub! The night ended young which was good because we were so pooped we needed our rest!
The following day we left Vaxjo and headed South to Solvesborg. We were in for a treat- meeting more family and seeing where my dad's Grandmother lived as a child! I could see the joy in my dad's eye the whole day... it was wonderful! We met our cousin Jeppe Jonsson- no "J" pronunciation, please... only "Y." haha. He showed us more than we expected to see and welcomed us into his house with open arms. I was such a treat. We drove around Solvesborg to Mjallby (where grandma Ellen was baptised and confirmed) and Norgesund (the fishing village that Agnes was from). Atleast the city was a little busy during the day we were able to shop a bit and see a small castle and outskirts of the city where my ancestors had lived in the late 1800's/ early 1900's. It was so cool! For dinner the town had shut down. We were lucky and ate well at a steak restaurant in town.
The following morning was Easter Sunday, Happy Easter! We went to visit the Mjallby parish and gravesite again and since it was open we explored! This was the SAME church that my great grandmother had gone to along with her family. It sounds distant but it's really not. About 100 years ago, yet Grandma Ellen isn't that far down the Family Tree in relation to me!
Today was the day where we met our relatives in Malmo. For me it will be my second time- how cool huh?! and for my parents, their first. Marianne had invited all her children over for Easter dinner and they all welcomed us. The crazy thing is is that Marianne had a film (without sound) of when Folke and Gurli visited Sweden as well as when they came to Amerika and Grandpa Art and Grandma Johnson are in it! It was so funny watching the video and having this type of connection to FAMILY in SWEDEN! Think about that... it's so cool. The original bulb to the projector broke before they showed us the film and so Niklas actually went out and bought a brand new one just so we could watch it! That's great hospitality for sure! Easter dinner was great, and my request of the famous Swedish Semlor was fulfilled at dessert time! mmm!
After dinner with relatives, we headed for Copenhagen!
I remember my dad saying to himself I WONDER IF ILL REMEMBER THIS. THE GRASS ROOFS AND RED HOUSES AND THE LITTLE THINGS IN SWEDEN. My dad seemes so content after visiting the country his relatives came from and meeting first hand family in Sweden. I could tell that he thought it was so special seeing his grandmothers house and seeing pictures of his father in Sweden. I could really sense he was so happy that he had the chance to do what we did in Sweden.