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Today is a special day for Lynn for reasons beyond her gastronomic
flirtations back at the Konditori. During the next few hours we will be
visiting some world famous glassworks factories such as Kosta, Afors and
Boda to name but a few. They are all located in small villages along
today's route. Or perhaps it would be truer to say that Lynn has planned
today's route so as to pass through these glassworks villages.
afternoon we will leave the Swedish mainland and cross over onto Oland
Island and the town of Borgholm where Lynn's great grandfather Edvard
Nils Olssen (Olsson) was born and raised.
With the aid
of our trusty little TomTom navigator we have no trouble navigating our
way to the individual villages where the glassworks are located. We
visited five in all this day but we both felt it was fairly
disappointing. Although we did see a sprinkling of incredibly creative
and incredibly expensive art pieces, for the most part it was just like
being in a gift shop with a particularly large array of mass produced
glass plates, glasses and vases, many of which looked decidedly kitch to
our admittedly untrained eyes. Sadly the glass factories were a
big let-down, especially given our earlier high expectations.
weather was absolutely perfect and we had purchased the makings
of a picnic from a supermarket in Vaxjo. In due case we spotted
a pullover with toilets and picnic facilities beside a pretty
lake. We spent a very pleasant hour beside the lake. We restored
our spirits with a ham and tomato bagette, some cheese, grapes
and a glass of Chardonnay before resuming our journey in a
positive frame of mind. The road had little traffic, the
roadside trees and pastures were picture book perfect and yet
another pretty lake popped up every few kilometres or so.
due course we reached the small city of Kalmar on the east coast
of Sweden. It was now late in the day due my inability to tear
Lynn away from those cakes back in Vaxjo, so we just spent 30
minutes checking out Kalmar Castle, a citadel guarding the
straights between the the mainland and Oland Island. We then
crossed a six kilometre bridge onto Oland Island, a place much
mentioned and discussed in our home during the last 12 months or
so whilst Lynn has been researching her great grandfather and
her Swedish roots.
find the Hotell
Halltorps Gästgiveri with ease and are pleased that it lives up
to our expectations. A photo of the spacious reception area
appears on this page.
hotel very much prides itself on its cuisine so we decided to
give the restaurant a fling. The food was indeed the best we've
experienced in Scandinavia to date but instead of it being just
very expensive it was knee trembling expensive. Before leaving
Australia we'd been well and truly warned to raise the limits on
our credit cards and try not to look at price cards but it still
comes as a shock. Belgium was pricey, Denmark was more pricey,
Sweden is worse again and we're told you aint seen nothing until
you go to Norway! We've been regaled with stories of $17 for a
Big Mac and other colourful shockers. Well, we're not exactly
looking forward to that but I suppose we'll just press forward
like lemmings until we throw ourselves over the cliff onto the
sharp edge of our Visa card.
21st May 2007
We spend a few hours just meandering around the back roads of
Oland Island so that Lynn can get the general feel of the place.
The weather has remained remarkably sunny, warm and still. On
the face of it, this is a great outcome but we have become
increasing concerned that the clothing we brought with us is
quite inappropriate if things stay as warm as this.
Notwithstanding today's weather, the hundreds of old (and new)
windmills along the coast of Oland attests to the fact that this
must be a really windy place most of the time.
has been working with a genealogy researcher on Oland Island
during the last few months attempting to find her great
grandfather's birth records. This task isn't helped by the fact
that Olssen is one of the most common names in Sweden. Nor is it
helped by the fact Olssen is often changed to Olsson and vice
versa. Anyhow, the researcher emailed Lynn with some info on her
probable great, great grandfather Olaf Olsson and the location
of his grave. Our sterling little TomTom guided us unerringly to
the church where we soon found the grave stone. Photos of both
appear on this webpage.
great grandfather came to Australia at about the age of 19 and
never returned to Sweden. Unfortunately not a lot is known about
his Swedish past but Lynn has unearthed quite a lot of info and
will continue her research. She is the first person in her
family line to have visited Sweden since Edvard Nils Olssen left
here in 1873.
on Sweden thus far
As the depth of our photos seems to have outstripped
our commentary, perhaps some general comments about Sweden are
not out of order in this location.
Swedes have been unfailingly helpful and polite. And
although we've seen less visible evidence of the English
language compared to what we noticed in Belgium and Denmark,
almost everyone speaks reasonable English if you ask a question
and many speak excellent English with the greatest of ease.
Conditions are excellent. Although the roads are quite
narrow by Australian standards they are well maintained with
good signage. The traffic density has been extremely light
throughout most of our route to date and other drivers seem very
patient, courteous and law abiding. Speeds of 70 kph to 90 kph
is the norm on most country roads. Freeways vary between 90 and
110 kph. All roads are raised at least one metre above the
surrounding countryside. It means one cannot usually pull over
to take a photo. There are small pull-offs every one to two
kilometres for other purposes however.
Food is extremely expensive by our standards.
Supermarket prices are around 70% to 90% higher than in
Australia. Restaurant prices are a good 120% to 200% higher than
in Australia. It's a similar story for wine which is a
Government controlled monopoly at retail and wholesale levels.
Wine costs between $20 to $30 per litre in cardboard casks at a
Government liquor shop. We're carrying so much paraphernalia in
and out of hotels that a small cask of white and a small cask of
red is better alternative to heavy glass bottles and there's
less chance of a nasty accident along the way.
and small cities are invariably neat and clean and with
very little traffic compared to similar cities like Coffs
Harbour or Port Macquarie. I don't know where they hide all the
cars and people. One sees the occasional piece of graffiti but
it's much less in evidence than in Australia. We haven't seen
any squalid looking towns or suburbs but some may well exist
and Restrooms are so important to travellers and never
more so than when in a foreign country. The good news is that
Swedish toilets are exceptionally clean and fairly plentiful.
Some Park toilets require 5 kronor in the slot to gain entry
however (about one dollar).
Hotels are run with minimal staff. No porters to be
found in any of our Danish or Swedish hotels. Reception staffing
is minimal and many small hotels are totally unmanned overnight
as previously mentioned. This can be a blessing or a curse
depending on one's circumstances of the moment.
Police - What police? We've seen two police cars in 1200
kilometres to date and seen no police on foot either. Our TomTom
has fortunately alerted us to about 15 speed cameras so far
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