We only had three days in Stockholm. I wish we’d had more time; it’s a gorgeous city, and there was so much more to see. Someday.
My mother’s grandparents emigrated from Sweden to Minnesota. It was only after I did a little internet research on the family that I learned of the great emigration of Swedes to America during the late 1800’s. One-fifth of the population emigrated to America, many to Minnesota (like my great-grandparents–and the American Girl doll, Kirsten!) Most of those emigrants were from an area in the south central part of Sweden called Smaland.
Most of my ancestors came from Smaland, from small towns near Växjö. These days in Växjö, there’s a museum and research center called Utvandrarnas Hus (House of Emigrants) which focuses on the Swedes who left for America. Unfortunately, it looks like the museum will be closing after this year. We were lucky to find it still open, and stopped by on our way down south.
(Remember how I wrote about white balance in photos a few posts back? Well, the white balance is really off in this photo, which makes it look like a bad Polaroid. But I don’t have access to my photo editing software here, so it will have to do.)
The museum was interesting. You can get a sense of what sort of information they cover on their website. They had a nice area on the renowned Swedish writer Vilhem Moberg–you can also read about him on the museum website. Moberg wrote a series of four novels about the Swedish emigration to America. I’m reading a translation of the first book, The Emigrants; I started it hoping that it would be informative, and didn’t anticipate how much I’d enjoy it. The books were made into a Swedish film with Liv Ullman. It doesn’t seem easy to find, but I’m hoping to see it after I read the book.
We stayed on an island off the coast of mainland Sweden on the Baltic Sea, called Ölund. The king and queen of Sweden have a vacation home there, and there are windmills everywhere.
We stayed at a hostel and working organic farm called Solberga Gård, which means sunny hill farm.
It was beautiful.
I just wanted to take photos the whole time. The main house:
A second guest house, below. The barns and houses in the Swedish countryside are almost all this shade of red. Apparently the original red paint pigment was a byproduct of the mining industry in Sweden. You can read a little about it, and see some other examples on the charming blog red.house
Lulu especially loved the swing.
The Swedes and Danes love their bikes. There are bike riders everywhere, even in the big cities like Stockholm and Copenhagen.
I found more Swedish beehives.
There were organic seedlings for sale.
And purple and white lilac bloomed all over the island. So utterly fragrant–it made me think of what a Swedish grandmother must smell like.
We also visited some fantastic castle ruins on Ölund called Borgholms Slott. There’s a great aerial photo of the castle if you click that link. It was fun to explore the ruins, and there were beautiful views of the Baltic Sea.