Dokodemo Door!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Journey to Denmark and Sweden, #4

We departed by car across southern Sweden and stayed overnight at Erik and Bim's summer cottage in the woods of rural Östergötland.

When you drive through Sweden's countryside, you can't help but notice that most of the houses you come across are painted brick red with white trim. Apparently, this is because the Scandinavian countries have a surplus of red pigment due to it being a by-product of copper mining. So this kind of paint-job is basically the least expensive of all color options.

(That sort of trivia is pretty anticlimactic, I know.)

On the way to their summer home, we stopped near Lake Vättern to see the Rök Runestone, which is considered the first piece of written Swedish literature.

The stone had been lodged in the wall of a church for about 900 years before it was discovered and dug-out in the mid-19th century. (The translation is so vague and esoteric, the narrative was nearly impossible for linguists to follow.)

Finally, we made a stop in Norrköping to see my great-grandad's hometown. Norrköping in the 19th century was a town of grim textile factories with a reputation for poor housing. No wonder people wanted to get away from there.

After Norrköping, we headed to the sleepy town of Mariefred. There, we were handed-off to Christer, Erik's brother. Christer took us to see the main sight in Mariefred: Gripsholm Castle, and took us on a coal-fired steamship to Stockholm.

Next-up: Stockholm!