Thursday, 2 June 2016

Swedish Adenture 2016 - Part 1

22 April 2016
 Gavle.  North of Stockholm.  Journey of mostly motorway and so many, many trees!  mostly pines and silver birches, but mile after mile after mile of trees.  So different from the UK, you just knew you were in a different country!  We stayed just one night in a little apartment which we could have joyfully lived in. Picture below on the right is a small hall and you can just see the kitchen beyond. All that timber is the original walls, with dried moss still intact, stuffing the cracks between logs. (Not the 18th century moss I don't suppose, but you know what I mean!!)

Bread oven in chimney breast
Corner of living room - lots of pre-loved stuff here and it was charming.


Replacement bridge - so near the house
Apple tree in full bloom, right outside
Gavle was almost totally destroyed by fire in the mid 18th Century, and only the destruction of a bridge across the river saved some of the houses, one of which we stayed in. This part of the building was divided into several different living accommodations, and ours came with a little sitting out area to catch the afternoon sun.  Smart and tidy from the street, you enter through a high gate, and here you are in the higgledy-piggledy yard and garden, right above the river.   There are just a few of the old houses on this side of the river, and you can see from the position of the bridge how lucky it was  that the old bridge was cut down to save the fire "jumping" across.   It was indeed a lovely spot  and if we had not had to move on with our itinerary, we'd have liked several days here.  At this time of year, (end of May) all the apple trees are in blossom, and everyone seems to have at least one somewhere in their garden!

In the morning we decide to deviate a bit from our route and continue northwards heading for a small town called Soderhamn, picked entirely at random on the map.  A good decision, a sunny morning, and a yearning for a cup of coffee take us to a little shopping street opposite a park and when you spot locals having a coffee outside in the sun, usually that's the place you want to be too!    And the final good decision is going in.  It's a Konditori, which is the Swedish version of Patisserie..... sort of.  On our travels we discover that like the Brits, there is a stock selection of buns and cakes.  We have doughnuts, chelsea buns, eccles cakes, custard slices, danish.  They have doughnuts, buns which are light and fluffy, chewy biscuits (which must be where America gets cookies) and other cakes which appear in every Konditori we saw, including something for parties or similar called a "Princess" which is a green dome with sponge and cream of some kind inside.  Fascinating!  Anyway, the coffee is delicious, and so is the selected sweetmeat - so delicious in fact that we say same again and have another coffee and select another bun!!  Every Konditori also seems to serve lunchtime rolls, packed with fillings.  But after the double bun session we decide that there is absolutely no need for lunch now.  Just before we leave we spot a wonderful little building up on the hill.
It's Oskarsborg, a tower built in 1895 on the top of a hill close to the town centre.Wikipedia 
We didn't want to visit that day, but at least we know what it is now, and we'll give it a go if we are in the area again (because we need to go to that particular Konditori again, of course!!).  And off we go, cross country, heading for a large town called Borlange, chosen because it's in the area where we will visit Carl Larsson's summer house at Sundborn.