Sunday 31/7 -22, going to the coast
Now it was finally time to leave our stay in Vetlanda and drive south-eastwards, towards the coast and Kalmar. No stops were planned so the trip was just a “go from A to Z”.
Checking in, unfortunately the Ponton has to wait outside
But it turned out to a bit more interesting. Remember what I said about the monotonous Swedish countryside? Not only are coffee shops extremely difficult to find, toilettes as well. You can however aim for a church, they normally have it, usually connected to the cemetery. Nature takes its course, and after 1 hour of travel it started to become acute... So, we veered off the road at the first sign of a church. It was a delightful little church, Kråksmåla kyrka, originating from the Middle Ages but rebuilt during 1760ies. Since there was such nice garden furniture, we decided to start with morning coffee, sandwich and a cinnamon bun. Some pictures of its interior below.
Unfortunately, the church didn’t have a toilet. How we solved that problem I do however not remember.
A coffee brake, or "fika paus" in Swedish, outside Kråksmåla kyrka
The star was now aimed again at Kalmar and the journey continued without any further interruptions. In Kalmar we had booked a hotel and then also a garage space so that the car would be protected overnight.
The newly washed Mercedes 219 ready for the trip to Kalmar
I needed to make a maneuver including a reverse to get to my parking lot. I had noted the white pillar by the blue car in the background, but the one standing in the middle of the free space, in front of the row of parked cars, I had missed. So, when I backed up, after “verifying” that everything was clear backwards, the two pillars also managed to line up perfectly in the rearview mirror (those of you who have a Ponton Mercedes also know how small it is).
The "invisible" pillar, the villain of the drama
Even though I backed up carefully, the sound of the chrome bumper hitting the steel pillar was deafening. A small but expensive dent was the result. Judging by the damage to the pillar, I was far from the first to miss the pillar. How the hell can you place a pillar like that?
The results of the encounter…
Luckily nothing else seem to have been damaged. The other parts of the chromed bumper are still as new and so are all the brackets and screws. The chrome will be fixed during the winter.
We enjoyed a walk through the beautiful city center towards Kalmar Castle which was our tourist destination for the day. I won't bore you with a bunch of pictures and stories about it, but it is more than well worth a visit.
The renaissance castle Kalmar Slott
Dinner was taken in the city center and was very good. After that we wandered back to the hotel but first stumbled into a bar, Västerport, that was right next door.
We were extremely happy with the dinner at restaurant Larmgatan 10, Kalmar city
The bar is located in the old powder storehouse from the 17th century, under the old water tower (which today has been converted into apartments) from the end of the 19th century. The owner of the bar was incredibly nice and could offer an extensive selection of beer and wine, and a lot of expertise in that area as well. So, it is also well worth a visit.
Here you can see the entrance to Västerport’s bar, under the old water tower
Famous people from Småland
For those who don’t know Småland it may be interesting to learn about some of the most famous Swedes coming from the landscape. I think you'll be familiar with most of them.
- Astrid Lindgren – I suppose you know that author?! Pippi Långstrump, a.k.a Pippi Longstocking, e.g.?
- Ingvar Kamprad – Heard about “Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd Agunnaryd”? Maybe not, but IKEA for sure!?!
- Amalia Eriksson – Maybe you have to visit Gränna (see my article Meeting Classic Strider), or at least a tourist shop in Sweden, to know anything about “Polkagris” (roughly translates to “Polka Pig”). If you haven’t, google is your friend!
- Carl von Linné – the inventor of “System natura”, a system to classify the world’s plants.
- Jenny Nyström – a famous painter and illustrator mainly known for giving a face to the Swedish Father Christmas (“jultomten” in Swedish) and linking him to the gnomes and “tomtar” of Scandinavian folklore.
- Gideon Sundbäck – invented the zipper ("Opens like a smile, closes like a line drawn in the water").
- Vilhelm Moberg – among other literature he wrote four famous novels, which have been translated into 42 languages, telling the story of Karl-Oskar and Kristina and 20 Småland farmers from Ljuder and their emigration to the USA in the 1860s. The work is called “The Emigrants series”. Maybe you have seen musical “Kristina från Duvemåla” (English title "Kristina"), written by ex-ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. It’s based on this work.
- Albert Engström – taught drawing and graphics at the Royal Institute of Art and was also selected as an author for the Swedish Academy. Many of his stories have been translated into English and published in the UK and the US. For Swedes, Strix and Grönköping are well known works.
- Carl Boberg – a poet, song writer, preacher and elected official. Having been terrified by a thunderstorm on Småland’s east coast he wrote the song “O Store Gud”. Maybe you have heard Elvis Presley, and Johny Cash, Whitney Houston etc, sing “How Great Thou Art”? Well, that’s Carl’s song, in English.
The list above is copied from Visit Småland, go there and read more about them!
The next part of our trip can be found here, Searching my roots in Småland, part 4.
The final picture of the small pond Kvarndammen in Vetlanda, I loved it!