Sunday, June 15, 2008

Exploring Vastergötland (June 14, 2008)

We went further north today to explore the “Great Lakes” district of central Sweden. This area is known as Vastergötland. Compared to Smäland, large sections of forests have been cleared with rolling hills of farm land that is often planted with wheat, corn and other grains. There are also many farms with Holstein cows on dairy farms and it ends up looking an awful lot like parts of Wisconsin. Like Skäne to the south, we again saw many modern windmills generating electricity on hilltops. We also saw a few of the older windmills from more than 100 years ago.
Västergötland windmill
Antique Windmill in Västergötland

On the way we came across the ruins of the Gudhem convent built just near the end of the Viking era in 1160. This was one of the first eleven convents built in Sweden in the 12th century. It was used by the sisters of the Cisterician order. There was a hidden sanctuary below ground level where they gave refuge to pilgrims who were traveling through. The boys got their flashlights and went spelunking in the subterranean rooms.
Gudhem convent ruins
Gudhem convent ruins

We also visited the historic town of Lidköping and toured the Rörstrand porcelain factory museum and store. We walked around town and explored the gardens and the flea market in the town square. We’ve found that food choices for lunch in most of these small Swedish towns are very limited. You can always find a Konditori or Bageri that sell wonderful pastries and sweets, but in Sweden, these are for an afternoon coffee break not for consumption in the morning when they eat plain breads and rolls. The second choice you find is the Pizzeria & Kebobs restaurants. That’s about it. You can have sweets or you can have Pizza for lunch. Today we found about 4 or 5 of each style in Lidköping and went with the Pizza Kebob choice. Of course the pizzas always come on many varieties that you won’t find in the USA. Today Kenny and I both ordered the banana-curry pizza. Surprisingly it was quite yummy!
Swedish Pizza
Swedish Pizza

Out on the end of a long peninsula, surrounded by Sweden’s largest lake Vänern, which is more than 2,100 square miles, we found the historic Läckö castle. This baroque style castle has a history going back to 1298 and was originally a bishop’s castle, but reverted to the state at the reformation. I have some pictures of the outside, but the inside was off-limits to cameras. Compared to any of the Russian palaces, this one was quite humble.
Läckö Slott
Läckö Castle

The photos for Vastergötland are located here:

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