Sunday, June 15, 2008

Växjö to Ulricehamn (June 13, 2008)

Today was a day of struggles with our limited knowledge of Swedish. Once again we’ve proved that if you look hard enough you can always find insufficient English in a foreign country. First we had some driving struggles after being misdirected by the GPS in Växjö, not understanding some of the signs. Next, we scratched our heads over how to pay for parking in the automatic parking ticket machines. At the gas station, I looked like another dummy who didn’t have a clue how to operate the pay-at-the-pump machine. In a grocery, we picked what looked like a tasty chocolate confection and it turned out to be flavored with strong liqueurs and no one liked the taste. In the B&B we struggled with how to get the washing machine to work. At the end of the day we can laugh at ourselves, and continue to enjoy the adventure.

Teleborg Slott
Teleborg Castle

This morning we moved to our next location, which is further north and further west. We started by visiting the town of Växjö. We had a few laughs as the GPS routed us to our first destination (Teleborg Castle). The roads kept getting smaller and smaller and we finally ended up on a narrow brick road that looked more like a bike path. We finally concluded that the car probably didn’t belong on this “road” and turned it around and went back out of what was a university campus the same way we came in. Too bad we couldn’t read the signs and figured it out before we scared anyone.

Växjö is a city that is spread through the land bridges that separate six large lakes that surround it on three of four sides. The Teleborg Castle seemed to be hosting some type of formal event when we attempted to enter, so we bypassed the tour and just admired it from the outside.

We moved on to the Centrum (city center) and after struggling with the parking meter machines, we visited the Emigrants Museum. There was a lot of history about the early Swedish emigrants who came from the areas here in Sweden where our ancestors came from and migrated to the same region in Minnesota originally.
Emigrants Museum
Emigrants Museum

Växjö was the first city we’ve been in since Copenhagen and they had a store called Media Markt (similar to Best Buy) and Becky found an Abba CD to buy so we could listen to something appropriate in the car as we drove around. (You do remember that Swedish group from the 80’s don’t you?) We also saw the first “fast-food” place since leaving the Copenhagen, called “Max” which is similar to McDonald’s. We took advantage of the chance to feed the hungry boys and found the teenagers working inside better with their English than most folks around, so there were no communication problems there.

The roads north began to get hillier and the thick forests persisted. The highways also got more crowded as we got into civilization and there more than just timber trucks now. While our route took us through Jönköping, we didn’t stop there since this big city seemed to be quite an industrial center and our tour books didn’t have any sights identified other than the Husqvarna factory. We continued west and arrived in Ulrichamn in late afternoon. After walking around the shopping district we drove to the other side of lake and settled into our guesthouse at Brunnsnäs Sätari Bed & Breakfast. This is a wonderful country estate on a large farm with goats and cattle, right on the lake overlooking the town on the opposite side. Once again we have a separate small guesthouse just to ourselves.
Ulricehamn shopping
Shopping in Ulricehamn

The weather was cooler today with some intermittent sprinkles and a maximum temperature of only about 14°-15° C. This was great for us and it means great sleeping weather with the cooler air. Now if we could just get some darkness during the night….

The pictures from Växjö to Ulricehamn are at this link:

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