|Dave's turn to write...
This weekend brought us to my old man and his brothers former stomping ground, Orebro. This was also the chance for us to meet my relatives in Sweden whom we had not met to this point. Uncle Roger and Kent and their wives Eivor and Inga, and my cousins Matthius, Andreass and Robert live in the area. Also a big moment was the chance for us to meet my sister for the first time, something that I had hoped to happen very much on this trip, and I am thankful it did.
Orebro is a small city in comparison to Stockholm with around 100,000 people living in the area. Again it was a beautiful little city in the same style as the other Swedish cities, except for Malmo which was formerly of Danish rule. A strange thing about traveling there is that there is enough connected water/lakes between Stockholm and Orebro to catch a boat from one city to the other, which would make it about 300 km of connected water from the coast to the country. There are commercial boats running in the summer, probably because you would freeze your arse off if you caught one in the winter. The Swedes could definitely afford to hand some water over to Australia at the moment. One of the major industries in Orebro is the timber/paper industry, they have a very large paper mill there and this is where Uncle Roger and my cousin Andreass work. Hopefully we will be able to visit there on our next trip to Orebro.
We arrived on Friday night from the train and picked up the car we rented for the weekend. A great tip off from Uncle Kent here, we were able to hire a car for the weekend for around $100 AUD with no excess km's to be paid. We first went to Roger and Eivor's place and met everybody. Andreass offered his apartment as a place to stay at which was excellent for us again. Roger was working as there were major problems with some equipment at the mill, and he works as the Head of Maintenance for the mill. Again, it was great to meet everybody here and they were all very kind to us.
Then it was off to meet Kent, Inga and Robert, again fantastic people and we just sat around and talked, looked at some old photos until 2 in the morning and then went back to Andreass apartment for some sleep.
The next day, was the start of a trip for Uncle Torgny, down memory lane and a chance for myself and Alex to see all the places where my father and his family lived, and there certainly were many. We stopped at a town called Palsboda where we stopped at a bakery that Torgny said he used to go to the best part of 40 years ago when he went to school there, it certainly is strange to see a small business like that last that long.
The first town we turned off to was Bo and the first house we saw was my Grandfathers brothers house (farfarbror in Swedish). The area that we were in is a mixture of farming land and forest, so not surprisingly the major amount of employment in this area is in farming and forestry. On the road towards Bo there were three other houses that the family lived in where my Grandfather worked the farm and also in forestry, certainly he was a strong man to be able to do that.
We stopped at an old church that was built in the 1630's, and this was a place where all the children in the area did their equivalent of confirmation, and the Lindstrom boys were no exception to this. It looked a little old but we had a look through the windows and the church is still being used. It is still hard to think that this church in the middle of the forest is older than Australia. Just down the road about 200 metres was a large castle, which on the face value seems a little strange for it to be in the area. But it is owned by the Hamilton family, who in old times were a powerful family who did well in wars and local battles to be able to capture land and in a way rule the area. Still to this day the family owns the houses and farming land. Who would have thought being some form of warlord hundreds of years ago would be bringing you an income today?? Also in Bo we came past an old clock which Torgny said had been there for a very long time. It appeared to be an old manually operated clock, however all of a sudden the hands just started moving. I went a little inside the clock to investigate but could find nothing, so my conclusion is, it was no doubt a ghost.
The next town we went to was Hjortkvarn which was another place where the Lindstrom family lived and also where their first school was situated. Torgny had some very funny stories of when they were young, and the hard arse teachers that were at the school. We went past an old place where they lived but unfortunately it had been knocked down, it is called Gamby. We also visited the athletics oval of the town where all sports are played and went past the timber mill which provides a large amount of employment for the area. This is also a place where my father worked. Hjortkvarn is a little town but once again it is in a picture postcard setting as all of Sweden seems to be. This was first chance to be able to drive on the other side of the road and other side of the car, and I can tell you it is an experience. I think it was an experience that Torgny's heart will never forget because I am not sure if it had been that elevated for some time, but luckily we survived and pulled into an antique shop where Torgny found a record player that he had been looking for.
Next stop was the cemetery where my Grandparents are buried. It was good to be able to pay respects to two people who were obviously fantastic people who lived fantastic lives.
This very full day ended at Roger and Eivor's place where Eivor cooked a fantastic meal for us all. It was good to be able to sit around, talk and get to know everyone better. A few hours after we ate, Eivor ordered two of the largest pizzas we have ever seen, the two pizzas could not fit on a normal sized coffee table. Surprisingly, the pizzas we have eaten in Sweden have been the best we have had anywhere, and for someone who is of
Swedish/ Italian heritage, it does not get any better then that. We then left for some sleep after a great day.
The next day we went to visit my sister Brith-Louise in a town called Tjallmo, which is out passed the towns we had previously visited. It was fantastic to meet her and her husband Lasse, when I get my Swedish up to a better level it will be easier for us to be able to communicate. We mainly sat around and talked and ate pepparkakor (a swedish tradition that tastes like ginger bread) for a couple of hours. She has seven kids and one grandchild and is also a fully trained nurse, I am not sure of anyone who could balance that amount of work, two very tough jobs that she has managed to balance.
We left Brith-Louise's house and went back to Orebro to say goodbye to Roger, Eivor, Andreass, Matthius, Kent, Inga and Robert. Being the forward thinkers that we are we did not book a train ticket back when we first arrived in Orebro so we had to wait for the last train at 8.40pm at night, which was a good thing because could go back to Kent and Inga's to talk some more.
We caught the train and arrived safely back in Stockholm where William and Monica picked us up from central station. That capped off another fantastic weekend for us, and a special one for me personally. Thank you to Uncle Torgny for driving us and showing us everything and to all my family in Orebro and Tjallmo for being very kind to us. Tack sa mycket till alla!