Sunday, August 29, 2021

Horses, Pigs, and Chickens in Dalarna

We needed to drive a car up to missionaries living in Borlange so we took an extra day to see the sites (and then took the train home).  The Dalarna area is a 3-4 hour drive north of Stockholm.  It's not that far in miles but the road is narrow and the speed limit is constantly jumping from 110 to 40 to 60 to 100 to 30.  Just when you get moving, you have to slow down or you will get a very pricey photo radar ticket.  Dalarna is a cultural center featuring the Dalahastar (the wooden horses) and the Swedish artist Carl Larsson's home.  It's a beautiful area with lots of cropland, which suited us just fine!

Ah . . . this is what we like to see.  Open countryside.  Farm land. Blue skies and puffy white clouds!  So nice to be out of the city!

We couldn't get enough of the wide open spaces and the beautiful cropland.

We're at Falun for the night.  LeRon was thrilled to see a "real" Japanese restaurant.  This is just like the restaurants he saw regularly on his mission to Japan many years ago.  You can "see" the menu in the window and know exactly what you are getting.

Here's a close-up of the menu that we "saw."  Funny thing though . . . we saw vegetable tempura . . . and guess what . . . there was no vegetable tempura on the actual menu.  So disappointing.

But the food really was delicious.  We are very partial to real Japanese food.  As opposed to what they call Japanese food in the food courts at malls.

Old, old churches here.  The door on the left says MDCL or 1650.  The door on the right says MCMV or 1905.  Did it take that long to build?

And this building was built in 1900.  The facade is very well kept.  I wonder what the inside is like.  Does it smell like an old building?

Now we're at Nusnas, which is the center of the Dala Horse carving places.  In the 1600's, little wooden horses were carved in this area as toys for children.  The Dala Horse became a "thing" due to the 1939 World's Fair in New York.  The Swedish exhibition displayed a gigantic wooden painted horse and it became a sensation.  From then on, the Dala Horse became a symbol of Sweden.  The painting reminds me of the "Tole Painting" that we learned how to do in Relief Society in the 1970's.

Across the road from the Dala Horse Factory is a "church-boat."  Near as I can tell, it was used in boat races.  Not sure why it is called a church boat.  This one is about 200 years old.

Now to the Dala Horse factory.  Outside are a huge horse, a pig, and a chicken.  Why a pig?  Why a chicken?  No one could tell me.  But those are the only animals that are carved.

The chicken was gorgeous!

Inside the factory . . .

The basic shapes are first cut with a band saw.  Then they are hand-carved, hand-sanded and hand-painted by local people.

Now we're back at Sundborn at the Carl Larsson home.  Now that things have opened up, there were many tourists here.  We didn't go inside the house because we did that back in May when there were few tourists and we had a tour all on our own.

The guides dress in clothing that Karin Larsson would have worn.  She designed flouncy, comfortable clothing.  Not very stylish but comfortable.

LeRon found that this millstone made an interesting table top.

I love this picture.  Click to enlarge.  Karin loved her garden and lake and I can see why.  

Carl Larsson built this electrical generating plant right next to his house.  He and Karin had the first electricity in the area.

Carl and Karin's children worked with her in the garden.  Reminded me of working with our kids in the garden.  For many years, each child had a very small plot within the family garden that was theirs and theirs alone.  They weeded it and harvested it.  I remember the year Michael grew watermelons.  Eric was very small when one day he discovered that Michael's watermelons had tiny little melons all over them.  Eric excitedly picked them all and brought them to Michael, exclaiming excitedly, "Look, Michael.  You have watermelons!"  Michael very calmly replied, "Well, I DID have watermelons."  I was pretty proud of the way he reacted.

Back home and a walk through the forest.  Beautiful bug eating the leaves!

And heather blossoming everywhere.  I love heather.  We first saw it in Scotland and Ireland.  I remember the girls in Young Women (a church program for girls ages 11-18) discussing the meanings of their names.  My daughter, Heather, finally spoke up, "I'm just a little shrub."  So cute.  Heather is resilient, just like the shrubby heather plant, and beautiful too.

The two missionaries who planted the tiny garden on the right of the picture have finished their missions and gone home.  They wouldn't have liked to see the deer that have been coming daily to eat their precious garden.  We keep chasing them away but they keep coming back.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Queen's Palace

Now that things have opened up, we visited the royal residence, Drottningholm, which is just a 20-minute drive away.  We visited the grounds a few weeks ago and they were extensive and well-maintained and open to the public.  Nice of the royal family to let us wander their grounds!  Actually, it's a great PR move!  But now, for a price of course, we can see the interior of the palace.  That helps to pay their bills.

As we entered the palace, we were awed with the gorgeous marble and the delicate carvings.  It was truly fit for a king . . . or rather . . . queen.  The name Drottningholm actually means "queen's islet."

The king and queen of Sweden live here but work during the week in their palace in Gamla Stan (the old town of Stockholm).  We of course only toured the public portion and not their extensive private quarters.

Love, love, love the ceilings!

I wonder if anyone really reads these books?  Just for show?  It's quite a show!

We've seen fireplaces and chimneys like these in palaces and castles all over Europe.  I still prefer my forced air furnace that we have at home.

The King's bedroom was actually where he greeted visitors.  Love the blue and gold colors but I wouldn't want to greet people in my boudoir!

I wish I could remember what this ceiling picture is about.  I was quite taken with it and thought I would remember, but I don't.

More blue and gold and gorgeous ornate carvings.

King Carl and Queen Silvia allow people to wander through their beautiful gardens at no cost.  Smart royalty!  Makes the citizens love them even more.  And they do love their king and queen.  Their daughter, Princess Victoria will be the next reigning queen.

Things oriental were very popular back in the day. 

LeRon loved this ornate wooden cabinet.  We love the richness of beautiful wood.

Imagine being ushered into this hallway!!!

The Swedes also loved things Roman.  This entire room was devoted to Rome and to Roman Emporers.  Here is the emporer Augustus Gajus Julius Octavianus.  Our son, Craig, could tell you more about him as Craig received his Masters Degree in Classical Studies with an emphasis on things Roman from the University of Leeds in England.

And this is Hadrianus.

Tiberias Claudius Nero

And Markus Aurelias.  Beautiful sculptures.

A darling puppet theater.

The palace was originally built in 1699 but has had some major renovations.  These tapestries are lovely.

Can you imagine sewing a tapestry?

Praestantior Animus means "outstanding at heart."  I wish I could remember why I took this picture other than that the sculpture is lovely.  Craig could tell me more.

The original flooring is simply . . . wood!

The Roman Emporer room was so beautiful.

The outside of the palace was actually quite plain and yet elegant.

That yellow color is very Swedish.

"We're here at the entrance to the king and queen's park!  Welcome everyone!"

Now on to the Chinese Pavilion, the Kina Slott, still on the grounds of Drottningholm.  It was built 1753-1769 and is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Things oriental were in vogue at the time.  This Kina Slott is considered to be one of Sweden's Royal Palaces.  Not sure why because it is simply a tourist site now and is actually very small.

Very oriental furnishings of course.

These painted screens reminded LeRon of his mission in Japan 1972-1974.

And he was excited to see this abacus.  He remembers little old grannies making calculations on their abacus's, their fingers flying.  And they were extremely accurate and very fast.  Probably as fast as a calculator.

Kites!  LeRon remembers so many kites!  Kites for every occasion.

Things oriental bring back a lot of memories of LeRon's time in Japan.  For some reason, many Swedes are still taken with things oriental.  They seem to have a fascination for it.