Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Swedish journey part 6

We finally left the camp at Rafhagsudden with sad farewells to Per the friendly owner and promises to return and headed to Stockholm.  We had booked a camper car park near the city for a few nights and found it easily, located underneath a high bridge between an island in the harbour and the mainland.  It was very crowded and we had barely 6 feet between each vehicle but being within 2 kms of the city centre it was worth it and not expensive.  On the first evening we walked to town to get our bearings and had beer in the sunshine overlooking the harbour. 
On Saturday morning we set off to the city to do some sightseeing but as the day progressed it started raining and I wasn't able to take as many photos as I had hoped.  We saw as much as we could, had a sandwich lunch and headed back to the car for the rest of the day.  Next morning it was still raining so we stayed in, read and sketched and kept ourselves amused.  By 3pm all was dry so we set off to explore our island and the area nearby.  We climbed to the top of a rocky park with a fabulous view of the city and watched a speedboat race in the harbour.
Monday was dry so we set off to visit a couple of the museums.  First we went to the Vasa museet which is an amazing display of an old ship lifted from the harbour which had sunk around the same time as the Mary Rose in England.  The Vasa has been extensively restored and many of the artifacts and even skeletons are on display. 
In the afternoon we went to Skansen, an open air museum filled with a large collection of all types of typical Swedish buildings, all transposed here for a fascinating display.  Each shop or home had it's own guide who was very knowledgable about the lifestyle of the inhabitants and the history of the building.  We spent a wonderful afternoon going around, chatting to these very friendly people.
The next morning, despite having another night booked in Stockholm, we felt the call of the sea and set off for Trosa a small harbour town an hour's drive to the south. Without a booking , and only wanting to stay one night we were given a wonderful spot to park with this fantastic view from our deck on an upper level of the campsite.  We explored the delightful town in the morning and have added this place to the wish list for when we return!
At last it was time to head for Norrkoping where I was born.  Our campsite was by the river on the edge of the city but within walking distance through fabulous open parkland and gardens. One of the parks we walked through was the location of the midsummer festival which I remember going to as a child and which we saw while we were there.  The next day we walked to town and found the apartment block I lived in as a child and it matched up very well to the photos taken by my Dad all those years ago.  Then a walk around to see some of the other sights.
 Being an arty type, I can never resist an art supply shop and popped into one I found during our wanderings. I chatted to the manageress who turned out to be English and came from Epsom.  After saying what a small world it is I told her why I was there looking for my roots and that my Dad had worked for Dunlop. "Even smaller world" she said, "my sister and her husband worked for Dunlop in London and here too!"  We exchanged email addresses and when I returned home I found out that Jacquie's sister had actually worked for my Dad in London in the 1960s before being posted to Norrkoping with her husband who had been one of my Dad's trainees.  I still can't quite believe this amazing coincidence.
We were very impressed with Norrkoping as a city while we were there.  It's set on a river which has been channelled to produce hydro electricity with weirs.  The old waterside mills and warehouses have been renovated for modern use as museums and university campus.  There is a waterside walkway, partly attached to the side of the buildings so that you can really appreciate the power of the water rushing over the weirs, deafening in places, calm in others with seats to enjoy the view.

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