Helsinki to Norway July 2016
Helsinki day 1  |  Helsinki day 2  |  Helsinki day 3  |  Stockholm  |  Stockholm to Kosta  |  Kosta to Kalmar
Kalmar to Copenhagen  |  Copenhagen  |  Copenhagen to the Ship  |  Aalborg, Denmark  |  Flam, Norway
Alesund, Norway  |  Molde, Norway  |  Geiranger, Norway  |  Olden, Norway  |  Bergen, Norway
Eidfjord, Norway  |  Stavanger, Norway

July 20, 2016
Kosta to Kalmar

Kosta to KalmarAs mentioned yesterday, the Glass Art Hotel was built to showcase the artists who work in the Kosta-Boda glass blowing factory just down the street. So the first thing we did before we started on the next leg of the journey was to tour the factory. We had already seen glass blowing in Murano (across from Venice). The work we saw today was mostly glassware production rather than art glass but interesting anyway. That's because they were making wine glasses. We toured the art glass showroom and could not find a piece we both agreed on.

Then it was off to Kalmar, a town on the seacoast. We are enjoying a comfortable relationship with our guide and driver, with lots of conversation and lots of laughs. Some of their stories about how things work in Sweden gave a picture of a society that cares for its citizens and believed in sharing its resources. For example, they have a law that allows access to private or public land for hiking or camping for a reasonable period of time. The ethos of the people and the public largess of the government toward the young, poor, and sick has made it a destination for Muslims fleeing their countries. At the moment and probably not surprisingly, Sweden does not really have a solid plan for integrating the quarter of a million people who have immigrated, legally and illegally, to this country. The small towns we passed through (like where we stayed in last night) are particularly hard hit with trying to settle in these migrants.

Kosta to KalmarBefore we got to Kalmar proper, we crossed a lengthy bridge to Oland, Kosta to Kalmara long island just to the east of Kalmar. The island is a summer home for many of the mainland residents and also has significant farming. Old windmills (no longer functional) that supplied water dot the landscape and are mixed with modern ones (which supply electricity). We got stuck in a traffic jam (we're in the last two weeks of Swedish summer vacation time) and had to turn around and go back to Kalmar.

We drove all around Kalmar. It's a neat little town with an old center made up of wooden structures and a more modern downtown. The focal point of the town was a fort-castle that defended Sweden from the Danes (and everyone else). It is almost a postcard structure; moat, guard towers, secret passages, island defenses, uber-thick walls, cannon everywhere, and a functioning castle. The king, some members of his court, and soldiers lived in the castle structure and the rest of the town lived within the surrounding outer walls. A typical walled city, built on high ground to defend the people who lived in it. In general, the castle was pretty small, even for its day. However, it was built in Sweden and the rooms had to be heated for much of the year.

Kosta to Kalmar  Kosta to Kalmar  Kosta to Kalmar  Kosta to Kalmar

Kids all over. All ages and all having a ball. Perhaps that's because there were lots of performers (the "king" in the photo above) and lots of things to do (like the pretend horse for jousting).

Kosta to KalmarKosta to KalmarAfter the castle we spent time driving around the city, with a stop at the town cathedral. Our hotel is right on the harbor and the picture on the right is a view from the deck of our room. Good view but cozy accommodations (meaning pretty small but still nice).

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