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Eidfjord, Norway | Stavanger, Norway
July 21, 2016
Kalmar to Copenhagen
If you travel the coast of California to Oregon and Washington, you either see magnificent views of the ocean and coast or you see a string of funky and not so funky sea coast towns. We tried to recreate this experienced by asking the guides to hug the coast from Kalmar to Copenhagen.
The trip couldn't duplicate the California sea views because the Baltic does not have a sea coast like California but the journey did take us on some other interesting adventures. Many of the small towns we went through today had a basic pattern: a town square, a cathedral, a town hall, and schools - perhaps even a university. One of the town squares had a traveling carnival in progress. These carnivals arrive in the various cities two or three times a year during good weather and everyone looks forward to them.
The most interesting town we visited was laid out in a similar fashion to all the others except that it was built along a canal. The canal was filled with fairly expensive boats and the shopping center was noticeably upscale. The houses were all top quality.
It was the home town of Absolut Vodka.
Surprise, liquor sells. And sells well.
We were told about the poor but very smart little orphan boy who by the end of his twenties had built a liquor empire (Absolute Vodka). The town developed around the factory making that successful vodka. Apparently his sales pitch was that, having acquired the patent for a special distillation process, Absolut vodka was "purer" than any other, the implication being that it therefore wasn't bad for you. Ironically, this man was himself a teetotaler.
We stopped for lunch in a town that reminded us of "horse country" around Washington, D.C. Except for the tourists, the diners were a little better dressed - if better dressed could include jodhpurs. Anyway, the food was good, if hurriedly eaten as we wanted to spend the time "feeding our eyes" on the landscapes and sites along the southern Swedish coast rather than feeding our stomachs.
Finally, we visited a Swedish mini-Stonehenge. Starting at a seashore entrance, it took a long walk to the top. Once there, we found ourselves on a high flat plateau (along with a few hundred other hardy hikers) and this ancient religious site with sheep grazing in the distance. All of the stones are at least five feet high, except for a few end stones, and laid out in the shape of a pointed oval. The information board called it a stone "sunship". As usual, little is actually known about who constructed the site but it clearly had religious (and possible other) significance. It is also not clear how the stones, weighing at least 5 tons each, were moved to the site.
Arrival in Copenhagen was around 6 p.m. after driving from Sweden to Denmark across a 10-mile long bridge and tunnel between the two countries. Although it was a long day, it was a very satisfying one. Our hotel is excellent and we have a great room. Looking back on our three days in Sweden, it turned out better than we could have hoped. The weather was fabulous and we had a really fun time with the wife/husband team (guide and driver). Although she had been a guide for years and her husband worked as a driver along with being in a lot of other small businesses, they had just started their joint drive-guide business. We were happy to be part of their first year client group. Our parting was like leaving friends.
Legendary Cultures 2011 | Greece & Turkey 2012 | Circle The Arctic | France-Denmark 2016 | Helsinki-Norway 2016