Hello From Sweden Little Dog

Dear Aki, 

           Your other human and I send you greeting from Stockholm, Sweden. Hope you are enjoying your stay with Cedar and her humans. We’ll be home in a couple of days. I tried to send you some letters earlier but ran into insurmountable technical difficulties. 

        Before we left we told you that this was a trip for renewing friendships in Sweden and Norway. Food was another incentive. I had long been craving pickled herring on hardtack and filmilk over cornflakes. 

        We stopped first in Uppsala, where the weather was hot but we still manage to visit Linneas’ garden where butterflies clung to flowers that swayed in a cooling wind. We also rode bikes out to the royal burial mounds at Gamla Uppsala. 

        Afterwards we visited an open air farming museum where every building had been painted rust red. It’s the unofficial national color of Sweden, more unifying than the blue and yellow of the Swedish flag.

       While drinking coffee with a 92-year-old friend, we learned the red paint tradition started long ago in Darlana, when people learned that painting their building with iron oxide from the Falun copper mine preserved them. Today many houses and most barns in Sweden are red with white trim.    

        Later in the trip we moved to Avesta where an old friend and I rode bikes along the Dalälven (river) and out to a crossroads church that had thick walls and old window glass that distorted the images of surrounding birch trees. We passed sheep and horses, which you would have tried to herd. It’s a good thing you stayed home. 

      After Avesta we flew to the Lofoton Islands of northern Norway to spend time with other long-time friends. They are nice and like dogs. You would have been popular in their home until the two moose calves stopped by to sample plants in their garden. 

        Each morning I borrowed a bicycle and rode along bays, disturbing herons when my brakes squeaked. This was fishing and farming country with farm houses and fishing huts painted as red as a Swedish barn and bare wooded pole racks where folks dry salted sides of arctic cod.  

      It rained during most of our visit to Lofoton but the clouds rarely blocked our views of the island mountains, many shaped like battered witches hats. I first saw the mountains over thirty years ago from the deck of a coastal mail boat. We had spent most of that trip from Narvik in a tiny parlor where the only chairs formed a circle around a coffin containing a body being brought home for burial. Cod fishing and salmon farming drove the economy then. Now, like Juneau, it’s becoming an international tourist destination.  

            Well, little dog, it’s late and we have an early flight to catch in the morning. We will pass part of the travel time telling Aki stories. It’s a thing people do when they are missing their dog. 

See You Soon 

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