Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fall 2016

My sister and I took off on the same day, September 27, she from Los Angeles and I from Newark. We arrived in Berlin a little over an hour apart. Highlights were the boat tour on the Spree, Max Liebermann's villa, my visit to Die Brücke Museum featuring paintings by Emil Nolde, dinners with Tyler and Kathi.

Mjällby Church
On to Sweden, starting with an overnight in Malmö, then we drove to Solvesborg, visited the church where our great-grandparents were married (Mjällby), and roamed around the gorgeous farmland, even stopped here and there at the coast. We stayed the next night at Bäckaskog Slott (“slott” means castle) where our great-grandfather just might have worked as King Karl XV’s wine steward.

The next day we drove to Lake Vättern and another castle to stay in, Västanå Slott. Woke up to a beautiful day for our next day of visits to locations for our great-grandparents on father’s maternal side. We visited the churches where the two of them were baptised, one in Ödeshög (our great-grandfather) and one at Stora Åby (our great-grandmother). She had grown up in Amundeby, and he in Kushult, both small villages of fewer than 5 farms. We found both places, and were welcomed by current neighbors into their homes, near where our family’s farms were located.
Stora Åby Church

We took the train to Stockholm, my first visit there. We went to Uppsala for the day with Corinne, then she came back with us to Stockholm. Highlights for me walking on the island Djurgården (visiting two art museums, Prince Eugen’s house and Thielsket Galleriet), and exploring Södermalm, where our great-grandparents had married (at Katarina Kyrka) and lived (Lotsgatan neighborhood) before
Prince Eugen’s house
they came to America.

Janet and I took the night ferry from Stockholm to Estonia, arriving the next morning. We had a wonderful guided tour of Talinn, visiting the old city (at both upper and lower elevations), Kadriorg Park, and the amphitheater where the famous choral festivals are held. The next day I went to the City Museum, which had five floors.

The next day we took the ferry to Helsinki, where we spent two nights. I spent my full day there exploring the park where the Sibelius Monument was located, and visiting the Ateneum, Helsinki’s wonderful art museum. We flew home on October 15, all-in-all an
Cafe Regatta, Helsinki
envigorating trip.

Not home for long, though, Bill and I flew out to Portland, Oregon for a four-day trip including a stay in Dufur, where our friend Penelope has her writing house. To get there we drove up the Columbia River Gorge, a place I hadn’t been in a long time. On the way we stopped at Multnomah Falls, always a thrill. Back in Portland the Cool Women gave a reading at Penelope’s house, a series called The White Dog Salon, the reason for our visit. My college friend Peggy was able to go, and we also had a good visit with her and Bill at their
Mt. Hood from Dufur, Oregon
house in Portland.

Our next jaunt was to Buffalo for Thanksgiving. On the way we stayed in Horseheads, New York, to break up the trip. In Buffalo one day Phil drove us to Niagara Falls, another place known to me only from childhood memory. On the way home we stopped off at Seneca Falls, visited the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, then stayed overnight in Ithaca, espresso at Gimme Coffee and dinner at Moosehead Restaurant. The next day on our way home I engineered a detour to Walpack Center, the village left behind but mercifully never submerged by a failed dam project. This was the place my mother came to visit her cousin as a child. I found this cousin’s grandparents’ graves in the local cemetery. Our last stop was in nearby Branchville where we found Broad Street Books, a fabulous used bookstore.

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