Eksjö, the Wooden City

One of the very few sites we visited in Sweden strictly as tourists was Eksjö (57.67, 14.97). Jan Lövgren commented that it means “Oak Lake” and that its pronunciation is difficult, sounding something like coughing and spitting. Barbro and Åke had brought us here the very first day they spent with us.

Balconies overlooking the canal

Balconies overlooking the canal

Eksjö is famous in Sweden as “The Wooden City.” It is in an area of Sweden covered by dense forests and many cities in this region were originally constructed primarily of wood. Fires in the 1800’s destroyed many of the wooden cities but half of Eksjö has survived. Some of these buildings date from the latter half of the 1500’s. The buildings are deep red, cream or citrus colored. The cobblestones are worn smooth and kind to the feet. This city has never industrialized, so there are almost no modern buildings.

We had a day to spend with Aron, Lilly and Jack with no other people to consider. Daryl and I took them to Eksjö where we would be tourists. We set the GPS and drove the short distance to the town center. I sensed Daryl was uneasy without a strict itinerary for the day as he was somewhat grumpy. Aron and Lilly are always very relaxed about going somewhere and just exploring. After walking about for a while we found a sign and a map detailing where the old (north) part of the city lay. There are fewer than 10,000 inhabitants so it is hard to get lost even on the meandering streets. Lilly has an infallible sense of direction and we can always rely on her to find our way back to the car.

Daryl soaks in the Swedish ambiance.

Daryl soaks in the Swedish ambiance.

The lunch in Eksjö was one of the few restaurant meals we ate in Sweden. The format was the same everywhere we ate. There were a few, maybe five, choices for entrees. All the other courses came standard with, maybe, a salad buffet, a beer or soft drink, coffee and dessert–all of this for around $8. The entrées were eclectic, most times including an Asian choice.

The center of the beautiful park

The center of the beautiful park

Daryl was relaxed by this time and we wandered until we found a beautiful little park surrounded by a museum, a gallery, a canal and houses. The trees and plantings were at the height of their beauty, the candlestick tree and lilac bushes broadcasting perfumed fragrances. Daryl and I lounged on a bench while I took a call from Dick Lövgren. They had stopped by Rödjenäs to drop off gifts for Aron, Lilly and Jack and we were to find them in a bag hanging on the front door handle.

Boy meets girl III

Boy meets girl

Aron, Lilly and Jack relaxed on the grass beside the canal and explored the museum. Jack made friends with a bronze statue of a little girl sitting in the center garden of the park.

Later, after we returned to Rödjenäs, we discovered Dick and Britt’s gifts. They had given Jack a plush pillow with a picture of a moose. You could unzip it and turn it inside out and then it was a plush moose toy to hug. Jack was sleepy and fell asleep with his head on the pillow.