Our Journey to Sweden

Montana: Daryl with Boone

Montana: Daryl with Boone

Our plane left Bozeman at 6:30 a.m. so we had to leave home at 4:30. The dogs, Lizzy and Boone, were already over in Sidney, Montana at a doggie boot camp where they would stay for 6 weeks. I had filled automatic watering devices on all our houseplants. We made the 30-minute trip to the airport and parked the car in the long-term lot to await our return four weeks later.

Montana: Our car awaiting suitcases

Montana: Our car awaiting suitcases

Our flights were: Bozeman to Chicago, Chicago to Newark, and Newark to Stockholm. We would arrive in Stockholm at 7:00 a.m. With the 8-hour time difference, that would make a total trip of 16.5 hours. We were flying on United and had “economy plus” seats with additional room for Daryl’s long legs. On the trans Atlantic flight, our seats were right behind the main entrance to the aircraft so there were about 10 unobstructed feet in front of us. We were right beside the galley and the flight attendants gave us lots of extra attention and service.

When we landed at the Stockholm airport, Arlanda International, it was mostly deserted. We lugged our two suitcases each onto the car rental bus (or I should say, Daryl lugged them on), and went over to the Avis facility. We had reserved a “Saab station wagon or similar” with an automatic transmission. Daryl’s head scrapes the ceiling of small European cars and his knees hit the steering wheel so there’s no way he can drive a manual transmission safely. Our car turned out to be a Mercedes station wagon, somewhat smaller than the advertised Saab. Daryl had trouble folding himself into the small driver’s space and his head scraped the ceiling. We started looking for the power outlet to plug in our Garmin GPS so that we could find the way to our rental house on Rödjenäs Gård, the estate where it was located. Daryl finally had to get the rental agent to come out and search for the power outlet that was hidden in the consol.

After we plugged in the GPS and tried to put in the address, we realized that our GPS didn’t have any European maps even though we had paid to have them installed. I hadn’t trusted that the GPS would guide us in Europe so I had printed out Google map directions from the airport to Rödjenäs, thank heavens. I don’t even remember how in the old days we found our way with only a paper map. We used the google directions to make the four-hour south and west trip to our rental house. The Swedish main roads are wonderful and traffic is light, even through Stockholm. We enjoyed the drive with views of the old pastel buildings in Stockholm thinning out to rural towns, vibrant yellow rapeseed or canola fields, and forests with the leaves still in buds waiting for some warm weather.

Our residence, the North Wing. It has two bedrooms and a bath on the first floor and on the second floor.

Our residence, the North Wing. It has two bedrooms and a bath on the first floor and on the second floor.

We found Rödjenäs with no problem and recognized our house, the North Wing, and parked in front. The vertical board and batten siding was painted with a thick coat of gray paint thickly accumulated over the 200 plus years the building had been standing. The tile roof was covered in moss because of the wet climate. Clumps of moss had fallen off the roof and were lying in the gravel below. Pansies were growing in planters on each side of the porch.

The main house where Leni and Ivar Berg, our hosts, lived. Our house is on the right called the “North Wing.”

The main house where Leni and Ivar Berg, our hosts, lived. Our house is on the right called the “North Wing.”

I went to the main house and rang the doorbell. Leni Berg came to the front door and welcomed us to Rödjenäs. She took us into the North Wing and gave us a tour. This was a four room house plus bathroom with an additional two bedrooms and bath on the second floor. Leni struggled a bit with her English and mentioned that she had had a lot more experience speaking with German people than with English-speaking people.

After settling in we drove to the town of Nässjo, some 15 minutes away, and shopped in the grocery store. The store was large, bright and gave us a lot of choices. We tried to buy wine but couldn’t read the labels. Later we found that we had purchased alcohol-free wine and a kit for making our own wine. Real wine has to be purchased in the government liquor store. When we checked out, I was advised that I needed to type in a PIN for my credit card. One of the customers behind me stepped up and explained the procedure. Since I didn’t have a PIN (in credit cards with a chip), I had to provide ID. That was all confusing but from then on I knew to say that I didn’t have a PIN and hand the clerk my driver’s license.

Lake Nömmen from Rödjenäs. The boat on the left was for our use. We also had a fishing license provided for us.

Lake Nömmen from Rödjenäs. The boat on the left was for our use. We also had a fishing license provided for us.

On May 17th the days are very long at the 57th parallel. We returned to Rödjenäs and lingered over a lovely cold supper then just enjoyed the garden and walked down to the adjacent lake. The two dogs, Victor the black lab and Olivia the Jack Russell, came over to get acquainted. Daryl said he really enjoyed having all the big rooms to spread out in and enjoy. It was still daylight when we finally went to bed at 10:00 p.m.