Visit to Barbro and Åke in Hasslösa

After bidding the Lövgren cousins a fond farewell, we spent our last night at Rödjenäs. Getting up early the next morning, packing up the car, we drove to Hasslösa to visit Barbro and Åke. Hasslösa is close to the city of Lidköping which is on the shores of Lake Vänern, the largest lake in Sweden. The drive took us about 2½ hours. We saw the stony fields and dense forests of Småland broaden out into large and productive fields as we neared Lidkoping. Our GPS led us astray down a small dirt road. We phoned Åke who gave us good directions then stood out on the main road to guide us in to their house.

Barbro and Åke’s house that originally belonged to her maternal grandparents.

Barbro and Åke’s house that originally belonged to her maternal grandparents

Barbro and Åke live in the restored and remodeled house of her maternal grandparents, Karl Emil and Anna Lovisa Olsson Lustig. Anna Lovisa was the first cousin of Anna Lydia Olsson Lefgren, Nancy Lefgren Porter and Judy Lefgren McCracken’s grandmother. Anna Lovisa and Anna Lydia were the daughters of the brothers, August Olsson and Anders Gustaf Olsson. August remained in Sweden while his brother, Anders Gustaf, immigrated to America.

Wood stove and kitchen implements belonging to Barbro’s grandparents.

Wood stove and kitchen implements belonging to Barbro’s grandparents

It was fascinating to be guided through the house by Åke and Barbro as they explained which parts of the structure were in the original house, which parts had been added and which furnishings were used by Barbro’s grandparents.

As soon as we arrived at Barbro and Åke’s home, we ate a lovely Swedish lunch in the dining room overlooking the front garden

As soon as we arrived at Barbro and Åke’s home, we ate a lovely Swedish lunch in the dining room overlooking the front garden

They served us a lovely lunch, Swedish style, with salads, meats and fresh cucumbers and tomatoes passed at the table. This lunch was served in the “new” dining room looking onto the lush green front lawn bedecked with its summer flowers. After lunch the four of us went in their car on a sightseeing tour. A replica of the Norwegian Viking longboat, Gokstad, was docked on a pier in Lidköping.  People can sign up to crew on this ship, including rowing with the long oars. It is named the Sigrid Storråda, after the mother of Olof Skötkonung, first Christian king of Sweden.

The current stone church was built in the 1100’s with various additions and alterations added over the centuries.

The current stone church was built in the 1100’s with various additions and alterations added over the centuries.

Among the medieval treasures near Lidköping is the Husaby church and ruins. Around 1100, a triple stone tower, the outer two towers comprising two spiral staircases, was built in Husaby alongside a wood stave construction church dating from the 900’s. The stave church was later torn down and replaced in the 1100’s with the stone church, with additions and remodels over the centuries, that stands today. The triple tower still stands. It is thought that the first Christian Swedish king, Olof Skötkonung, was baptized in 1008 at a nearby spring by an English missionary bishop about a century before the tower was built. This parish was the first bishop’s seat in Sweden.

The nearby Husaby ruins are of a castle built by a bishop of Skara in the 1100’s. It has been partially excavated and propped up beginning in the early part of the 20th century.

After our tour we returned to Barbro and Åke’s house. Daryl and Åke sat in the living room with a glass of very fine gewürztraminer which Åke said was “just the best” and Daryl agreed. Anne helped Barbro prepare dinner. Barbro made a delicate chicken breast with an orange sauce. Anne rubbed the skins off some tiny new potatoes that were to be gently boiled and served with butter. Delicious! Later, Daryl and Anne retired to the comfortable detached guesthouse. The next morning we ate a Swedish breakfast with meats, toasts, muesli and buttermilk. We ate at the table in the kitchen that looked out over the back garden and the fields beyond. Our goal was to see some moose that routinely cross the field but they weren’t in evidence that morning. Later, in the autumn, Barbro would send some pictures of a momma moose and her calf feasting on Barbro’s apples from her apple tree.

Our last morning at Barbro and Åke’s

Our last morning at Barbro and Åke’s

We said our grateful goodbyes to Barbro and Åke, our friends, guides and teachers of the Swedish culture and traditions, for the last four weeks. We set the GPS to our hotel, the Connect Hotel, near the Arlanda airport. A few hours later we found the hotel with only a few wrong turns. We dropped off our luggage in our room and set off to the airport to return the rental car and catch the shuttle back to the hotel. Again, with only a few wrong turns, we ended up at Hertz, turned in the Mercedes station wagon, successfully paid a small fortune, and took the Hertz bus to the terminal to search for the shuttle. After looking at seven wrong busses, the very last sign listed our hotel on its itinerary.

Our room at the hotel was not larger than was necessary to hold a queen-sized bed and a television with a one-foot wide path between. The bathroom was the size of an airliner bathroom with the addition of a very small unenclosed shower. Everything was very ultramodern and sterile. Down in the lobby were a number of small tables and chairs in the breakfast area. We discovered that we could order dinner and wine from the front desk. We were able to enjoy quite a nice dinner and an inexpensive bottle of good Italian wine. The lobby was uncrowded and quiet which allowed us to unwind and prepare for the rigors of tomorrow’s nearly 24-hour long journey to Bozeman where we were scheduled to arrive at 10:30 p.m.