Return to Sweden | Dale Johnson
Monday, April 10, 2023 @ 3:00 p.m.
Tickets $16/$14 Senior/ECC Student with ID | Marsee Auditorium
An American of Swedish descent, Dale Johnson journeyed to Sweden hoping to see the land of his ancestors. Unexpectedly, he found much more. Thousands of Americans of European descent will connect in a personal way to the quest in this journey of discovery… this search for ‘roots’. Sweden is a country of sheer physical beauty: the midnight sun; Lapland reindeer herders; forested mountains; the Nobel Peace Prize; farming traditions; Viking ancestry; Stockholm, Venice of the North; and much, much more.
Goteborg is a manufacturing center. Making products that set the world’s standards for excellence; Volvo cars and Hasselblad cameras (the camera selected by NASA to take the pictures on the moon). We tour the city with its shopping malls, restaurants, churches and fish market and sail to the island of Marstrand to explore Karlsten Fort, built on Marstrand Island to stop invaders during the Middle Ages. Driving north from Goteborg, we passed the countryside filled with lupines and picturesque farms, stop meet a family and to see Swedish farming today.
At the village of Rattvick we experience some of the history of this 16th-Century town and church and join in the midsummer celebration and watch the raising of its “midsommer” pole. Also, in the Lake Siljan area we visit historical sites and watch the creation of the Dala wooden horses in the town of Nusnas. Exploring the countryside, we can observe the wildlife still to be found here; Elk, Lynx, wolverine red fox and bear.
The mountains of northern Sweden cradle the region of the Sami—the Lapplanders. These people with their vast reindeer herds show us how they have survived throughout the centuries and we participate in a modern reindeer roundup. Experiencing the reindeer drive into corals, roping and branding by ear marking. We end our day with a view of the midnight sun as it lowers, skims the horizon and rises again.
We pass the small city of Gallivare on our way to the most northern major city in Sweden… Kiruna. We enter the enormous mountain next to the city to drive into the heart of iron ore. Along the 400 miles of underground roads, we explore the largest underground iron mine in the world and see how it is processed.
After exploring Kiruna, we take a ferry to Gotland Island where we pass through the capitol of Visby, still enclosed by a medieval wall. We visit a small herd of Gotlandruss, ancient horses that are found nowhere else in the world and climb stone pyramids identified as Viking burial markers and runestones. We also visit the Bunge Museum which depicts life in the 17th-Century and watch, step by step, how creosote (wood preservative) has been made for hundreds of years, even before the discovery petroleum. We also climb the “Rokaur”, the natural sea stacks formed by the waves of the ocean at Faro on the north end of Gotland. We visit Uppsala and it’s University, the oldest in Sweden, and learn about its famous sons.
Moving on to Stockholm, we experience this city of a million-and-a-half sun worshipers. Going shopping here means a modern mall as upscale as anywhere. We tour the old city “Gamala Stan” and the Royal Palace and stop by Storet Square, where 80 Swedish noblemen were beheaded by the King of Denmark that marked the beginning of modern Sweden. Stockholm’s bustling metropolis is the center of film production and we watch a current film being made, visit the city’s parks, and the Nobel Library to hear the story of Alfred Nobel who left his fortune for peaceful achievements.
We also visit a specially built museum to see the Wasa ship sunk in 1628. At Vaxjo, we explore the immigrant museum, where millions of Americans come in search of their roots.
In southern Sweden is an area called the Crystal Kingdom, famous for its production of fine crystal glassware. We watch the artisans at work, blowing and molding the shapes of beautiful pieces.
We visit the Olympic-winning Swedish warmblood horse farms of Flyinge. Watching them train and practice and exercise horses worth over a $1,000,000 each. We explore the forests and wildlife of the region, see lynx and elk. And observe the Swedes at Saturday markets, join them on vacation to outdoor museums to see reenactments of prehistoric hunters and visit the southern tip of Sweden to see the Ales Stones, 58 huge monoliths standing in the form of a giant ship created by the Vikings. Along the western shore we stop to join a fisherman on his journey out on the water to net cod and mackerel.
At Lund University, we see one of the most sophisticated medical research facilities and overview the beginnings of a Swedish romance between two students on the campus.
We travel to the city of Gislavad in the province of Skane, to the village of Båraryd and explore the area as it was centuries ago and meet the people who live here today. They are Johannsons, the Swedish form of the name Johnson, and are my relatives!
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