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Old Friends, Old Habits and Old Customs

Since last Monday, I have been mostly in Kristinehamn, Sweden, which lies at the northern end of the Vänern Lake. Kristinehamn was originally one of the most important iron towns in the world, because it was from this harbor that so much of this high-quality Swedish iron was sent out into the world. Oddly, this sleepy little town controlled the price of iron for over 400 years. Here’s my friend Lorraine and me as we sit in front of the Picasso sculpture which he drafted and someone else erected so that K-hamn could say it was famous for having a Picasso sculpture!


It has held a large part of my heart for the 40 years since I arrived here as an exchange student. I discovered a lot in this town about who I was, how I communicated and how I made friends and family. The year has stood me in good stead my entire life.

Mostly this week I visited my dear friend Lorraine and her partner Kjell. Their two boys (young men, I should say: Niklas is 25 and Åke is 22) came to visit at the end of the week. Although we actually had to drive to Oslo on Wednesday to fetch Åke and all his stuff. He’s moving from Oslo to Stockholm. Sunday Lorraine and Kjell drove to Stockholm to dump him and his stuff at his new home. We’re all waiting on tenterhooks to see if his new job as a hotel bellhop materializes! Hold your thumbs, as they say here.

sunnystugaOn Tuesday, we drove out and took a fika (a little picnic with coffee/tea/sandwiches and sweet bread. um yum) to their little cabin. We sat right on that porch. Kjell and Lorraine are great at taking their fika along wherever they go. Sweden is filled w/ lakes. Here’s Kjell sitting by one.fikakjellBut it’s not all picnics. Sometimes they go out and pick mushrooms so visitors from far away can have mushroom soup when they get there. Here are the 4 kilo (8.8#) chanterelles they picked for soup and freezer.kantarellaThis means it’s the end of summer. The picture below: Lorraine, Ann, Bean Soup and Pancakes means it’s Thursday in Sweden!pankakatorsdagAnd that’s plenty of picnics for one post! Pretty fun over here!