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2013-07-03 001 2013-07-03 010It has been several days since I added to my blog. We arrived at my friend Elizabeth’s place on July 5. We drove for just over two hours, stopping only for a bit of Fika (coffee and pastry) on the way. Elizabeth welcomed us warmly and it was wonderful to see her for the first time in 33 years. We settled into our space here and took a tour of her yard. It is a beautiful place in a village called Valandra. It is on the outskirts of Trollhӓtten, the town where Elizabeth works. Her husband, Jan was at work in Gӧteborg when we arrived so Elizabeth took us into Trollhӓtten for a bit of a tour of the locks. The locks at Trollhӓtten are part of the Gӧte Canal system.

There is a 45 meter drop in elevation between the nearby Lake Vӓtten and Gӧteborg so the canals make it possible for the rivers to be used for transporting goods and people. We had a great walk around the locks and then returned for an evening of getting reacquainted. Elizabeth and Jan have three children. We initially met Erik (15) who is still at home, and then we met Johanna (21) who returned from Olso the next day. Johanna, like many youth in Sweden had a difficult time finding work in her home area and went to Oslo for work. Oslo is booming and has lots of job opportunities. The main employer in Trollhӓtten was the SAAB factory that recently put 3500 people out of work when it went bankrupt. Jan worked for SAAB for many years as an engineer before moving into the more private sector in Gӧteborg. He is hoping for the SAAB factory to have a refitting and a reopening so he can return to working in Trollhӓtten.

We had a great evening of getting reacquainted and called it an early night. Ready for more sightseeing the next day.