After a late breakfast we headed off to Grӓnna, a small community near Jӧnkӧpping. The community is famous for two things – Polka Grisar (yeah, like is looks, Polka Pigs) and a being the home of a failed explorer. Polka Grisar are candy sticks. The story goes that a Amelia Erikson was widowed and needed to support herself and her daughter. She figured out that if she mixed flavouring, sugar, water and vinegar and made it into candy, she could sell it to people passing on the highway. She was one of Sweden’s first female entrepreneurs. The entire community is now candy focused. The original candies were mint but now there are as many flavours made as you can imagine. We bought a few different kinds to try.
Our second stop was the island of Visingsӧ. The twenty minute boat ride was wonderful. Our first choice was to take a horse drawn carriage ride of the island. The whole island was 14km long and 3km wide. It was too big to walk around and see everything. The carriage ride was the most efficient way to get a great overview of the island. The driver took us through an oak forest that was planted in the early 1800’s and was amazingly beautiful. The little girl beside me asked her mom if the woods had trolls in them. This was the place where John Bauer, the artist I wrote about previously, visited. John Bauer died in a boat accident on the lake that surrounded the island. The trail ride took us by a beautiful herb garden and through the older communities. The kings of Sweden lived on this island for a while in the 1200’s. To Dale’s dismay we didn’t get to see the oldest castle but we did explore an old church and the second oldest castle ruins. The old church was converted into an observatory by a famous, wealthy geek named Per Brahme. He was a relative of a famous astronomer. The family thing led him to cut the belfry off so his students could look at the stars. We went up the incredibly narrow staircase to the very top to get the best view. The stairs were a) steep and b) narrow. The opening from the stone stairs into the wooden landing required us to enter sideways as it was so narrow. The view was worth the ever so scary decent!
We returned to the mainland and toured through the museum. Grӓnna’s second most famous person was an explorer who, in 1897, attempted to fly a helium filled balloon to the North Pole. His attempt did not go well and he and his team died. No one found him for 30 years. They recreated the balloon and his gear in the museum display. A third of the museum was connected to the ill-fated journey.
After lunch we decided to fit one more thing in before we returned to our hotel. We went to Rӧttle By, a hamlet and went on a hike along the Rӧttle Path. The people who live in the hamlet rebuilt the path to take people on a hike through an old mill community. It was beautiful and peaceful. The river was fast moving and wove its way through the forest. It was a great way to end our time in this community. Tomorrow we are off to Stockholm again.