This was a long awaited journey for many reasons. A country surrounded with myth and history, beauty and natural treasures that far exceed the reasons for this website project. Not least the people who so often believe it is wrong to sing their own praises, yet welcome the friendship of genuine people. The best summary I've heard came from Kwinn recently - "Sweden is a magical place. The people there perform alchemy with those they meet and like, and sometimes it seems like a supernatural bonding."
My aim is to illustrate parts of this experience through an account of my visit the middle of July 2005 with my son Chris aged 11.
It isn't all Hagstrom, it's people and places too, so I hope you get a feel for the 'alchemy' we were honoured to experience first hand.
The map to the left covers just the areas we travelled, day and night, over a period of five days! As you see in the inset bottom right, this was barely half of the length of Sweden, so my sincere thanks to Anders love of driving, and the trusty SAAB turbo!
As I write I'm just realising how little sleep you need when you're on a high... (I've been really sleepy since arriving home...)
The journey started in Denmark, Copenhagen Airport Monday 11th July.
We crossed the famous bridge between Denmark and Sweden and were met in Malmo by Bjorn, and his great Porsche Cabrio. The temperature was 31 deg C, and in three hours - we had passed Bjärnum the former home of Bjärton Guitars, and arrived at Braås our 'first base'.
Now, for anyone who is just as uninitiated as I was, you must understand the natural beauty of Sweden. As you travel through the country you see subtle changes in landscape between flatlands with a mix of evergreen and deciduous trees, through to dramatic rocks and hills covered with dense forest.
Wherever you are you will find trees and trees, but most breathtaking of all, the abundance of stunning freshwater lakes. Even near midnight you could see where you're going, and by 4am it was bright sunshine again! The shots below were simply taken quite late-in-the-day through the car windows. In fact these pictures were from the return journey which by Thursday had cooled down a bit - thank goodness! A pleasant 26 deg C or so, and with a light breeze to make us even more comfortable!
You can not travel more than about 20 minutes by car without seeing another picture postcard view, and none of it spoiled by commercialism or jet-ski's. Leave any town and within minutes you don't even see many cars, houses or people!
Our initiation came with our arrival at Braås, surprise after surprise, when first we were introduced to one of a number of guests who greeted us in a language that sounded like Russian. Staged for my complete disorientation it worked a treat, and it took a triple take before I realised it was none other than our good Texan friend Kwinn! Once all the introductions had been made, we were swiftly dispatched about 2 minutes down the lane to relieve our heat and exhaustion from the journey in the best way you could imagine...
After an hour of swimming in the warm clear waters, refreshed,
we returned back up the road
Tomorrow its people and guitars - Amazing people and Amazing guitars!
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