Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Return To Sweden, Part 8

This eighth installment of David Anderson’s Return To Sweden includes a visit to the Folkärna kryka, Avesta Historic Area and the Grytnäs kyrka. 
If you missed the near real time trip updates webpage, go to Trip Highlights .  Editor

June 8, 2014.  Sunday

Sweden , like the U.S., is undergoing social transitions.  Those transitions, as we well know, are tough to go through.   One manifestation of that is that we have been finding church doors locked, whereas in the past they might be open and you could go in to see what an old church looks like.  No more.  The fear that church belongings might be pilfered by recent immigrants keep the doors locked now.  Panhandlers, many from eastern Europe, are seen on Stockholm streets, and actively solicit money from everyone.  Some people in the U.S. may think their taxes are high, but my question would be, compared with whom?  Definitely not Sweden’s tax base. 

Today we travelled to Folkärna kyrka so my sister could see the church, but it was not open.  It is being renovated and was wrapped in blue netting and scaffolding.  We did get to walk around the church yard though and get many photos.

Avesta is on the Dalälven River and there was some falls there at one time, which are now under water caused by construction of a dam.  Where there is falling water there is power.  Power is needed to transform ore in to metals.  You get the picture.  In the late 19th century Avesta became a center of iron production.  Iron production has ceased and the mill has been transformed in to a museum and art gallery of the most unusual kind.  The bricks used to build the factory are not the ubiquitous red Swedish brick, but a ugly black block of solidified slag.  The outside is extremely imposing.  The interior is a combination museum and art gallery of the most unique kind. 

Some of the equipment from the smelting days remains in place and it is dark.  The stairways are uneven and footing throughout can be tricky.  There were several photographic exhibits, and I am glad they weren’t of the same genre that we saw at Fotografiska in Stockholm.  It would have been a bit too much.  This place is definitely worth the visit.  See: Brief History.

Later in the evening we travelled to Grytnäs kyrka which is very old.  This is another parish church that our ancestors (Eric Klingström) were required to attend 150 years ago.  The ceilings and walls still retain some of their original coloring, and there is even a painting of the pastor from the 1850s on the wall inside a side room.  He is one stern looking pastor.  Since there are few old graves remaining from the 1800s in Swedish burial grounds I don’t spend time looking for my ancestor’s graves.  Currently ‘rental’ fees for graves need to be paid every 30 years, otherwise the grave is reused for someone else.

We continue to be amazed at the great weather currently being experienced.  Long warm, sunny days, with highs about 75.  The sun is rising about 3:31a and setting about 10:07p.  We aren’t used to that amount of light!

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