By Patty Wilber
We are home!
We had a great time in our second week travelling with my parents (Mark and Erika were only there for the first week), but I am happy to be back in New Mexico with the horses and dogs!
Our trip was crazy busy as we looped around southern Sweden looking for farms, houses, and churches that our ancestors frequented. We even met some living relatives on Jim’s side on Gotland, and in Hult and Helsingborg. And we went to an Estenberg Society reunion. “You can become a member of the Society if you are a direct descendant of professor Petrus (Peter) Estenberg born in Stockholm 3 juni 1686 who was the vicar and dean in Jämshög parish from 1727 until his death in 1740.”
Jim is a direct descendant–descended from royalty and all. Oops I got that wrong. Descended from nobility!
One extra long but not atypical sort of day: We left our Air B&B on the super cool Island of Gotland really early, took a three hour ferry ride to near Stockholm, and drove south to this little town: Stora Syltvik.
We then used a map my mom brought and we matched the shape of the roads to our Maps.me map to try to find an old farm named Vastergarden.
We got sort of close, but drove to dead end in a little group of summer homes. Lucky for us, there was a guy out in his yard so we asked him. He knew where Vastergarden was and he led us there via a nice little path along a lovely inlet on the Baltic!
Then we drove up and around to the other side of the inlet to find an estate called Fagelvik. (It is in Wikipedia!)
Gustav Berg worked at Fagelvik before he emigrated to Nebraska in the 1880’s. (I am descended from farm hands, not royalty…or nobility.). Fagelvik is currently for sale but it is bit out of our price range.
During our Fagelvik quest, Maps.me took us into a nature reserve onto a closed dirt road that dead ended at a locked gate. Just on the other side was the road we actually wanted, so we back-tracked and were headed right to the estate when we came to a sign that indicated no motor vehicles allowed…but it clearly was a well travelled road. So, we pushed onward.
Turns out the sign was essentially a no trespassing sign. In Sweden, you can walk and camp anywhere, so, we could have perhaps walked there, but we were not supposed to drive…We came upon someone and they were not so happy to see us, so we didn’t engage in small talk.
But, as we were turning around to leave, I took a quick picture of their crazy horse trailer that looks like a movie star tour bus, and the manor itself. The Wikipedia picture of the manor is much nicer.
After Fagelvik, we continued on the E22 highway toward Vastervik, but we were hungry so we picked an exit sign that had a food icon on it and ended up at Vanneberga Gard that has a B&B and restaurant on the Gota Canal.
They had four kinds of pickled herring in the salad bar!
After our nice lunch on the deck, overlooking the lovely canal, we continued on to our house in Vastervik!
The most difficult part of the trip was…
There were washing machines at the houses we rented but a single load of laundry took over two hours! And the dryers had some wrinkle free steaming feature in which even our quick drying synthetic clothing NEVER got dry.
All the stovetops were the flat black kind and none of us have those, so at first we could not even see the controls and then once we found them, each stove was different! I finally resorted to googling to figure them out!
Despite the appliances, it was a really fine trip!
And another thing. I am doing a fundraiser for the Jicarilla Mustang Heritage Alliance–I am giving a talk–a very witty and entertaining talk that I have not yet written. I will be plugging it each week until I actually give it on Oct. 5th, in Edgewood, NM.