Our trip to Växjö took a little under three hours. When we got into town, we found the tourist bureau, but it was closed. But since the Swedes are an accommodating people, a metal box in front of the building displayed an invitation to take one of the brochures inside. We did so and made our way to McDonald's to grab a cup of coffee and peruse the pages. Unfortunately, the brochure was prettier than it was helpful.
We walked back to the car, which was parked a couple blocks away from the Växjö cathedral, and that was something I knew I wanted David to see.
Tree of life
Tree of life detail
The exterior of the church was equally as beautiful as the interior, and I was glad that the rain has subsided so we could take some pictures.
Back at the car we determined our route to Kosta and, a few wrong turns notwithstanding, we were there in about half an hour. I initially took a photo of the front of the building, which read "Kosta Outlet." I thought, "Oh, cool, they must have a glass outlet now." Wrong. Walking through the front doors, I quickly realized that we were in a mall. I then feared that maybe we were in the wrong place altogether but, when we found a legend of the grounds, discovered that this crazy-huge mall had been built up in front of the glass factory since my last trip.
We passed through all the shirts and shoes and handbags and found ourselves in front of the original building, which reads in huge painted letters, "Kosta, Grundlagt ["established," more or less] 1742". Did I take a picture of this building? No.
My cousin Anne-Louise had told us that she didn't believe they allowed visitors to watch the glass blowers on Sunday, so we were pleasantly surprised to see that they did. It cost some money, but it was worth it. We found some seats up front and watched a man create a vase. We then moved to different seats to get a better view of another man creating a pitcher.
The finished product
While we watched the glass blowers, it began to pour outside. Running between the drops, we entered a shop that sold glass blown by students of the factory, and then ran to an exhibit hall featuring glass from Kosta through the years. It was nearing 5 p.m., and I wanted to be sure to get to the glass shop before it closed, as I had a special order from Melissa for some snowball candleholders.
I also was in search of a particular glass horse that I had seen in years past. The candleholders were there -- and cheap as could be compared to what they cost in the States -- but there were no more horses. I did, however, see another, more modern glass horse that I thought was interesting. But we went on our way without buying it.
Before heading back to Stockholm, we made one last stop at a Moose Shop, or Älgaffär, which sells all things moose. Aprons, napkins, bottle openers, games, bibs, socks, keychains, t-shirts, mugs, coasters, magnets, tote bags, wall hangings, sculptures, ties, calendars . . . you name it, they had it. They even had real moose!
We didn't take the time to see the live moose, as we had long drive back to Stockholm ahead of us. But we did have a great drive back up through some of the more rural parts of southern Sweden.
A stop at a gas station/McDonald's was in order, as the gas light began blinking. I don't think I've ever spent $17 for two meals at Mickey D's, but it was food and it was fast.
It felt good to be back at the apartment for the night. I woke up in the middle of the night and didn't know where I was. That's a sign of good sleep!