The plan for this day had been to drive from Jönköping to Växjö and into glasriket (the glass kingdom), which includes Kosta, Boda, Orrefors, and 12 other glass factories. We knew we wouldn’t see them all, but had hoped to see at least two of the three we know best.
But my back had other plans, and I spent most of the night trying to find a position that would put an end to the intense ache I felt (no doubt the result of lugging our heavy and awkward duffel bag, which had been slung across my shoulder, to Avis the day before). Neither of us got much sleep until about 4:30 a.m. -- poor David -- when I took four ibuprofen and stood in a hot shower for ten minutes. I could feel the pain wash away.
When I woke up at 8:30, David suggested I catch up on some sleep, and we re-worked our plan for the day, opting to stay closer to Jönköping. The glass factories -- a longer trip -- could be done the next day.
We drove to a small artists’ community called Smedbyn. During my stay at SVF years before, we were brought there on a field trip of sorts, and I bought some ceramic renderings of Santa Lucia, a starboy, and an angel, which I display each Christmas.
Knowing that the man who made them passed away a few years ago, I wasn’t expecting to find any of his pieces for sale. I was expecting more of the shops to be open, though. Out of nearly 20 shops, only four were open. And yet, the location is still as quaint as ever.
Not finding much in Smedbyn, we drove north a bit to Gränna, where we had stopped for polkagris the day before. The ferry to Visingsö was to leave at 3:15. We arrived at the ticket window at 3:10. Perfect. The trip took 20 minutes, and we stood at the bow and watched as the island came into view.
The first order of business was to find a late lunch. Restaurang Solbacken was nearby and had a deck overlooking the water. We ordered a couple of pizzas and found a table. About half-way through our meal, a light shower fell, but after five minutes, it was over. The sun shone the entire time.
We walked a short distance to Visingsborgs slott, the one-time castle of the Swedish monarchy. It is now in ruins and in such a fragile state that fences have been put up around it. Very different from my first trip there, when we were allowed to walk through it and have a photo taken while sitting on the edge of one of the window openings.
We didn’t have a lot of time before the last ferry back to the mainland, so we made our way from the castle to Brahekyrkan, the 17th-century church built for Count Magnus Brahe and his family. Across the street from the church are the cemetery and wooden bell tower. Magnus died before the church was completed, and his nephew, Count Per Brahe the Younger inherited it.
On our walk back to the ferry we saw what was probably our favorite Swedish road sign:
Upon our return to Jönköping, we stopped at a grocery store to pick up something light for dinner, as well as breakfast for the next morning, and went back to SVF. We strolled around the grounds a little so I could see my old dorm again, and then we went back to our room to eat and watch the three-hour marathon of Scrubs that was on television. It was a good chance to relax and catch up on writing in our trip journal.