Stockholm to Mora

Monday 3/23:

Breakfast was laid out in a party room with a parquet floor, a circular bar and a stage.  It was very generous and good.  I walked thru Seattle-like rain to Stadium, a sporting goods store I’d found on the web, to buy a warmer coat.  I chose a light down parka with a hood, it will weigh next to nothing and take hardly any space in my luggage  😉 I learned that the zippers on European men’s coats are on the left side–another aspect of this mirror-land.  Later, fellow traveler Mark said that women’s and men’s clothes are zippered on the same side here.  That’s sensible.

I asked a saleswoman if the store sells laces for shoes.  “Lasers?” She asked.  I touched my shoelace; she directed me downstairs.  When the time came to pay, I was puzzled that the card reader had no stylus.  Instead, one types in the card’s PIN.  it’s a good thing I received the letter with my PIN before I started this trip.

While looking for my hotel, I stumbled onto a fine old church with a tall dome.  I saw a door ajar, so I went inside.  The inner doors had big ring-shaped handles labelled Drag, which is like pulling, and that’s how they opened.  The sanctuary was pillared, tall and ornate, the pulpit a gaudy ornament high on the wall to the left of the altar.  A huge painting of Saint Mary(?) regarding her crucified son hung behind the altar.  I took some photos, but this felt wrong; so I sat for a while in atonement.  The pews were labelled for the families that used them.  Now and then, one or two people passed thru; a woman prayed in a lovely voice from an alcove.

On the inside, the doors were labelled Tryck.  Now I knew two Swedish words.  I emerged in the 21st century, found the hotel, and found a cafe named Fresco around the corner.  It was crowded, and I thought I’d have to take my chicken feta salad out in the rain.  But the waiter showed me to a nice back room with a tall bay window, tiny tables and stools, and a circular bench loaded with pillows.  The diners held their forks in their left hands, as some French guests of ours once did.

As we drove out of Stockholm, Mark pointed out the end of a wire hanging out of a downspout.  Many downspouts here are electrically heated to keep them from freezing.  We drove thru a mountainous area of forest and gnarled basalt rock outcroppings.  This gave way to gently-sloping woods standing amid mossy boulders, then to plowed fields and towns.  Patches of thin snow lurked in the shadows.  Traffic circles (“roundabouts”) are numerous.  Most wood frame buildings are painted brick red, with dusky yellow a distant second choice.

We paused for refreshment at a Burger King.  Trash here is separated into three containers, labelled Brannbart, Kompost and Dryck.  Dryck was a sink with no faucet; I’d guess it’s for dumping out unfinished drinks.  I knew what Kompost was; so Brannbart must be garbage; I’m learning Swedish faster as I go.


As the sun was setting, we reached the small town of Mora (map), near Lake Siljan.  We’ll stay in Hotell Fridhemsgatan here for three nights.  The snow patches are bigger than they were around Stockholm, but far from skiable.  The locals seem to know where the snow is.  Tomorrow we’ll test their advice.

Supper was a buffet in the hotel; various crackers, dense black raisin bread, salad, cooked beets and a mixture of diced potatoes, cheese and pork that we’re calling “hash.”

My room is once again interesting.  The hot water pipe to the shower and wash basin makes an excursion up the wall behind the toilet to form a heated towel rack.  Instead of two sheets, the bed has a bottom sheet and a comforter in a linen bag. (Later, Pat told me this is called a “duvet.”  I found them in most of my hotels and guesthouses.)

But some Swedish design ideas need more thought.  My windows are double-paned, with Venetian blinds between the panes, and the cords running thru holes in the window-frame to hang inside the room.  But one of them gets stuck part-way down, and I can’t reach it to straighten it out.  The no-handle teacups nest beautifully, but when filled with hot tea they’re hard to hang onto.


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