By Vanjie Bratt, Becketwood Member
Traveling in Sweden by bus with a congenial group on a 15-day Holiday Lights Tour this December was truly a joyful and exhilarating experience. During those deep-dark winter days, the landscape was mysteriously beautiful with snow covered roofs on the rusty-red and mustard-yellow painted houses, candlelight shining brightly in every window.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without the Lucia concert in Sweden. So many children dressed in white, with voices clear and bright, and Lucia adorned with a crown of lighted candles.
Sweden is known for its artful crafts. We all, 28 of us on a very comfortable bus, traveled far and wide to visit all kinds of shops: weaving of fabrics, woodworking (a carving demo of Dala horses), smoldering red-hot iron to form candle holders, glistening crystal glass and amazing stencil paintings on fabrics.
Other highlights included: visiting cathedrals and wooden churches, famous for abundant paintings on walls and ceilings. I was fascinated by the statue of Mary, which was taken out of the magnificent Uppsala Cathedral after the Reformation and just recently returned and placed behind the chancel, almost out of sight. She looks so real, obscure, shrouded in mystery.
We visited several museums including the birthplace of Lina Sandel, the much-loved Swedish hymn writer (Children of the Heavenly Father).
And the history museum on immigration with Vilhelm Moberg’s famous trilogy of Karl Oskar and Kristina.
I loved walking through the famous home of artists Carl and Karin Larsson, so warm and inviting.
And back to Stockholm to see the Vasa Ship Museum. Amazing story!
The greatest highlight of all!! A chance to connect with my mother’s first cousin, Torsten, and lots of my second cousins and their spouses. Several years ago, John and I visited them in Sweden and they have visited us here. What a treat to spend time together.