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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sweden: Skanör Part I

The eight hour bus ride was long. Perra, the magnificent host for the week, rented a large tour bus equipped with TV's and all to make the beautiful country drive from Stockholm to Skanör. He also drove the entire way with one minor stop for lunch. Here is a fun Swedish fact: Commercial drivers are only allowed to drive a maximum of four hours at a time. They have to stop for 45 minutes before they can return to the road. Perra planned his 45 min nap perfectly. 

Not only did we lunch in Gränna, which is midway between Stockholm and Malmö, we got to lunch at the Gyllene Uttern Hotel...

We got to lunch with this view...

After lunch we walked across the street to the Polkagris Store. 

Polkagris is a special candy stick type which was invented in Gränna[4] 1859 by Amalia Eriksson (1824-1923),[5] a poor 25-year-old widow.[6] Amalia needed to support herself and her family, when her husband died. Amalia Eriksson got the town council's permission to open a bakery to make pastries and peppermint rocks, and opened a shop in Gränna. She kept the recipe secret and it was only revealed upon her death.[6]
The candy is made of sugar dough which is boiled, kneaded on a marble baking table, pulled, and twisted by hand to the right size. The candies contain peppermint, sugar, water, and a very small amount of vinegar, and are sold in about 20 stores in the town.[6]
The candies come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, but the red and white peppermint flavored sticks are the classic original polkagris.[6] The recipe has been included in Swedish cookbooks.[7]
The town of Gränna has only 2,500 residents, but it's located by a lake and near one of the most traveled highways in Sweden and gets a million visitors a year.[6] The main reason to visit the town[8] is the candy, a tradition for more than 150 years.[6]

After our wonderful lunch, we headed back on the road towards our final destination. A nap, some chatting, possibly another movie and we were there, pulling down the tiny streets of Skanör in this gigantic tour bus, headed towards the Grooms parents summer home.

Old Skanör has three Avenues, Östergatan (East Street), Mellangatan (Middle Street) and Västergatan (West Street). Mathias' parents live on Mellangatan and I was lucky enough to be staying across the street from them. Jennifer and her Matron of Honor Nicole stayed at Hotell Gasslingen which was located directly next to the chruch, Skanors Kyrka, also known as Saint Olof. The other wedding guests stayed at Skanors Gastgifvaregard which is also where the reception dinner and celebration was held. The champagne toast immediately after the wedding was at City Hall, which is located directly across the street from Saint Olof. Over all, the furthest distance we had to walk was roughly 10 minutes, and that was to shop! 

Driving down Mellangatan, the most adorable street lined with classic Swedish style homes surrounded by every color flower possible, with Jennifer and Mathias standing in the streets wearing their Montauk and Brussels shirts while waving the American and Swedish flag, was so surreal. At that moment, it really felt real. 

That evening, we went to the local American pub to hear Mathias' old friend play some guitar. It was the only night we could stay out late and have a few drinks. It was the perfect night for a little Bachelorette/Bachelor party! The boys took full advantage with the girls leaving them at the bar around 1:00am. Apparently, the bartender practically kicked them out around 3:00am.   

Matron of Honor Nicole, The Bride Jennifer and Myself a Bridesmaid!

The Groom Mathias, Groomsman Robb, Best Man Matt, Groomsman Nicholas and in the middle, The Bride.

Bridesmaid Laurie, Jen, Myself, Nicole and Kelly. 

After the peaceful walk home, we all went to bed excited for the next day, the day before the wedding. 

Until next time... The Rehearsal and the Rehearsal Dinner.

Hej da! 

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