A Drive in the Country

We took a drive in the country courtesy of Marie’s parents. If I didn’t know I was half way around the globe we could have been driving around Lopez Island, Lake Samish, or portions of Chuckanut in Whatcom County Washington — pines on granite hills with lakes small and large. Many of the lakes are very deep, probably a remnant of the ice age.

Along the back roads there are occasional, no, actually frequent picnic tables with grills, sometimes cut firewood for your use. Marie’s father pointed out his favorite stops when he’s out riding his Harley.

In this Southeast region of Sweden a few prominent city names end in “-köping” — Linköping, Norrköping, Söderköping. There is even a Köpingvik on Gotland Island, a very old Viking hangout. Köping reaches back in history to refer to a place where you can go to buy things. Something of a trading post.

During our back roads jaunt we passed a few tourist stops, such as a small museum replicating an early 20th century one-stop town store, but also some major local shopping destinations full of designer brands. Björn Borg, former tennis great is, as you can guess, a big name in Sweden and his clothing line carries a price tag to match.

And nearly every kind of store also has a cafe. It seems to be a rare outing that does not require a stop for coffee (kaffe) and cookies or pastry ( bakverk, kaffebröd). Seattle’s coffee culture involves complex specificity in ordering the product, much like a NFL quarterback calling an audible. Sweden’s coffee culture is a strong and tasty brew, the ever-present pastry selection, with a cappuccino thrown in for variety.

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