Click here for part one all about Stockholm.
From Stockholm, our next stop was:
I’m assuming that most of you have never heard of Motala – I hadn’t either until I learned that was where Mr. Bean’s Grandpa was born and grew up before coming to Canada. It’s really quite a cute city – especially by the river and lake:
Motala is known for a couple of things: it is the location of a long-wave radio transmitter built in the 1920’s and it’s on the Göta Canal. Oddly enough, both were used to transmit something between Stockholm and Gothenberg.
The radio transmitter used to consist of two towers (unfortunately not the Lord of the Rings kind) with an antennae strung between them.Personally, I would hate to be the person who had to climb to the top to take the antennae off when they stopped using it in the 1960s.
One of the really neat things about the Göta Canal is the widespread use of locks, which are used to compensate for elevation changes. The engineer in me and the physicist in Mr. Bean were quite impressed and happy to visit and marvel at the locks.
Try and figure out what is weird with the following picture:
That’s right, the Göta Canal runs over top of the highway. Not something you see everyday.
Motala is also famous for being the start and finish location of the Vätternrundan, a 300 km bike race that up to 20,000 people participate in every year in June. We weren’t there at the right time, but we pretended to be in the race anyways.
One of the highlights of our trip was meeting up with our newly found Swedish relations – it’s actually Mr. Bean’s dad’s second cousin’s family. We knew of them as she wrote to FIL Bean when they were kids to practise her English and then would send a Christmas card every year. He only wrote back once (find a 12 year old boy who would write back more than once) until he wrote back this spring announcing that we were coming to Sweden and would like to meet them. Fortunately for us, she wrote back!
As well as inviting us over for dinner, lending us some bicycles and letting us use their laundry facilities (hey, it’s important!) they took us on a tour to see some of the neat stuff in the area, like a ruin of a monastery that was built in the 1100s. It was pretty cool!
We also went to a hill and cliffs that overlooked Lake Vattern.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a worthwhile stop on our trip without some fun and ridiculousness!
Next up: Gothenburg (or Göteborg in Swedish)!