Returning to Sydney - Andrew Fernando
This would be the last entry in our Scandinavian trip. We have almost finished our trip. We only had to return to Stockholm to take the flight back to Sydney. We could have driven straight from Copenhagen to Stockholm, but we had one more thing to accomplish before returning.
Sweden is world famous for their crystal glass factories and we wanted to visit them on our way to Stockholm. The area known as Glasriket is where you find the glass factories. There are nearly fourteen glass factories distributed over an area of about hundred kilometres. You could visit them and see for yourself how the master craftsman design and blow their hand crafted products. The information given in the web sites were not very helpful, but we managed to get the addresses of all the glass manufacturing factories and the outlets where they sell the products.
We left Copenhagen after very early breakfast to cover as many outlets as possible. Our fist stop was at Nybro. We found the factory was not in operation. Then we drove to Pukeberg. There was hardly any activity and the factory doors were closed. There was a small outlet where we made inquiries, but the people there had no idea where the major outlets were. One person advised us to go to Kosta where they definitely would have an outlet. We were not happy with the information we received, but there was no option but to drive to Kosta.
On our way, we arrived at a small village called Gullaskruv. We found directions on the road to a small outlet. We went there expecting nothing but found some amazing designs and creations done by an artist called Carlos R Pebaque. Carlos was not there, but his brother a very modest gentleman was running the place. We were very impressed by the designs and wanted to buy one of them. At the same time, we wanted to see how they create or craft these glass artworks. These products were not cheap. We wanted to buy an item that can be proudly displayed, something of value and at the same time something truly beautiful. Carlos’s brother told us that Carlos is now working for another glass factory. We could see him in action if we go there which is only a ten minute drive from the village. We already had our eye on a pair of glass statues hand crafted by Carlos. We decided to meet Carlos and see him in action before coming back and buying the statues. Carlos’s brother said their outlet would be open till 6:00PM and we had enough time to come back and buy the statues if we decided to go ahead.
We drove to another small village called Maleras and found the glass factory where Carlos was working. It was not a big factory, but they had a small factory outlet and a glass blowing workshop. They also had a display area where we could see the works of famous craftsmen, specially Carlos and Mats Jonnason. There were some designs which have won major awards, but they were not for sale. Some of the items which were for sale were not within our budget. They were very beautiful and valuable, probably deserved to be in the collections of very rich people.
We had to find something beautiful and at the same time something within our reach. Out of all the designs, we still found Carlo’s statues which we saw earlier were the best. We went to the Glass blowing workshop and found Carlos working. He was blowing a glass object to create a trophy for a major match to be played in Europe. Strangely, the object was a bigger version of the statue we were planning to buy. It was five times bigger than the one we had in mind, but we knew that he would have created it the same way he was creating this trophy. We watched him creating it in stages. He dipped the glass in a furnace for a short time, took it out red hot and then made a small change. Then he put it back in the furnace. This process went on for some time, each time making a small change. We could see the object slowly changing from a piece of glass to an artwork. We were watching a master blower, an artist in the true sense of the word, creating a masterpiece of art. It was like watching Michael Angelo crafting his masterpiece statues. The way they worked, the instruments that were used and the material used are different. But hand crafted glass objects are true pieces of art.
We took some photos while Carlos was working and waited patiently till he finished creating the artwork. The crowd who were watching it joined us in applauding him on his achievement. We waited till the crowd move away and then talked to him. We told him that we already visited his small outlet and talked to his brother. We would be returning to that workshop to buy a pair small glass statues which were hand crafted by him. Carlos was very happy that we admired his work. He was finishing work at 4:00PM and would be back at his outlet if we can come there at 4:15PM. We were planning to visit other factories in the area, but we preferred to visit Carlos’s outlet when he was there. We spent another one and half hours having lunch at the restaurant in Maleras and then went back to Carlos’s outlet. We bought a pair of small statues at a discounted price. We would be proudly displaying them in our glass cupboard in the living area.
We have booked a hotel in Vaxjo to spend the night. We spent the night and then decided to visit one more factory before driving back to Stockholm. This time, we went to another village called Kosta.
There were two or three glass factory outlets in Kosta selling products directly to the public. We saw the world famous products like Kosta Boda and Orrafors . We just went through the factory looking at all the products and then bought a few small items, nothing expensive. We had no time to visit other factories. We drove to Stockholm and to our last hotel Raddison Blu near the Stockholm Arlanda airport.
It was very convenient for us because we rented our car from Hertz and the returning office was next door to our hotel. We left our luggage in the hotel and returned the car to Hertz. The airport shuttle comes to the hotel every ten minutes and it would take less than ten minutes to get to the airport terminal on the following morning.
This could have been the logical end to our story. But there was one more act to be played. We flew from Stockholm to Dohas without any incidents. At Dohas we were informed that our connection flight to Adelaide would be delayed by 90 minutes. We had only two hours in Adelaide to catch the flight to Sydney. A 90 minute delay meant that we would miss that flight. There was nothing we could do. When we came to Adelaide, we had to collect our bags and meet the ground staff specially assigned to look after the passengers who missed the connecting flights due to the delay. There was no connecting flight that day. We were put in Stamford hotel in Adelaide and asked to take the 6:00AM flight next morning. We are back in Sydney now.
We have visited cities of five countries during this trip. The countries were Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
We now have a good understanding about the places to visit in Scandinavea. If we decide to do another trip, it would be Norway only. It is a country of unsurpassed beauty. We can go there again and again. Most of the major roads are open through out the year. But some beautiful routes like Strollstigen are closed in Winter. It would be interesting to visit Norway in Winter.
Thank you for reading our blog.